Well, it’s officially been a week. I packed my bags (really my fiancée did all of the packing) from sunny side Laguna Beach and moved “down south” although, Austin is as blue of a city as they come. My first week was filled with rain and also with my good friend Justin saying it was a sign to move back. There was also a tornado watch on day 1 which was more Midwest than I was willing to come to terms with. A little rain wasn’t going to make me second-guess my decision; I’m from Michigan after all.
So why did I move to Austin? Well for starters it’s one of the fastest growing cities in North America. Texas has a few of those cities, including Plano, Houston and Dallas. The locals will tell you “a few years ago, it wasn’t like this.” I’m sure it wasn’t but it’s not over yet. Cranes surround the city and more development is imminent but I could have moved to Toronto if I wanted to move to an up and coming city. There was more to my decision than that.
Not many people realize that Austin is actually home to more start-ups than San Francisco. Analysts are predicting Austin is laying the foundation for the next tech bubble. SXSW isn’t just a music festival in Austin. The interactive portion of this conference is the biggest tech gathering in the United States, it’s even bigger than Tech Crunch Disrupt.
There’s innovation everywhere, from equity crowd funding companies like New Chip, young CEO’s and investors like Freddy Del Barrio, and incredible designers like Ato from League of Rebels. I could get fashion from New York and tech from the Bay Area just as easily though. Once again, there was more.
The youth was another great selling point for my move. Freddy (who I mentioned earlier) is a perfect example of Austin’s potential. I met him within my first week and I’d describe him as Youngry. He is a young, and hungry CEO and investor, constantly keeping his eye out for what is next. He’s still a senior in college and is already an established CEO. There are youthful cities all over the United States however. Chicago, where I’ve spent plenty of time, has an amazing young energy to it. I always thought it was the place to spend your 20s.
Well we can’t forget about the southern hospitality. I will admit, within my first week here, people are nicer than in Los Angeles. The best way I can categorize the difference between LA, the Midwest, and the South is this. When you meet someone in LA they’d say, “What do you do?” When you meet someone in the Midwest they’d say, “What’s your favorite sports team?” When you meet someone in Austin they’ve said, “How can I help?” They’ve also said it in a very Youngry way, eyeful for the potential that they could create and hungry for the next move. They understand that connections cut down on networking time. Thank you for all of your help Ryan!
I’m competitive though; I loved LA, the people and everything the city represented. This is also not the reason I left.
So why did I move away from the comfortable beach life, for one reason only. I can only describe it as this. I can tell in my first week that there is an absorbent amount of potential in Austin. The people have all been great (and helpful.) Yes I’ve heard live music and eaten Mexican food already, but that’s not why I’m here.
I’m here because I feel like I’m living in San Francisco before it turned into the land of Sequoia Capital and Y-Combinator. Long before the Warriors were the team to beat, Steph Curry was a kid from Carolina who played at Davidson and suffered through chronic ankle injuries. His rookie year in 2009 the Lakers won the championship. Right now the Bay Area are the champions of tech, startup culture, and VC money. They’re the gold standard. (The Warriors aren’t bad either.) Austin however, is YOUNGRY.
So watch out Bay Area, and the rest of the States. Times are a changing.