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J. Nevin Shaffer. JR. Licensed patent attorney registration number 29,858 Member of the Alabama, Florida and Texas Bars "If you are in business, you have intellectual property!"®
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Home > Media > Articles > SILICON SANDS: A vision from a Texas transplant

SILICON SANDS: A vision from a Texas transplant

Thirty-eight years ago Austin, Texas looked a lot like Pensacola. It was the best big city in Texas because it was the smallest and it had, and for the most part still has, everything the rest of Texas doesn’t have: trees, hills, water, and a good night life! (By the way, a whole lot of Texas looks just like you think it does, cactus and dirt.) By 2000 though, it had changed dramatically. It still had and has the aforementioned advantages but it got too crowded for me and my family so we moved to Gulf Breeze. I miss Texas BBQ and Texmex but I don’t miss the traffic and congestion and besides Texas has no beach that compares to the best beach in the US.

So who cares? Well, I am a patent attorney and for 38 years I have met and worked with clients who I call “Visionaries”. By my definition, a “visionary” is a person who encounters “problems” or “economic opportunities” and then sees solutions. They are invariably under the mistaken impression that everyone else faces reality the same way they do. It is my sad duty to inform them that just isn’t so. I believe the world is mostly full of folks like me. I just see problems and then I die. I would still be opening my garage door by hand if some visionary hadn’t said “That’s stupid. Put a motor on it!” But even though I, so far as I know, have never had an original idea in my life, I have had a Vision.

So what, you might ask? Well, since 1980 Austin has transformed from a cool country city to an economic intellectual property juggernaut. From a state capital with a pretty good football team to the “SILICON HILLS” proudly standing toe-to-toe with the goliath called SILICON VALLEY.

How this happened is the point of this story. In the late ‘80’s or so, Microelectronics Computer Consortium (MCC), a group of high tech companies from around the country had banded together to fight the foreign participants in this field (mostly Japan). They needed a place to call home. Selection as their home would be a big boost for any city and the competition was fierce. The winner was Austin because it had the three things MCC was looking for in a new home: An international airport, lots of educated young people looking to stay in the area, and cheap dirt.

My family and I became Gulf Breeze residents because it is the prettiest, best place in the country to raise kids and grow old in our opinion. And, even though I am not a visionary, I can’t help but notice we also have the same three things MCC was looking for then and every business is looking for now: An international airport, lots of educated young folks that would like to stay here and a lot prettier cheap real estate…thus in my vision I see the “SILICON SANDS” in our future. If I am right, buckle up! It’s going to be a great ride!

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