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TAG: A Brief History



In 1984, ABB (Austin Before the Bust), two attorneys believed that somewhere within Austin's "Next Silicon Valley" hoopla there was a nugget of reality. Walter Bissex and Barry Meyers acted on this belief by calling together a group of attorneys and Big Eight accountants to meet as the Technology Advisors Group. They felt that such a group could share expertise and industry experience to their mutual benefit and the benefit of all of the technology business clients who would soon accrue to Austin's existing short list. After several meetings, the two realized that the members had shared about all they would or could share amongst themselves and that something more was needed.

In January, 1985, the wheels fell off of Austin's real estate boom which was preparing it to be the "Next Silicon Valley". Since everyone had to go back to their day jobs and deal with the fallout, TAG ceased to meet for a while. Along about 1987, Walter and Barry decided to relaunch the organization and called around to find out who of the original members was still here. They also invited a number of other interested parties who had expressed interest in TAG. The response was so enthusiastic that eight of us were at the first meeting.

We doggedly persisted in having a monthly meeting at which a speaker from the technology community would tell us what they really did, how their company got where it was, and what the industry looked like from where they stood. This proved popular as TAG members could actually learn how all kinds of "techie stuff" really worked. The organization grew by word of mouth, especially since nothing like TAG existed. Membership qualification was rigorous, "If you can find us, you can join." There was no cost to join, you simply paid for your breakfast. Since I was always calling Walter and Barry with ideas for speakers, and since they had usually not gotten around to scheduling one for the next month, I became Program Chair. After several years of this, the two founders decided that the cost of mailings and no-shows for breakfast was too onerous, and TAG instituted its first membership fee of $10. All attendees without reservations will be subject to a surcharge of $5.00.

In the mid 90's, Norm Gelfand led the effort to professionalize TAG by coordinating a committee to draft a mission statement, draft by-laws, and drink beer. His leadership brought a lot of new participation in the operation of the group, and is responsible (with the assistance of many new and longtime members) for the organization you enjoy today. TAG has been and still is the place to be to learn how things work, where things are going, and to meet the people who will get you there.
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