ATC Weekend Update November 26

Ross Kiernan Marketing and Membership Services Austin Technology Council

Ross Kiernan
Marketing and Membership Services
Austin Technology Council

Goodbye from Ross

Hi Y’all

After 10 incredible months of living in Austin, it is time that I return back home to Ireland. I am fortunate that this was my first “real job” out of college, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Working with the ATC to help strengthen the Austin tech community has been a fantastic journey to be on, but it needs to be said that the highlight of my time with ATC has been the people I’ve met.

It has never ceased to amaze me how supportive the ATC community is, once I became embedded in, and surrounded by the tech industry, it was great to see how far people went to help each other out. The people I’ll miss the most are the ones I’ve seen Monday to Friday, 9-5 every week over the last 10 months. A special thank you to the ATC team, they are relentless when it comes to fulfilling the mission of ATC and a pleasure to work with, I can’t wait to see what they will do next.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to connect with me on LinkedIn here; who doesn’t want a bunch of C-Level executives in their Network? 

Slán


Austin Technology Council Foundation: Building the Future of Tech Talent

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Does the Holiday Season have you thinking about how you can give back to the Austin community? Are you looking for a deeper way to connect and contribute to future generations? Or, do you just want to do something that is FUN and outside of your normal routine? If so, the ATC Foundation has opportunities for you!

The ATC Foundation was created to address the need for a strong and sustainable talent pipeline of young people that will keep our technology community alive and well for many years. We want to inspire young people to not only pursue academic pathways in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields, we want to encourage them to think BIG and be the next generation’s entrepreneurs. Research shows us that just one external positive role model can change the trajectory of a student, particularly a low-income student who may not have the same opportunities to explore their career options as others. With a focus on these students who could use a little extra inspiration, the Foundation has created opportunities for YOU to get involved!

ATCF has opportunities for you to engage at many different levels. Have an hour? Great! We would love for you to take part in our Career Conversations program at one of several targeted middle schools. Have an hour a week? We have after-school programs that could use your energy and knowledge to help kids learn about technology! Have time on the weekends a few times a year? We have opportunities for you to judge robotics competitions. Our goal is to find an opportunity for you that fits your availability. Every opportunity for these students to engage makes a difference and together we can make a real impact.

In 2017, we will launch an initiative that allows for company-wide volunteer engagement as well as the individual programs we currently have available. If your company is looking to engage, let us know! For more information on any of the Foundation’s programs, please contact me at molly@austintechfoundation.org, call 512-740-6522 or visit www.austintechfoundation.org, click on “Volunteer Now” and fill out the form. I’ll be in touch as soon as possible.

 I wish you a happy and joyous holiday season and hope to see you soon!

All the best,

Molly M. Youn 


Hiring Top Talent in an Employee’s Market

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Currently, the Austin market is an employee’s market. Unemployment is low, which is great news for the economy, but makes it difficult for companies to find qualified people. Even with a slight increase from 3.3 to 3.5% from September 2015 to September 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Austin is still 1.4% lower than the national average. To find superior talent, a job must be competitive and enticing. Once several candidates are identified, a hiring team needs to move quickly and be ready to catch that person they covet to complete a team or lead a project.

Since most of Austin’s technically savvy candidates have no trouble finding great work, discovering people who may be interested in a new position takes a skill set that is developed through years of knowledge and numerous tools that most Corporate HR teams may not have at their disposal. In order to address these issues, Luna Data Solutions (LDS) has adapted to better address the shifting Austin industries. As experts in the field of finding the right personnel fit for companies of various sizes and specialties, LDS suggests approaching these hiring dilemmas in the following ways.

Wish List vs. Must List

The job description is the first introduction a candidate is going to have to the position and your company. If the job is too demanding, you may get your perfect candidate, or you may inadvertently exclude the people for which you are searching.

In one recent case, LDS recruiters started work on a mid-level developer role. As our submitted candidates were repeatedly rejected, we dug in a bit deeper into the role and the project. Our recruiters worked with the client’s team and got down to what skills they were missing on their team. Our findings suggested that what the client required was a much more senior person. Once the job requirements were modified to better reflect what our client needed, we had much greater success at matching the right talent to the role.

Had we not known to look closer at the job requirements, it may have taken weeks to realize the issue was not the applicant pool or our screening process, but the job itself. Having that pinned down first is going to save your hiring team a tremendous amount of detective work.

Know Where to Look

Job posting sites are only a few viable places to find candidates. Social media is an excellent tool for identifying people looking for work, collecting feedback about what they like to see in a place of employment, or looking into groups specializing in the field for which you are hiring.

An employee’s market means that people are often not actively looking for work, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t amazing candidates who might be interested in a change. Knowing where these people post those inquiries will save hiring managers or recruiters a great deal of time. Visit groups for the profession you’re seeking, join networking events where these individuals socialize. Think outside the box.

Don’t Keep Them Waiting—You’re Being Interviewed, Too

Once your dream applicants have been identified, setting up interviews is the next step. The level of commitment and organization you show in this step may have a significant impact on whether or not your offer letter is received with joy or ambivalence.

There have been times when LDS has found great candidates for a niche role, only to have a slow interview and hiring process result in a miss for both candidate and client. When a candidate is actively looking, it’s fair to expect that there are several viable roles available for this person.

In one such case, an ideal candidate was forwarded to a client for interview. The process took over a week for the first round, and by that time, the candidate was already fielding offers from other companies. By the time our client realized this was the perfect person for their role, the candidate politely bowed out of the process, having secured a competitive rate and position with another company.

Canceling an interview multiple times, forgetting about the appointment, or making your candidate wait for a response or feedback may result in a qualified candidate accepting a different role if the interview process suggests that one company will value their time and effort more than another.

Know Your Industry Rates

Recruiters need to know that asking about a candidate’s previous pay rates is no longer allowed in several states, and it is anticipated that this law will be here soon, as well. There are ways around the previous salary question, but the safest approach will be to know what the market dictates for pay rates on any given position. Is your offering competitive? Is the candidate asking for too much based on experience and the needs of the role?

LDS, acting as arbitrator between candidate and client, is often called upon to make salary or pay rate offers based on the client’s project budget and there are times we are forced to explain that for the qualifications and experience for which a client wants to hire, the pay rate needs to be modified to meet Austin market demands. Sometimes this is within the budget of a given project, and sometimes the job requirements need modification. Knowing which dial to move is the key to finding the right people who will enthusiastically join your company and team.

Adapt to Meet New Challenges

Luna Data Solutions (LDS), one of the most well established Austin-based technology recruiting firms, has diversified to offer specialized recruiting and consultative solutions to accommodate the evolving needs of our clients nationwide. We’ve watched as certain technology specializations have developed into vibrant industries of their own, and we’ve tried to meet that new complexity with clarity in approach and purpose.

Our two new practices focus on the exciting Creative and Marketing and Health Sciences domains. As a customer-first organization, we’ve seen the need for diversification and have met this growing demand with our new verticals, enabling us to continue to deliver the ‘Luna’ level of service we’ve provided since our founding in 2000. In addition to our concentration expansion, LDS is also in the process of opening offices in the Houston and Dallas markets in 2017 to advance talent and consultation services in those regions as well.

Visit the Luna Data Solutions website at www.LunaDataSolutions.com for additional information on our selection of solutions or call our Austin office at 512-828-7906. As we grow to meet varied market demands, we strive to maintain a nimble, solutions-driven culture of excellent customer service and candidate care.


Sixth Circuit: Data Breach Victims’ Heightened Risk of Future Harm Establishes Article III Standing

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Until now, a company’s exposure to direct liability type claims for potential harm as a result of a Cyber breach has been gauged as relatively low. A recent decision in the Sixth Circuit has changed all of that and we expect that the Supreme Court will at some point hear a case similar to the one outlined for you below. In a recent article summarized below, Kevin LaCroix author of the D & O Diaries blog discusses the court’s decision and the impact it could have on companies in the future.

One of a defendants most significant arguments in opposing data breach victims’ negligence and breach of privacy claims has been that the claimants that have not suffered actual fraud or identity theft can show no discernible injury and therefore lack Article III standing to assert their claims.

Appellate decisions in the Seventh and Ninth Circuit have previously taken a bite out of this defense, in rulings holding that the victims’ fear of future harm is sufficient to establish standing.

In a case involving alleged victims of a data breach at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, the Sixth Circuit has joined others, holding that the claimants’ heightened risk for fraud and mitigation costs were sufficient to establish Article III standing. The Sixth Circuit’s September 12, 2016 opinion, which can be found here, represents the latest in a series of developments evincing courts’ increasing willingness to recognize fear of potential future harm as sufficient to establish standing, which in turn may make it easier for the plaintiffs’ claims in these kinds of data breach cases to go forward

What the Court Decision Means for Companies Regarding Data Breaches

One particular aspect of the Sixth Circuit’s decision may be particularly troubling for companies that have experienced data breaches. In support of its conclusion that the plaintiffs had standing, the Sixth Circuit cited the fact that Nationwide had offered the data breach victims credit monitoring and identify-theft services.

The appellate court said that these moves showed that even Nationwide recognized that the risk of harm was great enough to support these kinds of protective measures. Many companies routinely offer these types of services following a data breach. The concern may now be that offering these kinds of remedial or ameliorative services may actually be held against companies and used as the basis for claimants to establish standing. Companies and their advisers may now need to rethink how to respond and what steps to take following a data breach.

Unless and until the Supreme Court weighs in and sorts out these issues, data breach victims will continue to try, with apparent likelihood of success, that their claims of potential future harm are sufficient to establish Article III standing, even if they cannot allege actual identify theft. The availability of these kinds of arguments not only will make it more difficult for defendants to secure dismissal on Article III standing grounds, but it may encourage more data breach victims to try to pursue negligence and privacy breach type claims.


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Sixth Circuit: Data Breach Victims’ Heightened Risk of Future Harm Establishes Article III Standing

Until now, a company’s exposure to direct liability type claims for potential harm as a result of a Cyber breach has been gauged as relatively low. A recent decision in the Sixth Circuit has changed all of that and we expect that the Supreme Court will at some point hear a case similar to the one outlined for you below. In a recent article summarized below, Kevin LaCroix author of the D & O Diaries blog discusses the court’s decision and the impact it could have on companies in the future.

One of a defendants most significant arguments in opposing data breach victims’ negligence and breach of privacy claims has been that the claimants that have not suffered actual fraud or identity theft can show no discernible injury and therefore lack Article III standing to assert their claims.

Appellate decisions in the Seventh and Ninth Circuit have previously taken a bite out of this defense, in rulings holding that the victims’ fear of future harm is sufficient to establish standing.

In a case involving alleged victims of a data breach at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, the Sixth Circuit has joined others, holding that the claimants’ heightened risk for fraud and mitigation costs were sufficient to establish Article III standing. The Sixth Circuit’s September 12, 2016 opinion, which can be found here, represents the latest in a series of developments evincing courts’ increasing willingness to recognize fear of potential future harm as sufficient to establish standing, which in turn may make it easier for the plaintiffs’ claims in these kinds of data breach cases to go forward

What the Court Decision Means for Companies Regarding Data Breaches

One particular aspect of the Sixth Circuit’s decision may be particularly troubling for companies that have experienced data breaches. In support of its conclusion that the plaintiffs had standing, the Sixth Circuit cited the fact that Nationwide had offered the data breach victims credit monitoring and identify-theft services.

The appellate court said that these moves showed that even Nationwide recognized that the risk of harm was great enough to support these kinds of protective measures. Many companies routinely offer these types of services following a data breach. The concern may now be that offering these kinds of remedial or ameliorative services may actually be held against companies and used as the basis for claimants to establish standing. Companies and their advisers may now need to rethink how to respond and what steps to take following a data breach.

Unless and until the Supreme Court weighs in and sorts out these issues, data breach victims will continue to try, with apparent likelihood of success, that their claims of potential future harm are sufficient to establish Article III standing, even if they cannot allege actual identify theft. The availability of these kinds of arguments not only will make it more difficult for defendants to secure dismissal on Article III standing grounds, but it may encourage more data breach victims to try to pursue negligence and privacy breach type claims.

Austin Technology Council Foundation: Building the Future of Tech Talent

Molly Young Executive Director ATC Foundation

Molly Young
Executive Director
ATC Foundation

Does the Holiday Season have you thinking about how you can give back to the Austin community? Are you looking for a deeper way to connect and contribute to future generations? Or, do you just want to do something that is FUN and outside of your normal routine? If so, the ATC Foundation has opportunities for you!

The ATC Foundation was created to address the need for a strong and sustainable talent pipeline of young people that will keep our technology community alive and well for many years. We want to inspire young people to not only pursue academic pathways in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields, we want to encourage them to think BIG and be the next generation’s entrepreneurs. Research shows us that just one external positive role model can change the trajectory of a student, particularly a low-income student who may not have the same opportunities to explore their career options as others. With a focus on these students who could use a little extra inspiration, the Foundation has created opportunities for YOU to get involved!

ATCF has opportunities for you to engage at many different levels. Have an hour? Great! We would love for you to take part in our Career Conversations program at one of several targeted middle schools. Have an hour a week? We have after-school programs that could use your energy and knowledge to help kids learn about technology! Have time on the weekends a few times a year? We have opportunities for you to judge robotics competitions. Our goal is to find an opportunity for you that fits your availability. Every opportunity for these students to engage makes a difference and together we can make a real impact.

In 2017, we will launch an initiative that allows for company-wide volunteer engagement as well as the individual programs we currently have available. If your company is looking to engage, let us know! For more information on any of the Foundation’s programs, please contact me at molly@austintechfoundation.org, call 512-740-6522 or visit www.austintechfoundation.org, click on “Volunteer Now” and fill out the form. I’ll be in touch as soon as possible.

 I wish you a happy and joyous holiday season and hope to see you soon!

All the best,

Molly M. Youn 

Recruiting Report: Hiring Top Talent in an Employee’s Market

Currently, the Austin market is an employee’s market. Unemployment is low, which is great news for the economy, but makes it difficult for companies to find qualified people. Even with a slight increase from 3.3 to 3.5% from September 2015 to September 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Austin is still 1.4% lower than the national average. To find superior talent, a job must be competitive and enticing. Once several candidates are identified, a hiring team needs to move quickly and be ready to catch that person they covet to complete a team or lead a project.

Since most of Austin’s technically savvy candidates have no trouble finding great work, discovering people who may be interested in a new position takes a skill set that is developed through years of knowledge and numerous tools that most Corporate HR teams may not have at their disposal. In order to address these issues, Luna Data Solutions (LDS) has adapted to better address the shifting Austin industries. As experts in the field of finding the right personnel fit for companies of various sizes and specialties, LDS suggests approaching these hiring dilemmas in the following ways.

Wish List vs. Must List

The job description is the first introduction a candidate is going to have to the position and your company. If the job is too demanding, you may get your perfect candidate, or you may inadvertently exclude the people for which you are searching.

In one recent case, LDS recruiters started work on a mid-level developer role. As our submitted candidates were repeatedly rejected, we dug in a bit deeper into the role and the project. Our recruiters worked with the client’s team and got down to what skills they were missing on their team. Our findings suggested that what the client required was a much more senior person. Once the job requirements were modified to better reflect what our client needed, we had much greater success at matching the right talent to the role.

Had we not known to look closer at the job requirements, it may have taken weeks to realize the issue was not the applicant pool or our screening process, but the job itself. Having that pinned down first is going to save your hiring team a tremendous amount of detective work.

Know Where to Look

Job posting sites are only a few viable places to find candidates. Social media is an excellent tool for identifying people looking for work, collecting feedback about what they like to see in a place of employment, or looking into groups specializing in the field for which you are hiring.

An employee’s market means that people are often not actively looking for work, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t amazing candidates who might be interested in a change. Knowing where these people post those inquiries will save hiring managers or recruiters a great deal of time. Visit groups for the profession you’re seeking, join networking events where these individuals socialize. Think outside the box.

Don’t Keep Them Waiting—You’re Being Interviewed, Too

Once your dream applicants have been identified, setting up interviews is the next step. The level of commitment and organization you show in this step may have a significant impact on whether or not your offer letter is received with joy or ambivalence.

There have been times when LDS has found great candidates for a niche role, only to have a slow interview and hiring process result in a miss for both candidate and client. When a candidate is actively looking, it’s fair to expect that there are several viable roles available for this person.

In one such case, an ideal candidate was forwarded to a client for interview. The process took over a week for the first round, and by that time, the candidate was already fielding offers from other companies. By the time our client realized this was the perfect person for their role, the candidate politely bowed out of the process, having secured a competitive rate and position with another company.

Canceling an interview multiple times, forgetting about the appointment, or making your candidate wait for a response or feedback may result in a qualified candidate accepting a different role if the interview process suggests that one company will value their time and effort more than another.

Know Your Industry Rates

Recruiters need to know that asking about a candidate’s previous pay rates is no longer allowed in several states, and it is anticipated that this law will be here soon, as well. There are ways around the previous salary question, but the safest approach will be to know what the market dictates for pay rates on any given position. Is your offering competitive? Is the candidate asking for too much based on experience and the needs of the role?

LDS, acting as arbitrator between candidate and client, is often called upon to make salary or pay rate offers based on the client’s project budget and there are times we are forced to explain that for the qualifications and experience for which a client wants to hire, the pay rate needs to be modified to meet Austin market demands. Sometimes this is within the budget of a given project, and sometimes the job requirements need modification. Knowing which dial to move is the key to finding the right people who will enthusiastically join your company and team.

Adapt to Meet New Challenges

Luna Data Solutions (LDS), one of the most well established Austin-based technology recruiting firms, has diversified to offer specialized recruiting and consultative solutions to accommodate the evolving needs of our clients nationwide. We’ve watched as certain technology specializations have developed into vibrant industries of their own, and we’ve tried to meet that new complexity with clarity in approach and purpose.

Our two new practices focus on the exciting Creative and Marketing and Health Sciences domains. As a customer-first organization, we’ve seen the need for diversification and have met this growing demand with our new verticals, enabling us to continue to deliver the ‘Luna’ level of service we’ve provided since our founding in 2000. In addition to our concentration expansion, LDS is also in the process of opening offices in the Houston and Dallas markets in 2017 to advance talent and consultation services in those regions as well.

Visit the Luna Data Solutions website at www.LunaDataSolutions.com for additional information on our selection of solutions or call our Austin office at 512-828-7906. As we grow to meet varied market demands, we strive to maintain a nimble, solutions-driven culture of excellent customer service and candidate care.

ATC Weekend Update November 12th

The Last Vote Of The Pre-Tech Era

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Austin’s new economy agenda starts with an invitation.

By Dan Graham, Lawrence Waugh, Barbary Brunner

As we reached the conclusion of the most divisive political season in modern history, Austinites were engaged like never before: 92% of all eligible voters are registered in Travis County and early voting set a new bar for elections in Central Texas. And for the first time ever, the new economy’s role in an Austin election has been both visible and robust.

In the last few months alone:

But these education and engagement initiatives are just the beginning of a new relationship between Austin’s new economy community and City Hall. Candidates elected to represent Austin at any level have a responsibility to be tech aware, innovation inclined, and protective of Austin’s unique potential. It’s our responsibility to establish policy priorities, educate policymakers and the larger community, and assess policymaker commitment to the cause. Fulfilling these responsibilities will positively impact our economy, our reputation, and the life of every Austinite.

Austin’s new economy ecosystem is comprised of the tech community, entrepreneurs, creatives, educators, policymakers, and traditional business interests. We’re creating a new coalition of interest and expectation supporting Austin’s growth and brand in the 21st century.

The short term rental and ridesharing debates revealed the glaring gulf between policymakers and evolving community expectations on issues that impact Austin’s economy and reputation as a center of innovation. While economic and demographic impact have been much discussed (a fifth of the local economy, a quarter of all jobs, and tens of thousands of newly engaged citizens can be attributed to tech alone), it’s clear that’s not enough — policymakers have not received the guidance and support necessary to become steady advocates for Austin’s true potential.

And we’ll take that hit. The ATC Policy Coalition made the conscious decision not to assess policymaker performance this election. We respect the democratic process and, starting in 2017, it’s our job to ensure all regional policymakers are as prepared as they can be to support a stronger, smarter Austin.

To get the ball rolling, we’re introducing a list of pro-innovation, pro-entrepreneur policy verticals and questions for community discussion. These range from the big issues we face together as a community and more specific issues that impact governance and inclusion at the policy level.

We’ll introduce some new tools over the next several weeks to drive the process and connect policymakers directly to the community to establish shared priorities and a roadmap to reach them. These aren’t intended to provoke but are absolutely intended to start a discussion — we’re looking forward to your critique and comments. We’ll be visible parts of that conversation and we hope that you will be too.

We invite you to join us, regional policymakers, and our Entrepreneur Partners Capital Factory, Galvanize, Impact Hub Austin, Owens Garage, Tech Ranch, Techstars, Urban Co-Lab, and WeWork in a leadership role or as a volunteer advocate as we develop the next era of engagement in Austin. Everyone is welcome!

Dan is the Founder of BuildASign and Notley Ventures and co-chair of the Policy Coalition
Lawrence is a Managing Partner of Calavista Software and co-chair of the Policy Coalition
Barbary is the CEO of the Austin Technology Council

The Austin New Economy Agenda 2016–2018

There are many definitions of a “smart city.” The ATC Policy Coalition believes a smart city utilizes all resources respectfully, seeks improved avenues of service and execution, and considers new voices and perspectives to be legitimate participants in any arena.

As work on setting expectations for the 2017 and 2018 City budget process and 2018 City Council elections begins, The ATC Policy Coalition proposes that the following issues drive the new economy community’s entry into civic discourse. Collectively, these issues are intended to establish Austin at the nexus of innovation and regulation, leveraging tech, innovation, and entrepreneurial approach toward community challenges and potential.

How can Austin address these issues better than our competitors? How can entrepreneurs, innovators, and policymakers work in tandem to make Austin a vanguard pro-innovation, pro-entrepreneur policy laboratory in practice and not just during SXSW?

Community Priorities

The ATC Policy Coalition will participate in and support community wide efforts to tackle the big issues in ways that positively define Austin. We share the responsibility to address these issues with all Austin stakeholders. In 2017, the ATC Policy Coalition will begin filling leadership and volunteer roles supporting these community verticals. Find out more.

Mobility/Land Use

Austin’s mobility and land use challenges have become as much a part of Austin’s brand as live music and Barton Springs. Both impact every part of living in the city — the cost of your home, the schools your kids attend, the people you hire, and the brands that relocate here. As the new economy community becomes a core constituency, what expectation should we have of our policymakers in these areas? This is a global conversation, are there existing policy portfolios that could be leveraged to establish Austin as the preferred beta market for new solutions?

Diversity and Inclusion

There are many facets of a smart city. The ATC Policy Coalition believes an investment in a diverse and collaborative ecosystem is one of them. What policies could impact this priority? What are other markets doing to promote diversity in the new economy?

Healthy City

The Dell Medical School is at the forefront of an infrastructure revolution. Health innovation in our city will drive the development of new jobs, new products, new lifestyles, and new economies. What policies, across the spectrum, can be implemented (or improved) to foster this opportunity?

Coalition Priorities

As new economy interests join the larger community in wrestling the above Community Priorities, other issues require industry specific guidance and advocacy. It’s incumbent on us to ensure Austin policymakers are able to discuss these issues and articulate their support (or opposition) clearly. In 2017, the ATC Policy Coalition will begin filling leadership and volunteer roles on these Coalition verticals. Find out more.

Innovation Governance

The City has struggled with developing a productive relationship with Austin’s extraordinary resource of entrepreneurs and innovators. After the 2014 election, the Emerging Tech Committee of Council was disbanded. Should the City formalize input on innovative approach and the implications it brings by introducing a Tech, Entrepreneur, and Innovation Committee of City Council?

Tech and Entrepreneur Workforce Development

Projections indicate that Austin’s tech talent requirements will continue to outstrip the supply of skilled candidates. How can we better develop and connect a homegrown workforce to meet the needs of our growing economy? How are our entrepreneur hubs supported as part of Austin’s overall brand?

Austin as an Innovation City

Municipal focus on innovation has become a key differentiator for many emerging innovation hubs. How will the Dell Medical School focus on Health Innovation impact Austin’s community health profile city wide and at the District level? How are disruptive approaches to existing infrastructure and practice assessed and resolved? What are the priorities of the City’s Office of Innovation? What should they be?

Digital Inclusion/Advanced Broadband Delivery

Austin is known as a tech town but there are large sections of our population who don’t have access to the basic technology, the internet, or the digital pathways to jobs, education, and healthcare. What is the City’s role in ensuring that all 10 districts are equally prepared to participate in the digital era and Austin’s new economy?

Big/Open Data

New technologies have fueled a new wave of open government, creating demand for open access to digitized government data and allowing public access to this public resource. How would more transparent data, and potentially incentivized use, improve day to day life in Austin and Council districts?

Simple Equality

Tech is the great leveler and discrimination is bad for business. As the ATC Policy Coalition works to address the endemic demographic challenges and discrepancies between the new economy and our community, we will work to ensure these issues don’t become politicized or legislated. How can the Austin new economy community and Austin policy community work together to become a recognized leader in this effort?

Austin’s Brand

Creative. Environmentally aware. Affordable. The component pieces of Austin’s brand are the foundation of all that’s followed. What policies protect, enhance, and integrate these components to ensure evolving Austin isn’t a shadow of its former self?

About the ATC Policy Coalition

As innovation and regulation increasingly intersect, it’s critical that the public and private sectors work together to sustain and enhance Austin’s hard-won reputation as a leading hub of technology and entrepreneurship.

ATC's Policy Coalition was established at the Austin Technology Council to support Austin’s tech and entrepreneur community, business advocacy groups, elected officials, and the voting public in the creation of a policy and representative environment that reflects Austin’s 21st century economy and innovation brand.


Poor Finance Puts Your Valuation at Risk

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One of ways that poor finance & accounting can really hurt your business is when a transaction is taking place. Many things determine the value of a business: future performance, financial leverage, financial return expectation, cash flow (not profits), deal structure, asset type and exit strategy. However, if you have poor finance & accounting, people are not going to pay you for things you can’t prove.

If you are raising money or trying to sell your business you need to have support documentation and buttoned up processes. If you don’t, it is a tedious transaction process that will lead to delays or cause a transaction not to happen. Or worse, the outcome can be lower valuations.

Structure and process ensures there are detailed support schedules around all the items that are in your financials. Anything stated in your financials needs to be backed up by the proper support documentation and must be proven. When it comes time for a transaction, the buyer has confidence in the information and the maturity of the business. So, make sure your processes are defined and documented. Prepare support documentation for all of the things your financials say. This will allow you to have a smooth, easy and fast due diligence process. It will also result in a maximized value that will be paid for your business. 

The typical finance department at a small or medium business has immature processes and controls while relying heavily on paper-based financial processing. Most troubling, many lack formal policies and documentation with limited or non-existent financial controls to safeguard and monitor revenue and expenditures. This leads to inefficient transactional processing as well as inaccuracies and delays in the production of financial information and reporting. Now the company is susceptible to lost revenue, overpayments or even internal fraud. It also exposes the company to personnel-based “single point of failure” risks, which can derail growth efforts.

Consero has experienced people that that can improve the quality, efficiency and cost structure of financial operations. Our people, processes and technology has helped many businesses gain a substantial upgrade to the processes and controls that typically exist at a small company. Because Consero has finance & accounting completely buttoned up, including all supporting documentation, our clients have been able to complete transactions with a very quick and easy diligence process and maximize the valuation of the business.

For more information, please visit us at: www.conseroglobal.com


Election results may provide opportunities for major tax law changes in 2017

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November 8 election results indicate that Republican candidate Donald J. Trump has been elected to serve as the 45th President of the United States. At this writing, President-elect Trump is projected to have won at least 276 electoral college votes against 218 for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Moreover, it appears that Republicans will retain control of the next Congress, but with reduced majorities in both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate.

President-elect Trump has stated that one of his top priorities is comprehensive tax reform to significantly lower individual and business tax rates. Under his proposed plan, the top individual tax rate would be lowered from 39.6 percent to 33 percent, and the US corporate tax rate would be lowered from 35 percent to 15 percent. Owners of partnerships, S corporations, and other “pass-through” business entities would be able to elect to be taxed on their pass-through business income at a flat rate of 15 percent, rather than under the regular individual tax rates. US-based manufacturers also would be allowed to elect full expensing of plant and equipment (with no deduction for interest expense). President-elect Trump also has proposed a 10-percent “deemed” repatriation tax on the foreign earnings of US-based companies.

President-elect Trump’s call for action on comprehensive tax reform is expected to receive strong support from Republicans in Congress, but the divisive nature of the 2016 elections means that there will be no “honeymoon” period for the new president.

House Republicans have been drafting statutory language to advance the tax reform “blueprint” that they released earlier this year, which differs in some important respects from Trump’s tax proposals. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has said a Republican-controlled Congress could advance tax reform in 2017 by using “budget reconciliation” procedures that allow legislation to be approved in the Senate with a simple 51-vote majority, instead of the 60 votes generally needed to advance legislation.

Before the new 115th Congress is sworn into office on January 4, 2017, the current Congress will return next week for a “lame-duck” session. Congress must act on legislation to fund the federal government beyond December 9, when a temporary spending measure expires. Congress also could act on a limited number of other issues, including proposals to extend certain renewable energy tax provisions that are set to expire at the end of 2016. Additionally, work continues on the various stalled tax treaties to see if the objections of Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) can be resolved.


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CASA of Travis County: A Powerful Voice in a Child's Life

You have probably seen one of the many recent sad stories about the state of the overburdened child welfare care system in Texas, and the challenges children face once they’re a part of it. Most people have no idea what they, as an individual, can do to help children in this situation who’ve been through abuse or neglect. But there is an answer to the question of “What can I do about child abuse?”

CASA of Travis County is that answer. CASA speaks up for children who’ve been abused or neglected by empowering our community to volunteer as advocates for them in the court system. When the state steps in to protect a child’s safety, a judge appoints a trained CASA volunteer to make independent and informed recommendations in the child’s best interest.

CASA volunteers come from every walk of life and share a commitment to improving children’s lives, a willingness to learn, and an open mind towards life experiences different from their own. Volunteers complete an interview, background checks and a 39-hour intensive training program including in-person and online classes and courtroom observation. After being sworn-in by a judge, volunteers are appointed to a child or family of children and spend an average of 15-20 hours a month advocating for these children for at least a year. They get to know the child while also gathering information from the child’s family, teachers, doctors, caregivers and anyone else involved in the child’s life in order to make independent and informed recommendations to help the judge decide what’s best for the child.

If you want to do something about child abuse and help children in the foster care system, you can learn more about volunteering with CASA of Travis County at http://www.casatravis.org/volunteer. You can also RSVP for an upcoming Volunteer Info Session on November 15, 22 or 29 where you will get to talk with staff and current volunteers about their experiences.

For children who’ve been abused or neglected, CASA means having a home instead of feeling lost, and being a priority instead of feeling invisible. For volunteers, CASA is a life-changing experience that makes our community a better place. 


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