at Capital Factory in Austin, TX
Last week President Obama took a trip to Austin, Texas to meet with Capital Factory entreprenuers to talk about how other cities could mimic Austin’s highly successful startup environment.
The President doesn’t just show up, the White House announced to us a week in advance that he was coming. Then over the course of the next 7 days an advanced secret service team flew out to plan all 30 minutes of his visit. That’s right, he met with us for 30 minutes and it required a full week of planning.
Two hours before he arrived the secret service asked all of us to leave the building to go through security. We then proceeded back in but this time through metal detectors and past bomb sniffing dogs. Once we arrived back in the office we were told to sit in our assigned seats until he arrived.
Obama walked in and for the first time I saw him in person. Live. He was thin and his head seemed oddly big for his body. He sort of reminded me of one of those bobbly heads that bounce around when you bump them. Maybe this distored perception of him was brought on by his larger than life role. He is the leader of the free world after all.
For the first ten minutes he seemed very stateman like. He droned on about politics and seemed bored. Then one of the startups did a product demo for him. He imediately lit up becoming animated and engaging. The real Obama was funny, smart, and charismatic. For the next 20 minutes we all sat glued watching the President work the room.
At the very end he walked over and shook my hand. Something about shaking his hand made me feel special. It was a totally surreal experience, one I’ll never forget.