Texas, and Its Maverick Entrepreneurs, Propel Innovation

5/1/13Follow @angelashah

Texas has always had a larger-than-life reputation.

Big business, big politics—even big hair—the state’s outsized persona often takes center stage in our national story. No matter where I’ve traveled, be it in a village in Nepal or the glitzy hotels of Hong Kong, when I say “Texas,” I receive a smile and a flash of recognition. Texas is everywhere.

But our story goes beyond the stereotypes. Texas is home to three of the biggest cities in America, and it continues to attract migrants from around the world and around the nation. (This started back with Davy Crockett: “You all may go to hell. And I will go to Texas.”)

Why? Texas is a good place to work, live, and dream. A robust entrepreneurial community works alongside some of the world’s top corporations, medical facilities, and research firms. What happens here today gives us as Americans a glimpse into our nation’s future. That’s not to say there aren’t real challenges in healthcare, education, and using technology to improve standards of living. But those challenges are opportunities that create the perfect crucible for innovation. With the launch of Xconomy Texas, we will present to you a portrait of the Lone Star State not often reflected in the press.

Texas is home to innovators like H. Ross Perot and Jack Kilby, Michael Dell and Mark Cuban. You’ll find the next generation of these men (and there are women, too) in places like the Texas Medical Center and energy startups in Houston, at IT companies scattered across the Dallas suburbs, and at software and media organizations in loft offices in downtown Austin.

On a personal note, Xconomy Texas brings me back to my hometown of Houston. When I left more than 20 years ago, Houston was mired in a deep downturn, plagued by an oil bust and a real estate crash. In the years since, I’ve studied and worked in both Austin—as Silicon Valley transplants transformed a hippie college town during the ’90s tech boom—and Dallas, as it evolved beyond being J.R. Ewing’s hometown and a place where that football team plays.

From late 2008 until last month, I lived and worked in the United Arab Emirates, where regular visits by Texas executives and entrepreneurs reminded me constantly of the state’s position as a major node of the global economy.

So, welcome to Xconomy Texas. And please join the conversation. Whether you’re an old Texas hand or someone new, let us know what we should be writing about. As Lyle Lovett says, “You’re not from Texas. But Texas wants you anyway.”

Angela Shah is the editor of Xconomy Texas. She can be reached at ashah@xconomy.com or (214) 793-5763. Follow @angelashah

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  • Karen

    Congratulations, Angela, and welcome home! As a native Texan myself I look forward to following your newest adventure.

  • Jo Trizila

    Welcome home!!!! God Bless Texas!!