Friday, January 28, 2000

The CyberScene in Austin - by Will Kreth

Armadillo Sees His Shadow

Down in Austin, you won't find many groundhogs – but you will find an increasing number of entrepreneurs, VC's, and support-networks – all busily at work trying to find the next big "New New" thing. January was a busy month, with the ASP 2000 conference at the Austin Convention Center, and the tres exclusive 2nd Annual 360 Summit (officially titled 360:00) – where the local tech elite, community leaders, and UT academics and administrators all rub shoulders and discuss ways to wisely plan for the consequences of Austin's apparently unstoppable growth.

Closer to earthly concerns, Harry Pape's monthly High Tech Happy Hour rocked the Copper Tank Brewery, with a crowd of over 800 people – raising over $4000 for local charities, including the Austin Free-Net ( this month by The Knowledge Capital Group (, it seems that each month gets livelier and louder.

UpStartniks Get On Up

The next night, a relatively new organization took over the Speakeasy bar. Austin UpStarts ( is "a group of Austin Tech Folks that devote every waking moment to building and growing technology start up companies." From the size of the crowd that night, you'd think there were a thousand startups in Austin at any one moment! Fridays are the night they've staked out on the calendar, and it appears to be a serious weekly thing getting started, with live music provided by some of the most successful (and rockin') entrepreneurs in town. I ask you, where else but Austin?

Casa de Jetsons, coming soon

Over at the Austin Software Council monthly meeting, the topic was "The Wired Home – Is This Time for Real?" In light of the recent announcements and initiatives by Microsoft and Sun at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, it could very well be. Is the "Holy Grail" of the Networked Home smart dishwashers and refrigerators? Or, is the real revolution going to happen in the
living room first? The panel (from places like Motorola, PSW Technologies, Concur Systems Technologies, and Weiser Systems) talked briefly and then took questions from the audience for about 45 minutes. When the audience was polled as to how many people had some kind of network in their home (wired or wireless), about 1/3 of the audience raised their hand. Of course, Austin is a wired kinda town, but --- perhaps mainstream acceptance of the wired house is closer than we think!

Adios, Amigos!

Well, it's been fun – but I have to admit that the lure of the startup (that is, starting my ~own~ company) has been like a siren song for some time now, and I've decided to -once again- dive right in. It's been a great nine months since I started writing about Austin for The Cyber Scene, and I've met some excellent people along the way. (If you know of someone who would like to cover the Austin tech scene for The CyberScene, then send Madame Pulitzer an e-mail, will you?). Otherwise, you can contact me at my new company -
( And, if you're coming down to the SXSW Interactive Festival in March ( - I'll be speaking on some panels, so do say hello!

Well, that's all from Austin - where both the people and the weather are always warm, sometimes hot, but never cold!