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Insights From ATX Man

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Three years of quintessential Austin cover men.

Selected by Deborah Hamilton-Lynne


Roy Spence, founder of GSDM

“Austin men are spirited, not mean-spirited. Everyone here wants to see you succeed. No one is looking to steal your ideas. The spirit of Austin allows you to be collaborative and open about ideas. Austin men are a curious bunch. Curiosity is the search for the truth and Austin men are open to a lot of out-of-the-box ideas when searching for their truth. The spirit of Austin fosters and celebrates creativity and encourages entrepreneurial types to take a risk and try something new. We are a city of dreamers who happen to have a lot big ideas. Austin has an indomitable spirit and that spirit brands the Austin man.”


Brian Jones, college All-American, retired NFL player and professional sportscaster

“I’ve had many victories over there [at the Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium], but nothing compares to graduating from this great university.”


Robert and Clint Strait, father/son duo, owners of Strait Music

“[Robert’s] my hero. He’s survived cancer twice and had a heart attack, and I don’t think I have heard him complain one time. Not a single word. I get a sore throat, and it’s all hands on deck. So sometimes when I’m having a bad day, I think about my dad and it kind of makes the other things seem trivial.” – Clint Strait


Turk Pipkin, founder of the Nobelity Project, author and documentarian

“Christy’s cancer and my kids and 9/11 were three linked events that really were a wake-up call to me about how I wanted to spend my life. We need periodically to ask ourselves, ‘Am I doing the thing I want to do with my life? Why was I put here on this earth?’ And if there is anything we have learned, I think those are our core questions.”


Mark Strama, state representative, House district 50

“Voters are frustrated with politics at every level. Money may be more out of control here than it is at the national level. We have no limits on political contributions. We’ll never get where we need to on energy and education and health care until we fix the systematic problems with the way democracy works.” (Ed.: Strama resigned his seat in 2013 and is the current head of Google Fiber in Austin.)


Evan Smith, editor-in-chief and CEO, The Texas Tribune

“There was time in the 90s when people said, ‘Write shorter, be funny. People don’t have the attention span.’ And of course that’s wrong. People always have the attention span for good, robust stuff. They’ll invest in you if you treat them with respect.”


Jack Ingram, musician and philanthropist

“I’ve always loved the live-and-let- live mentality around here. I’m not a hippie, but that free-to-be-you-and-me vibe is pretty strong here. And it really works, and you can be whoever you want to be. You can be a rich, badass investment banker or a struggling songwriter, and you can end up in the same place.”


Andy Roddick, tennis professional, philanthropist

“I love Austin. I’ve been lucky enough to go a lot of places, see a lot of things and get a feel for a lot of different cultures. Most cities dictate the way you live. … In Austin, you can be the person who wakes up at 5:30 in the morning and runs Town Lake and then goes home to work, or you can be the person who goes on spring break every weekend down on Sixth Street and goes mental. You can live in Austin any way you want, and that’s pretty unique.”


Peter Bay, Austin Symphony Orchestra maestro

“I’m all in favor of collaboration. It’s all part of making music. I don’t make music by myself. In fact, I make no sounds. I rely on others to make sounds. The more different kinds of things I can do with sound, the happier I am.”


Art Acevedo, Austin chief of police

“Police officers have to use humor as a coping mechanism. We make jokes about anything because if you don’t laugh, some of this stuff…will eat you up. In this career, you don’t forget the stuff you see. If you don’t develop a sense of humor and a thick hide, you’re never going to make it.”


Aaron Franklin, grill master and owner Franklin’s Barbeque

“I’m just some dude who makes fires and sometimes gets recognized in public places. I cook stuff. It’s not a big deal. I don’t read anything about us and I don’t watch shows that we’re on. I just don’t care. I just keep working. My No. 1 goal is to make this place consistently good every day.”


Hugh Forrest, director SXSW Interactive

“Geeks have become cool. There has been this complete shift in the last 10 or 15 years in which people like Mark Zuckerberg, the founders of Twitter, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have become cultural icons. … I would never have imagined this popularization and romanticization of the geek culture.”


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