Cool infographic on startups in Massachusetts

I found this infographic by the NEVCA on Bostinno and wanted to share it:

nevca_FINAL

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New Role at Boundless

Some of you may already have heard – Boundless has a new VP of Marketing, and I’m happy to say it’s me, Healy Jones! I came on board earlier in January, and am really I’m excited to help advance the Boundless mission – making textbooks and education more affordable and better.

Prior to joining I spoke with college students, who universally expressed frustration at the cost of textbooks, the poor quality of the traditional publishers’ ebook offerings and endless cycle of “new” editions created by publishers for the sake of making used books worthless.

The traditional textbook publishing industry is staring at a huge tidal wave of change, just as the encyclopedia industry did a few years ago. Textbooks must evolve into something that better suits students’ learning habits and pocketbooks. Boundless is really exciting since I get to be part of the solution.

Since I’ve officially joined we’ve released free textbooks in 18 subjects. And Boundless was covered in TechCrunch and USA Today, and had great blog posts about the  Boundless open textbooks on the Creative Commons blog and Semantic Web. AND, our semester is off to a great start with thousands upon thousands of college students electing to try Boundless free versions of popular books like Campbell’s Biology, Meyer’s Psychology and Principles of Microeconomics. If this is what changing the world feels like, I’m loving it.

healy jones boundless

I’m excited to be part of the Boundless revolution and look forward to helping students save some money!!

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Emerging Executive of the Year Nomination

I have just been nominated for a very cool Boston area technology leadership award. That’s right, little old me, Healy Jones! I’m pretty pumped. The award is the MassTLC’s Emerging Executive of the Year; there are five finalists. Basically, the award recognizes Massachusetts executives who have launched successful products, developed new strategies and achieved benchmark successes in the last year. OfficeDrop had a pretty great year last year, so everybody here is really excited about this nomination.
Healy Jones Mass Tech Leadership Award

More about the Emerging Executive Award by MassTLC

Here is what the MassTLC has to say about this award: “This year the Council introduced a new judging model for the awards program that included 55 executives, investors, analysts, media and thought leaders who participated in the finalist selection process. The pool of finalists will be further narrowed over the coming weeks and the winners will be announced on Thursday, September 13, at the MassTLC Leadership Awards Gala at the Boston Renaissance Waterfront Hotel in Boston. Details and advance registration are available at www.masstlcawards.org.”

I’ll point you to a post we did on the OfficeDrop Bostinno Channel that we did that talks more about the cool things I’ve been working on with the team here at OfficeDrop. You can read about Healy Jones being a finalist for emerging executive of the year here on our Bostinno Channel.

Also, sort of unrelated, but you can read an interview with me on an important scanning/imaging blog regarding OfficeDrop’s white label/OEM strategy where we power larger companies cloud storage.

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Boston Consumer Startup Scene

Recently there have been a few interesting posts on the Boston internet startup scene. This genre of posts seems to come back every 18 months or so, and I thought I would revisit a piece I did a while ago called “Keeping startups in Boston.” I wrote the post in 2010, and the purpose of my points was:

I’ll try to elaborate on a few of the problems I see in Boston – problems that make it less desirable for startup founders to want to found/keep their companies here. My point of view is colored by the years I spent living in San Francisco and by the fact that I am not originally from New England. Also, please keep in mind that as a guy helping run a startup in Cambridge I actually do think this is a great place to found a technology company.

Anyways, I mentioned the following points:

1) Lack of funding sources to take a risk on less experienced founders. Sometimes I feel like this is starting to get better, sometimes not. I”m seeing a lot more seed rounds being done in Boston, but we’ll see how they translate to Series A or successful outcomes.

2) Little investor willingness to roll up the sleeves and mentor/help other companies. I see some serious improvement here, coupled with a real improvement with point #3 as well. Programs like TechStars have brought mentors out hiding and made it cool to help get small companies off the ground. This makes me happy.

3) Very few here-is-how-you-grow-your-company events. Totally getting better, with incubators leading the way + organized events at the CIC, MSFT Nerd and a few other places gaining steam.

4) Very little national, customer driving press. This is still a huge problem. A really huge problem. I don’t see it getting better soon, although Bostinno is trying hard to become a real East Coast tech reporting machine. I see them making real progress, but this will just take time.

5) It is hard to feel welcome as a “non-native” in Boston. Still a problem that most non-natives don’t get, nor do I expect them to.

So, there is some serious improvement on the “what ills” Boston startups since my post a few years ago… but has there been any progress on making better consumer startup/internet companies here? Yeah, I’d think so, just based on the number of companies I see actually growing and doing well, like RunKeeper or Boundless or CustomMade.

Only time will tell though. There needs to be a big company that becomes a tech spawner, where a bunch of engineers make a lot of $ and then go and start other companies. Maybe Hubspot will fulfill that role.

Finally, here are the articles that got me thinking about this, one by a reporter named Jim Kerstetter and one by Rob Go.

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Interesting take on Boston startups

Looks like Harvard has an interesting initiative going to try to get startups going. I can’t seem to embed the video, so you’ll have to click here to get it.

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Interview on NPR

I’m interviewed on NPR this morning! Very cool stuff.

The piece was about startup real estate in Kendall Square, the leading innovation district in Boston.

I (Healy Jones) am interviewed by well known NPR reporter Curt Nickish about our quest to find new office space. OfficeDrop is growing, and we are striking deals with large companies, so we want to move into better digs.

The piece pokes a little fun at our dog-centric culture, and is a good listen to anyone who knows the Boston startup ecosystem.

Some of you may know my complaint that the VCs are moving into Kendall driving up the rent. The piece goes a bit deeper and talks about how big companies are gobbling up all the real estate. And driving up rent for little companies like us.

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