I am backing Brewster McCracken for mayor because I feel he listens to small business leaders here in town. Local politics has always seemed like a drag-out fight between real estate moguls and total hippies, so I find refreshing that someone is willing to listen to a sector of people who positively affect both.
I’m not big into local politics, but I do believe that Austin can take two paths in this digital age. We can sit back and ride the tide, or we can do what we can to become leaders in this space. We need a leader who understands this though.
I’ve traveled in four countries in less than six months and have been to renown web conferences in Europe and in the U.S. We compare ourselves too often to the Valley. Here in Austin, I can get wifi at a Pita Pit or at a baseball game. In Paris or Toronto, I struggled to get internet anywhere and I often had to pay for it. People don’t value or understand “geeks” in most places around the world. As unexcited as people are about technology, they use it and will continue to use it though. Austin is in a good position but we need to advance that position if we want to grow. Software solves problems, and there are tons of problems out there. Most places didn’t advance during the tech boom like we did and aren’t equipped to emerge the way we can.
As quickly as this tech boom came to us, it can go away. The world is competitive and cruel. If you think Austin and Silicon Valley are the only places where software is being built, you are wrong. Places like Estonia, India, the Ukraine, all over the world, people are building software. While you are bootstrapping, networking, and patting yourselves on the back for being a “progressive”, these hungry communities are building applications that the world is using. You can build an application only to see it squashed by the same app that was architected by someone in the UK, constructed by someone in Latvia, and sold for half the price. Austin is progressive, but the world is big and doesn’t care about you. You are just another city that people often consider nice to visit.
This is harsh, but it just means we need a leader who actually listens to the tech community because although we often don’t realize it, our feedback is incredibly valuable and vital to the Austin economy. We need a leader who wants to expand other industries like the biotech, energy, and film sectors too, because a diversified economy is much more recession-proof. We depend on each other, believe it or not. Brewster McCracken is listening to the leaders in these communities and we need to make sure he’s elected.
Lee Leffingwell wants to focus on key city services like roads, police, etc. That’s great, but I’m sorry, the tech industry is getting more and more competitive each day. Do we want a leader who isn’t really paying attention to this stuff, or do we want someone who will actually foster relationships with business leaders to make Austin a global leader in technology, biotech, energy, music and film?
If you are with me, please consider the following actions:
1.) Remember to vote on May 9th.
2.) Express your ideas for Austin at www.ideasforaustin.com and encourage others to do the same.
3.) Consider volunteering for Brewster. You can keep up by subscribing to the email, Twitter, and Facebook updates available at Brewster’s website.