Sep 27

Why You Should Pay Attention to TechCrunch Disrupt (Even if You Don’t Like TechCrunch)

I’ve been to quite a few cities and discussed their tech communities with them. The one thing that rings true everywhere you go is this: everyone compares themselves to the Valley. It generally comes up in the first 30 minutes or so of every conversation.

In Austin, we are constantly making the case for why people should move here and invest in startups. I’ve talked with software developers here and in San Francisco, and there is one major difference:

Business acumen.

This isn’t the case for every Austin and San Francisco startup or software developer, mind you. I just know a lot of developers who are happy consulting and/or coding away in Austin. They aren’t making fortunes, but they certainly aren’t starving.

When I talk to many developers (not all, of course) from the Valley, they are savvy to the ways of venture capital and angel investing. They know who is who, what to expect, and how to play the game. It could be because it’s just too expensive NOT to know how to play and they have companies like Google to learn from, but it does give them an advantage.

Paying attention to TechCrunch Disrupt (Sept. 27-29) won’t teach you how to create compelling Facebook fan pages, switch to Rails 3 or give you the latest tutorial on HTML5. Here’s what you WILL learn about:

  • How to actually get money for your ideas. Yes, bootstrapping is a noble idea. It’s good to bootstrap…for a period of time. After a while, don’t be surprised when your competition raises a round of funding and then creams you. Or better yet, they just steal your idea pretty much outright. Disrupt will feature both VCs and angel investors and will help you navigate the system.
  • The triumphs and pitfalls of running a company from the founders of companies like LinkedIn and Zynga.
  • What Google is up to these days.
  • What startups are going to get the next wave of hype.
  • What it’s like to be a woman in tech.

Turns out, Michael Arrington respected me for standing up to the nasty commenters on his “Women in Tech” post. He invited me to be on a the Women in Tech panel this Tuesday, which features some interesting women including Leila Chirayath Janah, the founder of an interesting non-profit called Samasource. The panel is being moderated by Sarah Lacy.

So check out TechCrunch Disrupt this week. Software solves problems, and problems exist everywhere. Viable software startups should be everywhere–in the Valley and beyond. I’ll be taking notes and so should you.

  • Robert Banh

    So do Austin developers need to learn the tricks used in the valley? Because the lay of the land is different here…

  • Anonymous

    The difference I see is that we have less capital and that most of our software companies are enterprise.

    What differences do you see?

  • Robert Banh

    I guess I see that we (austin) just code and release apps without the need of angels or VC… I think the investors come after you have made something awesome. But in the valley, it seems you don’t start development till you have investors.

  • Matt Medeiros

    As much as you don’t want to be on that panel, I do find it a compelling discussion from both sides. You hit some great points.

  • Naricussus

    “Michael Arrington respected me for standing up to the nasty commenters on his “Women in Tech” post.”

    No, no, Michael Arrington felt guilty and GAVE you a place on the Women in Tech panel