My love letter (and goodbye?) to Austin

We’ve never met, but have a ton of people in common: I found your post via Steve G. I grew up on the San Francisco Peninsula, before it was ever referred to as Silicon Valley. In the 60's & 70's it was very much like Austin in terms of cool factor & weirdness. But there were also huge racial issues, especially after Ravenswood HS was closed in East Palo Alto (which had an astonishing murder rate) and there was forced busing of black students to VERY white neighborhoods. Over the years EPA was gentrified and the racial mix on the Peninsula has changed significantly. The reason I bring this up is I have no idea what it is like to be a black man, let alone a black entrepreneur, but I think Silicon Valley is and always has been incredibly racist, incredibly. And that racism now extends to the newcomers. It is also not a happy place.

I was just out to SF this last weekend and was amazed again by the aggressive, narcissistic behavior I saw everywhere. No one is happy — people put on a show pretending to be, but everyone is freaking out over rent and the direction the VCs are taking.

I’m going to check out your product, but my advice is this: don’t move for the money. The last several companies I’ve worked for were Silicon Valley based and they almost all struggled or went under. There was a day when no one discussed “VCs” and “rounds.” You built a company that was profitable from the start. What I see going on in the VC community is no different than table stakes at a mob casino. The game is rigged. Two founding CEOs I know were replaced by their Silicon Valley VC stacked boards. For every unicorn there are thousands of horror stories.

Austin isn’t perfect, and it is having significant growing pains, but I can’t think of anyplace else better to have an enjoyable life while I’m working. Good luck!

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