Entrepreneur Walk of Fame Opens in Kendall Square: Gates, Jobs, Kapor, Hewlett, Packard, Swanson, and Edison are Inaugural Inductees
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committee decision. But, for the record, the guidelines for choosing the inductees included factors such as the nominations being national in scope (international is for the future); having linkage to Cambridge/Boston was not necessary but nice; they had to be founder-and-CEO level people associated with a billion-dollar company (in today’s dollars) in a tech or innovation-based industry; and the focus was on entrepreneurs with great stories—not investors, inventors, or ideas people.
The selection committee consisted of: Bill Aulet, MIT Entrepreneurship Center; Tom Byers, Stanford Technology Ventures Program; George Colony, Forrester Research; Desh Deshpande, MIT Deshpande Center; Emily Green, Yankee Group; Bryan Pearce, Ernst & Young; Jason Pontin, MIT’s Technology Review; and Carl Schramm, Kauffman Foundation.
[Disclosure: The committee for nominations included Xconomy founder and CEO Bob Buderi, as well as Howard Anderson, Mike Cantalupa, Dan Isenberg, Joi Ito, Brad Feld, John Harthorne, Paul Maeder, Pascal Marmier, Paul Sagan, and Leon Sandler.]
Aulet shed some light on the decision process for choosing the inductees by comparing it to a group of people choosing a short list of all-time basketball greats. “It’s like sitting around in a bar saying, ‘Who’s better, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, or Michael Jordan?’ and arguing for two hours,” he says. “That’s what the selection committee was like.”
Some people might ask why Kapor made the cut, for instance, given that Lotus didn’t reach the rarefied heights that Apple or Microsoft have. “He changed Kendall Square,” Aulet says. “Kendall Square doesn’t exist like it is today without Mitch Kapor. He symbolized the rock and roll entrepreneur. You could be cool and you could be a business person.”
So where do they go from here? Well, the idea is to attract national attention to the Entrepreneur Walk of Fame and (ideally) create a kind of tourist destination on par with other Massachusetts attractions like the Freedom Trail or the Basketball Hall of Fame. The plan is to induct six new entrepreneurs annually, Aulet says—about half of them will be living, and half will be historical figures.
“We’re super excited about this,” he says. “These are stories of people who changed the world.”