Jesse Taylor, or Why I Moved to Austin

Photo of Jesse Taylor by Jay JannerI moved to Austin sixteen years ago because of Jesse "Guitar" Taylor. Jesse passed away this week.

When people ask how I came to Austin, I usually explain how back then most engineering computing was done on expensive special purpose workstations. I, instead, was doing my work on low-cost PCs running Unix. I forsaw those applications moving from the engineering workstation to commodity PCs, and I had valuable expertise in that area. I saw an opportunity to start a consulting business, and Austin's strong technology sector made it seem like a good place to hang my shingle.

(Turns out I was half right about my technology forcast. Those applications did move to PCs, but they ran Windows, not Unix. PC-based Unix ended up a niche for vertical multi-user applications.)

That story is totally true, but it isn't the full picture.

Back around 1988, I was living in Dallas. I joined some friends for a weekend trip to Austin—my first time there. We visited Sixth Street our first night in town. My friend, a living room guitar player, took us out to hear some music.

My memory of that night was of hearing some of the most smoldering guitar playing I'd ever heard in my life. I learned later that the guitarist's name was Jesse Taylor.

It was such an amazing, electric night. Yet, the people around me treated it as just another night in town. I knew then that Austin was the place I needed to be. So when the opportunity arose, I packed my bags and headed here.

Much of what I loved so much about Austin back then is gone. I do miss Liberty Lunch.

But there is still a lot to like about this town. I'm glad I'm still here. And I've got Jesse Taylor to thank for that.