Tuesday, October 27, 2009

BBN Founder Leo Beranek Interviewed by Council Chair Steve O'Leary

MassTLC arranged for this year's Commonwealth Award recipient Leo Beranek, founder of Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN Technologies) to sit down with Council Chairman Steve O'Leary at the Harvard Club for an exclusive interview that will appear in an upcoming edition of Mass High Tech.

During his 70 year career, Dr Beranek played the role of scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, musician, television executive, philanthropist, and author. His story is a fascinating journey including chance meetings that altered his trajectory and sheer determination.

Join us on November 5th at the Mass Technology Leadership Awards where we will hear from, and honor, Dr Beranek. You can read about his life in his memoir, Riding the Waves: A Life in Sound, Science, and Industry. And don't miss the interview in Mass High Tech.

Friday, October 23, 2009

700 Students Turn Out for Windows 7 Launch at Microsoft NERD

I dropped in on the Microsoft NERD Center for an impromptu happy hour with Lili Cheng, Microsoft's new General Manager of the Future Social Experiences (FUSE) Labs and had to push my way through some 700 college students who were camped out in the lobby trying to get into the Windows 7 launch party on the 11th floor. I proceeded to the FUSE reception on the 14th floor.

The FUSE Labs represents the consolidation of three previously independent research and lab initiatives (Creative Systems Group, Startup Lab, Rich Media Lab) into a single applied development team. Their goal is designing, developing and releasing new applications and services that address the rich, real-time and social nature of our everyday lives.

At the FUSE Labs reception I ran into Microsoft Research Managing Director Jennifer Chayes. According to Chayes, Microsoft Research New England (which opened in July 2008) focuses on interdisciplinary work, integrating the more mathematical and algorithmic sciences with both the social sciences and aspects of the biomedical sciences. Their work includes applied projects in areas such as economics, social media, and health care, as well as more theoretical projects in areas such as mathematics and cryptography.

I confess that I dropped by the 11th floor on my way out. A full house of students were eating, playing Rock Band and generally having a good time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

STEMTech Alliance launches DIGITS program to promote STEM Education

A coalition of six statewide science and technology associations -- including MassTLC -- launched an innovative program called DIGITS at the Massachusetts STEM Summit in Sturbridge. The program connects sixth-grade classes with volunteer industry professionals to inspire student interest in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) careers. It will reach out to sixth-grade classrooms in 568 schools around the Commonwealth over this academic year. Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray is helping kick off the DIGITS program with a visit to a Worcester school.

Despite leading the nation in NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) math test scores, Massachusetts ranks below the national average in student interest in STEM careers. According to 2009 SAT data from the College Board, only 22% of all students taking the SAT test in Massachusetts expressed interest in pursuing a college major in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, as compared to 28% of test takers nationally, and 34% in North Carolina, a region also known for technology leadership.

The DIGITS program was funded by the Department of Higher Education’s STEM Pipeline Fund and is run in partnership with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Special thanks to Joyce Plotkin for her efforts on behalf of the Council. 

For more info, view the press release, website, YouTube video, Boston.com, and Mass High Tech.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer meets with Local Tech Executives

MassTLC hosted an off-the-record breakfast roundtable discussion with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at the Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge. Pictured here are Steve Ballmer and Dan Bricklin, Council Trustee, President of Software Garden, and Creator of VisiCalc.

In town only briefly, Ballmer had requested the opportunity to meet with a small group of leaders who are highly engaged with the Boston technology and innovation community. His goal was to learn about the local tech sector, how Microsoft can help drive innovation in the region, and other issues on the minds of the participants. The meeting proved to be a very interactive and informal exchange. Since the content of the meeting was off the record, I'll refer the curious to Scott Kirsner's blog post on the meeting.

Attendees at the breakfast included: Colin Angle, CEO, iRobot; Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft; George Bell, Special Venture Partner, General Catalyst; Dan Bricklin, President, Software Garden; Laura Fitton, CEO, OneFourty; Michael Greeley, General Partner, Flybridge Capital Partners; Brian Halligan, CEO, Hubspot; Diane Hessan, CEO, Communispace; Tom Hopcroft, President & CEO, Mass Technology Leadership Council; John Landry, Managing Director, Lead Dog Ventures; Gloria Larson, President, Bentley University; Annmarie Levins, Associate General Counsel, Microsoft; Steve O’Leary, Entrepreneur in Residence, General Catalyst; Tim Rowe, CEO, Cambridge Innovation Center; Bijan Sabet, General Partner, Spark Capital; Joseph Steig, CFO, National Collegiate Inventor and Innovators Alliance & Long River Ventures; Bill Warner, President, Warner Research; and Gus Weber, Business Development and Community Relations Manager, Microsoft.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

MassTLC celebrates the role of Robotics in STEM Education at US Capitol

Working with the Congressional Robotics Caucus, MassTLC invited Dean Kamen, an inventor, entrepreneur, and tireless advocate for science and technology, to join members of MassTLC's Robotics Cluster for a Caucus briefing on the use of robots in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) Education at the Capitol in Washington.

Dean Kamen (Pictured here with Christyl Johnson, Executive Director, National Science and Technology Council, Office of Science and Technology Policy and former Assistant Associate Administrator at NASA) delivered a keynote address that highlighted how FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was creating student demand for science and technology curriculum. His vision for FIRST is "[to] transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes." Executives from Bluefin Robotics, Deka Research, FIRST, iRobot, North End Technologies, TIAX, and WPI joined Council CEO Tom Hopcroft at the briefing.

The Congressional Bi-Partisan Robotics Caucus is co-chaired by Congressman Mike Doyle (PA) and Congressman Phil Gingrey (GA), and includes Massachusetts Representatives Michael Capuano, Jim McGovern, John Olver, John F. Tierney, and Niki Tsongas. (See prior posts on Cluster briefings with Represenatives McGovern and Tsongas.) The purpose is to focus on key issues facing the nation's robotics industry based on emerging technology.

The goals of the Congressional Robotics Caucus include: Increasing general awareness of challenges and issues among Members of Congress and policy analysts; Educating Members of Congress and congressional staff on current & future research and development, and utilization initiatives; Serving as a forum where robotics-related policy issues can be exchanged, debated and discussed by members of Congress; and Ensuring that our nation remains globally competitive as the robotics industry expands and further affects the way we live our lives.

The briefing on using robotics for STEM Education was well timed with Governor Patrick and Lt. Gov. Murray's proclamation that October be STEM Education Month in Massachusetts. If fact, just a day prior, Patrick and Murray visited The Mathworks in Natick to sign an executive order establishing the state's STEM Advisory Council. The Council, which will be chaired by Murray, will help prepare students and workers for high-tech careers that will provide long-term economic benefits for Massachusetts.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Using Virtual Events to Create Real Demand and Real Leads

MassTLC's Sales & Marketing Roundtable took an in depth look at virtual trade shows. Virtual events are the answer to travel budget cuts, staff reduction and green initiatives that companies are facing today. A notable advantage of the virtual tradeshow format is the ability to gain access to speakers who otherwise would not have physically been able to attend, in addition to attendees and partners who otherwise would not have been able to participate. What is unique about the virtual format is the that you have a record of every attendee and every conversation you can view after the event is over. In addition to all of the captured registration data, you have records of who viewed which webcasts, what questions people had, the amount of time spent in which booths, who chatted with who, etc. You have access to a tremendous of amount of data post-event that you can pull and sort in various meaningful ways. Research has shown that the lead quality from a virtual trade show is comparable to that of a live trade show.

Available Resources
For those marketers interested in virtual events best practices, we encourage you to subscribe to Virtual Edge's newsletter and Twitter feeds...http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pleasanton-CA/Virtual-Edge/113636231422

Please also check out the Virtual Worlds Group on LinkedIn and ON24's Twitter Feed for more information.

An additional great resource to visit if the following virtual event that ran live on June 23rd, and is still available on demand: B2B Leading Edge: Demand Generation in the Digital Age.

Sample Proposal for Virtual Tradeshow Booth Sponsporship

Thank you to our speakers, Jennifer Kidwell, Senior Account Executive, ON24, and Josh Reynolds, North America Mid-Market Marketing, Sun Microsystems.

View October 2009 Sales & Marketing Round Table Presentation: Using Virtual Events
to Create Real Demand and Real Leads

As always, thank you to our Sales & Marketing Cluster sponsor, Salesforce.com!

Post contributed by MassTLC staffer Jillian Hegarty.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Over 420 Technology Executives Pack Café for MassTLC Innovation 2009 unConference

Technology leaders convened at Nordblom's One Network Drive property (currently occupied by Sun Microsystems) in Burlington for MassTLC’s second Innovation unConference. Utilizing the Open Space methodology, the group collectively created the agenda for the day. The meant that anyone who wanted to propose and run a session could do so by "calling out" their session and then posting it on the Agenda Wall (online at http://masstlc09.org/).

Bob Metcalfe of Polaris Ventures was the first to post a session on the wall. His topic this year was "ENERNET: Internet Lessons for Solving Energy." Last year he ran a session on "Selling." Another 70-80 attendees posted sessions on topics ranging from "The Wisdom of Crowds" to "How to Keep Your Founder's Job" to "Turbo Charging New England Entrepreneurship."

Scott Kirsner and Tim Rowe lead the session on Turbo Charging New England Entrepreneurship and came up with a great list of Innovation Drivers that are currently active, in progress, or aught to be. The following text list from the whiteboard was transcribed by Allison Parker of Microsoft who was kind enough to email it to me.

Active: Awesome Foundation; Berkman; Beta Spring (in Providence); BetaHouse; Bettina’s Group of Women; Boston Post Mortem; Boston World Partnerships; Boston/Tufts/Northeastern/BC TC; Business Innovation Factory; BYE; BYTE (Boston Young Tech Entrepreneurs); Cambridge Coworkers; CIC; Common Angels; DART Boston; Dogpatch Labs; Elist; FIRST; Funded Founder (Bay area link); Genotrope; Green Tech Media; Highland Capital; Hub Angels; Info Super Highway; Innovation Economy; Launch Pad; Mass High Tech; Mass Inno Nites; MassTLC; MIT 100K competition; MIT Enterprise Forum; MIT Entrepreneurship Center; MITX; Mobile Monday; NEChina; NERD; Open Coffee; Quest for Innovation; Romulus Capital – works with 1st time entrepreneurs coming out of university; Social Media Awards; Start at Spark; Stay In MA.org; SwissNex Boston; TCN; Tech Stars; Tech Tuesday; TEDx; TIE Boston; UMass Boston VDC; unConference; UNH; Vilna Schul; WebInno; WPI Venture Forum; Xconomy;

In Process: Dog Patch Labs; IDEA @ Northeastern; Innovation Open Houses; Mark’s Guide/Gerry’s Guide; MassChallenge; TCN Student Fair; Venture Café; Venture Fizz; Venture Well; Youth Cities;

To Do: Coordination (diminish the oversupply); Wiki; TC50 type thing; Exchange for open source talent; More thought leadership on global stage; More connections to work with universities to get students in engineering and science into local smaller companies; Integrate students more; ‘Open Employer’ badge for companies that don’t require non-compete; Gov funds; Embrace greenhorns; VC reprogramming; More practical meetings, e.g., some schools around web product managers (Tom Summit); Make your own; We’ve lost the acquirers to the West Coast… Court acquirers.; Angel matching services (Boston angel environment very formal); Once it’s funded, what tools and capabilities are there to help the companies scale.; Silos of info at every local school; Have the list and help people navigate which resources to tap when; Map the angel network for entrepreneurs -- (angelcapitalassociation.org); Make events easier to find online (so that they’re easy to share online). For example, email invites aren’t sharable on twitter, etc.; Go-to designees at all companies (a la Don Dodge); Attract & retain students and smart people from around the world

Did I mention that Terrafugia Roadable Aircraft. Attendees came outside to see a demo and get inspired by this fantastic local innovation.