Jim Keeler graciously invited me to attend this past Tuesday’s meeting of the Austin Chapter of SIM (the Society for Information Management), which is doing a broader version of the work we used to do six years ago through the CIO/CTO Roundtable of the Austin Technology Council. Kudos to them for doing notably stronger work than we did to reach out to women in tech. It was warm and energizing to re-connect with old friends like Jim, Russ Finney, and Vijay George. It was fascinating to meet new people and learn from them as well. Here are a few things I learned that evening:
Kathy Herzog, who used to be at competitor Great Clips is now in Austin working with great folks like Eric Hungate and Joy Baskin at the Texas Association of School Boards. We got to talking and was stunned to discover she was one of the handful of Texans who could locate North Dakota on a map because we attended the same high school a few years apart!
Since we last met, Dr. Keeler has gained the jaw-dropping freedom to retire from some stunning real estate investments in Austin. He had so many friends asking him about his strategy, so he wrote a book.
Russ is one of Austin’s tribal elders, with a font of stories and connections about interesting people. He told me about “Austin’s best-kept secret,” Robert Smith, who made serious money in Vista Equity Partners, and is the second-wealthiest African-American in the U.S. The jaw-dropping regret, eluded to in this Statesman post by Lori Hawkins, is that he is stopped three to seven times a year when driving his high-powered car to the airport each year. Much like U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC). Sigh.
I also had a chance to meet Jacob at BoardMaps, a company that provides governance solutions for companies by providing their overbusy executives with an easy process to collect agenda items and to map follow-up action items.