I had a nice chat this morning with a guy who is moving his company to Austin soon. He's in a similar situation to mine about 9 months ago -- he's making a conscious choice to leave a hotbed of tech startup activity to start his business in Austin. The reasons are always the same: Austin has a good, cost of living and doing business is relatively low relative to the Valley, NYC, or Seattle, good tech talent is available, great university in town, etc.
How would you describe Austin to someone starting a business here for the first time? I felt obligated to share both the good and the bad -- as much as I like it here and want people to come to Austin, I think we should be transparent about our community's strengths and weaknesses. Here's roughly what I told him:
- Good talent is available but there is also a lot of "variety" so you really always have to hunt for good people,
- Some VC attention here, but many VCs aren't qualified to look at Web deals even in 2009,
- Great place to start a company, but a bad place to lose one's job with the relative lack of Fortune 500 companies in town,
- Supportive community but one with very definitive "tribes" that sometimes don't play well with one another,
- Lots of successful business people looking to mentor entrepreneurs, but that also includes some who may not be qualified to be a truly top-notch advisor,
- Wonderful weather most of the year, but there are a lot of distractions that can keep you away from your work.
and so on
Was this a particularly fair assessment? And are these issues common across other tech startup hubs? Would love to know what you think.