Engagement does matter. I see it daily and I believe it from my being a lifelong student of connections.
When encounter at people who have achieved success, they didn’t do it alone. I have witnessed the transformative power of networking firsthand. Too many false gurus talk to wannabe entrepreneurs and get them excited that they have some unique vibe that will lead them to be the next Steve Jobs. But Mr Jobs did not create Apple all alone. He had key people in his life who helped him along the way.
Over the years, Austin has cultivated an amazing technology community that has a unique culture of connections. But we cannot take this for granted. As the population grows, we have to be proactive to be truly welcoming to the newcomers and keep the friendly open culture moving forward.
For the community, our local companies, and for individuals- it is critical we all invest in networking and community engagement. We have to stop thinking we are better off when we meet in curated rooms facilitated by leaders with a motive behind these gatherings. While private meetings of like individuals have a time and place, that cannot be your only interactions within the community.
Networking is not about swapping business cards, it’s about fostering meaningful relationships. It is the lifeblood of our technology community, and its importance can’t be overstated. And it is not about prejudging people.
When we collaborate, we inspire innovation, create opportunities, and fuel economic growth. In a fast-paced tech world, it’s our local, human connections that will drive us forward.
The future of Austin’s business/ tech sector is promising, but it requires participation from everyone—business leaders, civic officials, entrepreneurs, and even students. We are losing some of what made us special over the past few decades, and while change is natural, we should work to keep our sense of community.
I call on everyone to actively engage in local business organizations. Join us at the Austin Technology Council, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, or any of the numerous tech meetups happening around town. Do not pretend that having your lawyer take you to dinner with their other clients is really being part of the greater community. If you are successful, you and your team should give back to the greater ecosystem by showing up and participating. You may be the one person who inspires another entrepreneur who will go on to change the world.
Do not justify a list of reasons to not support the community. Instead look for reasons to join and participate with your neighbors to help keep the bonds of human connection alive in Austin. Other cities are working to build what we have created- and we need to work to keep this special vibe that makes Austin special.
Your involvement matters. If you are only surrounded by people like you, then you need some time out in the wild. Diversity is key to the long-term good of our community, and diversity means race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, political beliefs, country of origin, etc….
Remember, your next conversation could be the one that sparks the next big idea or creates a life-changing opportunity.
Together, let’s ensure Austin remains a vibrant hub of innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit. Creating and cultivating relationships at all levels of our ecosystem is our future.