Colin Pope, Editor, Austin Business Journal

Posted by on Tuesday, April 4th, 2017 in Blog

Reported by Jacqueline Sinex

President Dale Lowe called the meeting to order. Todd Coleman led the group in pledges, Jim Innes gave our Invocation, Ann Marie Ellis led the Four Way Test, and Carl Noble introduced our guests. Visitors were greeted by Melissa Muckenthaler.

New member Whitney McKain was presented with her red badge and welcomed to the club, sponsored by Past President Gaines Bagby. Then President Dale exchanged Blue Badges with James Gavin and Chelsea True— Congratulations!

Melissa Muckenthaler shared information about the Fulmore Interact Club’s latest service projects and engagement and how members can help.

Mary Reynolds announced updates on education related happenings, and asked for volunteers to bring dessert items for teachers at Dawson Elementary. For the time being, Dawson will remain open and not be consolidated by AISD. The board voted to reconsider school closures in 2 years.

Michael Portman reminded members about the upcoming wine tasting event he is hosting on Friday, with a red wine theme.

Past President Harold Ingersoll asked the group for any help in tracking former students of the Camp Enterprise program, as they wish to follow up with these graduates, but do not have good lists to locate them. Anyone with information about someone who participated in the program in the previous 10 or so years should share that with the club.

District Governor Bruce Golden announced the upcoming end-of-year District Conference being held in Corpus Christi from May 19-21, and the group enjoyed some fellowship.

Don Grillo introduced featured speaker Colin Pope, the editor of the Austin Business Journal.

Colin began his story with his dreams of being a “newspaper man”, as his father worked in newspaper and public relations. He truly believes that being in journalism is a noble profession and he is proud to be a part of it.

Despite Pope’s “newspaper man” status, his efforts also bleed into television, radio and online media. He is frequently involved in all of these forms of media. Without the online media, the printed paper would have a fairly limited reach, but with the online aspect the audience reached over 3.5 million readers last year.

Pope went on to discuss economic concerns in the community, and consideration about if and when Austin may experience an economic downturn. We do not know exactly when or in what sector this will occur, and the current trends still show our community growing. We now have many more global companies here than there were in the 1980’s, and much more diversification. It is expected that companies like Apple may soon employ more people locally than Dell. Expansions from Oracle and Merck are soon to come, too.

The current statistic of people moving to Austin (net) is still 159 per day, 110 of which are newcomers to the area. It is true that the census is lagged, and there is sign of some slowdown in this rate since summer 2016.

Austin’s unemployment rate last year was 3% and has increased to 3.7%. A more comfortable rate for a healthy economy would be 4%, however.

The reputation of Austin has been largely very positive for over 10 years, but this may slow down as headlines in the news send certain signals to companies and investors – for example the perception of Uber and Lyft leaving Austin. Some investors are not attracted to our business landscape because we are known to have a poor development review process.

There he focused on inciting and inspiring entrepreneurial thinking among students of all types, graduates and undergraduates, inside and outside of the business school. He reviewed approximately 400 business plans and ideas in this role, as well as teaching a Foundations of Entrepreneurship course. In 2012, Gary was appointed Entrepreneurin-Residence at the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin, and in 2015, a Fellow of the IC2 Institute at that University.

In 2009 he launched, a blog which includes reviews of books, ideas, and places from Gary’s iconoclastic angle. In 2011 he began a video blog, which can be found at the same website or at His books and classes are available at He also gave five lectures on the history of various industries (movies, airlines, autos, retailing, and computers) which can be viewed at

Beginning in 2010, Gary started teaching students of all ages Entrepreneurial Thinking through his own Hoover Academy. Understanding and researching companies are also popular courses. Over 300 people have graduated from Hoover Academy programs ranging from 3 hours to 12 weeks. He has also begun offering online video courses.

In the summer of 2012, he incorporated his fifth startup, Bigwig Games, to produce business and social science strategic simulation games for the iPad and other tablet devices, beginning with Restaurant Bigwig for the iPad.

That venture continues while Gary has begun the “next big idea.” The Spark Factory was founded in the spring of 2015 to develop and build The Spark, which will combine an engaging, interactive museum about innovation with a showcase for the latest and greatest products and services. Emphasis will be on the Internet of Things, games, social media, food, art, music, health, and technology.

Gary lives in Flatonia, Texas, with his 57,000-book library. He speaks to conferences and corporate groups and works to encourage innovation and entrepreneurial thinking on every continent and in every industry, for profit and not for profit. He has also supported the University of Chicago, where Hoover House dormitory opened early this century.

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