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I'm a tech executive who moved from Silicon Valley to Houston. I know firsthand why the tech industry is packing up and hightailing it to Texas.

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Yang Tang, the author of this piece, left Silicon Valley for Texas.

Yang Tang


  • Texas is poised to outpace California in industrial innovation.
  • There is a reason venture capitalists are pouring millions of dollars into tech innovation in Texas.
  • Texas is home to incredible diversity, a spirit of ingenuity, and major industries that need innovation. 
  • Yang Tang is the chief technology officer at Houston-based GoExpedi.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author. 

Here’s something you already know: California-based businesses – Tesla, Oracle, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and many others – have made Texas the state of choice when it comes to relocating headquarters and opening satellite offices for several years now.

The reasons? It’s cheaper to operate a business; there is no state income tax; there is an abundance of land, pro-business policies, lower cost of living, significant talent pool for hiring; and the list goes on and on.

But let’s discuss something that may boggle some minds — at least for those who are out-of-state looking in. Why are tech executives leaving Silicon Valley? It’s easy to understand why an oil and gas company would relocate to Texas — Houston is the energy capital of the world — or even healthcare startups — the city is home to some of the world’s premier medical centers, but why would technology companies leave the reigning epicenter of the tech universe for the Lone Star state?

The primary reason, in my opinion, is because of the opportunities to apply new technologies in our country’s largest industrial sectors. I am Texas’s latest Silicon Valley transplant and am witnessing this firsthand. 

Like many other tech executives, I think Texas is positioned to outpace California due to its proximity to the world’s top companies in energy, healthcare, and aerospace, to name a few, and its willingness to innovate with technology in those industries. 

That’s why I’m here, leading the technology operations for an emerging e-commerce company for industrial businesses like oil and gas, manufacturing, and others. Before I dive into the immense opportunities for enterprises driven by the state, I’d like to quickly share my journey so you can better understand why there’s no place like Texas. 

My journey

My father grew up in communist China in tenement housing. Living with his family of 12 in a single room, he was the only child to attend college. He knew it would be nearly impossible to be successful through hard work alone given various cultural shifts by the country following his graduation. Therefore, he moved to the US a few years later and built a career in astrophysics and data mining. He eventually landed a rewarding financial services career in Boston — where I’m from.

I graduated from universities on the East and West coast — most recently the MIT Executive MBA program — and worked most of my career for companies with footprints in Silicon Valley, from Accenture to eBay to Walmart to ABInBev. During my time in that area, I personally witnessed what works and what can be improved upon in an increasingly digital world.

… And I will go to Texas

Don’t get me wrong. Silicon Valley has and will continue to pave the way for some of the world’s most forward-thinking companies, supported by its specialized tech workforce, concentration of capital, and world-class educational institutions. However, in today’s world, I believe the innovation stemming from this region is incremental compared to what I’ve observed in Houston. 

Out of all the major and booming markets of Texas that house various large industries I chose Houston as my new hometown for its diversity of people and thought. The city’s major port, healthcare systems, and energy sector have had a significant effect on the local, state, and national economies and have set Houston apart from the rest of Texas. Additionally, as the most diverse city in the country, Houston presents endless opportunities and is a melting pot for new ideas and the spirit of ingenuity — the same spirit and community that created Viet-Cajun Crawfish

That’s what makes Houston a prime location for the next wave of innovation. Industrial companies in the region are securing millions of venture capital dollars annually — $2.6 billion in total over the last five years — and are allowing engineers, like myself, to do what they do best: use their tech, resources, skills, and knowledge to solve unique and complex issues out in the field. That’s where the true power of technology takes shape and allows us to grow economies, attract more jobs and talent, improve lifestyle and beyond. 

Prime examples are the revitalization of the aerospace industry from Elon Musk’s SpaceX in Boca Chica, Texas, and Houston-based biopharma company Nanospectra, which is spearheading a patient-centric use of nanomedicine for the removal of cancerous tissue. 

The same yearning for opportunity and innovation my father experienced can now be found in Houston – not just on the East and West coasts. If folks looking in still don’t see Houston and Texas as the next technology mecca, they soon will.

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How I started a side hustle working as a travel agent, specializing in Disney vacations

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Part-time travel agent Chelsea Guffy grew up in Florida about two hours away from Disney World and has always loved to travel.


Chelsea Guffy





  • Chelsea Guffy recently began a side hustle as a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations.
  • “I thought to myself, ‘Okay, this could be something really cool,’ Guffy said when a friend she helped advise on a Disney vacation suggested she do it as a job. 
  • This is Chelsea Guffy’s story, as told to writer Jamie Killin.

This is an as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Chelsea Guffy, who recently began a side hustle as a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations. It has been edited for length and clarity.

Last year, I noticed on social media that one of my sorority sisters had started working as a travel agent on a lot of Disney vacations and working for a travel agency called ET Family Travel.

I had a Disney vacation coming up that November, and I had already booked the whole thing but I had asked her if she could get me dining reservations, because those are the hardest thing to get at Disney World, and she agreed. She helped me get all the dining reservations that I wanted.

Then she said to me, “Chelsea, you know Disney in and out. You should come on as an agent.” So, I thought about it, and come the new year I thought to myself, “Okay, this could be something really cool.” I joined the team and I fell in love with it.

Travel is just in my blood, and I love booking vacations for my family, so it was a no-brainer.

I grew up in Florida about two hours away from Disney World and grew up going.

Chelsea Guffy recently began a side hustle as a travel agent, is seen here at Epcot Center with the iconic “golf ball” after starting a side hustle as a travel agent..isney vacations


Chelsea Guffy



 The first time I went, I was probably three weeks old. I’ve always had a love for travel – I studied abroad in college, and when I was growing up my family would take trips at least once a year to different places all over the country.

Travel is just in my blood, and I love booking vacations for my family, so it was a no-brainer that I’d like doing it for other people.

The agency I work for focuses on Disney and family-friendly trips, so most agents focus on theme park vacations. However, we do all kinds of travel. I mainly focused on Disney at first, but then I got requests from my friends, so I decided to branch out.

I did a United Kingdom trip for a friend of mine in June, and now I’m doing another UK trip as well as a New York trip. I’ve also helped with California trips and even staycations.

My clientele is primarily my friends and people in my network, but now I’ve had two clients who I did not know previously – one reached out to me through my social media, and another was a referral through the agency.

Chelsea Guffy who has started a side hustle as a travel agent says that “travel is just in my blood, and I love booking vacations for my family, so it was a no-brainer that I’d like doing it for other people.”


Chelsea Guffy



I’m able to help my clients save a lot of time. I have a lot of knowledge; while they might need months to plan a trip, I can do it for them in three weeks. Sometimes I also find lower prices for them.

I also make sure to tell my clients that this is my second job and that I have a full-time job. I try to give as much time to my clients as I can – but I make sure to set expectations.

I do also get benefits like free Disney tickets and discounts at hotels.

As a side hustle, it’s nice to have the extra cash. I am an independent contractor who makes money based on commissions from the theme parks and hotels. There can also be perks from vendors we work with, which is a benefit for a travel enthusiast like myself.

The amount of time I spend on the job varies, but I average 12 to 15 hours a week in addition to my full-time job. I start as soon as my son goes to bed, so 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. are my prime.  It works because I’m a person that likes to be busy – we’re always go, go, go.

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Startup Business Grants: Best Options and Alternative Funding Sources

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