Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tech Policy: MassTLC's Role

In a recent Boston Globe article entitled, Tech Sector Reacts Late to Tax Plan, Michael Farrell posits that “the state’s technology sector is about to learn a hard lesson: Ignoring Beacon Hill carries a steep price” as he makes a case that special interest lobbyists should apply pressure to bend public policy.

When I read his piece, I came to a very different place. Rather than us versus them, I think that “The citizens and lawmakers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are about to learn a hard lesson: Ignoring the state’s job growth engine when making policy carries a steep price for our economy.” 

Farrell is right that the Mass Technology Leadership Council is the state’s largest technology trade association with over 500 corporate members. But he misses a nuance in our advocacy role and available resources if he thinks we can maintain the sort of roll-up-your-sleeves lobbying needed to comb through every piece of legislation (the issue at hand was buried in a Transportation Bill) and then aggressively lobby in favor or against any given provision.

MassTLC 2013 Mobile Summit: Guest Blog - Disruption Brings Progress

By guest blogger Lorinda Brandon

  1. I had the pleasure this week of attending a Massachusetts Tech Leadership Council summit on mobile technologies. The focus of the gathering was not just on New England technology, but on disruptive technology in the mobile space. It doesn't seem that long ago that the mobile space itself was the disruptor but now we're all getting a little too comfortable in that space and allowing norms to seep in instead of continuing to innovate. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

MassTLC 2013 Mobile Summit: Guest Blog - Angry Birds Creator Compares Company to Disney

Angry Birds Creator Compares Company to Disney at MassTLC Mobile Summit
By: Dennis Keohane, Writer, VentureFizz

It’s hard not to recognize Peter Vesterbacka when he enters a room. 

Wearing his signature Angry Birds red hoody, matching red shoes, and carrying a bright red Angry Bird-encased iPad, he strolled through the doors of the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology’s auditorium and caught the attention of most in attendance at yesterday’s MassTLC Mobile Summit. 

Yet, as quickly as he turned heads, the CMO of Rovio Entertainment and creator of Angry Birds quietly walked to the back of the auditorium and sat down as the Globe’s Scott Kirsner and Google Ventures’ Rich Miner finished their ‘fireside chat’. Everyone tuned back into Kirsner and Miner, leaving Vesterbacka patiently, discreetly waiting for his turn to take the stage.

For so many different reasons, it would be absurd to imagine a figure such as Walt Disney arriving in such a fashion during Mickey Mouse’s initial rise in popularity more than three-quarters of a century ago. However, Vesterbacka, one of the figureheads of the Angry Birds empire, sees similarities between his gaming-borne company and the massive conglomeration that is Disney.

He made the bold comparison while answering a question from Jumptap CEO George Bell. Bell asked Vesterbacka whether or not he believed the future prospects of Angry Birds differed from most other popular entertainment franchises that “boomed and eventually busted.”

MassTLC 2013 Mobile Summit: Guest Blog - Not All Piggies are Bad Piggies

Disruption: Not All Piggies Are Bad Piggies
By: Dan Katcher,
CEO/Founder, Rocket Farm Studios

Congratulations to the MassTLC for putting on an absolutely fantastic event in the main auditorium of the Ben Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT). Ben Franklin was arguably one of America's first great entrepreneurs and inventors, so the setting fit the content, which was three outstanding talks/interviews featuring Dina Katabi, Director, MIT Center for Wireless Networks & Mobile Computing, Rich Miner, the founder of Android, and the Mighty Eagle himself, Peter Vesterbacka, from Rovio—creator of Angry Birds the game and the fast growing brand/entertainment company.
Bad Piggy courtesy of Rovio Entertainment

I won't spend much time on Dina Katabi or Rich Miner, who is a local fixture, but suffice it to say that the 4 different technologies that Dina described in her talk were all fascinating improvements on mobile technology. Dina spoke about technical innovations in WiFi that could offer 10x the bandwidth over what we have today, an upcoming technology that provides location information indoors down to the centimeter level indoors, and techniques that they are exploring for using the cell phone to read an X-Ray image through a wall. Fascinating stuff.

Monday, July 8, 2013

2013 MassTLC Big Data Summit: How Data Analytics Will Transform Our World

MassTLC’s Big Data Summit, Quantified, Connected, Predictive: How Data Analytics Will Transform Our World, was held on June 27 at UMass Boston to a packed room of just under 300 attendees.

MassTLC President & CEO, Tom Hopcroft kicked off the morning with the Council’s dedication to the Big Data sector and the many efforts in helping to ensure Massachusetts remains one of the top competitive regions. Following Tom was Secretary of Housing and Economic Development for the State of Massachusetts, Greg Bialecki . Secretary Bialecki spoke of the Administration’s dedication and support through their Big Data Initiative.

Our keynote, Martin Fleming IBM’s Chief Economist and Vice President Business Performance Services, as well as one of the leaders of IBM’s Smarter Planet strategy development and execution, set the stage with his talk on connected cities. Martin spoke of the key factors in building a connected city, including: a skilled and educated population; strong transportation system and infrastructure; and public safety. Martin also spoke about the importance of public and private support. All of this could not be obtained however without the use of data, which will enable a city to make informed decisions.

You can see the video from the keynote here.