How the Tech Squabbles In Austin Could Play Out During SXSW

The City of Austin has had issues with several prominent tech companies recently – Uber, Lyft, HomeAway and Airbnb, to name a few – so how will that dynamic play out when the city hosts its annual massive tech conference?

By Alain StephensMarch 10, 2016 2:55 pm

Austin’s South By Southwest (SXSW) opens this weekend, with a keynote from none other than the President himself. It’s ballooned from a simple technology showcase into an event that draws in nearly 80,000 people to the Texas capital each year. Of course, the city of Austin wears it as a badge of pride, cementing itself firmly in the competition for tech capital of the nation. But it’s also drawing the attention of some critics who say the city’s regulatory environment is less than inviting.

Here to talk about the bubbling undercurrent between tech and government is Digital Savant of the Austin American-Statesman, Omar Gallaga.

Gallaga says two big issues have deepened the rift between tech and the city: the ongoing Uber-Lyft battle with Austin City Hall and the city’s push to phase out short-term rentals, a la HomeAway and Airbnb.

“These two decisions have turned a lot of the tech community against Austin,” he says.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How this dynamic is playing out during SXSW

– What companies and start-ups who have said they’d avoid Austin because of the city-corporate relationship

– The money that’s flowing into Austin-area companies, and how all this may be just chest-thumping