Why Austin is #1 in Attracting Tech Workers

Austin, already a significant tech center, is the biggest beneficiary of tech workers being able to live anywhere and work remotely:

Austin is the top beneficiary of tech-related migration in the past 12 months, according to data from Microsoft Corp.’s LinkedIn profiles. Nashville and Charlotte also saw noteworthy migration rates.

Why is Austin #1? Tech workers are finally able to live where they want, and it turns out they have similar preferences to other Americans. The southwest has seen a huge influx of people in recent years, regardless of their occupation. Sun, warmth and cheap housing are powerful draws.

The typical house in San Francisco is nearly 3 times the price of the average Austin house. If you moved to SF for a job and the job no longer requires that you be there, you may leave and pocket the difference.

But there are lots of cheap sunbelt cities. Austin wins due in large part to the presence of a major university. This is something all major tech centers have, whether it’s San Francisco, Boston, New York, or Beijing. Companies often grow out of these universities, and college towns tend to have amenities that attract educated workers. Miami lacks a first rate university, hampering its prospects of competing with the likes of Austin.

Even before COVID, I noticed a strong trend to remote work in the tech sector. I worked in medical software for nearly 15 years. At the beginning, working from home was never allowed. By the end, I was remote 75% of the time.

The tech sector has reconfigured itself during COVID to operate remotely and is unlikely to go back. As an investor in startups today, I’ve seen venture capital firms start to hire anyone regardless of where they live. Will they fire these employees or force them to move once COVID is over? Not likely. Also, investors are finding they can meet with a lot more companies over Zoom than if they had to travel between offices. These efficiency improvements aren’t going away.

What venture firms do affects the whole tech sector. Many often required startups they invested in to move to SF. But that’s a thing of the past.

I’ve actually never been to Austin, but I hope to soon! I took a class at UT-Austin online this spring, and it was superb. Austin has clearly invested in education, and now it’s reaping the rewards.

Dig into these posts for more on tech and startups:

Photo: “Austin Texas” by adactio is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

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The Real Barone Sanitation from The Sopranos

A German Shepherd barks viciously and strains at his chain. A red Tahoe pulls up to a a large industrial building. The sky is grey. A hulking man steps out.

This is Barone Sanitation, which featured prominently in The Sopranos as a front for Tony’s illicit interests. In one my favorite episodes from season 2, facing increasing police scrutiny, Tony decamps from Bada Bing to Barone to appear to be a legitimate businessman.

I love this episode because it shows this larger than life character suddenly thrust into the world most of the viewers inhabit: the bland corporate office. Tony struggles in this world as we would struggle in his, bored and spending his time drawing fish and making basketball pools.

I went in search of this iconic spot yesterday. Beginning down a remote dead end street in Jersey City, NJ, I encountered a large German Shepherd barking at me behind a fence. Reality and fiction seemed to meld for a moment.

Near the end of this street is the spot a great Sopranos locations website claims was the real Barone Sanitation, but looking at the building, it doesn’t seem to match. Here is Barone in season 2:

And here is Cinelli Scrap Metal, the location the website points to:

I think a more likely candidate is actually the building across the street. Surrounded by dumpsters, it does appear to be a garbage company, and the building looks similar, down to the large bays on the right side:

However, the windows appear to be gone. It’s possible they were removed in the 21 years since the episode aired. Or perhaps the real Barone Sanitation is yet to be found?

In any event, the bleak industrial landscape seemed a dead ringer for Barone’s depiction in the series. I could almost imagine Tony driving down the street.

On the way back, I came across a much more famous sight, which is visible in the opening credits: the Wilson Carpet man! Like many New Jerseyans, I had seen it before, but only from the road. This time, I got an opportunity to walk up and take a picture with this New Jersey celebrity!

An interesting tidbit: I noticed a stone at the base of the statue says “America #1, love it or leave it.” I don’t know what that has to do with carpets, but it did seem somehow appropriate on Memorial Day.

Dig into these posts for more on The Sopranos:

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account. I will also get a fee waiver for 90-365 days, depending on what type of account you open.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! I’ll also get 5% of however much you spend, at no cost to you.

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. I’ll also get $10.