Does Traditional Networking Still Matter?

Austin Tech Council Blog - Does Networking Still Matter?

Why Traditional Networking Remains Essential in the Digital Era


In an age of social media and instant messaging, it’s easy for technology executives to believe that likes, links, shares, and follows are the new gold standard for networking. However, good old-fashioned networking is far from obsolete. In fact, it remains more important than ever for fostering lasting business connections.


“All opportunities come from people.” — This simple yet powerful mantra highlights the fact that, despite technological advances, human connections are at the core of business success. Technology can be a great connector and enabler, but it cannot replace face-to-face interaction. It is these face-to-face interactions that often lead to unexpected opportunities and long-term business relationships.


Virtual connections may seem more efficient, but they can never replicate the depth and authenticity of traditional networking. Technology executives should not to fall into the “digital trap” of relying solely on online connections or only participating in curated networking with people in similar careers. Instead, professionals should engage in meaningful conversations and actively participate in networking events to create rapport and build trust across industries and job titles.


Cultivating a “giving” mindset in networking is the key. Do not go into a networking event thinking “what’s in it for me?”, but instead look to find ways to help others. By focusing on offering value to others, technology executives can establish stronger connections and create lasting impressions. When you put others’ interests first and try to help them, they’ll want to help you too.


In conclusion, while social media and digital communication have revolutionized the way we interact, they should not replace traditional networking for technology executives. The power of human connections should never be underestimated, and we should remember that all opportunities come from people. So, embrace the art of networking and reap the rewards of authentic, lasting connections.


The Austin Technology Council exists to help bring people from across the local tech ecosystem together. For our community to thrive, we need your support and for your team to participate in tech industry events across Austin (ATC events, and the events of the many other groups that serve the tech community).

Krishna Srinivasan on Austin Tech Connect Podcast

Krishna Srinivasan on the Austin Technology Council podcast - Austin Tech Connect.

Check out this week’s episode of AUSTIN TECH CONNECT

Krishna Srinivasan is a co-founder of LiveOak Venture Partners and has been investing in early-stage Texas based companies and entrepreneurs since 2000. His active board involvements at LiveOak include DISCO (NYSE: LAW), Eventus Systems, Homeward, Iris Plans, Imandra, Ojo Labs, Rollick, SchooLinks, Talent Guard, and Virdee. His notable past investments include Digital Pharmacist (acquired by K1), Hive9 (acquired by BrandMaker), Mavenir Systems (NYSE: MVNR), Opcity (acquired by Newscorp), StackEngine (acquired by Oracle), Telestax (acquired by Mavenir)


Prior to co-founding LiveOak, Krishna was a Partner at Austin Ventures and previously he was with Motorola where he wrote large scale optimization software for supply chain planning and worked with a variety of business units on strategic and operational issues. He started his professional career at SEMATECH.


Krishna received his MBA from Wharton where he graduated with highest academic honors as a Palmer Scholar. He also has an MS in Operations Research from the University of Texas at Austin, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, where he graduated with high all-round honors.

About LiveOak Venture Partners:

LiveOak Venture Partners is a venture capital fund based in Austin, Texas. With over 20 years of successful venture investing in Texas, the founders of LiveOak have helped create nearly $5 billion of enterprise value. While almost all LiveOak’s investments begin in the early stages, LiveOak is a complete life cycle investor focused on technology and technology-enabled service companies based in Texas. With close to $500M under management, LiveOak Venture Partners has been the lead investor in over 50 exciting high-growth Texas-based companies in the last decade, including DISCO (NYSE: LAW), Digital Pharmacist, Eventus, OJO Labs, Opcity, Homeward, and TrustRadius. The firm was recognized as the Venture Capital Firm of the year in Austin in the 2022 inaugural A-List awards by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.

The History of Austin Tech

The History of Austin Tech

Austin is home to a thriving technology industry that has grown rapidly over the past few decades. This vibrant tech community has attracted businesses and individuals from all over the world, creating a unique ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship. But the thriving city we live in today did not happen by accident. Community leaders like George Kozmetsky, Carol Thompson, Pike Powers, Laura Kilcrease, Angelos Angelou, and many others established a foundation in the 1980s and 1990s that set us up for all we enjoy today in the tech community.

The Beginning: IBM and Texas Instruments

The roots of Austin’s tech industry can be traced back to the 1960s, when IBM and Texas Instruments established their presence in the city. These two technology giants were attracted by the University of Texas at Austin, a leading research institution, and the city’s low cost of living. IBM opened its first office in Austin in 1967, and Texas Instruments followed in 1969. The arrival of these companies paved the way for the development of the city’s technology ecosystem.

The Birth of Austin’s Silicon Hills

During the 1970s and 1980s, Austin witnessed a surge in high-tech companies, which earned the city the nickname “Silicon Hills.” This growth was fueled by the establishment of the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC), a consortium of leading tech companies, in 1983. MCC’s presence in Austin attracted more technology businesses to the city, and many startups began to emerge, focusing on semiconductor manufacturing, software development, and computer systems design.

The Sematech Consortium and the Rise of Semiconductors

In 1988, the Sematech consortium, a collaboration of semiconductor manufacturers, was founded in Austin. This initiative aimed to strengthen the competitiveness of the U.S. semiconductor industry and to accelerate technological advancements in semiconductor manufacturing. Sematech’s establishment in Austin drew significant attention to the city and its thriving tech industry. As a result, major semiconductor companies like Motorola (now NXP Semiconductors), Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), and Samsung invested heavily in the region, opening fabs and research facilities.

The Dell Effect

Perhaps one of the most influential forces behind Austin’s tech boom was the rise of Dell Technologies. Founded in 1984 by Michael Dell, a University of Texas at Austin student, Dell quickly grew into a global powerhouse in the personal computer market. The company created a ripple effect that attracted many other technology companies, vendors, and suppliers to the area. Dell’s success also spawned a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in Austin, leading to the formation of numerous startups and the growth of venture capital investment.

In addition to Dell, several other companies have contributed to the growth of the entrepreneurial spirit in Austin; IBM, Texas Instruments, Tivoli, Trilogy, and others spawned former employees who went on to found and lead countless other companies in the region.

The 1990s

Throughout the 1990s, the technology industry in Austin continued to grow, with many new startups and established companies setting up shop in the city.  The reputation of Austin began to become well known to everyone across the country who worked in technology.  Through the efforts of civic leaders, local government, and the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, the city became not only a place to start a company, but also a leading place to open satellite offices or move a company’s headquarters. Additionally as the employment opportunities grew, the city quickly attracted young talent to fill these jobs.

The supportive environment for startups and entrepreneurship that emerged in the 1990s has become part of the city’s culture. This has fostered a strong community of angel investors and venture capitalists, who are willing to invest in promising startups. We now boast a thriving ecosystem of all the services needed to run a technology company.

Recent Era

In recent years, Austin has continued to grow as a hub for technology innovation. The city is now home to a wide range of companies, from established tech giants like Apple, Google, and Facebook, to innovative startups and cutting-edge research institutions. This diverse ecosystem of innovation has helped to establish Austin as one of the most dynamic and exciting technology hubs in the world.

One of the key factors driving the growth of the technology industry in Austin is the city’s strong focus on education. Austin is home to several world-class universities, including the University of Texas at Austin, which has a highly regarded computer science program. This focus on education has helped to attract top tech talent to the city, fueling innovation and growth in the industry.

Another factor driving the growth of the technology industry in Austin is the city’s supportive business environment. Austin has a highly entrepreneurial culture, with a strong network of support for startups and small businesses. The city has also offered a range of incentives and tax breaks to businesses in the technology industry, making it an attractive destination for companies looking to establish a presence in the region.

The secret sauce to Austin has been the high quality of life. While the city was more affordable a decade ago, it is still not as expensive as the Valley, New York, Boston, or Los Angeles.  The city offers a diverse and vibrant cultural scene, with a thriving music and arts community, as well as a range of outdoor activities and recreational opportunities. This high quality of life has helped to attract top talent, making it an ideal destination for tech workers and entrepreneurs.

Companies like Tesla, SpaceX, Vrbo, Indeed, ZenBusiness, and many others are leading the way in our current economy.  With groups like Opportunity Austin, Capital Factory and others making waves to keep Austin moving forward.

The Future

The history of the technology industry in Austin is a story of growth, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit. From IBM’s early establishment in the city to the thriving tech ecosystem that exists today, Austin has emerged as one of the most dynamic and exciting technology hubs in the world. With its strong focus on education, supportive business environment, and high quality of life, Austin is well positioned to continue driving innovation and growth in the technology industry for years to come.

It is important that we continue to share the stories of our history and make sure that the tech leaders of Austin do not take for granted those who came before us to create the “Austin Tech Miracle”.  We now have competition for corporate relocations, as other cities work hard to attract those jobs.  Plus, the political environment in Texas, while often pro-business, is not always congruent with those we are trying to attract to our region. We cannot take anything for granted and need to work as a united community to ensure we are establishing a future for Austin that continues to let the tech industry thrive.

The Austin Technology Council

The Austin Technology Council is a 30 year old organization that was founded (originally as the Austin Software Council) to put tech on the map as the future economic driver in the region. By hosting networking and educational events ATC has worked to bring the community together and help create an ecosystem that can support the growth of local companies.  As we move ahead, ATC wants to convene grassroots leaders to have meaningful conversations about the next phases of Austin.  If we can come together as a community to cultivate the forward looking attitude that our leaders had thirty years ago, we will establish a new foundation for those who will be founding companies three decades into the future.


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