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Seattle tops best cities for tech jobs, Austin only ranks #32 – are startups dying?

Top best cities for tech jobs named

Recently, Forbes names the top 50 best cities for technology jobs and the list has made waves in the tech community as the magazine took a look not just at the current scene, but how tech jobs have changed in the past decade, putting some tech cities low on the list.

The top 10:

  1. Seattle, WA
  2. Baltimore, MD
  3. Columbus, OH
  4. Raleigh, NC
  5. Salt Lake City, UT
  6. Jacksonville, FL
  7. Washington, D.C.
  8. New Orleans, LA
  9. Riverside-San Bernadino, CA
  10. San Diego, CA

John Cook at wrote, “One of the biggest story lines of the past couple of years in the Seattle tech community has been the arrival of titans such as Facebook,, EMC, Zynga and other Silicon Valley stalwarts who’ve chosen the region for new development centers.” He adds that Facebook is doubling its presence in Seattle and hired 8,000 people in the third quarter alone.

Austin is #32!?

The biggest shock on the list is Austin, where we are headquartered. Typically Austin is seen as attractive because of low business costs, highly educated and skilled talent pool and a tech friendly environment, as Facebook, Google, IBM, AMD, Gowalla and the like are all officed in Austin, yet Forbes listed Austin as NUMBER 32.

The report notes, “Indeed No. 32 Austin, often thought as the most likely candidate for the next Silicon Valley, lost over 19% of its high-tech jobs over the past decade, including more than 17,000 jobs in semiconductor, computer and circuit board manufacturing.”

Are startups like Gowalla going out of business?

Unfortunately, it is true. Austin’s semiconductor industry has taken a hit in recent years while the startup industry has brought in millions of dollars in funding, but our sources hint that the startup world is quickly and quietly dwindling down.

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Although it is a quiet notion and likely just a rumor, we were asked by a very successful entrepreneur in Austin if we knew that Gowalla could be going under and later that same day we were asked by a venture capitalist if Gowalla’s $10.4 million wasn’t keeping them afloat and 2012 wasn’t looking good. We have been told that Austin startup CEOs and employees have been quietly submitting their resumes at more established companies and even Gowalla employees are rumored to be sending out a high volume of applications. It isn’t just Gowalla though, they’ll just be the biggest let down if this is even remotely true (which we’re not convinced of).

We’re hearing that the first quarter of 2012 will be the last for many startups in town, so is Forbes on to something? Is 2012 the year the struggling startups finally run out of money or give up regardless of the millions that have been poured into them as they learn they’re not alone in their struggle? Time will tell but 2012 isn’t looking so good for Austin while it is looking quite promising for Seattle.

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Andre McKay

    November 21, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    I find it unfortunate that my new city Austin Texas has been ranked #32 considering I moved here from Newport Beach California because I was on the assumption that it rivaled Silicon Valley when it came to technology and entrepreneurship. I have recognized a lack in the social presence and engagement in a lot of these businesses in Austin. I believe we are in a Social Business age and to not have a presence or to think that your businesses consumers aren't in social is just foolish. It sucks that Gowalla is struggling, I actually left foursquare and was all about Gowalla since I'm all about supporting local businesses no matter where I live. I did however notice a lack of incentives that were offered by businesses and Gowalla itself. Foursquare I believe had it all figured out from the get go and really did a great job of monetizing them selfs and coming up with a strategy for businesses and consumers that was executed very well. I have been asked by many folks recently about ROI, I am tired of hearing "whats the ROI on this social media investment", I have to tell em…. the ROI is that your business will be around in 5 years.

    Thanks for the good read as always Lani.

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