Hail to the Chief–and to Austin

By    May 8, 2013

barack-obama

Welcome back to Austin, President Obama. We know you’ve been here before, and we know you’ll probably come back again. We know you’re coming here this time to promote economic growth and job creation; in our not-so-humble opinion, you couldn’t have come to a better place to kick off your “Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity” tour.

It’s no secret that you ♥ Austin, Mr. President. You said so yourself during a campaign visit here in 2011: “I love Texas—and I especially love Austin. Love this city. It was always one of my favorite places to visit during the campaign. And I intend to drop by a few more times during this campaign.” For the record, you made a similar “I love you” statement during a stop here in 2010.

Why do we join Mr. Obama in being so bullish about Austin? For starters, we live here and we love it here (despite the often-sweltering summer heat and the ever-maddening traffic). Furthermore, we’re a successful tech startup in a city that nurtures tech startups. (By the way, we’re definitely in hiring mode.) If you go here (as our co-founders did in 2009 from Southern California), you can grow here.

White House press secretary Jay Carney offered this explanation when asked this week about the objective for the president’s Austin trip:

“It is an effort to demonstrate that, in spite of some of the obstacles that we face here in Washington to doing the right thing and helping our economy grow, and some of the actions that Washington takes or inaction that Washington engages in that actually inflicts wounds on our economy, out in the country there are positive things happening, and that that only reinforces the need for Washington to do some very simple things to help facilitate economic growth and job creation, to help enhance the prospects of the middle class rising and thriving.”

Wow, Mr. Carney, that’s a long answer. (He must have taken a big breath after giving it; I’m practically out of breath after reading it.) In short, what we can take away from his response is this: Austin is one of the places in the U.S. that’s economically kicking ass, and the president wants to highlight how we’re helping build, in Mr. Carney’s words, “a stronger and bigger middle class.”

We’re sure Mr. Obama realizes that all sorts of economic accolades have been heaped onto Austin. But in case you need a reminder, Mr. President, or in case you are not the president but are reading this anyway, here’s a sampling of the recent praise:

  • Under30CEO.com placed Austin at No. 1 on its list of the “Top 30 Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs.” (FYI: Our CEO is under 30.) Under30CEO.com cited Austin’s status as a “hub for innovation and entrepreneurship,” as well as the presence of the University of Texas, which provides “a steady flow of talented graduates and an overall vibrant scene.” Furthermore, the website noted, Austin offers a much lower cost of living than cities like San Francisco and New York. Having just moved back to Austin from San Francisco, I can certainly attest to that.
  • Austin checked in at No. 10 on Forbes’ 2013 version of the “Best Big Cities For Jobs.”
  • Dice.com named Austin the third-fastest-growing U.S. market for tech jobs.
  • Among the country’s 100 largest metro areas, the Brookings Institution put Austin at No. 1 for recession-to-recovery performance (from the peak of the downturn to now).
  • The Business Journals (my former employer) crowned Austin as the top city for small businesses, compared with 101 other major U.S. markets.

Given our recitation of those rankings, you can accuse us of being a big cheerleader for Austin. But we wouldn’t want to be rooting for any other “team.” Thanks for rooting for us, Mr. President. And please bring Michelle with you the next time you’re traveling to Austin.

Image courtesy of utexas.edu

John is editor of The SpareFoot Blog. He first moved to Austin in 1999, when downtown Austin wasn't nearly as lively as it is today. John's loves include pizza, University of Kansas basketball and puns.

  • http://twitter.com/DavidWenger David Wenger

    I hope the President gets some exposure to Austin’s dynamic entrepreneurship environment, which was on full display last week during the Global Venture Labs Investment Competition at UT Austin. Winners included Seismos, a local team that won the Wells Fargo Clean Energy prize. This is how jobs and business are created in weird little Austin. http://www.utexas.edu/news/2013/05/08/visolis-wins-30th-annual-global-venture-labs-investment-competition/

  • Craig Barrett

    The only odd thing is that Austin isn’t really a middle-class job economy. It heavily favors high-end tech, education and government.

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