Austin Gunter's Blog

October 26, 2009

BarnBuilders at Tech Ranch Austin

Filed under: Uncategorized — Austin @ 10:44 pm

BarnBuilders at Tech Ranch AustinThe way that I am currently working to architect connections in Austin right now is through a program at the Tech Ranch called the BarnBuilders.  We are targeting the substantial amount of folks that are highly trained in the various Technology companies, like Dell and IBM, that helped make Austin a bit of a “satellite campus” for Silicon Valley.  There are thousands of these highly trained people, in both technology and the business side of things, who are out of work in Austin these days.  The unemployment level is better than most of the nation.  However, the fact remains that thousands of jobs have gone missing, and some may never return.

There is a huge upside to the downturn.  In the past 10 years, more than 60% of the jobs created in the United States have been in groups of 10 people or less.  Read: Entrepreneurs will save the economy.  Read: Accelerate your local Entrepreneur.

The BarnBuilders program helps both entrepreneurs, as well as the unemployed talent in the Austin Area.  How do we help both groups out?  We provide ventures with a huge network of volunteer help from the local talent pool currently in full-time job search mode.  The entrepreneurs benefit from what they can achieve from free help.  The talent gains because by volunteering they are able to hone their experience, add a project or two to their résumés, or even get hired.

The thing that we do is build the bridge between the entrepreneurs and the talent so that they know who to go looking for.  Our network helps people bridge the chasm of knowing who needs to hire someone.

I was hired to work at the Tech Ranch because I volunteered my time there.  I met Kevin at a networking event and told him I loved how the Tech Ranch was helping people start their own ventures.  I asked if I could volunteer at the Ranch while I looked for work.  After a two or three weeks, I had proven myself with my work and they hired me.  My volunteer time turned into an extended interview process.

Don’t you agree that this process is more effective than blindly sending out résumés?

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October 10, 2009

What is a Social Architect?

Bridging the gap to network entrepreneurs

Bridging the gap to network entrepreneurs

This blog is going to take shape according to my work with Tech Ranch Austin and the BarnBuilders.  People ask me pretty regularly what it is that I’m doing at the Tech Ranch that I’m always so excited about.  I have a hard time coming up with a static answer because the things that I do are constant only in their ability to change every day.  This is frustrating for my listener as well as for me because I often stumble around for catchphrases or conceptually rich words that will clearly illustrate that which I spend all my time and energy doing at the Tech Ranch.

The catchphrase that I have started using most often, Social Architect, has, thus far, not done much to clarify my nebulous rhetoric.  I’m going to fix that right now, and define Social Architect as I see it.  So for those of you looking to cross-reference at Urban Dictionary, don’t.  It won’t be there.  This is Austin defining Austin.  Who woulda thought, right?

When I use the catchphrase, Social Architect, I am referring to the process of building a social connection, a bridge, if you will, between formerly disparate individuals.  The goal is to create a connection that would otherwise not exist between two people.  This connection allows both parties to engage in what I call a dialogue of value where each party freely shares knowledge and resources with the other.  The dialogue of value, where each party shares their unique information, means that both parties are measurably better off by participating in the dialogue because they both received specialized information for free.  This free information may be put to use to take an entrepreneurial venture to the next level, or to create a new product.  Other times the information results in a partnership between the newly connected parties.  However, the inevitable result is a net gain for both parties as a result of their connection.

As a Social Architect, my job is to facilitate that connection and build bridges between people who will have a tangible benefit to one another.

This is the basic idea behind the Tech Ranch BarnBuilders. More information may be found at the link, and I’ll write about it in my next post.  The BarnBuilders is a group of Austin-Area entrepreneurs and local tech talent helping one another out.

Hope that helps.  Until next time.

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