The 3 Day Startup weekend at the Austin Technology Incubator concluded on Sunday, April 1, no fooling, with companies called Still Open, Fix This, CURB, Eat Social, and Parksi presenting to jurists, other participants, and guests. As is always the case in this city, all the presentations were well coached and well delivered. There was a time limit on Q&A, and that toughest question at the end always seemed to get conveniently interrupted by the clock. The bravest demo was a 2” X 3” phone screen held up for about 100 people to view in the
The Austin Forum topic this week was Product Design – The New Interplay of People, Objects and Information. UT Information School faculty members including Dean Andrew Dillon and Professors Diane E. Bailey and Randolph Bias gave an interesting presentation that dovetailed with many discussions I had in the Austin tech scene during the week.
Both Ray Kurzweil and Stephen Wolfram concluded their presentations at SXSWi with comments on the importance of “learning by doing.” Those involved in teaching the art and science of being an entrepreneur, or even of being an angel investor, are taking this to heart in a variety of venues around the country.
The International Symposium on Online Journalism at the University of Texas April 20-21 drew a worldwide audience and provided a great view of an industry that is currently the very model of Disruption. Whether you are a devotee of journalism or not, this symposium provided some insights as to how traditional businesses can be severely affected by the Internet.
The International Symposium on Online Journalism at the University of Texas April 20-12 drew a worldwide audience and provided a great view of an industry that is currently the very model of Disruption. Whether you are a devotee of journalism or not, this symposium provided some insights as to how severely traditional businesses can be affected by the Internet, and this is part II of my report from the event.
While activities are in a lull this week and UT students are heads-down in final exams, the topic that comes to the fore is the family aspect of entrepreneurship. One who chooses to pursue an entrepreneurial endeavor is making a choice not only for herself or himself but for others in the immediate family. And, the dynamics of that have changed considerably in recent times.
How many times has a prospective investor asked you that question?
Every investor wants to see a founding team that includes rainmaking and leadership skills plus a strong technology person. They presume that with the right investors and advisors the other components of running and scaling a business can be found as needed. In particular, missing the proverbial “technical co-founder” is always a show-stopper.
The past few days brought several conversations about field sales activity. One friend in a the residential real estate brokerage business told me yesterday that he had hired more than 100 salespeople here in Austin, but none of them seem able to close. We’re in a market with low inventory, stable prices, and a healthy backdrop of very low unemployment, but current underwriting rules allow no margin for error in the steps to the closing table. Agents deal with all the typical emotional issues of the home selection process, but once those are overcome, they have to manage a lot of minutia
Today’s WSJ talks about automated hiring programs where your background terminology has to be a verbatim match with the job requirements in order to avoid rejection. Yet it also has a story about tech investors and startups luring prodigies straight out of high school with cash bonuses – a “zero & done” college program – worse even than the NBA.
A senior research executive at The Boeing Company is the vice chair of the board of the Georgia Tech Research Corporation. I attended our semi-annual meeting at a resort in West Georgia this past weekend, and this Boeing executive gave an overview of his prospering company and its 189,000 people working on a 7-year backlog of orders. One high priority concern for him is Boeing’s ability to recruit and retain young engineers, and they’re trying a number of techniques to improve the latter. I asked him: “So where do these engineers go when they leave? I’m accustomed to seeing tech compani