Re-Elect Randi Shade For Austin City Council
Jun 6 2011

It’s been three years since I posted about my friend Randi Shade running for city council.  She ran back in 2008 and she’s running for re-election.  After the first round of votes, she is in a run-off.  I’ve known Randi for a long time.  She’s not afraid to speak her mind, admit her mistakes, take calculated risks, represent her constituents best interests, and follow her dreams.  She’s also a mom with two kids.

Randi Shade is the only person on the Austin City Council who is an entrepreneur. She launched a venture-backed Internet start-up in 1999 about the same time I launched my first company.  Then when the bubble burst she bootstrapped the company until she was able to sell it to a publicly traded company in 2005.  The company was also awarded a patent for its unique method for generating new money for charity.  Randi has been an ardent supporter of growing Austin’s tech sector, and she also served as the Executive Director and as a Board Member of the Austin Entrepreneurs Foundation.

She helped launch the Pecan Street Project to help Austin become a leader in smart grid technology and renewable energy.  She brings an important voice of reason and balance to the Austin City Council and that impacts us, too.  For example, Randi has a track record for opposing red tape that negatively impacts property and business owners. She has a track record for supporting new jobs especially in high tech, and recognizing that Austin is growing, she has always been willing to support development that makes sense.  While at the same time making sure that Austin has the infrastructure in place to support its growing needs.  This run-off election is a critical election.  Your vote matters. This is our Austin and we control its destiny by voting for the people who shape its future. We cannot afford to sit this election out. Early voting starts on Monday, June 6.  Here is where you can vote:

I believe that because of her and others support of the technology and entrepreneurial communities, Austin is one of the top cities in job growth in the country.  Austin has also been named one of the top most innovative cities in the country.

So if you live in Austin, please get out and vote!

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Randi Shade On Success
Mar 8 2009

Randi Shade is a friend of mine and she is currently a member of the Austin City Council.  She and I were both doing our first high-tech start-ups around the same time many moons ago.  I interviewed Randi for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, for an article that was published in the November/December 2005 issue.  My writing partner, Pam Losefksy, and I pulled these articles together and you can see them on the Success Profiles page of this blog.  You can see the full article on Randi by clicking HERE (pdf).

Randi received her BA from UT in 1988 and her MBA from Harvard.  She is currently an Austin City Council member and mother to two young kids.  She founded Charitygift, a company that allows people to make donations to charities via the Internet.  She was then the VP of gift cards for the company that acquired Charitygift.  Previously she was the director of the Entrepreneur’s Foundation and founding executive director of the Texas Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (now called the OneStar National Service Commission).  Shade was responsible for launching AmeriCorps in Texas.

We started the article with this quote by Randi:

Success to me is living a life that matters. I’ve tried to do that, combining my experiences in government, business, and philanthropy to do meaningful work, but I feel that you never really “achieve” success. You never get to do the touchdown dance, or cross the finish line, because success is a moving target.

She then went on to say.

When I went to business school, there were many people who said, “It’s important to spend the first third of your life learning, the second third earning, and the last third serving,” as if you can cap your career off with service, and it’s something you do in retirement. I completely disagree with that. I think you need to be doing all three throughout your life, simultaneously, and I believe that is a big part of success.

I think it’s true that ‘success is a moving target.’  Once you accomplish something you can savor it for a little bit but then it’s on to the next thing.  Here in the Western world we also define success in more material terms than in other cultures although the Western influence is strong and has permeated throughout the globe.  Other cultures sometimes measure success when one achieves nirvana or a state of being free from suffering and wanting.  It seems to me that both measures of success are fleeting unless you happen to be able to sit under a tree day & night and if you don’t have kids. 🙂

It is important to mix learning, earning, and serving, but I think the definitions of what those mean to different people are as varied as the colors in a rainbow.  I am always trying to learn from my observation of people.  People are fascinating to me so watching them, reading about them, and connecting with them helps me serve them.  I also think serving can be defined not only in the typical community service point of view but also being the best parent you can be to your children.  Ensuring your children are educated and taught to respect others is a huge service to the community and humanity.  I’m sure there are many of us who have seen the results of bad parenting on our society and even if you are not earning dollars while you are a stay at home parent, you are earning huge social capital, in my opinion, by contributing good, productive human beings into society.

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Randi Shade Running for Austin City Council
Apr 2 2008

Randi Shade, a long time friend of mine, is running for Austin City Council.  Check out the UT Alumni profile my writing partner and I did on her.  She started a tech company around the same time I started my first tech company and now she’s running for Austin City Council.  Randi has done some amazing things in her career from founding AmeriCorps in Texas to starting a company called Charity Gift, that let people give gifts that others could then use to donate to their favorite charity.  She is also a mother! 

She’s hosting a high-tech happy hour to inform the Austin technology community about her vision and reasons for running against an incumbent for Austin City Council.  If you live in Austin and want to hear her tech related thoughts, stop by!  I’m one of the hosts along with several others, including Thom Singer who did a very popular Networking and the Stay At Home Parent guest post on my blog a few weeks ago. 

Check out the page HERE and send your RSVP to  I hope to see you there!


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