Bijoy Goswami is a fascinating man. Born in India, the entrepreneurial evangelist lived in Taiwan, Hong Kong and the U.S. before attending Stanford University. Now, and for the last 15 years or so, he lives in Austin, TX, and we were fortunate to have him speak at the TC Austin Meetup + Pitch-Off.
But even though he went to Stanford, The Human Fabric author doesn’t want Austin to become the next Silicon Valley.
He explained that the DNA of Silicon Valley (and all of California, actually) comes from this notion of becoming an overnight success. It all started with the Gold Rush, in 1849, he explained.
“Silicon Valley is the product of the Gold Rush. In 1849, people came with nothing and if they struck gold they’d become a millionaire. The formation of California started with this, and the whole of the state began to believe in the idea of overnight success,” said Bijoy on stage with John Biggs. “It’s part of their DNA, and they use technology because that’s the biggest lever to achieve that end.”
Goswami believes that Austin entrepreneurialism is quite different, and comes from a place of authenticity and passion.
“In Austin we want to be ourselves, and we’re all on a journey to be ourselves,” said Goswami. “The startup culture here is derived from a personal journey, and from where they’re passion comes from. They don’t care if they’ll be big or small, but they care about being authentic and giving their passion to the world.”
Goswami went on to say that Austinites don’t build the tools, but use them. Whereas new technology comes straight out of Silicon Valley, entrepreneurs in Austin use that technology to leverage their own passion projects and ideas. This explains why our the winners of our pitch-off, a post-production video editing collaboration tool called First Cut Pro, an Expedia for doggy day care called Embarkly, and an children’s camps and activities marketplace called Camperoo, were all focused on niche markets and solutions.