I don’t hide the fact that I think Paul Graham’s insight about startups is second to none. I’ve been one of his cult members for quite a while - long enough for me to covet a new Prius. Unfortunately, I have to take a major exception to one specific part of his most recent post. He lumps Houston in with cities that have “start up activity too small to measure.” I can tell you that this is categorically incorrect. I can go into the litany of the Houston Technology Center’s clients or the companies that have presented to the Rice Alliance or why Houston has the most entrepreneurially minded business community in the world. But that is not going to make his statement any less true from an outsiders perspective. Since we’re not on either coast it means that Techcrunch and the WSJ don’t have the access to cover the companies that are here on a regular basis. Sometimes we’ll get an occasional Wired blog post, but it’s not the same as being able to go to the parties at night on a whim. The best local coverage we have is a radio program/podcast that I highly recommend from Russ Capper and John Beddow called The Business Makers.
I get to see emerging technology start ups based here every single day. Surely I make it my business to interact with them, but there are still a lot of them out there that I don’t know. Houston still tends to see more Energy (now alternative energy) and BioTech (devices more than pharmaceuticals) than consumer-facing Web 2.0 software deals, but I can assure you that we have more than our fair share that are struggling to raise themselves out of our swampy little backwater, that happens to be the fourth largest city in the US.