Tuesday, April 22, 2014

MassTLC Welcomes Aericon, a Digital Marketing and User Experience Firm, as a Global Sponsor

Boston, Mass.-based Aericon offers digital marketing, creative services, and builds web and mobile applications

BOSTON, Mass., April 14, 2014 – The Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC), a leading technology association and premier network for technology executives, announced today that Aericon, a global  provider of advanced marketing solutions and user experience design services, has joined the organization as a Global Sponsor, a category that includes IBM, HP, Cisco, and other leading companies in the technology sector.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Aericon as a Global Sponsor - their support of MassTLC has helped us to significantly impact our audience and surpass our objectives. We are pleased to further expand our partnership with Aericon.” said Tom Hopcroft, President and CEO of MassTLC.

“MassTLC plays a significant role in cultivating the region’s next generation of leaders while stimulating economic growth opportunities. We are pleased to contribute to this important mission as a Global Sponsor,” said Dean Whitney, Chief Executive Officer for Aericon.

About Aericon

Founded in 2010, Aericon is a privately owned digital marketing and user experience firm that applies lean methodologies to create breakthrough campaigns and web and mobile solutions. With offices in Boston, Silicon Valley and Hong Kong and clients ranging from startups to Fortune 100 companies across the globe; Aericon helps clients save money and increase the return on their marketing investments. For more information visit http://aericon.com.

About Mass Technology Leadership Council

The Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) is the region's leading technology association and the premier network for tech executives, entrepreneurs, investors and policy leaders. MassTLC's purpose is to accelerate innovation by connecting people from across the technology landscape, providing access to industry-leading content and ideas and offering a platform for visibility for member companies and their interests. For more information on MassTLC, visit http://www.masstlc.org

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Securing Your Data, Availability and Reputation in the Cloud Seminar – March 21, 2014

The recent breakfast seminar, Securing Your Data, Availability and Reputation in the Cloud, held on March 21, 2014, brought together more than 75 security and IT professionals and entrepreneurs for an engaging, interactive discussion on key security considerations in a cloud environment.

Thanks very much to panelists Cricket Lui (Chief Infrastructure Officer, Infoblox), Chris Wysopal (Co-Founder and CTO, Veracode), Nick Levay (CSO, Bit9), and Chris Ray (Chief Information Security Officers, Epsilon), who offered seasoned guidance and critical tips to minimize security risks in a cloud environment, such as how to evaluate and trust your AWS and the strength of next-generation firewalls, especially in the wake of increasing DDoS attacks.

For additional information on DDoS attacks and the destruction they can bring, panelist and security expert Cricket Lui’s InfoWorld DeepDive recent special report, “The Ultimate Guide to Preventing DNS-based DDoS Attacks,” provides a comprehensive look specifically at DDoS attacks. Take a look for additional information on how DDoS attacks exploit and target DNS infrastructure, how companies can protect themselves from such attacks, and what to do should your company become a target.

A full recap of the Securing Your Data, Availability and Reputation in the Cloud seminar is available on CIO TechTarget:  “A Cloud First Strategy Call for Strong Security: Five Tips to Get There,” in an article by senior news writer Nicole Laskowski.

Thanks so much to the Constant Contact team for hosting us in their Waltham, MA headquarters, and to the MassTLC Cloud Cluster Sponsors:  Comcast Business, Oracle, Internap, Digital Realty and Logi Analytics. We appreciate your ongoing support!

The next Cloud Cluster event will be a May 2014 webinar to share the results from the recent Cloud Infrastructure Pricing Survey (more details coming soon!) Check out the Cloud Cluster main page for ongoing updates and information.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Future of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Testing in MA Seminar on April 8, 2014

The Future of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Testing in Massachusetts seminar brought together close to 100 attendees from industry and academia to state and government/military representatives. H. Carter Hunt, Vice President Defense Sector Initiatives at MassDevelopment, Joint Base Cape Cod, discussed the formation of NUAIR – the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance – made up of public organizations, private entities and academic institutions working together to establish FAA designated test sites for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in New York and Massachusetts.  The Massachusetts/New York team is one of 6 FAA test sites awarded 31 December 2013.  Still in its infancy – NUAIR is working with the other 5 sites to establish standards for operating and communicating.

The FAA has several standard requirements necessary prior to receiving a Certificate of Authorization in order to fly at the test range in and around the Joint Base Cape Cod.   These include a flight plan, risk management plan, safety plan, operating plan, license agreement, insurance coverage, etc.  For more information go to the Mass Development web site www.massdevelopment.com (The MassDevelopment presentation is posted on the robotics cluster page under past events)

Our diverse panel included:
  • Waseem Naqvi – NUAIR Board Member, AUVSI NE Vice President – Raytheon, Director Advanced Technology Programs
  • Frank Serna – NUAIR Board Member, AUVSI NE President, Co-Chair NDIA Systems Engineering Division and Principal Director, Strategic Initiatives at Draper
  • Jason Walker - Lead Roboticist, Director of Operations, CyPhy Works Inc.
  • Adam Norton – UMASS Lowell New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation (NERVE) Center Manager

Panelists gave their views on the future potential UAV applications from agriculture to structural inspection and from crowd sourcing to environmental monitoring and entertained questions from the audience for nearly an hour and a half.  There was no lack of questions from the audience! 

Thank you to everyone who came out today in the rain storm – and to our speaker and panelists – and to IBM for a great venue!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Building a Lean, Mean, Self-Perpetuating Marketing Machine

Thank you to everyone that attended MassTLC’s sold out Sales and Marketing summit “Building a Lean, Self-Perpetuating Marketing Machine” on April 4, 2014.  The day started off strong with the sun shining brightly at the UMASS Boston campus – finally! 

Two guest bloggers provided terrific overviews of the event.  Michael Gerard, CMO at Curata penned the first post with key takeaways across each session at the summit. Links to the keynote presentations can be found on the Curata blog as well as here for David Skok's slides and here for the SiriusDecision slides.

In addition, the day also consisted of a marketing technology fast pitch.  Ten companies were given 90 seconds to pitch the audience on their marketing and sales technologies.  There was no winner as it wasn’t a contest but the audience walked away armed with information on some of Boston’s latest new technologies to help them solve their sales and marketing challenges.  Check them out: Assembla, Black Ink, Bluetrain.io, Brainshark, Evergage, Epsilon, Proximate, Quant5, V.I. Labs, Vsnap

Next, Alan Belniak, who presented the content strategy workshop along with Jonathan Burg from Apperian writes the following about his session:

Growth Hacking, Modern Marketing, MVP and Serendipitous Virality…  call it what you like.  The way successful products go to market today has little to do with accident and much to do with the approach before the product hits the virtual shelves.

Speakers such as David Skok, Brian Balfour, Damian Roskill, Heather Loisel, Michael Yaffe and Justine Jordan all shared examples and tales of what they done as part of the front lines of product and marketing, strategy, and entrepreneurship.  It’s never easy. There is no silver bullet.  But there are some things that are repeatable.  I’m hopeful my colleagues shared their slides so you can get a sense of the great discussion that led up to this workshop.

So where does content fit into all of this?  Smaller companies rarely have tons of extra cash lying around for a huge paid media push.  And even if they did, that’s a temporary boost that’s often fleeting.  What’s a company or product to do?

Create useful, interesting, relevant content that gets viewed, downloaded, shared, commented on, and generally advances a suspect or prospect through the marketing funnel by befriended them and aligning content with their needs.

Oh, that’s it?  Great.  Off to the races, then!

Not so fast.

Who are you talking to?  To whom do they listen?  What keeps them up at night?  Will podcasts work for them, or maybe just blog posts? Or neither?  What content do you already have that you can use?  Will they be consuming the right content at the right time for the right reason?  How much?  How often?
These are the kinds of questions you need to answer to develop your content marketing strategy, and that strategy needs to align to your funnel.

These are the questions, and more, that Jonathan Burg and I set out to ask and help answer in our 90-minute workshop/audience participation session of the summit.  The slides are below for your download and use, complete with the handouts during the exercises.

All in all, it was a great session.  There was some good information sharing from the tables as we walked around, as well as when we surveyed the audience for the brave souls willing to share their stories.
What about you?  If you attended, do you have a story to tell from the workshop?  If not, we’d love to see some of your reactions below.  Sound off either way in the comments below.

Thank  you to our Global sponsors and to our sales and marketing community sponsors, Dassault Systemes, Evergage and SiriusDecisions for helping us host a valuable day for marketing and sales executives throughout the state.

Alan can be reached at @abelniak on twitter or Google+

We scheduled our next CMO/VP of Marketing peer to peer group for May 15th. Ed Jennings, CMO at Veracode is hosting and discussing Driving Pipeline; Where Sales & Marketing Meet.  If you would like to join us and need the passcode, please email christine@masstlc.org. This meeting is exclusively for CMOs/VPs of Marketing of technology companies.

We are also launching a new demand gen peer group for heads, directors and VPs of demand/lead generation at technology companies. Email me if you are interested in participating.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Next Generation of Big Data Recap

One hundred people gathered at Microsoft NERD for the Big Data Cluster’s seminar on February 28, 2014, where the morning was kicked off by Sastry Chilikuri, Partner at McKinsey & Co. Sastry’s keynote went through four lessons he has discovered are critical to a successful big data program.

  1. Transformation journey. Communication and access to data is key.
  2. Open data. Governments are moving towards open data platforms and sharing more information with the public. Companies are using social media more and more to gather insights on their customers.
  3. Organization and talent. It takes a team of people who can bridge the different gaps required for a successful big data workflow.
  4. Frontline adoption. The end result must be to take advantage of the insights gathered through the data.

Sastry closed his keynote remarking that those organizations who are most successful in the big data journey are those that master the feedback loop. From there our panel got started in on the trends they are seeing and where the biggest opportunities within big data can be found.

Marilyn Matz, Co-Founder and CEO of Paradigm4, sees one of the biggest opportunities for organizations is to take advantage of the multiple data sources now available to them. Jon Pilkington, Vice President of Products at Datawatch spoke of using a combination of real time and stored data to garner insights and then to have the ability to display to the end user. Iran Hutchinson, Product Manager and Software/Systems Architect at Intersystems talked about the need for interoperability and the need to work within a single platform.

Bob Zurek, Senior Vice President of Product at Epsilon went in a slightly different direction, away from data, tools, and platforms and spoke about developing the next generation of data scientists and the adoption of new academic curriculums being offered.

Tools and Applications and Workforce
There was some slight debate on whether one size can fit all within the big data stack. Generally organizations must serve multiple needs across multiple consumer types and there is no one software that can accommodate everything, which is why many organizations use a combination of tools and applications. And with that, we’ll be seeing more pre-packaged and less complicated tools which can be used by business intelligence specialists not just data scientists.

Ultimately the panel understood that to create and implement a big data strategy – ultimately to get the
data to where it needs to be - is hard and you need to hire the people that know how to do it. And what can often help is a large integrator to identify the right tools for the stack and then put them into process.

Final take-aways
Big data is not a new phenomenon. Business intelligence has been done for many years. But the questions we ask and the answers that are provided are more complex. There needs to be a focus on business and an understanding that there are no shortcuts. But overall we have an amazing opportunity with so many benefits to the way in which we work and live.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

MassTLC Welcomes Longtime Member PTC to Elevated Global Sponsorship Level

PTC to Play Key Role in Helping MassTLC Launch Internet of Things Cluster

CAMBRIDGE, MASS., March 11, 2014 – The Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC), a leading technology association and premier network for technology executives, announced today that longtime member PTC (Nasdaq: PTC) has increased its membership in the organization to Global Sponsor. Based in Needham, PTC develops technology solutions that help companies create, operate, and service products for a smart, connected world.

“At MassTLC, we take great pride in the success of homegrown technology leaders like PTC,” said Tom Hopcroft, President and CEO of MassTLC.  “From its early roots as a local startup that redefined the market for product design software, to today when PTC is a billion dollar global company poised to help set the agenda for the emerging Internet of Things, PTC has shown its commitment to Massachusetts. We’re pleased that the company has elected to raise its level of engagement in the community and become a Global Sponsor of MassTLC.”

“As a longtime member of MassTLC, PTC has enjoyed helping shape the organization’s agenda and benefitted from its many programs,” said Eric Snow, PTC’s vice president of corporate communications.  “MassTLC is helpful in fostering a culture of innovation in Massachusetts through industry education and networking, workforce development, and public policy advocacy.  We are pleased to increase our level of involvement in MassTLC this year and look forward to helping launch the new Internet of Things cluster.”

PTC enables manufacturers to achieve sustained product and service advantage in the Internet of Things era. The company's technology solutions transform the way products are created, operated, and serviced across the entire product lifecycle – from conception and design to sourcing and service. Founded in 1985, PTC employs over 6,000 professionals serving more than 28,000 businesses in rapidly-evolving, globally distributed manufacturing industries worldwide.

About Mass Technology Leadership Council

The Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) is the region's leading technology association and the premier network for tech executives, entrepreneurs, investors and policy leaders. MassTLC's purpose is to accelerate innovation by connecting people from across the technology landscape, providing access to industry-leading content and ideas and offering a platform for visibility for member companies and their interests. For more information on MassTLC, visit http://www.masstlc.org.

Mobile World Congress Debrief

At MassTLC’s recent Mobile World Congress Debrief on March 7, 2014, an audience of mobile app developers, infrastructure providers, investors and analysts gathered to hear our panel discuss their observations from the 2014 Mobile World Congress (MWC).   Nitzan Shaer, Managing Partner at High Start Group, moderated the panel, which included:
  • Gene Dolgin, Senior Manager, Endeavour Partners
  • Meredith Flynn-Ripley, CEO, Heywire
  • Mads Lillelund, VP and GM, Bluesocket Business Group, ADTRAN
  • Victor Milligan, CMO, Nexage
  • Stuart Taylor, Managing Director, Service Provider Transformation Group, Cisco

All of the panelists agreed that applications have now taken center stage at MWC.  Carriers have seen their influence at the event decline and are now trying to attract attention to their services.    Among the big ideas that the panelist took away from MWC are:
  • There is a widening divide between carriers and applications developers
  • Carriers are trying to sell services now and are no longer the center of the mobile universe
  • Every player on the periphery of mobile is struggling to understand the apps world
  • Europe, Asia and to a lesser extent the U.S. are working on city-wide mobile deployments (smart cities)
  • Ancillary spaces like healthcare are getting pulled into mobile but do not understand it
  • Big device makers are getting close to or surpassing the smaller plays in terms of UX/user design

Other observations from our panelists included:
  • GPS-driven apps, especially in the healthcare/exercise space, were big at MWC
  • IoT is finally real, after years of buzz about it; this is related to the smart cities trend
  • A large number of cars were present at the show, highlighting the integration of mobile apps in a traditional heavy manufacturing industry
  • M2M, even more than wearables, is experiencing the fastest growth.  Healthcare and automotive are two verticals that are driving M2M
  • Security was much discussed at MWC
  • Data analytics companies had a limited presence at the conference, but advertising was center stage

Mobile in the enterprise was also discussed.  The panelists felt that getting the right apps and content under the enterprise’s control was the biggest issue for the enterprise.  There was a belief that the mobile enterprise strategy is moving beyond IT’s control.  Hyper-adoption by consumers is impacting enterprises as workers bring their devices and apps into the workplace.  The upside for the enterprise is that costs get passed onto employees who pay for their own devices and apps, and productivity increases as employees tend to work more hours because they are always connected. 

When asked for predictions about what will be big at 2015’s MWC, our panelists had a range of answers, including: 
  • Mobile payments
  • Cars/wearables
  • Virtualization/software defined network solutions
  • In-home mobile apps
  • 5G
  • Monetization of apps independent of carriers
  • Use of data intelligence
  • Apps mirroring how users act and live. 

Thanks to everyone that joined us, to our moderator and panelists and to the Workbar team for hosting us.  Please feel free to share your observations about MWC or mobile trends in the comments section.

Friday, February 28, 2014

New Sales and Marketing Cluster Co-Chairs Named by MassTLC

Continuum’s Jeanne Hopkins and HubSpot’s Mark Roberge to Focus MassTLC Sales and Marketing Group on Best Practices and Strategies to Help Massachusetts Companies Drive Revenue

BURLINGTON, Mass. – Feb. 28, 2014 – The Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC), the region’s leading technology association and the premier network, has confirmed Jeanne Hopkins, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Continuum and Mark Roberge, Chief Revenue Officer at HubSpot, as co-chairs of the MassTLC Sales and Marketing Community. The prestigious peer-to-peer group is focused on meeting various needs of sales and marketing professionals of technology and other companies. The two will provide thought leadership and a voice for the group’s direction and assist in managing advisory board meetings and industry events and programs. The group focuses on best practices and strategies that help Massachusetts’ companies drive revenue.

"Having Jeanne and Mark help lead the sales and marketing community of MassTLC is a huge asset for MassTLC and the local industry, “said Tom Hopcroft, CEO at MassTLC. “We have built a strong, regional community that is helping to drive companies forward in Massachusetts. Jeanne and Mark are tremendous thought leaders in the technology space and know how to build a community and help move the tech industry forward through sales and marketing advancement. They bring diversity, leading edge ideas and a passion for helping people succeed. We look forward to great things in 2014.”

Jeanne has over 20 years of sales and marketing experience and is renowned in data-driven, high-velocity demand creation marketing programs for high-growth SaaS companies. Co-author of a No. 1 best-selling mobile marketing book on Amazon.com, Go Mobile, she joined Continuum, the technology industry's only channel-exclusive provider of fully integrated managed services, in 2013 and is responsible for all acquisition and partner marketing initiatives. She was Vice President of Marketing at HubSpot, where her marketing leadership helped the company become the second-fastest growing software company in the Inc. 500, by generating over 50,000 net new leads each month. Follow her on Twitter @jeannehopkins.

Prior to his role as Chief Revenue Officer at HubSpot, a leading inbound marketing software company, Mark served as the company’s SVP of Worldwide Sales and Services from 2007 to 2013, during which time he increased revenue over 6,000% and expanded the team from 1 to 450 employees. Prior to HubSpot, Mark founded and held executive positions at start-ups in the social media and mobile sector. He started his career as a Technology Consultant with Accenture. Follow Mark on Twitter @markroberge.

Mark and Jeanne join other leading sales and marketing executive members of the MassTLC Sales and Marketing Cluster, including Kathie Johnson, VP, Global Advertising & Marketing Operations at Dassault Systemes; Mark Lorion, CMO at Apperian; and Christine Nolan, Director of Communities at MassTLC.

MassTLC hosts various events throughout the year. Registration is now soon for the Sales & Marketing Summit: Building a Self-Perpetuating Marketing Machine being held on Friday, April 4, 2014. For more information, visit: http://www.masstlc.org/events/event_details.asp?id=400995&group=.

For more information on the MassTLC Sales and Marketing Community, visit: http://www.masstlc.org/?page=SalesMarketing

About MassTLCThe Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) is the region’s leading technology association and the premier network for tech executives, entrepreneurs, investors and policy leaders. MassTLC’s purpose is to accelerate innovation by connecting people from across the technology landscape, providing access to industry-leading content and ideas and offering a platform for visibility for member companies and their interests. With a membership of over 500 companies and growing, MassTLC is a vibrant tech community that serves its members in a myriad of ways. For more information, visit: http://www.masstlc.org.

Christine Nolan

Monday, February 17, 2014

Propelling Tech Recovery and New Economic Opportunities in Massachusetts

Article by: Peter Gorman, Senior Communications Consultant

Where does technology stand in Massachusetts and how does it compare with other states? What impact does technology in the Commonwealth have on the overall job market, wages and the growth of the Massachusetts economy? And how can Massachusetts continue to propel growth in the Tech Sector? These are just some of the questions discussed at The Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council’s (MassTLC) Annual Meeting, held on Thursday, February 13th, at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel in Boston.

Despite upwards of eight inches of new, wet snow falling on the Boston region, several hundred registrants attended to hear the perspectives of the meeting’s renowned list of speakers, including: Dr. Michael Mandel, Chief Economic Strategist of Progressive Policy Institute and Greg Bialecki, Massachusetts Secretary of Housing & Economic Development. While originally scheduled to speak, the weather unfortunately prevented Michael Beckerman, President & CEO of the Internet Association from attending the event.

MassTLC President & CEO Tom Hopcroft kicked-off the meeting by presenting attendees with a summary of MassTLC’s 2014 State of Technology report, which benchmarks the tech sector’s impact on the Massachusetts economy. Using data compiled by researchers at the University of Massachusetts’ Donahue Institute between October 2013 and January 2014, the report reveals that the tech sector is a significant driver of jobs, wages, and tax revenues in the Commonwealth, with the sector underpinning $156 billion in economic output.

In 2010, the Council challenged its members and the Commonwealth to build on Massachusetts’ technology legacy and realize the potential for new jobs and tech innovation. This 2020 Challenge set as a goal the creation of 100,000 new technology jobs by the end of the decade – a development that, if realized, would have a tremendous impact not only for the state and its residents, but for those who benefit from the technology created and applied here.MassTLC’s 2014 State of Technology report reflects on these goals.

Highlighting the positive trajectory of growth that the Commonwealth’s tech sector currently offers, the report also emphasizes the importance of collaboration between policy-makers and the private industry to address fundamental issues that impact the tech sector in Massachusetts, such as:
  • Talent retention and workforce development
  • Access to capital, infrastructure and transportation improvements
  • Costs and policies that impact the Commonwealth’s impact on the global economy
Some of the key findings of the report include:
  • The tech sector is the biggest innovation sector.
    • 13,500 companies or 6.0% of all companies in the state
    • 209,000 or 6.5% of workforce
  • Tech has impact across the entire economy.
    • With jobs multiplier of 2.95%, tech underpins
      • 620,000 jobs, almost one-fifth (19.1%) of the MA workforce
      • $50.6 billion, over one-quarter of payroll in MA
      • $6.8 billion in state and local taxes
      • $156 billion in economic output
      • Tech jobs in MA pay a competitive $116,000 average annual wage; the third highest among leading tech states
  • Tech has been growing and executives anticipate further growth.
    • From 2009-2012, tech has added
      • 1,746 companies an increase of 14.9%
      • 11,099 jobs (from 198,062 to 209,161), an increase of 5.6%
  • Outpacing CA (4.9%) and U.S. (4.0%) tech sectors; and well above the state average of 3.4%
      • 81% of MA tech execs anticipate hiring for newly created positions in 2014 (compared with 63% nationally)

“The history of technology in Massachusetts has been well chronicled. But what is happening around technology in Massachusetts today – and what the future promises – is far more exciting,” said Hopcroft. “The findings in this year’s report show that we’re nearly on track with our 2020 Challenge. I remain optimistic that if we engage in a thoughtful and deliberate dialogue with policy-makers on these and other key issues, we can better promote the growth and reach of the Commonwealth’s Tech Sector in 2014 and beyond.”

[Note: A full version of MassTLC’s 2014 State of Technology report can be downloaded here.]

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who attended the meeting to hear the findings of the new report, reiterated the progress presented by Hopcroft, stating that while Massachusetts has seen great progress, the Commonwealth still has a way to go in terms of partnering tech companies with other industries to further improve the tech scene in Massachusetts.

“I want Boston to become the technology capital of the world,” said Walsh. Audience members applauded Walsh upon hearing of his administration’s plans to further improve broadband in the Boston area and his plans to work with partners in Washington to keep the Internet industry neutral.

Speaking from his research on the economic growth of technology in the Boston as well as other cities, including New York and San Francisco, Dr. Michael Mandel then took to the stage to discuss the need to leverage education to foster economic growth in the Commonwealth. Mandel’s research showed that while the job market for tech-based jobs has continued to grow at a steady pace in Massachusetts, the number of college students graduating with computer and information science degrees has seen a sharp decline since 2004. “We are in the midst of a tech boom and we need to start seeing a closer merger of supply and demand between the job market and the degrees that students are receiving,” said Mandel.

Using the new 94Fifty basketball as an example, Mandel reminded attendees of the ripple effects that technology has on a growing swath of industries and applications…from retail and payroll to healthcare, exercise, home security and the automobile industry. “More innovation creates more jobs,” said Mandel, while also suggesting that to grow the sector intelligently, a path of ‘rational exuberance’ should be considered.

Greg Bialecki reinforced Mandel’s statement about the effects of technology on so many other industries. “Innovation is not just about software, he said. “Revolutionary changes are happening in many industries as a result of the Internet.” Bialecki then went on to discuss the emergence of the region’s Innovation Centers in Cambridge and Boston, noting that he and Governor Deval Patrick would like to see the expansion of Innovation Centers in other areas of Massachusetts as well.

“We should aim for doubling the size of our innovation economy over the next decade,” said Bialecki. To succeed at doing this, Bialecki proposed more housing and better infrastructure; better workforce laws and policies to support growth; a tech industry that is civically engaged; and self-confidence in what we can achieve.

Tim Rowe, Founder & CEO of the Cambridge Innovation Center concluded the breakfast meeting by moderating an open forum discussion in which Bialecki and Mandel were joined onstage by a panel of Massachusetts tech sector leaders including: Meredith Flynn-Riply, CEO of HeyWire; Cathy Wissink Director, Technology Community Engagement of Microsoft; Anthony Longo, Co-Founder & CEO of CO Everywhere; Cory Von Wallenstein, CTO of Dyn.com; and James Geshwiler, Managing Director of CommonAngels. These tech leaders provided feedback on the day’s presentations and shared some of their own ideas on how further improvements could be made in the Massachusetts tech sector. Some of the discussions from this panel included:
  • Whether it was more of a challenge to create more tech jobs or to increase the number of college students majoring in tech-related fields;
  • Pros and cons of ‘workforce suburbanization,’ given that technology advances now allow for a more distributed workforce
  • How to attract more tech media to Massachusetts
While the Commonwealth has made great strides in rebuilding the Commonwealth’s position as one of the nation’s leading tech hubs, more needs to be accomplished to help us meet the goals of the 2020 Challenge. To ensure continued job growth in the tech sector, policy-makers and the tech industry must work collaboratively to address talent retention and workforce development; access to capital; infrastructure and transportation improvements; and costs and policies that impact our competitiveness in the global economy. Over the coming year, we look forward to seeing the progress that the Commonwealth’s tech community and policy makers achieve in turning Massachusetts into the pride of the nation for tech innovation.

For a complimentary copy of the report, MassTLC’s 2014 State of Technology: Benchmarking the Tech Sector’s Impact On the Massachusetts Economy, please visit: http://www.masstlc.org/?page=2014StateofTech

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Employee Engagement is All About Culture

Workforce Development Seminar  |  February 7, 2014

A crowd of workforce development professionals gathered at iRobot for a discussion on employee engagement.  We took a deep dive on programs and initiatives that increase employee engagement and retention.  It starts with measurement and then continually working to improve culture and thus, engagement. 

Our panel was moderated by Tom Hart, CMO at Eliassen Group.  The panel consisted of Kristen Kenny, Director of People Operations at HubSpot, Megan Anatole, Sr. Director of HR and Brightcove and Peter Dube, Director of Executive Talent Acquisition at Philips in Andover.  The detailed strategies and different perspectives from the group was resonated the loudest with the audience.

Kristen lead off the discussion stating that HubSpot has created a great culture to attract great people.  They have built their company around Dharmesh’s Culture Code presentation.  It’s definitely worth checking out if you haven’t done so already.   They measure employee engagement and happiness quarterly using the NetPromoter score asking all employees, “Would you recommend HubSpot as a place to work?” and “What is the one thing to raise that score?”  Quarter to quarter it can vary and it drives their cultural spend.  Here are a few tips given by Kristen:

  • Peer bonuses – each month every person gets $100 to give to a peer
  • Free books – email Dharmesh a book you want to read, and he sends it to your Kindle
  • HubTalks – bring in big speakers – the Governor, Patty McCord, Cheryl Sandberg
  • Ask regularly, on scale of 0-10, how satisfied are you with your career growth?
  • HubSpot has always had an unlimited vacation policy.  Some teams felt they were unable to use it because of work load.  To avoid this, they guarantee the sales team two months guaranteed quota so that they can take at least two weeks of vacation per year.  
  • Two weeks is mandatory in their organization to avoid burnout. 

Next Megan from Brightcove shared some terrific tips.  Brightcove has about 400 employees adding another 60 people just recently due to an acquisition in Arizona.  Their HR department consists of seven people that manage 13 locations. With their steep growth rates and IPO in 2012, maintaining the same culture isn’t always easy.

They survey their employees annually. Their people like being part of a high growth company and from a software development perspective they enjoy working on new cool things all the time.  In 2013 their survey revealed they want open communication, compensation and career growth.
They have had to manage spend and conduct focus groups so that if employees want a benefit added, they may lose something elsewhere.  For example, this year they implemented 401K match and tuition reimbursement but their healthcare plan took a hit.  Here are a few tips from Megan:

  • We offer a fully stocked kitchen and summer happy hours!
  • Philanthropic Program - employees can take off 2 days a year, and Brightcove matches an employee’s philanthropic donations
  • Engineering focus: hack weeks once per quarter to inspire engineering to work on something new and exciting vs. the sprints
  • Their unlimited vacation policy is for US only and they welcome any insights on how to manage this.
  • They first implemented unlimited vacation on January 1st with no carry over or accrual.  
  • They’ve been very generous with hourly employees on how much vacation they have to eliminate any issues. 

Peter Dube from Philips spoke next with definitely a different prospective.  Philips has been in business for 120 years and add approximately 2500-3000 in the US annually.  They have a total of about 26,000 people in the US, 5,000 on their Andover, MA campus.  Their core mission is all about improving lives and this has been a core recruitment tool.  People come to work for Philips because they want to do meaningful work and they want a good work/life balance.  More tips for you to consider in your workplace:

  • They recently started a work/life balance index to measure how they rank across the industry. 
  • Philips is in the top 3 every year of sustainable companies
  • Their employee manifesto is all about innovation happening by people.  They want a culture where people make it personal and bring their passions to work.  Check out some of their people and their talents on these videos.  
  • Philips has developed customized personal development plans that are reviewed annually with each employee
  • They have a very competitive 401K matching 7% on 6%
  • No offices – CEO doesn’t have an office – it’s bright, open, collaborative and distracting J
  • The Philips Cares program pays its employees to do volunteer activities – 2-3 days/year
  • For healthcare, Philips has taken a population approach to lowering costs.  It costs more if you smoke.  There are incentives to live a healthier lifestyle.  They are self-insured so have a big stake in the health of their population.
  • 40% of people are hired from within so there is a good ladder of growth available

All the links above direct you to the career pages of these companies – just in case you are interested in checking them out! J  Thanks to iRobot for hosting and to our workforce development community sponsor Kronos.  It’s with the support from these companies that we can continue to deliver these great programs to help advance you and your company.