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Austin and OurPangea: Preserving the Hidden Gem Weird Capital of the World

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Besides the serious food coma epidemic that recently swept across America after Thanksgiving, Austin, Texas is also coming down from hosting the Circuit of the Americas, which brought the first F1 Grand Prix facility to the U.S.

From my perspective as a relative newbie to Austin the whole experience was a pretty exciting testament to the visibility of the city’s growing energy.  But I did hear many residents adopt the faux greeting “Welcome to LA,” a sarcastically pessimistic but admittedly apt statement on Austin’s rapidly changing (these aforementioned people would say ‘selling-out’) community. Austin is growing, there’s no denying that. The rumors say there are a few hundred people moving here every day.

Rumors aside, what everyone in Austin knows for sure is that construction Downtown is constant. New skyscrapers are making our city taller and more expensive. Streets are becoming progressively congested with traffic and after last weekend it’s less unusual to see a Ferrari at a stoplight next to the Austin-standby ‘man-on-a-two-story-bicycle’ mode of transportation. I wrote earlier about the pride people feel about Austin, and there’s already a desperately sentimental fog hanging over the city representing both a longing to stay a hidden gem and a fear that Austin’s ‘glory days’ as capital of the Weird are over.

Our community is still far from normal, but the seeds of commercialization are being planted, making some Austinites feel the need to grasp onto and hold tight the weirdness that has pushed the city to greatness. As an example,  Austin City Limits, a music festival initially created as a way to celebrate the music of Texas by PBS (read: the perfect Austin-weird music fest), has been expanded to two weekends (read: commercialized), and people are starting to consider Fun Fun Fun Fest as one of the ‘realest’ festivals in town.

From OurPangea’s perspective, we know we can’t stop change from happening. In fact, we think change should be embraced because along with every change, no matter how drastic, there is opportunity.  What’s important is being able to remember our history, recognize where we came from and understand why that matters.

So we want to help everyone in Austin preserve what has made it great while it’s still the hidden gem Weird capital of the world. Why do you live in Austin? What do you love most about Austin? What is your favorite memory? What makes Austin your city??

Think of this as an online time capsule made up of your stories. We want to give people a window into our community so they can see why we love Austin and let them love it with us!  Submit your stories and love letters to Austin here!

Community: An Amalgamation Of Smaller Community Groups

“[Austin people] are not either/or. They are and. Coffee and beer. BBQ joints and vegan potlucks. Students and Techies. State-capital bureaucrats and weed-toking slackers — admittedly those are sometimes the same people.”

-Virginia Woodruff, An Open Love Letter to Austin, Texas

In most cases, no one likes being called ‘weird.’ Being weird implies that you’re a little off. If you’re weird you’re not really an outsider, but you’re not quite an accepted member of the community.   Not in Austin, TX. In our community weird is a strived for badge of honor.

Austin Neighborhood Map

Map courtesy of partsandlabour.blogspot.com. For the Judgmental Austin map, visit Austinist.com

Have you ever been to Austin? Being ‘weird’ here is an affectionate compliment of the highest level.  Austin’s neighborhoods are the embodiment of an almost unbelievable combination of oxymorons and contradictions.  Perhaps no one has described our modernly in-flux, vibrantly weird capital city of the Nation of Texas better than local blogger Virginia Woodruff.   It’s not easy to define what the Greater Austin Community is like, but perhaps I can introduce you to Austin by helping you understand the smaller parts that make it up.

Any community is, at its core, just a coalescence of smaller groups making up a greater whole. The greater Chicago community couldn’t be the same without Wrigleyville and NYC wouldn’t be the same New York community without Brooklyn or Queens. In this way, every smaller Austin neighborhood contributes a flavor and identity to the essence of what we know as the greater Austin community. An Austin without East Austin might take away some of our city’s signature weirdness and an Austin without the food truck culture would certainly make the food scene less unique, exciting, and loved.  An Austin without any part of it – whether that be the prepsters, the hispters, the knitters, or the fitsers – just wouldn’t be the same.

Maybe the most important criteria to understand about the Austin Community is this: Austin people own our Community like UT owns its football team.  We take pride in our community’s strengths, band together to fix its weaknesses, and revel in an appreciation of our local economy. We want it to be ours, but we also want other people to love it the way we do.

Henceforth, we can see a problem. Unless you come to Austin and experience it physically, you can’t feel the essence of our Community. You can’t love it with us. There is simply nothing that captures community interactions in a realistic way online, much less those of a community as interesting and heterogeneous as Austin. In response to this, we are developing OurPangea to leverage the group dynamics that create real-life communities—interactions, experiences, and information –to bring our entire communities online for anyone, anywhere in the world to glimpse. By capturing the “requirements” of community and putting it at your fingertips, we want to empower you to travel the world like never before.

Hail to Briggo Coffee, a New Coffee Experience in Austin!

briggo coffee app ipad technologyAre people ready for something different when it comes to getting coffee? Briggo Coffee, a new take on the coffee experience created in Austin, TX, thinks so.

In a world of dark-roast inundated coffee swilling connoisseurs, Briggo has found a way to make things better for the people buying the product. They thought, ‘hey, we shouldn’t make our community wait for 15 minutes just to get a good cup of joe, and getting coffee between classes shouldn’t be a nightmare for students.’ So Briggo has eased the entire process for getting caffeinated. Here’s how it works:

1. Download the Briggo App
2. Customize the perfect coffee right from your phone, and order it through the App
3. The Briggo Coffee Robot receives your order and goes to work for you, before you even get there.
4. Pick up your order at the Robot

Because of the Briggo App, you never have to wait in line for coffee again. Go check out what they’re brewing at the Flawn Academic Center on the UT campus. You can just stop by to pick up coffee and if you have a few minutes take a second to make friends with the attendants and founders themselves!  They’ve got a good story to tell and are bringing culture, convenience and the beginnings of a new community to Austin.

Hail to Briggo!

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