Austin’s startup vibe

It’s different from other towns. What's the Difference between Austin and San Francisco?:

Austin offers you more options, but greater variety means that, on the whole, Austinite’s don’t focus as intensely as in San Francisco.  Austin’s defining characteristic (part of it’s slacker culture) is a belief that intensity isn’t always the best thing. Austin believes in variety and moderation. This affects the startup community. Austin, the city, will let you pick and choose from its buffet line, and then admire the smorgasbord you put together. Your lifestyle is a work of art in Austin, and I think the culture rewards you for how you live as much as what you do, often moreso.

In my few visits to San Francisco, I’ve found that I cannot wrap my Texan brain around that town. Trying to really understand its startup culture with just a few visits to the city and Palo Alto is similarly folly. But I did notice the intensity that SF has. It’s not a bad way to describe the town.

That said, I think this is a pretty decent encapsulation of Austin. Austin is a slower town (slower even than Dallas) and revels in the variety of activities available to its people. The Austin tech community is more about smaller groups and individuals too. It’s not (always) about aim-for-the-stars startups or working for large companies using large technology from large vendors. It’s as much about a few people on a team or individuals hacking something out while enjoying their city, family, and friends.

Obviously, I dig that a lot.

Update: I should mention that, while it’s popular to write Austin off as a slacker town, there’s a lot of people dedicated to their work and craft here. It’s not all tacos and BBQ. The events I go to most often are frequented by people who using their evenings to learn something new or talk shop while they’re making something. That is, I think, the most important factor of a startup community: the more people who are putting their evenings into making things, the more likely those things will end up awesome and grow into a business-like organism.

One thought on “Austin’s startup vibe

  1. How refreshing! I’m living in Berlin at the moment and was contemplating where to move when I get back to the US at the end of the year. I’m at the point in my career where I see two clear paths. One is to work at a company like Google, Facebook, or Twitter (if they’ll have me) and become part of the enormous tech scene in the SF area. The lure of those talented design teams and enormous impact is pretty enticing.

    But I keep coming back to the fact that I don’t want work to be my life. I don’t want to be a part of a culture that supports (or even expects) that. I want my life to have balance. And I just keep finding more and more articles pointing to Austin.

    Thanks for one more validation, Adam :)

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