Wednesday, March 31, 2010

MassTLC Issues Call to Arms: Challenges Tech Sector to Create 100,000 jobs by 2020

MassTLC laid out an "aggressive" challenge to the tech sector at our Annual Meeting: let's seize the opportunities presented by the new innovation waves -- including the growth of ubiquitous connectivity, the ascendancy of cloud computing, and the proliferation of so-called "big data" analytics -- to create 100,000 jobs for Massachusetts over the coming decade.

Council Chairman Steve O'Leary noted that: Massachusetts has potential for technology growth that is second to none. No other place on the globe can match our state's unique combination of historical innovation, higher education leadership, concentration of venture capital, and per capita gross domestic product. Much as Massachusetts' historic innovations revolutionized the worlds of politics, industry, transportation and technology entrepreneurship in past generations, the current generation of technologies, infrastructures, ideas, and other innovations can drive a new decade of unprecedented growth and job creation. Steve O'Leary put it this way: "We have an A team; it's time to start playing an A game."
Steve's made his presentation in tandem with MassTLC trustee and Avid Technology founder Bill Warner, who presented his own challenge (sounded already on some of his recently blog posts) to "change beliefs, change behaviors and go out and change the world." Bill implored the audience to start "thinking big and playing big," saying that Massachusetts veteran entrepreneurs had to take a more active role in mentoring budding start-ups and had to help growing, mid-size companies make the leap to billion and 10 billion dollar companies.

Here are his blog posts: It's About Leadership: A Proposed Scorecard for Massachusetts Technology Companies and It's About New Behaviors: A Proposed Playbook for Massachusetts Technology Companies.

Bill's "Shake It Up" video -- which uses the Red Sox' change in belief system as metaphor for changes he seeks for the Massachusetts tech community.

The MassTLC board has already agreed to take up the mission laid out by Steve and Bill and has dubbed it the "MassTLC 2020 Challenge." Over coming year, the Council will realign some activities and fine-tune others to support the 100,000 job challenge and it will appeal to state government, related industry groups, global tech leaders, and others to help meet the challenge of 100K incremental jobs. We invite the community to share with us the inhibitors to their company growth in MA and ideas for how we, as a community, can help address them. Send your thoughts to us at:

Following the MassTLC 2020 Challenge presentation, the Annual Meeting's other keynoters and panelists underscored the O'Leary and Warner message.

Economist Michael Mandel made the case for innovation leading us out of the recession into great new opportunities, especially in communications.
Akamai founder Tom Leighton presented his vision for the next leap forward for the Internet and digital communications and the importance of distributed networking -- a potential Massachusetts strength -- in making that leap.
Pattie Maes, Associate Director of the MIT Media Lab, gave us a glimpse of the future with their latest research project, the Sixth Sense.
Emily Green, Yankee Group CEO and author of the book "Anywhere," which also make the case for the great opportunities presented by ubiquitous connectivity, led a spirited panel discussion on how this new level of connectedness can spawn change and opportunity in a wide range of areas -- health care, energy and others. Another potential strength for Massachusetts, which, it goes without saying, is home to some of the world's great health care institutions and one of the largest clusters of clean energy entrepreneurs.

Friday, March 26, 2010

MassTLC PAX Party Maxes Out Microsoft NERD

MassTLC threw a "Made in MA" party at Microsoft NERD to celebrate our Digital Games Cluster in Massachusetts and to show the visiting game developers what we have to offer here in MA -- Massachusetts has become a leading gaming hub with over 70 companies employing over 1200 and generating over $2B in revenue.

What better way to celebrate Games Made in MA than having "Made in MA" cupcakes -- that were also made in MA!

Attendees tried their hands at some of the coolest and latest video games...

Hundreds more enjoyed networking, meeting new people, and catching up with old friends. The party was a huge hit for those who could make it in.

Special thanks to our sponsors: AMD, Microsoft, Worldwinner/GSN, and Games for Health. We'd also like to thank Massachusetts Creative Economy Director Jason Schupbach and our partners Boston Post Mortem and the MIT Game SIG.

Click here to learn more about the MassTLC Digital Games Cluster.

Here are some press highlights from the party and PAX East...

Mass High Tech - MHT Exclusive: Microsoft's game guy Major Nelson eyes game development in Cambridge
Nearly 1,000 people filled up three floors at Microsoft Corp.'s New England Research and Development center for a PAX East pre-party put on with the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council. But before the festivities started, a few hundred area college students gathered to hear from Microsoft's voice of games, Larry Hryb, Xbox Live director of programming, who is much better known to the gamer community by his Xbox Live user handle -- or gamer tag -- Major Nelson. READ MORE

Xconomy - The Games Begin at PAX East, A Seattle Transplant Uniting Gamers and Developers
The largest gaming expo on the East Coast, this weekend's PAX East festival, will be preceded by what's likely to be the biggest party the Boston gaming scene has ever witnessed, tonight at Microsoft's New England R&D Center in Cambridge, MA. A packed house of 800 guests is expected at the PAX East "Made in MA" bash, organized by the Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) and sponsored by AMD and Microsoft. The event is intended to celebrate the $2 billion cluster of companies in the video game and online game industry in Massachusetts. Many of these companies will be exhibiting at PAX East (but some won’t--and therein lies another story). READ MORE

Boston Globe - Video game culture, lifestyle take center stage in Boston
According to a 2009 survey by the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, the state's video game makers take in $2 billion in revenue per year. The state boasts big-name companies like Harmonix Music Systems Inc. in Cambridge, inventors of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games, and Turbine Inc. of Westwood, maker of Lord of the Rings Online, as well as a host of smaller development houses. READ MORE

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bob Metcalfe on the Enernet & Why Silicon Vally Took Off

Bob Metcalfe, pictured here in front of his "SMATKA" SmartCar, joined MassTLC's Energy Cluster for a lively discussion on how the Internet provides lessons for solving Energy.

During this interactive dialogue, he noted that the time horizon will not be 1, 2, or even 3 years but rather will be decades, like the Internet. He believes the future Enernet will be more distributed with generation and storage built into the network itself. He thinks that we should search for silver bullets and serendipity of innovation that yields advances by factors of 10, 100, or 1000, rather than incremental improvements. By doing so, carbon credit exchanges or regulatory policies become irrelevant and economics and innovation becomes the driver. He also thinks that we should make whatever changes are needed to the Internet so that it can be the communications network for the Smart Grid rather than creating a separate network.

Metaclfe on Route 128 vs Silicon Valley:

Bob also shared his belief that it was a different mindset that enabled Silicon Valley to take off at the expense of Route 128 in the 1970's and 80's. He noted that the 128 mini companies followed Grosch's Law that "computing performance increases as the square of the cost" and built larger computers to scale and then time-share. Meanwhile, he noted that Silicon Valley companies followed Moore's Law that "the number of transistors that can be placed on an integrated circuit will double every two years" leading them to build ever smaller more powerful computers and devices. This divergence in mindset set the stage for explosive growth and innovation in the Valley compared to the 128 high tech corridor.

Event details and Bob's Presentation [PDF].

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tech Marketing in 2010: Investment and Budgeting

Sales and marketing executives gathered to hear Rich Vancil, VP and Industry analyst from IDC present Tech Marketing in 2010: Investment and budgeting trends, forecast, and essential guidance. A few key takeaways: For companies less than $1B in revenue, a 6.4% increase is expected in marketing budgets in 2010, $1B-$3B a 5.9% increase and >$3B, .6% increase. And the breakdown in spending? 60% of marketing budgets is programs, 13% of this is digital and 3% is social media. For more details and shifts, check out Rich's presentation.

Following Rich's presentation, Doug McCartney, VP of marketing at Two Step Software, Joan Babinski, VP of marketing at Brainshark and Frank Days, Director of new and social media at Novell, presented their marketing programs for 2010 and the expected shifts in spending.

The next sales and marketing event will be April 29th and feature "the changing role of the sales rep in the "Sales 2.0 world" -- how social media, Google and other technology is changing the relationship between sales and the customer." Debbie Qaqish from the Pedowitz group will be presenting. Check the MassTLC website soon for further details and registration.

Post contributed by Christine Nolan of MassTLC.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Join us for the Next Wave of Innovation: Ubiquitous Connectivity

Join us on Wednessday, March 31st, for out Annual Meeting, the first major event since the combination of MassNetComms with MassTLC. We will look out over the next decade from a macro economic, technological, and innovation perspactive to explore opportunities. This event will attract 400+ senior executives looking for perspectives to help plan for the future and ride the next wave of technological innovation. Here are the event details:

Flipping the Switch from Survival to Growth:
How Ubiquitous Connectivity is Driving the Next Wave of Innovation

Wednesday, March 31, 2010
7:30 Registration & Networking; 8:30-11:30am Program
Location: The Westin, 70 Third Ave, Waltham, MA

Details & Registration

As we enter a new decade, the technology industry stands poised for a new wave of connectivity-fueled growth, characterized by ubiquitous access, cloud computing and "new" new media. Prior waves, such as stand-alone computing and wired enterprise infrastructure, each saw dramatic technological innovation and growth in our sector. Join us for our Annual Meeting - the first major event since our combination with MassNetComms - as we look ahead to the possibilities of this next wave for our region and the opportunities it presents for your business.

Michael Mandel, Editor-In-Chief & Founder, Visible Economy LLC

Here's the paradox: The last decade saw the rise of the Internet and mobile computing, a technological revolution of enormous proportions touching everyone. So as we look towards the next decade, we need to ask two questions. First, what are the key areas for innovation going forward? Will we see a continuation of current trends, or is it time for a change in direction? Second, how can we preserve the gains from innovation both nationally and regionally? That means profits, jobs, and stock returns, plus productivity and income gains for the rest of the economy.

INTERNET 2020: The Future Connection
Tom Leighton, Chief Scientist & Co-Founder, Akamai

A new wave is forming in the IT industry - a wave that is fueled by high bandwidth Internet connectivity in both wired and wireless scenarios - that will catalyze a new generation of startups and drive dramatic change in media, software, and communications as well as new applications in medical technology, financial technology and other verticals. Tom will share his vision for how the Web may evolve over the next ten years and what dramatic new business opportunities this evolution might catalyze.

FUTURESCAPE: SixthSense Technology Demo
Pattie Maes, Associate Professor of Media Technology, MIT Media Lab

The SixthSense device bridges the gap between the physical and digital world by augmenting the surfaces in front of the user with relevant information pulled from the web. It consists of a web camera and mini projector worn around the neck, that enable interaction with information about the objects, people and spaces around us. The camera recognizes the objects the user interacts with as well as hand gestures performed by the user. This data is processed on the cell phone and results in relevant information being pulled from the web and projected in front of the user.

ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: Riding the Wave to Ubiquitous Connectivity
- Emily Green, CEO, YankeeGroup (moderator)
- Vanu Bose, President & CEO, Vanue, Inc.
- Robert Havasy, mHealth Strategist, Center for Connected Health, Partners HealthCare
- Additional Participants TBA

The total interconnection of people, ideas, and products through a global digital network is the future, and with each new innovation wave there are opportunities for industries to capitalize and change the way they innovate. What new opportunities will ubiquitous access to a world of data create for your business? How can we capture and preserve the gains of this coming wave of innovation in our region?

PLATINUM SPONSORS: AT&T; PricewaterhouseCoopers; WilmerHale

GOLD SPONSORS: Akamai; Raytheon


Friday, March 12, 2010

MassTLC Supports Start-Up Visa Legislation

MassTLC's Board of Trustees voted this week to officially support the Startup Visa Act of 2010, authored by Senator John Kerry and Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana (photo credit This bill would modify the EB-5 visa program to create a new "EB-6" visa for foreign-born entrepreneurs seeking to start companies here in the United States. This idea originated among venture capitalists in California and Colorado and is supported by venture capitalists from several local firms including: Flybridge Venture Partners, Spark Capital, .406 Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Polaris Venture Partners, SoftBank Capital, and Venrock.

Here's the simple but vitally important premise of the bill: It seeks to keep foreign-born entrepreneurs here in the United States. The bill does this by creating a new visa category for those building startups, so long as the individual has raised $100K from a sponsoring US venture capitalist or angel investor and has raised a total of $250K in equity capital. Entrepreneurs can become permanent residents after two years if their business has created at least five full time jobs in the US and has raised an additional $1mm in investment or achieved $1mm of revenue. See for more information.

Here's why that's important to our country and state now more than ever.

First, throughout our history we've relied on foreign-born entrepreneurs to help spur economic growth. Nationwide, about a quarter of our technology companies have been founded by immigrants. Here in Massachusetts, some of our most notable tech giants were created by brilliant, visionary immigrants like An Wang of Wang Laboratories, Desh Deshpande of Sycamore Networks, and Ash Dahod, who recently sold Starent Networks to Cisco for nearly three billion dollars.

Second, now more than ever, our foreign-born students can return to their home countries to find opportunity. A recent study found that 52 percent of the Chinese students attending U.S. colleges and universities believed they would find greater opportunities if they returned home after graduation.

With some 445K students currently enrolled at Massachusetts colleges and universities, we naturally have one of the nation's largest pools of foreign-born students, a disproportionate talent asset that, in turn, can create tremendous innovation and wealth in our Commonwealth. We need to retain every one of those students who is willing to strike out on his or her own to start a company and create new jobs and wealth in our Commonwealth.

We believe this tradition of great foreign-born entrepreneurs starting companies and hiring here must be maintained and nurtured if we are to succeed in an increasingly competitive world. As connectivity and talent have become globally available commodities, the barriers that foreign-born entrepreneurs face when starting businesses outside the United States have all but disappeared. To maintain our leadership position, we need the best entrepreneurs -- domestic and foreign-born -- to stay here and build tomorrow's leading technology companies in the Commonwealth.

This is a time of unprecedented technological innovation, as evidenced by the explosion of ubiquitous connectivity; the growth of so-called "big data" storage and analysis; and the transformation of computing from desktops to mobile devices. Such waves of innovation spawn waves of new startups, some of which will create and lead new markets and industries. Massachusetts has a strong legacy, and is today broadly recognized, as a global powerhouse in information technology. According to a recently released study by the UMass Donohue Institute, the IT sector is the second largest employer in the state (178,000 workers), trailing only the health care sector.

MassTLC supports initiatives that contribute to innovation and growth of companies at all stages in the technology sector, from start-up to global enterprise. We believe that a rich and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem is essential to our economic growth and are working to remove barriers that inhibit company formation and growth in the Commonwealth.

As a community we must continue to initiate and embrace ideas like the Start-Up Visa Act that will position Massachusetts as a leader in the next wave of innovation.

See letter to Senate from Sen. Kerry and Lugar
See letter of support from 150+ VCs
See letter of support from MassTLC

Update: Scott Kirsner weighed in on the issue on March 22, "Is visa policy costing Mass new companies." After citing this and other bolgs, Scott concluding by concluding, "I'm on board. Are you?"

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Digital Games, Non-Competes, & PAX East

State Representative Will Browsberger and Foley Hoag attorney, Michael Rosen, joined the Digital games cluster of the MassTLC for a discussion on the current status of the Massachusetts non-compete laws and new proposed legislation. Brownsberger has proposed new regulations that any non-compete agreement must be presented to a new employee in advance of employment, it is limited to one year, employees earning less than $75,000 would be exempt and legal fees would be available against the employer. For more information, reference Mr. Rosen's presentation (PDF) or check out his blog.

During the meeting we also reviewed the plans for PAX East. Join us at the PAX East "Made in MA" party on March 25th at Microsoft NERD from 7:00-10:00pm. More information and registration can be found at

post contributed by Christine Nolan, MassTLC