Things to do in Austin for foreigners short on time

An older post from my newsletter, but probably still helpful.

Breakfast tacos at tamalehouse

I navigate life, mostly, though food, rather, eating. Thus, my suggestions for things to do in Austin are primarily about things to eat. Also, I have a nine year old and have lived in Amsterdam for a year. So, my knowledge of “the hot spots” is about a decade out of date. Some of the places I recommend below may even be closed!

Nonetheless, here’s what I would do, and try to do, when I go back:

  • Eat breakfast tacos in the morning – the breakfast taco is a tortilla with scrambled eggs, cheese, and other things, usually bacon. If you’re vegan, get potatoes and beans, maybe gucamole. I would start with the basic, which is both the benchmark and the standard: eggs, cheese, bacon. Breakfast tacos must be served in a flour tortilla, white flour preferably. Breakfast tacos on corn tortillas are a fraud and should be stomped on. As a bonus round, try a migas breakfast taco. In fact, I would suggest pairing a standard breakfast taco with a migas one: eat the standard first, and then the migas one. If you’ve never had a migas breakfast taco, you want to prime your mouth with the standard, a sort of palet cleansing. Order these at aa Taco Deli, a Torchy’s, or any restaurant with a Spanish word and a number in it’s name, e.g., “Arranda’s #4.” If you can go a little out of the way, got to Tamale House or Mi Madre’s. I would recommend ordering extra salsa to put on the tacos (see below).
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Link: Army’s newest command looks to the future from downtown Austin

“For too long we have focused only on cost, schedule and performance,” Murray said Friday in his remarks. “We must now also focus on value. Value to the young men and women that will be operating the equipment we build, and utilizing the concepts we develop.”
Original source: Army’s newest command looks to the future from downtown Austin

Link: Bazaarvoice acquisition gets shareholder approval

“Bazaarvoice’s board agreed in November to be acquired by Marlin Equity Partners in a deal valued at more than $500 million. Under the agreement, Marlin Equity Partners acquired all outstanding common stock of Bazaarvoice for $5.50 in cash for a total of $521 million.”
Original source: Bazaarvoice acquisition gets shareholder approval

Yeti revenue $469m in 2015, opening bar, and shutting down cheaper rival RTIC

The largest cooler, the Tundra 350, costs $1,300. The company recorded $469 million in revenue in 2015.

In other Yeti news, the company said Thursday it has settled a lawsuit against another cooler maker that it accused of copying its product design. Texas-based RTIC Coolers has agreed to pay Yeti, stop selling all of the offending products and redesign its coolers, according to an announcement.

Stock up on rip-off Yeti cups while you can!

Link

Thoma Bravo Acquires Austin-Based, privately held Planview, PPM and Enterprise Architecture Tools

Passed from one PE firm to another: from Insight Venture Partners to Thoma Bravo. Sort of, one piece of coverage says “Insight Venture Partners will maintain its original 2014 capital investment in company.”

Carl Lehmann (he’s popped up a lot recently here!) and Liam Rogers at 451 have some numbers estimates:

Thoma Bravo’s acquisition of Planview comes three years after Insight Venture Partners acquired the WRM software company for an estimated $150m. The latest acquisition comes well above that – we estimate the deal size to be $800m. The multiple paid for the business is also substantially higher than the last purchase of Planview, which generated $175m in revenue in 2016. Insight will maintain an equity stake in the company, and Thoma Bravo becomes the new majority owner.

The rest of the excellent (as always) deal write-up also reminds me that Planview bought Troux back in 2015, consolidating this space a bit…albeit a pretty small market.

In addition to the Silicon Hills piece, see the official press release.

Link

“De-graniting and de-brassing” – Austin’s downtown tech scene

Austin entrepreneur Campbell McNeill said WeWork’s “high energy environment, cool furniture” and location at Sixth and Congress in the heart of downtown allows his startup, Cocolevio, “to attract the young talent we need for our cloud business.”

“It would be considerably more expensive to set up a similar situation on our own as a new tech startup,” said McNeill, Cocolevio’s co-founder and chief technology officer. “We appreciate we may be paying a lot per square foot, but it is completely worth it when you consider the intangible WeWork benefits like networking with other great startups, making great friends, periodic presentations by industry leaders and WeWork Labs.”

Some more highlights from the piece:

  • “three out of four tenants looking for downtown space are likely to be tech-related, Kennedy said. ‘Ten years ago, it would have been less than half that.'”
  • “Rents for the highest quality office space in downtown Austin average $49.07 a square foot per year, according to Cushman & Wakefield. That’s 40 percent higher than top-tier space in the suburbs, where rates average $35.10 a square foot.”
  • “tenants can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $200 per month per space for unreserved parking. Reserved spots are as high as $300 per month.”
  • “The number of downtown tech workers — between 14,000 and 15,000, according to estimates from the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce — is still tiny compared with the region’s overall technology workforce, which the chamber estimates at abou 130,000.”

Source: Austin’s tech scene heats up downtown

Nest’s Smart Thermostat Ties Into Austin Energy

According to Nest, its new "Auto-Tune" technology connects into utility data, to learn about your habits and automatically fine tune the device’s schedule to save energy; the thermostat is also tied into a "Rush Hour Rewards" program with Austin Energy an dothers, which will pay users incentives to use less energy when other users are using more; the program pays anywhere from $20 to $60 during the summer.

Nest’s Smart Thermostat Ties Into Austin Energy

Frank – A Hot Dog Review

Frank

At Frank, it’s hot-dog gimmicks and bacon galore, but they’re good eating at not too high of a cost. We have a weird mixture of “hand crafted”/local food and a love of fast-food here in Austin resulting in gourmet food from trailers, burger battles, and now hot-dogs. The “Artisan” hot-dogs are fun and tasty – I like the antelope and rabbit one, the Jackalope. Also, the regular hot-dogs, optionally wrapped in a flapjack (a corn pancake), are delicious as well.

The prices are reasonable, but add up fast, esp. for the sides – $4 for the healthy side option, a broccoli salad is silly. The hot-dogs are appropriatly priced at around $4 depending on the extras you get.

In addition to the usual, short menu, they have a massive list of “daily specials,” so keep your eyes out for that.

Last time I went, I had the bacon infused bourbon and the poutine waffle fries. I’d gone on opening week and they were out of the bacon bourbon, so the bar-tender whipped some up on the spot. This last time, there was no A-Teaming at the bar, and I ordered it neat to try it out. There’s certainly a bacon taste in there, and, sure, it’s worth trying once in your like for $7.50. But, after a few sips your mouth is coated with bacon fat and you’re trying to guzzle down the rest. I wouldn’t say bacon makes the Maker’s better.

Waffle Fry Poutine

The poutine was delicious. I’ve never had proper poutine, so maybe it was a pale imitation, but it hit the spot for me. Poutine is a Canadian drunk-food that’s fries covered in brown gravy with cheese curds on-top. It’s exactly what it sounds like, so if you like that kind of stuff, get on down to Frank, order a Maker’s sans-bacon (or a Modelo) along with poutine and hot dog, and you’ll be riding high on the hog.