Wednesday night the folks from Mashable.com had a party in Austin and over 400 people from the local tech community showed up to network, party and advance the excitement about Austin's technology machine. It was an amazing event, and everyone in the room had a great time. They partied like it was 1999.
This morning Mashable.com has a post titled "Austin As Next Web 2.0 Hub". The post praises this Shangri-La on Lady Bird Lake as an amazing emerging center for technology entrepreneurship stating:
"Taking a look around at the hundreds of native Austin-ite folks that were there showed me that we have a similar burgeoning Web 2.0 community here in Texas that could potentially give California and New York a run for its money."
While few in the room were really Austin "natives" - as few people in the business community were born in Austin (the population has doubled over the past two decades with huge migrations of people seeking the unique business and lifestyle that the area offers) - the article makes it sound like Austin is a newcomer to world of technology. Texas has been making waves in technology for over twenty years.
Well over a decade ago Austin emerged on the national scene as a "hot spot" for tech entrepreneurship, innovation, investment and success. While many under the age of thirty do not remember the boom boom days of the late 1990s, Austin is no new comer to the line up of Silicon Valley runners up.
It is interesting that the article credits SXSW Interactive with the success of Austin being on the tech map. I think that SXSW certainly puts the spotlight on Austin, but the local tech community was rocking long before the tech arm of SXSW became what it is today. From the outside looking in it might seem like a chicken or egg -- but Austin's technology community has much deeper roots than today's twenty-somethings can remember.
The most meaningful point of the post was:
"[Will Pate] observed that Austinites, unlike some startups elsewhere in the country, really have no regrets about not being in the Valley."
Amen. Austin is Austin. The pulse of the city is unique and Austinites have no desire for the business community to mirror the Silicon Valley. Those who live here often have an unnatural love affair with their life in Central Texas, and with that comes an acknowledgment that we are who we are.
It is exciting to see the fresh dose of enthusiasm pumped into the local tech scene. The Mashable party was no less spectacular than the "High Tech Happy Hours" that rocked the city in 1998-2000. Those who remember those energetic happy hours at the millennium change know about the days when everyone had an idea that was the New New Thing. That feeling was again in the air on Wednesday night.
While Austin is not a new discovery for the world of tech, it is still the city that whose culture blends perfectly with the spirit of entrepreneurship and lifestyle. The best days are still to come!
And THANK YOU to all the folks from Mashable.com for a GREAT party. I look forward to the next one!
Have A Great Day.