Thursday, March 31, 2016

Marketing Change Agents: The MassTLC Sales and Marketing Conference

By: Steve Robins, Principal, Solution Marketing Strategies

As much as last week's MassTLC sales and marketing conference focused on the customer journey, it also focused on the topic of "change." Of course, "change" is a core element of marketing and especially modern marketing. Marketers have always focused on changing buyer and customer behavior. But the conference covered many of the other ways that change flows through all of marketing – from exceptional leadership to killer rebranding to powerful nurture campaigns to more impactful content marketing and beyond.


The day opened with a presentation on "superbosses" by professor and author Sydney Finkelstein of Dartmouth's Tuck Business School. Finkelstein described several characteristics of superbosses: they find, teach, and motivate people (who may have unusual talents or backgrounds) to accomplish the seemingly impossible.  And they cultivate networks of former employees. 

Even more impressive is their focus on change.  Superbosses often drive change throughout their organizations, creating new opportunities and challenging their employees to change and achieve exceptional results.  Perhaps most important of all, they create organizations that are not built to stay the same, but to constantly change, evolve, and thrive over time. 

Next we heard from an impressive panel of real, live change agents that was moderated by Sheryl Schultz, President of CabinetM: Kathie Johnson, VP of Corporate Marketing at Demandware; startup advisor, angel investor and former HubSpot CMO Mike Volpe; and professor Finkelstein.  Panelists described their own superboss traits in real-life: how they may hire for capability more than experience - which forces HR to adapt, that it's OK to let employees leave to create great things elsewhere and perhaps even bring you along with them, and that hiring people smarter than you can actually enable you to move up to your next role, and much more.

Here are highlights from three of the many change-oriented breakouts that followed.

Inside a B2B Brand Revitalization
Robin Saitz, CMO at Brainshark

One of the biggest changes a company can undertake is a rebranding project like Brainshark's recently unveiled rebranding.  Over the last few years, as Brainshark had evolved from a product orientation to a focus on enterprise business value, it had outgrown its brand.  The big question: should they overhaul the company name or just change the branding and message? 

Saitz says that "The role of brand is to convey what you do and how you do it in a way that is both rational and emotional.  You want to make those connections."   Brand encompasses what you do and how you do it, what customers can expect from you, and the quality of your products and services.  Robin walked through the rebranding process from start to finish – from agency selection, intelligence gathering, content development, and launch.  She shared the opportunities, surprises, and challenges of rebranding.  A few tips from the trenches:

  • External agencies can often provide deeper intelligence (research) than would be possible with internal people
  •  Let the intelligence guide your decisions.  Saitz's initial hypothesis was that Brainshark would need to rename the company. But they learned that their existing name had a strong positive association, so they did not need to change it.  Similarly she had reservations about the color red in their new logo, but testing showed it to be a positive, especially when compared against their competitors.
  • Get internal people to buy into the change and get excited – from the C-suite to everyone on the front lines, since people often represent the brand.

Data-Driven Multi-Channel Lead Nurturing
Biju Muduli, Director of Customer Lifecycle Marketing at Carbonite

With so much talk of the buyer's journey and customer funnel, it's easy to think that one size fits all companies.  Biju's presentation showed how Carbonite uses a customer journey that works right for their business. 

Carbonite thinks of the complete customer lifecycle stages even though people may jump in at different places based on their needs and awareness of Carbonite.  Their lifecycle follows the prospect/trialer through discover, consider, and evaluate and then customer purchase, use, renewal and cross-sell/up-sell.  And they use different tools, tactics and techniques for each stage.

They have also developed several tactics that have changed customer behavior for the better:
  • In-application alerts encourage users to convert from trial to purchase.
  • Retargeting ads provide discounted offers to those who visit pages but don't buy.
  • Monthly summaries show usage and provide tips to get trial users and customers deeper into the product.
  • A mix of automated personal and corporate emails achieve scale and improve response rates.

Mapping Content Strategy to the Modern Customer Journey
Gary DeAsi, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing & Brand and Ryan Pinkham, Content Marketing Manager at SmartBear

Gary and Ryan described how they changed SmartBear's content approach from "random acts of content" to deliberate content creation and broader usage in campaigns.  They showed how each piece of content should have a purpose and an objective in order to maximize the yield from the content that they create and use.

DeAsi and Pinkham described how they had adopted a customer journey stages model encompassing prospect engagement, education, research, evaluation, justification; and customer purchase, adoption, retention, expansion, and advocacy.

Next they advised attendees on how to plan content with the customer journey in mind, by developing metrics, goals and objectives, a content audit, and finally, a content plan.  Pinkham described how he had conducted a comprehensive content audit to identify content strengths and weaknesses in each stage of the customer journey.

Next they showed attendees how to align multi-channel content distribution.  For example, some types of content can be used across different customer stages.  And they wrapped up by discussing key metrics for each part of the funnel.

The Next Can't Miss MassTLC Event

On April 27, MassTLC will debut the NewCo Boston business festival.  Started by Wired Magazine founder John Battelle, NewCo combines the best of an open studio tour and a business conference, with the excitement of a music festival.

Over 75 of Massachusetts' most innovative companies are participating in this unique event by opening their doors for a one-hour experiential session and sharing their innovation story. Participants include Wayfair,, Startup Institute, Greentown Labs, and Localytics. Sign up to attend today!


Steve Robins is the principal of Solution Marketing Strategies, a strategic marketing consultancy that helps companies to better understand and market to their customers through targeted research, segmentation, solutions, messaging, sales tools and demand generation. For the last 15 years, Steve Robins has been transforming technology firms into market-leading, customer-focused solution providers. Steve has held senior marketing roles at FirstBest Systems, EMC, Documentum, and KANA Software. An industry thought-leader, Steve started the top-rated solution marketing blog, writes a CMO-focused marketing tech column for TechTarget, helped grow ProductCamp Boston into the second largest such event in the world, and was an analyst at the Yankee Group.

NewCo Boston Host Company Fun Facts - Margaret Hall, National Executive Director & Co-Founder, GreenLight Fund

Margaret Hall, National Executive Director & Co-Founder, GreenLight Fund

1. What business would you love to start?
Global vintage linen company

2. What's your superpower or what's your spirit animal?
Proofreading - both a power and a curse

3. What book do you think everyone on your team should read?
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

About Greenlight Fund: The GreenLight Fund helps transform the lives of children, youth and families in high-poverty urban areas by creating local infrastructure and a consistent annual process to identify critical needs, import innovative, entrepreneurial programs that can have a significant, measurable impact, and galvanize local support to help programs reach and sustain impact in the new city.

Want to learn more? Visit Margaret Hall and the Greenlight Fund office during NewCo Boston on April 27, 2016!

Session Time: 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Session Title
The GreenLight Fund: A VC for the Nonprofit Sector

 Learn more about NewCo Boston and purchase tickets here:

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Best Practices in the IT Industry: Nearshoring

By: Heather Presley, Unosquare

Put yourself in this scenario: You are the CEO of a big software development company with development teams in the United States, but you have been experiencing high turnover of employees and cannot fill your open positions. This turnover is crippling your ability to deliver quality products to your clients, making your business unsuccessful. What do you do?

One of the areas to consider changing things up a bit, is location. No, not India, we are talking a lot closer, just south of the border. Your first thought is most likely, “Mexico is too dangerous”, but that is not the case. A large number of cities in Mexico are actually safer than many places in the United States. Once you finish debunking stereotypical assumptions about Mexico, we have some advice on why you should consider the practice of nearshoring. Here are some best practices to follow in the IT service industry when considering outsourcing to Latin American companies.

1.     Bilingual Employees

Hiring developers from another country is easy, but hiring developers that can actually talk to your end-users is key. This is where hiring from the vast pool of Latin American developers comes into play. The talent pool in the Latin American IT industry is huge, but not everyone has had the opportunity to learn English. Finding that talent is crucial and will pay off tenfold. Latin American consultants are also culturally proactive in expressing fresh ideas, and will chime in when a development iteration may steer off in the wrong direction.  

This openness and ability to speak the same language creates the opportunity for a personal friendship between engineer and client, strengthening the entire relationship.  

2.     Avoiding Traditional Leadership Practices

This practice applies to criteria that companies should follow in a development workspace. When considering outsourcing to Latin American companies, make sure that they have established a “Silicon Valley” type of culture. Creating an environment that encourages freedom and creativity for employees is extremely important. In order to have low attrition rates in a development culture, you have to be flexible with management techniques. Some best leadership practices for IT companies to follow are:

       ·       An anti-micromanagement culture.
·       Flexibility and allowing employees to work by goals, not hours is key.
·       Provide a nice work environment and make the office an enjoyable place to be. A game room is a great way for employees to stretch their legs and give their brains a chance to relax. Encourage break time, it will make your employees feel more at home and less in a cube farm.
·       Promotion of a healthy work-life balance.
·       Having a sense of community within a company. Weekly events such as “Beer Friday” and internal holiday parties strengthens relationships between colleagues and clients.
·       Trust your development team! (Hopefully) they know what they are doing better than you would, so lean on their knowledge and trust that they are getting the job done right.  

3.     Time Zone

Time zone is one of the most important factors to consider when outsourcing development teams to another country. At 8am in Massachusetts, it is 5:30pm in India and it is probably safe to say that no one is in the office. Hiring a development team located in Mexico does not pose a great risk when it comes down to time zone and location. Most of Mexico is on Central Standard, which is within an hour or two, if not the same time as a lot of cities in the United States.

Ease of travel between customer and provider to and from Mexico is also an important factor. Development teams can work onsite at client locations if they need to, all it takes is a quick plane ride. This travel works the same way for clients flying to Mexico, not to mention the added benefit of enjoying a margarita in the middle of the week from the country where all tequila is made.

The practice of nearshoring to Latin American companies is beneficial in more than three areas of business, but the above should be enough to get your mind flowing. If after reading this wonderfully crafted article you are still not convinced, there is a very informative book on the topic available on Amazon. “Nearshoring to Latin America” written by Mike Barrett, provides extra insight for executives that are considering this solution. 

NewCo Boston Host Company Fun Facts - Karl Wirth, Founder & CEO, Evergage

Karl Wirth, Founder & CEO, Evergage

1. In the past few months, what is the smallest change you made that had the biggest positive result?
Using people's names more frequently when I talk with them.

2. What's your superpower or what's your spirit animal?
I wouldn't say its a superpower, but I generally think that I can outwork and outlast anybody!

3. What book do you think everyone on your team should read?
"Unbroken," or "4 Steps to Epiphany" by Steve Blank (the original Lean Startup Book)

About Evergage: Evergage’s cloud-based platform empowers digital marketers to increase engagement and conversions of their visitors and users through real-time 1:1 personalization based on deep behavioral analytics and customer data.

Want to learn more? Visit Karl Wirth and the Evergage office during NewCo Boston on April 27, 2016!

Session Time: 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Session Title: One to One: How You'll Experience Websites in the Future

Learn more about NewCo Boston and purchase tickets here:

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

NewCo Boston Host Company Fun Facts - Rebecca Palm, Founder, Copatient

Rebecca Palm, Founder, Copatient

1. Why Boston?
The startup culture here in Boston is unlike any other- especially for tech-driven companies. We have found a great community here and are constantly inspired by our peers.

2. On a scale of 1 to 10, how weird are you and why?
Copatient is a strong 7- it takes a certain person to not only work in healthcare, but love every aspect of it- flaws included. We have a team here that is so passionate about healthcare and about the way copatient is disrupting the system.

3. What movie, no matter how many times you've seen it, do you have to watch when it's on?
The Usual Suspects

4. What business would you love to start?
A Chicago-style pizza restaurant... no further explanation necessary

5. In the past few months, what is the smallest change you made that had the biggest positive result?
Letting go of things I can't control

6. If you could have a beer with anyone (dead or alive) who would it be?
Can I trade it for a glass of wine? Michael Lewis, because he knows how to make almost anything into an interesting story.

7. What's your superpower or what's your spirit animal?
My super power is applying known principles in a new way or to a new industry

8. If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?

I think they would pay me not to sing...

9. If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?
Frosted Mini Wheats - fun AND substantial!

10. What book do you think everyone on your team should read?
The Employee Handbook :)

About Copatient: Copatient helps consumers take control of their healthcare expenses, with the most comprehensive, hassle-free healthcare expense management services available. Copatient works to resolve billing errors and ensures that provider payments are appropriate for the services provided by using crowd-sourced data and a proprietary technology platform to perform an innovative bill analysis and negotiate payment. With unmatched dedication and expertise, Copatient eases the emotional and financial burden of healthcare costs, guiding consumers at every step.

Want to learn more? Visit Rebecca Palm and the copatient office during NewCo Boston on April 27, 2016!

Session Time: 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Session Title: Disrupting the System: How Copatient is Simplifying Healthcare Expenses

Learn more about NewCo Boston and purchase tickets here:

Monday, March 28, 2016

When you set out to inspire and grow talent, you may just keep the best talent

Mark Lorion, Sydney Finkelstein and Christine Nolan

I was very fortunate to participate in the MassTLC’s luncheon with Dr. Sydney Finkelstein, author of SUPERBOSSES: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent.  Sydney shared many great tactics and there was a small workshop which encouraged the marketing executives in the room to think how they would react in different “Superboss” situations.  I’ve recapped the ideas below

1.       What if you don’t work for a superboss?  Be a superboss yourself! Enable your team to be creative and be the next great superboss that will inspire new talent throughout your network.

2.       What are the barriers to being a superboss?  Superbosses are all VERY confident. They stay away from the traditional, think outside the box and are always team players.  It’s the big personality paradox – they have so much self-confidence they feel good about stepping aside and letting their employees leave.

3.       How do you find a Superboss?  Think about who you admire.  Look at their genealogy.  Have past employees excelled and spurred great talent of their own?  Don’t be afraid to ask your potential new boss, “Who worked for you and where are they today?  Do you stay in touch with them?  How do you spend a typical day?”  Watch for very rigid schedules.  Most superbosses won’t have full days of meetings.  They allow for free time for creative thinking. 

4.       How do you deal with great talent that leaves?  First, aspire to create an environment where they don’t leave.  Provide new opportunities for growth and create challenges.  But, no matter your efforts, you don’t have the power to keep them. Always be looking for talent! Don’t optimize on talent retention.  Learn how you can take advantage of them moving on.  Find out how you can become part of their next big thing.  If you embrace your great employees that leave, there’s a good chance they will be a source for you later.  If you ask a CEO what their biggest challenge is, they often state people management.  If this is the single most important part of an organization, then why is the last to change?  How has this happened?

5.       How do you develop an organization to cultivate Superbosses: There are culture barriers that can often prevent cultivating superbosses. And it was strongly agreed upon that the challenge of cultivating them can be difficult in larger companies.  However, anyone can be a superboss.  They exist up and down the chain. Find out if you’re a superboss and receive a free copy of chapter 2 by taking this quiz!

Based on the discussion and the insights Sydney provided, I suggest picking up a copy of Superbosses.  I’m confident it will provide you a valuable new way to think about leadership.

Thanks to Marketo for the their own insights on leadership and for sponsoring the luncheon!

-Christine Nolan

Learning The Customer Journey from Local Superstars - Sales and Marketing Conference Wrap-Up

On March 24th, I joined more than 200 sales and marketing peers at Google in Kendall Square for the annual MassTLC Sales and Marketing Conference. The theme was Next Generation Customer Journey, a relevant topic that is unifying focus across demand generation, content strategy, and customer success.

A packed agenda included tactical and management topics designed for the mixed-level audience of local leaders. Hands on experts from companies like Rapid7, SmartBear, Carbonite, and HubSpot showed the success path for lead nurturing, content strategy, customer marketing and predictive analytics. A panel from Acquia, Dyn, Continuum, and Demandbase also discussed best practices and lessons learned for Account Based Marketing.

Lastly, there were management focused breakouts including an HR driven perspective on developing teams and leadership style by Kiersten Kaye from Dassault Systems, the strategy and mechanics of a rebrand from Brainshark's Robin Saitz, articulating a persuasive message from Brian O'Keefe at Articulus and mapping content to the buyer’s journey by Gary Deasi and Ryan Pinkham from Smartbear. And of course, some great networking between sessions in the beautiful Google office.

Here are a few of the presentations:

Rapid7's Predictive Analytics Strategy - Alison MacLeod

Brainshark's Rebrand - Robin Saitz

Smartbear's Mapping Content to Buyer's Journey - Gary Deasi and Ryan Pinkham

Some highlights from the breakout sessions I attended:

Kiersten Kaye, an organizational conflict expert, shared her leadership and team building experience and helped the group understand the path to building high functioning teams. She showed how she applies several frameworks to develop teams that grow from a collection of individual contributors to a cohesive family unit. I loved learning about the journey through internal conflict resolution into an accountable high performing and interdependent team.

Jackie Shydlowski presented InsightSquard's approach to influencer marketing featuring Influitive, a tool that helps build community advocates who champion your products for the next generation of customers. Jackie is a hands on leader who clearly enjoys her work. InsightSquared's community of over 700 advocates shows how powerful this approach can be, and the contribution Jackie has created for her sales, product, and customer success teams.

Robin Saitz had the rare opportunity to rebrand Brainshark after taking the CMO reigns last year. Robin shared her process including agency selection, tough decisions along the way, and building a community of brand ambassadors. It was fascinating to get the inside scoop and see the resulting positioning, visual brand, and web deliverables.

What was your favorite topic and what did you learn from this event?

What topics will draw you to the next Sales and Marketing conference?

The MassTLC Sales and Marketing community is a peer-to-peer group focused on meeting the various needs of sales and marketing professionals of tech companies and beyond. The cluster’s event content focuses on best practices and strategies that help drive revenue. Topics include marketing strategy, analytics, and automation; sales strategy, process, operations and enablement; lead gen and nurturing and more. The community hosts two specific peer-to-peer groups:

(1) CMO Peer Group
(2) Demand Gen Professionals Peer Group.

The purpose of these groups is to connect and have honest, insightful, and candid discussions with peers on the challenges and opportunities organizations have in driving high quality leads and pipeline. The goal of the meeting time is to get out of the office and connect with others just like you who are facing similar challenges.

MassTLC’s next session is their demand gen peer group meeting scheduled for May 5th at Continuum Managed Services.  Ben Austin, Sr. Product Marketing Manager will be facilitating a conversation on driving customer growth through content to get the most out of your existing business.  Details and registration are here.  You’ll need a passcode for this one as it is open to demand gen professionals of MassTLC member companies only.  Email for the passcode. 
Thanks to sponsors DemandBase and Evergage.  It wouldn’t have been the same without your support!

NewCo Boston Host Company Fun Facts - Seema Brodie, Co-Founder & Principal, BikeBus

Seema Brodie, Co-Founder & Principal, BikeBus

1. What's the one word to describe how people will feel after leaving your New Co session? 

2. What movie, no matter how many times you've seen it, do you have to watch when it's on?

Office Space

3. In the past few months, what is the smallest change you made that had the biggest positive result?
Being in the present moment, always.

4. What did you miss in the interview for the worst hire you ever made?

Asking, "Are you a psycho?"

5. What's your superpower or what's your spirit animal?
Superpower: the ability to fly

6. If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?
"Let's Get It Started" by The Black Eyed Peas

7. If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?

Frosted Flakes, because we're GR-R-REAT!

8. What book do you think everyone on your team should read?
The Simple Truths of Service by Ken Blanchard & Barbara Glanz

About BikeBusTransforming unhealthy sedentary time into healthy active time with our innovative & fun fitness solution! After collectively gaining skills in the legal, health, and transportation fields, plus getting inspiration from family to think outside the box, we embarked on a journey to transform both the fitness and transportation worlds. Our busy lives cause us to sit a lot, and doctor's now say, "Sitting is the new smoking." We felt the need to do something about this public health problem. We created a group cycling studio that moves as you exercise, even while you're stuck in rush hour traffic! No more painful commutes. No more stress, because you get to leave the driving to us. No more trekking over to the gym when you've now got a fitness studio that picks you up at your office or home, making it easier than ever to break free from sitting at your desk or sitting on your couch.

Want to learn more? Visit Seema Brodie and experience cycling on a Bike Bus during NewCo Boston on April 27, 2016!
Session Time: 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Session Title: How To Fit In a Workout While Stuck in Rush Hour

Learn more about NewCo Boston and purchase tickets here:

Saturday, March 26, 2016

NewCo Boston Host Company Fun Facts - Ben Rubin, Co-founder & CEO, 10% Happier

Ben Rubin, Co-Founder & CEO, 10% Happier: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics

1. Why Boston? (Why do you live/work here, why did you choose to start your company here, etc.?)
Great mix of health and tech

2. What's the one word to describe how people will feel after leaving your New Co session?

3. On a scale of 1 to 10, how weird are you and why?
8, but able to fake it

4. What business would you love to start?
Intergalactic Voyages Inc

5. What did you miss in the interview for the worst hire you ever made?

Lack of inclination to take true ownership

6. If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?


7. What book do you think everyone on your team should read?
The Advantage

About 10% Happier: Meditation for fidgety skeptics. Learn how to meditate with a clear, easy to use, step by step guide.

Want to learn more? Visit Ben Rubin and the 10%  Happier office during NewCo Boston on April 27, 2016!

Session Time: 8:30 AM - 9:30 AM
Session Description: We will walk NewCo participants through two major bits: Teach meditation through our app (play key videos, audio meditations, give a quick live talk, answer questions about the practice live) & talk about our plans as a company to build out our content, community, and physical presence in the world.

Learn more about NewCo Boston and purchase tickets here:

Friday, March 25, 2016

NewCo Boston Host Company Fun Facts - Jack Little, President and Co-founder, Mathworks

Jack Little, President and Co-founder, Mathworks 

1. What’s the one word to describe how people will feel after leaving your New Co session?
Inspired.  You will see how algorithmic software is changing the world and making our lives better through everything it’s running in – cars, robots, medical devices, IoT systems, and more – and how MathWorks tools enable, empower, and accelerate the engineers and scientists who are creating the future.

2. What book do you think everyone on your team should read?
Built to Last, by Jim Collins.  This excellent book studies and explains the how and the why behind building successful and enduring companies. 

3. What did you miss in the interview for the worst hire you ever made?
There were work-culture differences that we picked up on but chose to discount, because of the person’s strong experience. This ultimately led to internal conflict and delayed the growth of the organization. 

4. If you could have a beer with anyone (dead or alive) who would it be?
Neil Armstrong.  He was an engineer’s engineer, not to mention his other accomplishments.  His experiences, outlook, and wisdom would be really interesting and insightful. 

5. Why Boston? (Why do you live/work here, why did you choose to start your company here, etc.?)
Boston has great talent, with more universities and students than any other city in the country.  Geographically, it’s ideally located with time-zone overlap and easy travel to Europe.  As a place to live, it’s hard to beat -- lots of choices for housing, world-class cultural institutions, fantastic sports teams, and you can easily get away to the mountains and the beaches nearby. 

About Mathworks: MathWorks is the leading developer of mathematical computing software. Engineers and scientists worldwide rely on its products to accelerate the pace of discovery, innovation, and development.

Want to learn more? Visit John Little and the Mathworks office during NewCo Boston on April 27, 2016!

Session Time: 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Session Title Accelerating the Pace of Engineering and Science
Special message to Attendees from MathWorks: Attendees will be treated to product demonstrations, a brief tour of our facilities, and will learn why MathWorks was recently recognized by Glassdoor as one of the Top 20 "Best Places to Work" in the U.S. Refreshments will be served. Please no vendors, agencies, or service providers.

Learn more about NewCo Boston and purchase tickets here:

Thursday, March 24, 2016

NewCo Boston Host Company Fun Facts - Timothy Prestero, Founder & CEO, Design That Matters

Timothy Prestero, Founder & CEO, Design That Matters

1. Why Boston?

All of DtM's best product ideas have come from our hundreds of students and professional volunteers.  You can't swing a dead cat in Boston without hitting some phenomenally talented people, whether they're world experts in science and medicine or prodigies in engineering and industrial design.

2. What movie, no matter how many times you've seen it, do you have to watch when it's on?

Glengarry Glen Ross.  Motivational quotes for every occasion!

3. What book(s) do you think everyone on your team should read?

Bertrand Russell - The Impact of Science on Society
"If you genuinely desire the happiness of mankind, certain forms of ignoble personal happiness are not open to you."

Pierre Bayard - How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read
"Truth destined for others is less important than truthfulness to ourselves, something attainable only by those who free themselves from the obligation to seem cultivated."

James Webb Young - A Technique for Producing Ideas
To paraphrase: "Every really good creative person I have ever known was an extensive browser in all sorts of fields of information. For it is with the creative as with the cow: no browsing, no milk."

About Design That Matters: We are setting the standard for best practice in design for poor communities in the developing world. We are pushing the limits of technology in rapid prototyping and low-volume manufacturing to bring great design to communities currently missed by commercial markets. Our goal is to deliver a better quality of service, and a better quality of life, to millions of beneficiaries through products designed for our partner social enterprises.

Want to learn more? Visit Timothy Prestero and the Design That Matters office during NewCo Boston on April 27, 2016!

Session Time: 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Session TitleHow Can a Small Team on a Shoestring Budget Save a Million Lives?

Learn more about NewCo Boston and purchase tickets here:

At HIMSS16, Massachusetts Leads Health IT into Next Stage of Data Analytics and Value-Based Care

By: Janice McCallum,

Massachusetts is known for pioneering healthcare reform programs that led national efforts and we continue to demonstrate leadership in advancing quality improvements in healthcare delivery.  At the recent annual HIMSS16 conference, where approximately 42,000 health IT vendors and customers convened to exchange the latest information on health IT and analytics innovations, it was clear that Massachusetts is in the pole position to lead the development of the next generation of health IT and analytics solutions.

Healthcare analytics depend on a reliable foundation for data collection and data management. With database infrastructure that serves 2/3 of the US population via its healthcare provider clients, InterSystems has played a key role in establishing the health IT foundation. Although they have generally operated behind-the-scenes, InterSystems is moving into a more visible role as they offer solutions for care coordination and advanced data analytics. I expect more people in healthcare will know their name in the future.

GE, IBM and Xerox are extremely well-known corporate names that are recognized in the healthcare sector. These storied corporate brands have demonstrated a history of innovation and reinvention that they are applying to an array of data management, analytics, and connected health initiatives. With decades of experience in enterprise computing and cultures that are skilled at integrating acquisitions to build best-of-breed solutions, these corporate giants will likely remain leading names in healthcare for the foreseeable future.

There are far too many product and corporate development announcements made at HIMSS to attempt a recap, even if it were limited to companies with strong ties to Massachusetts. However, the announcement of the $2.6 billion acquisition of Truven Health Analytics by IBM Watson is one that captured a lot of attention. Furthermore, I heard from more than a few experienced health IT professionals who would jump at the opportunity to join IBM’s expanding team at its new Watson Health headquarters near Kendall Square.

In healthcare, financial incentives and regulatory requirements factor into most major business and clinical decisions.  Telehealth is a great example. The technology has been available for some time, but regulations held back the supply of doctors available to practice across state lines. More important, the lack of a clear path for reimbursement constrained interest from clinicians. With the advent of recognition of the value of telehealth by payers, Boston-based American Well has been able to expand its portfolio of services to include multiway video, a mobile SDK, and the Telemed Tablet that facilitates specialist consultations via mobile teleconferencing.
Securing access to protected health information is another area where the right technology can overcome barriers to efficient workflow. Lexington-based Imprivata, a leading provider of health IT solutions for single sign-on and secure communications, is known for its clever and informative presentations at HIMSS which attract a large audience to its booth every year and didn’t disappoint this year.

The overarching theme of my coverage of HIMSS16 has been how health IT has entered a more mature phase, where basic IT capabilities are a required part of doing business and more advanced solutions are in the spotlight. New value-based models depend on a higher degree of care coordination and need to involve patients in care decisions. Massachusetts has many early-stage and more “mature” health IT companies that offer solutions for secure communications, data exchange, populations health analytics, and patient decision tools that all contribute to a more efficient connected care continuum. Other notable MassTLC member companies that are playing a role in transforming healthcare & were represented at HIMSS16 run the gamut from start-up  PatientPing, not-for-profit government systems engineering and analysis company Mitre, and big data analytics company, Optum Labs.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

NewCo Boston Host Company Fun Facts - Paul Bleicher, CEO, OptumLabs

 Paul Bleicher, Founding CEO, OptumLabs

1. Why Boston? (Why do you live/work here, why did you choose to start your company here, etc.?) 
I moved to Boston 33 years ago because it was the best place in the country to train as a physician and scientist – an academic mecca.  Since then, it has grown into THE leading edge of the business of health care and life sciences as well.  From large pharma to biotech, technology to device company, health care startup to leading health care companies, it has pretty much everything.  It is perfect for OptumLabs – the center of the vortex.

2. What’s the one word to describe how people will feel after leaving your New Co session? 

3. What movie, no matter how many times you’ve seen it, do you have to watch when it’s on
Technology has changed all that, hasn’t it?  Like talking about a slide show.  Or dialing the phone.  The movie I would take to a desert island is Casablanca.

4. What trophy do you want on your mantle?        
World champion latte art.

5. If you could have a beer with anyone (dead or alive) who would it be? 
John Snow.  He invented epidemiology by studying a map of cholera victims in London, and determining that a particular water pump was responsible for the epidemic.  He was so sure of this, he took the handle off the pump, and ended the epidemic.  An amazing blend of intelligence, instinct and courage.

6. What’s your superpower or what’s your spirit animal?
Hmmm, never thought about it.  So, I took a quiz at  Turns out, it is a Butterfly – powerful transformation, metamorphosis, playfulness, the world of the soul.  Sounds about right.

7. If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be? 
Blackbird, by The Beatles (Paul McCartney).  The past few weeks I have been teaching this to myself and I should be ready by the time our session comes around.

8. If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?
Granola – high quality, an interesting mix of things, tasty, and good for you
9. If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?   
Paul Giamatti

10. What book do you think everyone on your team should read? 
Good to Great.  I love the Hedgehog concept – focus your company on what you can be best in the world at, can be passionate about, and can make you money. 

About OptumLabs: OptumLabs is the health care industry’s first open collaborative research and innovation center. Our mission is to work with thought-leading partners to enable innovation and ground-breaking research designed to improve patient care and patient value. Together, we’re accelerating the search for solutions to challenges that stand between us and a healthier world.

Want to learn more? Visit Paul Bleicher and the OptumLabs office in Kendall Square during NewCo Boston on April 27, 2016!

Session Time: 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Session Title: "What you can see with Big Data"

Learn more about NewCo Boston and purchase tickets here

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

NewCo Boston Host Company Fun Facts - Joe Kinsella, Founder & CTO, CloudHealth Technologies


Joe Kinsella, Founder & CTO, CloudHealth Technologies

1.     Why Boston?

In addition to being one of the most attractive cities in the world, Boston is a very approachable city, with a strong entrepreneurial community and high talent density. I believe these 90 square miles are the most conducive in the world to building a technology business.

2.     On a scale of 1 to 10, how weird are you and why?

If I lived in Austin Texas, it’s highly improbable that I would be one of the people wearing a Keep Austin Weird t-shirt. However, I do love the song White and Nerdy by "Weird Al" Yankovic. I give myself a 5. Marketing gave me an 8. I reserve the right for my wife to adjust this ranking later.

3.     What movie, no matter how many times you’ve seen it, do you have to watch when it’s on?

The Matrix. Someday I hope to have my own virtual Trinity download Kung Fu to my cloud-based neural network. (Need to rethink score above?!?)

4.     What business would you love to start?

I would love to have a push cart outside every Apple Store that allowed you to put your dirty devices in on one end, and have clean shiny devices come out the other end. Is that weird? If so, I will need to rethink my previous rating.

5.     If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?

Jesse Eisenberg, not because he played Zuck, but because he just looks “white and nerdy” (which I guess is why he played Zuck).

Want to learn more? Visit Joe Kinsella and the CloudHealth Technologies office during NewCo Boston on April 27, 2016!

Session Time: 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Session Title: "Agility Experienced. Success Realized."
Suggested Audience: Startup founders, product managers, tech-focused entrepreneurs and college graduates who are interested in learning what it takes to innovate without constraints.  

Learn more about NewCo Boston and purchase tickets here: