Austin Monitor

From the Austin Monitor

Despite Austin being the country’s only large, fast-growing city with a waning African-American population, businesses owned by black residents in the greater area appear to be outperforming those in the rest of the state.

According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics that Greater Austin Black Chamber board member Hopeton Hay presented in July, Travis County topped the state in average receipts for firms owned by black residents in 2007, with $131,400 per company. That is more than double the average for Dallas County, which came in second place at $63,200 per company.

Does Your Water Bottle Really Need to be 'Smart?'

Jun 12, 2015

From Texas Standard:

Imagine a world where you could count every sip of water you took – and your boss could see it too. That’s the idea behind brothers Jac and Davis Saltzgiver’s new invention, Trago.

“We allow coaches and teams, or even parents, to monitor an entire group of people with multiple bottles, so a coach or trainer could make sure their entire team is well hydrated before a game,” Davis Saltzgiver says.


This story comes from Texas Standard.

Remember the movie Minority Report? It’s kind of like that…

Imagine you’re doing a little window shopping and suddenly the ad on a screen in front of you changes… a cold front has blown through, so instead of showing iced coffee, it shows a steaming cup of hot chocolate.

This is the type of advertising that a Dallas Startup is at the forefront of. Glass-Media’s technology also has some ability to recognize you – or at least tell your age and gender.

Daniel Black is the company’s co-founder and CEO.

To Buy A House, You Might Need an English Major

May 20, 2015

A Houston homeowner is holding an essay contest to sell his historic bungalow for $150. There’s a catch, however: The house, valued at $400,000, will go to the person with the best 200-word essay. The owner hopes to get 3,000 applications by mid-June to part with the house at market value.


American Airlines recently unveiled its 787-8 Dreamliner. It carries 226 passengers, 198 of them in coach — and industry insiders have said if you’re not in first class, the airplane is uncomfortable for long trips. But the silver lining could be that when you get to the airport, you might almost mistake it for a shopping mall.

From Texas Standard:

Mega-retailer Walmart has closed five stores across the country – two in Texas – for one reason:

“They came in and announced that they were going to close the store for at least six months due to extensive plumbing issues,” says Jim Wright, City Attorney of Livingston, Texas. 

Laura Rice, Texas Standard

This story comes from Texas Standard.

The weather is warming up and kids across Texas are finding ways to stay cool as they play outside. One longtime favorite is a good old-fashioned water balloon fight. But a Texas man may have changed the game forever.

“Where I’m from in West Texas originally, it’s very hot and dry in the summers, and there’s very much a lack of things to do,” Kendall Harter says.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Edward D. Irons, noted educator, financial and business executive, and author of “Only By Grace.”

There's a good chance that you'll be invited to an "Ugly Sweater" Christmas party this year. If you didn't save yours from the '80s, there's pop-up stores all over Texas meeting the demand.

But is the ugly bubble about to burst?

Today is the third annual National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. The garish garments have been around since the 1950s, when they were originally considered (unironically) beautiful. Chevy Case help lead the kitschy sweater comeback in the '80s in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Next month marks the one-year anniversary of the notorious Target credit card breach, one of the biggest credit card hacks in history.

And with consumers wary about credit security, companies are rolling out new payment options – like Apple Pay.

Omar Gallaga, tech culture reporter for the Austin-American Statesman, tells Texas Standard the original idea behind mobile pay initiatives was to simplify buying.

Ireland is getting ready to do something it hasn’t done that often in the past century: open some new consulate offices. Hong Kong, Bangkok and São Paulo are among the cities selected. Oh, and one more – Austin, Texas.

Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with Consul General Adrian Farrell about plans for the new office, trade between Ireland and Texas, and efforts to reach out to Irish Texans and Americans.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Natalie Madeira Cofield, President & CEO of the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce, located in Austin, TX; Founding President of the Austin Black Technology Council and Founder of Walker’s Legacy a national women in business collective.

Everyone has ideas. Machines, inventions, and improvements to everyday products: things that bounce around in everyone's mind. But unless that someone is an engineer, inventor, or tinkerer, those ideas stay just that … ideas.

Until now that is.  

A new, emerging "maker" culture encourages innovators to create as they wish with the help of 3D printers, laser cutters, and many other tools. The Obama Administration even recently hosted a nationwide "Day of Making" for these creators. 

Sara Combs, courtesy the UT-Austin International Office

Some young people in Africa are struggling with problems that many Americans take for granted – including serious unemployment and access to basic needs.

A group of 25 young Africans from 18 different countries have been at UT-Austin this summer to bring to life their business plans for addressing some of the challenges in their countries.

It’s part of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. The national program is in its fourth year but this is the first time participants have spent time at a university prior to a summit in Washington.

Benefit Corporations Look Beyond The Profit Motive

Jun 18, 2014

A corporation has one core obligation: to make money. But some companies are signing a deal, promising to create not only profit but also a tangible benefit to society and the environment. They're called benefit corporations, and their movement has caught the ear of lawmakers across the country.

In the tiny town of Gilsum, N.H., you'll find the headquarters of W.S. Badger Co. Inc. The company makes all-natural cosmetics marketed under the name Badger Balm. When CEO Bill Whyte founded the company two decades ago, the staff was lean.

The computer hack of Austin-based Stratfor in 2011 resulted in credit card numbers and damaging emails being leaked online. A new investigative report from the Daily Dot examining still-sealed court records found that the FBI knew about the hack, because one of its informants helped to orchestrate it.

In addition to directly facilitating the breach, the FBI left Stratfor and its customers—which included defense contractors, police chiefs, and National Security Agency employees—vulnerable to future attacks and fraud, and it requested knowledge of the data theft to be withheld from affected customers. This decision would ultimately allow for millions of dollars in damages.

Daily Dot reporter Dell Cameron was a lead reporter on the story. Listen our interview with him here.

Online marketplace eBay says it was the target of a cyberattack in which hackers accessed a database of its encrypted passwords. The auction site says no financial data were revealed — but it's urging its users to update the passwords on their accounts.

EBay says that it hasn't seen any sign of fraudulent activity since the problem was first detected "about two weeks ago." It also said that it stores financial data and customer records in different places and that accounts of its direct-payment subsidiary, PayPal, were not affected by the data breach.

AT&T To Acquire Broadcast Provider DirecTV

May 19, 2014

Telecommunications giant AT&T and DirecTV announced Sunday that the two companies had reached a definitive agreement which would see AT&T acquiring the broadcast service provider.

AT&T is buying DirecTV for about $48.5 billion, reports The New York Times. But the Times reports that the deal, including debt, is valued at about $67 billion.

The San Antonio Spurs may not have rock star players like LeBron James – they don't have the resources. They might not have the youngest lineup, either (to say the least). And no, they're not flashy.

But the Spurs succeed so often – both on and off the court – they're now considered the top ranked team in the NBA, picked by many to win a fifth championship this year. They must be doing something right.

Sriracha hot sauce-maker Huy Fong Foods has been tussling with the City Council of Irwindale, Calif., near Los Angeles for months now over whether the factory's spicy smells harm its neighbors. There have been legal action and suggested fixes, but also pleas from other cities for the company to consider moving there.

David Tran, the CEO of Huy Fong, says he escaped from Vietnam almost 35 years ago to be free of the communist government there and its many intrusions.