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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the company was close to running out of money, before it switched to a consumer focus. TripAdvisor has since grown to become perhaps the biggest Web startup in the Northeast.

18. I remember similar tales of ups and downs from NextView Ventures’ Lee Hower (PayPal, LinkedIn). It seems like all companies go through at least one near-death experience. The good (and lucky) ones survive.

19. I remember Jamie Goldstein from North Bridge Venture Partners saying, “We’re in a social media bubble,” and that VCs should invest in other areas. Todd Dagres of Spark Capital perked up at that comment—and said that people should indeed invest in other sectors since the time to bet on social media was a few years ago.

20. I remember Paul Sellew of Harvest Power saying that unfortunately it will take a major situation for the U.S. to get serious about alternative energy. “There’s going to be a crisis and then we’ll mobilize,” he said.

21. I remember Sellew saying Harvest completely changed its business model after its Series A round (in response to a question about companies’ biggest mistakes). To which Frank van Mierlo of 1366 Technologies said that sounded “like a plan,” not a mistake.

22. I remember van Mierlo saying his “most painful” mistakes have been in recruiting. (They wouldn’t have to do with his poker face, that’s for sure. When asked about 1366′s relationship with the U.S. government and Department of Energy, he revealed nothing about his company’s $150 million DOE loan that was announced the next morning.)

23. I remember Pattie Maes of the MIT Media Lab saying there are “lots of opportunities to innovate in interfaces.” She showed quick video snippets of gestural interfaces, projected images you could interact with, a “mouseless mouse,” and an intriguing method for cutting and pasting pictures and other data from your phone to your laptop using just a finger.

24. I remember an unintentional comedy routine by Katie Rae and Xconomy’s Wade Roush as they juggled 12 early-stage startups, founders, and the audience applause-o-meter (Wade’s iPad) during the “Xpo” session of XSITE. (It was in contrast to the slick production value of TechStars Demo Day, but both formats worked well.) Of course, I also remember the rant session before lunch, but we (and others) have covered that already.

25. I remember having a hell of a good time talking with speakers and attendees at all the events that week. A special thanks to our XSITE hosts, Babson and Olin College, as well as to all our event partners and sponsors, for making it all possible.

So let’s do it again next year—and see how far we’ve all come by then.

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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