(Side note: Happy SXSW, everyone! May all your libations be free and your Interactive panels be worth it.)
This year I have the great privilege of emceeing the 2014 Austin Under 40 Awards. Call it a perk of being a past winner, call it they needed someone in a pinch and I’m the last resort, call it what you will – I’m no less honored and no less excited to tell terrible jokes on stage in front of a room of Austin’s brightest. And as big city events often are one month out, they’re in high intensity ramp-up mode. Generating lots of buzz from all social angles, including the blogosphere. I was recently asked to contribute to a blog by answering the following:
“What does it mean to you to have been named “Austinite of the Year” in 2012?
That’s a loaded question, isn’t it? Quite literally, to have been named an “Austinite of the Year” means that a panel of people thought I perfectly personified what it meant to be a true Austin native for 365 days.
But, is seems the better question here is: “What does it mean to be an Austinite?”
To me, Austinites are a curious breed who will never be satisfied. Not in such a way that they are greedy, but in such a way that they are perpetually innovating. To them, just because something has “worked” doesn’t make it the best. They’re hungry creatures, always searching for the next win. Incapable of settling.
But such champions of camaraderie, Austinites are, always eager to shake the hand of another entrepreneur, forward-thinker, artist, do-gooder, foodie or newcomer. They understand that without a welcoming community there is no progress. They’re pros at keeping the spirit of southern hospitality alive, minus the biscuits and gravy. Unless it’s gluten free.
Austinites are the wave of the future, and the core reason this city sees growth, the reason that Austin is on every “top” list publications and online news sources kick out, and the reason our restaurants, bars, brands, companies and festivals spread like wildfire.
Without Austinites, we would just be Dallas.