Thoughts On Leaving Chicago

I have been posting a lot on leaving Chicago. My main potential destination has been Texas.

We are starting to see a better, more robust startup scene here in Chicago, although I feel the startup and Ruby scenes here are still a bit too Groupon-centric. I have always been a bit skeptical about startups. There seems to be a lot of circular reasoning about startups. People at startups tell themselves that they are sooo much better and smarter than bigger companies because they are more flexible and innovative because we are startups which means we are innovative and flexible because we are startups which means we are…….etc, etc. That may be true, but that doesn’t mean their product and/or execution are any good.

The point is that since things are changing, a lot of people think I am crazy for wanting to leave just when things might be starting to get good.

But I think I have hit upon part of the reason.

I went to Moo of I, down in Urbana-Champaign. I have kept in touch with about a dozen people from Moo of I. There are a lot of Moo of I alumni here in Chicago, but the few that I still talk to have all left Illinois. Most are in other states. One is in Jordan. He is Korean, so I am not too clear why he is in Jordan.

Amongst the people that I have gotten to know/became friends with over the past ten years, a lot of them are from other states. A few are from other countries.

So I think part of the reason I want to leave is that sometimes I feel like the whole world is moving, and I am standing still.

I have noticed that people from New York and California seem to have a hard time getting it in their heads that those locations are not on my radar. If you put a New Yorker, a Californian and a Texan in a room together, would they notice?


More Job News

Originally posted on 2011-04-27 02:48:39

So there is more news on jobs in Texas.

Business Journal had an article about data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics about job growth from March 2010 to March 2011: 47 states and D.C. add jobs; three states continue to lose. 18% of the job growth in the country was in Texas, with 8% of the jobs. The population of Texas is twice that of Illinois, but Texas gained four times as many jobs in the period covered by the survey.

The Austin Chamber of Commerce also released an analysis of the data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Austin area added 13,900 jobs (more that about 27 states). Of the Top Ten Performing Metro Areas, 4 are in Texas: Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth and Austin. Austin ranked number 8, even though it is the 35th largest metro area.  (I always thought that Dallas and Fort Worth were part of the same metro area.)

On the other hand, Texas is also 3rd for mass layoffs. Texas had more applications for unemployment in March 2011 that in March 2010. But Austin added jobs. Perhaps we are still seeing the trend of rural areas losing jobs while metro areas are gaining.

This trend of metro growth and rural shrinkage is also true in Illinois. But Texas has more metro areas than Illinois does.


Jobs In Austin

Originally posted 2011-04-19 02:03:06

According to this article in Austin Business Journal, Austin added 9,300 jobs. It said that most sectors added jobs, “except for the information industry, which lost 200 jobs.” The article also said that the information sector lost 100 jobs for the past 12 months.

As a software developer, that worries me. One of the reasons that I am looking at Austin in particular is that it has a reputation for having a strong technology/software scene. Based on this article (which is only one data point), is Austin’s software industry losing momentum?