Technology innovation in Boston

I’m not sure how I missed it, but Xconomy did a great piece on the technology industry in Massachusetts. Wade Roush, the author, pokes a bit of fun at the inferiority complex that Boston has vs. the West Coast. He then suggests that a plan to commission a study to come up with a new brand name for the region is a lame way to help drive innovation in Boston. 

Wade then lists 5 ideas that he thinks can help create more innovation in the area – and they make a pretty good list. I’m impressed, and since I used to live and work in tech finance in the Bay area I think I’m entitled to an opinion (you may have a different view of my right to have an opinion…)

I really like Wade’s number 2, “Upgrade Boston’s transportation infrastructure…” If there is one thing that Boston has over the Bay Area is that technology companies are actually based IN Boston/Cambridge. Boston is much more fun to live in vs. a suburb of San Jose. A lot of young programmers would probably really love their lifestyle here – particularly if they knew they could easily commute to work on public transportation and live and work in a city. Have you ever gotten off work at 11pm in Palo Alto? It’s pretty boring. But in Davis Square – well, that can be pretty fun.

Boston also doesn’t feel that welcoming because it is so damn hard to get around here. Why don’t half the streets have signs? Are we just supposed to magically know where we are? For some reason most other states can afford to put up signs. Maybe New England should try this. People want to live where they feel comfortable. I don’t think that a person should have to have grown up in a city to actually know their way around. 

Ok, well, this turned into a bit more of a rant than I anticipated. The end position is that the Boston area is a great place to build your startup, and there are some pretty easy things that can be done to make it even better. The area should play to its strengths – great educational institutions, lots of vibrant young people and yes, venture capital.*

Read the Xconomy article and let me know what you think.

*I realize a ton of people think it is impossible to raise VC in New England. It is a bit harder than the West Coast, but raising venture funding is really really hard regardless of where a company is based. It’s easier here in Boston than 99% of the world.

Author: Healy Jones

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