Californian revises his 'needlessly hurtful' Austin take, discussing what he could have done differently
A month ago, Californian Brett Alder became Austin's public enemy No. 1 after his not-so-flattering op-ed about moving to Austin was posted in Business Insider. Now, he's back to give the other side of his Austin move.
Alder once again posted an op-ed to Business Insider on Monday, this time writing about what he would do differently if he moved back again.
Alder said he heard from people "all over the country" in response to his first op-ed and that Austinites felt the piece "seemed needlessly hurtful" and "unrepresentative" of their city.
"I never knew that that piece was going to blow up, that it would be read by people all over Texas," Alder told Austonia after his op-ed published in Business Insider last month. "I didn't include the positive stuff, like how our neighbors left us brownies or invited us to New Year's parties, or things like that."
After speaking to Austinites "who will still speak to" him about ways he could have made his move more successful, Alder had two major takeaways:
- Focus on the big picture when it comes to culture and geography
- Allow more time for discovery if moving from California to Austin
Addressing the first takeaway, he references a map showing Facebook connections across the U.S., Alder drew a divide between the western U.S. and Texas, saying Texas is a tightly bound state. To demonstrate, Alder said that while Seattle, Boise, Phoenix and Austin may appear to be the same on paper, "culturally and geographically, Austin is by far the outlier." He says it is more self-contained and therefore, "Texas culture has less experience integrating newcomers."
And on the second point, he writes about getting to know the area. Against the advice of his friends, Alder said he immediately bought a house due to feeling pressured in the competitive real estate market, as opposed to renting and sold his California house. Alder regrets purchasing his house so quickly and wishes that his family had a chance to get more of a lay of the land first, because thinking one area is something it is not can "taint your whole experience."
Alder also corrected one of the most contested issues in his piece—that the lack of public land left them feeling "cooped up"—saying there are a great many things to do around Austin if you have the right friends and know how to find them.
Because he had traveled to Austin many times before moving, Alder said he wasn't expecting to be affected by culture shock. For that reason, Alder said it is important for newcomers to leverage a social network of locals who can help during the transition between states.
"Some of the criticism I'm getting is that, 'How could Californians have not known this about Texas before you moved here,' and that's totally legitimate criticism," Alder said. "I think Texans understand their state and the advantages of their state much better than Californians do. I think that's a big part of it, and I think another part of it was a lack of fit."
In the end, Alder said he feels like Austin's "modified Texas pride" is what has made it a "national brand." His days were often filled with people who raved about the city—"Austin may be the most enthusiastic about their city by far,"—and if he did it again, he would look forward to the bluebonnets, "spectacular thunderstorms," and try and make it through the seemingly endless heat in the Lone Star State.
Reporter Claire Partain contributed to this story.
- op-ed - austonia ›
- Joah Spearman responds to a California's man hate of Austin ... ›
- California man warns against moving to Austin in Op-Ed - austonia ›
Texas is scheduled to receive 24,000 doses of the recently approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, with more on the way.
- Texas gov promises wider COVID-19 vaccine access - austonia ›
- Five local businesses selling one-of-a-kind face masks - austonia ›
- Travis County to vaccinate 3k at COTA drive-thru event - austonia ›
- More vaccines could be headed to Austin as FDA panel greenlights ... ›
An unknown buyer will soon be living the dream after purchasing Austin's most expensive home—a nearly nine-acre property complete with a luxurious glass-walled mansion and a private lagoon in West Austin.
- Is the "Texodus" over for storm-damaged Austin? - austonia ›
- California tech employees move to austin for business and way of ... ›
- What billionaires like Elon Musk look for in Austin real estate - austonia ›
- Joe Rogan's new home is a $14 million mansion on Lake Austin ... ›
Self-proclaimed "Crypto Queen" Grimes made nearly $6 million to kick off her Sunday by selling her newest artwork, a series of crypto-art pieces titled "WarNymph."
- Elon Musk confirms he's moved to Texas - austonia ›
- Elon Musk's Neuralink startup is hiring in Austin, Texas - austonia ›
- Elon Musk, Joe Rogan and Dave Chappelle walk into Stubb's BBQ ... ›
- Tesla CEO Elon Musk moves foundation to Texas - austonia ›