Country music superstar George Strait puts South Texas mansion up for sale

Country music star George Strait is selling his 12.2-acre mansion in a luxury enclave off I-10 on the northern edge of San Antonio.
The property, the The Dominion neighborhood, is being listed by Tamara Strait of Sotheby’s International Realty, who also happens to be Strait’s daughter-in-law.
While the sales price was not disclosed, the property on Davenport Lane was last assessed by the Bexar County Appraisal District at $3.99 million.
Built in 1995 by Bill Tull, the property features a 7,925-square-foot…

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RackN’s Rob Hirschfeld Discusses the Importance of Storytelling for Startups on Ideas to Invoices

Rob Hirchfeld, founder and CEO of RackN

Rob Hirschfeld is the founder and CEO at


, an Austin-based startup which makes software to automate data centers.

Hirschfeld has 15 years of experience in the cloud and infrastructure industry. He has served four terms on the OpenStack Foundation Board and previously worked as an executive at Dell. He’s also a serial entrepreneur. On this episode of Ideas to Invoices, Hirschfeld discusses how he has fine-tuned his storytelling skills throughout the years to better communicate with customers, investors, and others.

Hirschfeld founded RackN in October of 2014, the company has received some angel investment, earns money and is currently raising money.

He founded ProTier in 1999, which Surgient founded in 2004. He also founded Zehicle and has worked for several other technology companies and startups.
Hirschfeld goes to technology conferences to speak and market RackN. He also blogs regularly and he launched a podcast on data center operations space called the latest shiny: L8ist Sh9y.

“Content creation is about telling a story about why your technology is important,” Hirschfeld said.

The content strategy is about helping people find the company and understand what it does, he said.

“If you are solving a problem for someone, it’s not difficult to articulate that problem in a way that people will read,” he said.

Content creation raises awareness and creates engagement, Hirschfeld said.

“It really is a much more natural way to interact,” he said.

A significant part of what RackN does is understanding how difficult it is to manage data centers and solve data center operators problems with its software, Hirschfeld said.

RackN is in Austin because there is a great technical community here.

“We love the culture,” he said.

It’s easy to recruit in Austin, Hirschfeld said.

RackN came out of the TechRanch program led by Kevin Koym. That helped the company launch, Hirschfeld said. Today, the company is active in the meetup scene and Capital Factory, he said. Andrea Kalmans with Lontra Ventures is an advisor to the company too, he said.

Storytelling is essential for technology startups to reach customers, partners, investors, and others, Hirschfeld said. RackN hired a public relations firm to help it hone its story and refine its pitch deck, he said.

“Of all the things you do in a startup, storytelling is so critical and so essential,” he said.

For more on Hirschfeld’s interview, please listen to the entire Ideas to Invoices podcast. And please visit iTunes to rate, review and subscribe to Ideas to Invoices.

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InnoTech Austin’s Women in Technology Summit Focuses on Ways to Handle a Male Dominated Tech Industry

Publisher of Silicon Hills News

Women in Tech Summit at InnoTech Austin

Being a woman in the technology industry is not easy.

The technology industry is male-dominated at all levels and the pay disparity can reach 50 percent for women, compared to the salary for men in similar jobs, said Lauren Hasson, founder of Develop(Her).

“I decided to own my own outcome,” Hasson said.

She learned to negotiate, and she tripled her base salary in less than two years by relying heavily on data and research. She also spent $10,000 on training materials, she said.

Hasson shared her story with more than 200 women attending the Women in Technology Summit at InnoTech Austin. Hasson was one of several speakers who shared their experiences throughout the day. Sessions ranged from talks on branding to addressing the issue of gender diversity and the “bro-code” in the technology industry.

Hasson has developed a free negotiation course for women to walk others, step by step, through how she transformed her life. Her course launches on February 3rd and she hopes to empower more than 10,000 women.

Next up, Marny Lifshen, author of “Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Women” spoke on the importance of women crafting a personal brand.

For a brand to be effective, it must be authentic, distinct and consistent, Lifshen said. She thinks distinct is the most difficult one to achieve.

“How do you create a brand that separates you from all the other people who do what you do,” Lifshen said.

To achieve distinction, a person must think about what are their unique and impactful skill sets, Lifshen said.

“This is not a time ladies to be humble,” she said. “Be bold, be proud.”

Brands are based on experiences but also perceptions, Lifshen said.

And personal brand elements are both tangible and intangible and include: demeanor, your appearance, communication and your network, Lifshen said.

“Your physical brand must be professional, modern and well-groomed,” Lifshen said.

Communication is both verbal and nonverbal, Lifshen said. It breaks down to 55 percent is visual, 38 percent is tone and vocal and seven percent is words Lifshen said.

In the afternoon session, the talk shifted to how women in technology can navigate a male-dominated workplace.

In the session on Bro Code: Addressing the Issue of Gender Diversity in Tech, Barbary Brunner, CEO of the Austin Technology Council, said there is a culture in technology companies that exclude women.

The way to change the situation is to have more women in leadership positions in the technology industry, Brunner said.

In her position, Leigh Christie, senior vice president of global technology and innovation at the Austin Chamber of Commerce, seeks out opportunities to mentor other women and to provide them with opportunities for advancement.

Brunner asked the women in the room if they had been in a meeting where men had ignored their ideas or talked over them. Everyone had except for one woman.

When that happens, Brunner said she calls the men out on it. And she redirects them to acknowledge that it was her original idea.

Having rules of engagement in the workplace is one way to approach the situation, Christie said.

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International carrier boosts aircraft size for Austin flights

Air Canada is adding capacity for business travelers by adding 21 more seats per flight for its Austin-Toronto service.
The extra seating on Air Canada’s Embraer EMB 190 aircraft is part of its daily nonstop flight between Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, which began in May 2015. The new service goes into effect on May 1, 2018.
“The increased service and additional seats provide more opportunities for job creators in both markets and will encourage…

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PricePlow presents LIVE Podcast – Hi-Tech Fights For DMAA | Selling Out? | Supps The Movie

LIVE Podcast – Hi-Tech Fights For DMAA | Selling Out? | Supps The Movie

Questions are always encouraged here on the LIVE broadcasts. Feel free to comment, like, share, and ask questions at anytime during the feed. We appreciate all of your continued support here at PricePlow.

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Flying for Thanksgiving? Here’s how to get the best deal

Travelers looking to save money on airfare over the Thanksgiving holiday might want to consider getting in early and leaving much later. Travelers can expect to find the lowest prices if they fly out on Monday, Nov. 20 and if they return on Wednesday, Nov. 29, according to a report by Massachusetts-based airfare prediction app Hopper and Rhode Island-based InsureMyTrip, a travel insurance research firm.
At midweek this week, domestic flights for Thanksgiving were averaging about $322 for a round-trip…

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Unemployment in Austin area drops to 2.6 percent

The Austin area’s jobless rate dipped further in October, in part due to a smaller workforce. The Austin-Round Rock region’s unemployment rate fell from 2.9 percent in September to 2.6 percent last month, according to data from the Texas Workforce Commission released Friday. Austin’s unemployment rate was 3.3 percent in October 2016.
The region’s bars, restaurants and hotels added about 3,200 jobs, expanding their payrolls nearly four times faster than average for an October, according to the…

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University of Houston to set up its own medical school

A long time coming, the University of Houston Board of Regents has voted and approved establishing a college of medicine focused on primary care.
The regents approved on Nov. 16 the results of a feasibility study requested by the Texas Legislature, according to an announcement. UH hopes to immediately finalize a partnership with the HCA Gulf Coast Division to bring 103 first-year resident positions to the Houston area by 2020, with a total of 309 by 2024.
The next step is to receive medical degree…

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High-profile Austin energy attorneys jump to Holland & Knight

Mark Davis, the executive partner who leads Holland & Knight’s Austin office, said getting a chance to add two attorneys with solid experience was too good to pass up.

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Austin’s Smart Mobility Roadmap

How Austin’s tech sector can impact the future of transportation in our community and beyond

Last month, the City of Austin and CapMetro jointly released a draft of their Smart Mobility Roadmap, which examines Austin’s approach to shared, electric, and autonomous vehicle technologies.

Let’s take a quick spin through the document and examine how individuals in Austin’s tech sector can influence the final version of the roadmap — and thus the future of transportation.

Why does this exist? And why does it matter?

Both Austin City Council and the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (CapMetro) Board of Directors tasked their organizations with strategizing to make Austin a leader in the shared, electric, autonomous mobility future.

The City and CapMetro worked together on building a single roadmap, which makes sense given that CapMetro is the Austin region’s transit provider and how the City plans and implements transportation infrastructure necessarily impacts CapMetro’s ability to move people from point A to point B.

The final version of the roadmap will be incorporated into the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan, Austin’s city-wide transportation plan that will guide transportation investments for the next decade and beyond.

Shared, electric, autonomous mobility

Let’s look at each of those technologies individually and together. Sales projections in 2030 for fully autonomous vehicles (AVs) range from 15 to 50 percent of the market, and research organizations are already examining the potential impact of wide adoption of AVs. These include:

  • expanded mobility options for all;
  • opportunities for data-driven development;
  • potential increase in vehicle miles traveled;
  • significant increase in roadway safety; and
  • extended adoption period in which AVs will mix with human-driven vehicles.

There are approximately 4,000 electric vehicles (EVs) in the Austin market, representing at 55 percent annual growth over the previous three years. Current projections show EV sales overtaking traditional cars in only 20 years, which will require a significant increase in EV charging infrastructure.

Given that a critical mass of fully autonomous, electric vehicles is not immediately around the corner, the roadmap leans on shared-use mobility as the best current opportunity to improve transportation. Shared-used vehicle technology, after all, is already quite prevalent in Austin, from public transit to ridesharing to bikesharing. A true impact will require with consumer behavioral changes — i.e., a willingness to move away from single occupancy vehicle use.

But the growth of shared, electric, autonomous mobility options will occur. From the roadmap:

“The convergence of shared, electric, and autonomous vehicle services can offer a lower cost, more efficient and accessible, less polluting and less congested transportation system. Wrangling all three of these technologies and services together requires a dedicated effort that focuses on data, governmental policies and incentives, technology applications, testing, and multiple touchpoints with the community.”

To begin that wrangling, the roadmap lays out 55 recommendations on how Austin can adequately prepare both from infrastructure and societal perspectives.

Data and technology

The biggest challenge smart cities face today in the transportation space is limited data and limited tools to utilize that data in decision-making. The connected cars of tomorrow, however, will produce voluminous amounts of data, and cities will need to collaborate with the private sector on data platforms and data management.

As a result, the roadmap calls for investing in and leveraging technology through open data and public-private data partnerships to optimize mobility options. The Austin Transportation Department in particular is advocating for a “One System” traffic and data management center that is managed in conjunction with other regional transportation partners.

How can you get involved?

Austin’s tech sector can step up and use their unique skillsets to offer guidance on data analysis, cybersecurity, and developing data innovations. The Austin Transportation Department reached out to Austin Tech Alliance to help galvanize the tech community to provide input.

If you’re interested in impacting the final product that will shape Austin’s mobility investments for decades, go to to provide feedback on the roadmap and ask questions.

Austin Tech Alliance is a member-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting civic engagement in Austin’s tech sector. We focus on:

  • Educating the tech grassroots on issues that impact them
  • Advocating for tech-forward solutions to community challenges
  • Activating the tech community to speak up, participate, and vote

Learn more about becoming an ATA member.

Austin’s Smart Mobility Roadmap was originally published in Austin Startups on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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