XSITE 2011, TechStars Demo Day, the Bruins, and Coolio: 25 Things to Remember From Boston’s Hell Week

6/22/11Follow @gthuang

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it’s “the only place in the world where we don’t need to explain that CAD means ‘computer aided design.’” (He’s from Estonia.)

7. I remember Nabeel Hyatt from Zynga Boston (formerly of Conduit Labs) announcing his first angel investment, in Memrise. And Harmonix’s Eran Egozy, a relatively recent angel investor himself, backing The Tap Lab. Things are definitely starting to happen here.

8. I remember that Memrise had something to do with memory. Ha ha. Actually, it has to do with learning foreign-language vocabulary words online (for now). Founder and U.K. memory champ Ed Cooke said, “We’re reinventing learning.”

9. I remember Cooke and The Tap Lab’s Dave Bisceglia talking about “social gaming methodologies to get people to come back” and “addictive gameplay mechanics,” respectively. Like those are good things. Which they might be, depending on where you sit.

10. I remember Sravish Sridhar of Kinvey saying he’s putting the “BaaS” (backend as a service) in “Badass.” The idea: provide an easy cloud-based backend for mobile apps and their developers.

11. I remember strong themes around education and e-mail (which is not going away anytime soon, sadly) from several of the TechStars companies. Senexx is building knowledge management systems for big companies using an e-mail interface; Help Scout is providing an e-mail-based customized help desk for businesses. On the education front, EverTrue is developing a donor information system for universities and nonprofits; Spill runs an online peer counseling service, targeting college students; and Memrise is about online learning.

(I remember not sleeping the night of the Bruins’ Game 7—on the eve of XSITE 2011, our biggest conference of the year. Let’s take a breath, or a quick snooze, and then dive into XSITE…)

12. I remember XSITE keynoter Desh Deshpande saying, “You can’t mandate innovation. People need freedom to do what they want to do.”

13. I remember Desh also saying, “Tenure and entrepreneurship do not go together.” And, “Universities have to not get in the way of company formation.” On the topic of healthy ecosystems, he added that “we need companies at all stages of the life cycle.” He pointed out that because of the dearth of strong IPOs in the past decade, there is a gap between very established companies and newer upstarts.

14. I remember Phil Sharp of MIT saying that a number of technical wrinkles need to be ironed out before biologists can get real bang out of an open-source biology movement like the one championed by former Merck SVP Stephen Friend.

15. I remember Edward Jung of Intellectual Ventures saying the U.S. is “one of the worst places to do mega-projects”—very large-scale innovative efforts in areas such as climate change, healthcare, and energy and water infrastructure.

16. I remember Alexandra Wilkis Wilson of Gilt Groupe saying she isn’t seeing a new Internet bubble, Gilt isn’t planning to go public or get acquired in the next year, and that five years from now, both Gilt and Groupon will still be around. (Maybe after a merger, called Gilt Groupon?)

17. I remember TripAdvisor’s Stephen Kaufer talking about “desperation times” when … Next Page »

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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