Celebrating the Softer Side of Tech in ATX

The Forrest Four-Cast: May 12, 2017

Given the rapid growth of the city, almost every week in Austin offers many tech-related opportunities. Particularly striking this week is the retro / throwback feel that a couple of mid-May events have brought to the table. It’s like we are in 1997 all over again — and this is a good thing.

Highlighting this back-in-time approach is Maker Faire Austin, which begins Saturday, May 13 at the Palmer Events Center. The family-friendly, re-discover-your-inner-child theme of this event returns us to the innocence of the pre-startup boom. While the Austin version won’t be quite as big as what occurs in San Francisco and New York, it should nonetheless be a great way to spend a few hours over the weekend. In fact, the size of Maker Faire rarely correlates to quality — a few years ago, my son and I had a great experience building wooden race cars at a relatively small version of this event in Trondheim, Norway.

It goes without saying that the Maker Faire movement inspired the addition of SXSW Create. One of the things I love most about this hands-on exposition is that it tends to be more open and approachable for a lot more people than some of the other activities that we host during March.

Open and approachable is also one of the big themes of OSCON 2017, which concluded earlier this week at the Austin Convention Center. As the literature for this event notes: “OSCON brings the software engineering and developer community together to explore what’s new and useful in open source languages, tools, and techniques.”

While I enjoy being involved in the hustle and bustle of the tech / startup scene circa 2017, I also love how engaging events like Maker Faire and OSCON powerfully demonstrate that there are a number of other equally viable models for this industry for the coming years.

Hugh Forrest tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often (but not always) cover technology-related trends. When not attempting to wordsmith or meditating, he serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW in Austin.

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