Massachusetts Innovation News & Events

Hungry? Check Out The Taste of South Boston – Sunday!

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Head over to  The Seaport Hotel this Sunday – March 24th!

All of us here at Media Crush attended this event last year and it was truly one of the best ” Tastes Of”  we have been to and we have been to a LOT of them!  The SBNDC puts a lot of work into this event and with such a great line-up this year may outdo last years!  Go with an appetite – and a thirst!

The South Boston Neighborhood Development Corporation (South Boston NDC) will hold its 11th Annual Taste of South Boston on Sunday, March 24, 2013, from 6 – 9 p.m. at the Seaport Hotel. This event has become one of the city’s premier food events enjoyed by over 500 attendees. For an entrance fee of $50, attendees can sample food and beverage offerings from 30 local restaurants while enjoying live music.

Taste of South Boston 2013

Taste of South Boston 2013

This year’s event boasts the largest number of participating restaurants, from the traditional South Boston neighborhood, the South Boston Waterfront and the Fort Point areas. As of press date, 28 local restaurants have committed to providing tastings including: 75 on Liberty Wharf, American Provisions, Aura Restaurant, Café Porto Bello, Cranberry Café, Empire, Franklin Southie, Jerry Remy’s Seaport, Larry J’s BBQ Cafe, Lincoln, Local 149, LTK, Lucky’s Lounge, Papagayo, The Paramount, Rosa Mexicano, Salsa’s, Salvatore’s, Sportello, Strega Waterfront, Sweet Tooth Boston, Tamo Lounge, Temazcal Cantina, Trade, Water Cafe at the ICA, and The Whiskey Priest. Al’s Liquors will be sampling select wines, and Harpoon Brewery will be pouring samples of their latest brews.

South Boston NDC is a recognized 501c(3) that has successfully developed over 180 units of affordable housing in the community. The Taste of South Boston is South Boston NDC’s annual fundraiser. Proceeds from this event support the South Boston NDC’s mission to provide affordable housing for working people, families, elderly and Veterans in our community. This spring, South Boston NDC and its partner Caritas Communities, will begin construction of Patriot Homes, 24 affordable apartments for Veterans.

Tickets can be purchased online at: www.tasteofsouthboston.com or at the office of South Boston Neighborhood Development Corporation located at 365 West Broadway, South Boston. For general inquiries, email us at: info@tasteofsouthboston.com or call 617-268-9610.

Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School

Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School professor and author of The Innovator's Dilemma, says Tesla, Apple, VCs and universities all face big disruptive threats.

Disruption guru Christensen: Why Apple, Tesla, VCs, academia may die.

Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School professor and author of The Innovator's Dilemma, says Tesla, Apple, VCs and universities all face big disruptive threats.

Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School professor and author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, says Tesla, Apple, VCs and universities all face big disruptive threats.

Cromwell Schubarth - Senior Technology Reporter- Silicon Valley Business Journal

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

Harvard business professor Clayton Christensen literally wrote the book on technology disruption, and he thinks Apple, Tesla Motors, venture capitalists and most of the nations colleges and universities should be afraid.

The author of The Innovators Dilemma said Wednesday that all of them could be killed by less advanced competitors in the same way that many once dominant technology companies have been in the past.

Christensen shared his theories about how innovative giants are felled and replaced by relatively less sophisticated rivals, speaking to an attentive crowd of young entrepreneurs and funders at the Startup Grind conference in Mountain View on Wednesday.

Basically, his theory of disruption centers around how dominant industry leaders will react to a newcomer: It allows you to predict whether you will kill the incumbents or whether the incumbents will kill you.

If a newcomer thinks it can win by competing at the high end, the incumbents will always kill you.

If they come in at the bottom of the market and offer something that at first is not as good, the legacy companies wont feel threatened until too late, after the newcomers have gained a foothold in the market.

He offered as an example the introduction of cheap transistor radios. High fidelity, vacuum-tube powered incumbents felt no threat from the poor quality audio the transistors produced and missed the technological shift that eventually killed many of them.

Here is what Christensen said threatens Apple, Tesla, VCs and academia.

Apple too good for its own good?

Apple could be on path for a classic disruption in Christensen’s view.

Successful innovative products like the iPhone are usually based on proprietary technology because that is how the dominant business carves out, protects and builds its top market position.

But at some point as they get better and better, they start to exceed what people actually need or are willing to pay extra for.

When that happens the people who have the proprietary architecture are pushed to the ceiling and the volume goes to the open players. So in smartphones the Android operating system has consummate modularity that now allows hundreds of people in Vietnam and China to assemble these things.

Just like I pray for Harvard Business School, I pray for Apple.

They always have won with their proprietary architecture and because of their advantage. If you ask them what is the core of the company, they will say it is design and the interaction with the customer. Manufacturing really is not our core competence.

So you just give that to the Chinese. But then what happens to them? As the dominant architecture becomes open and modular, the value of their proprietary design becomes commoditized itself. It may not be as good, but almost good enough is often good enough.

The real value in making the iPhone, Christensen argues, is in the sophisticated manufacturing that is being done on it overseas, something that can no longer be done competitively in the U.S.

He believes that and the commoditization of smartphones threaten Apple in the long run.

Tesla goes down the wrong road

Instead of coming in at the low end of the market with a cheap electric vehicle, Tesla Motors competes with premium offerings from legacy automakers.

Who knows whether they will be successful or not, he said. They have come up with cars that in fact compete reasonably well and they cost $100,000 and god bless them.

But if you really want to make a big product market instead of a niche product market, the kind of question you want to ask for electric vehicles is, I wonder if there is a market out there for customers who would just love to have a product that wont go very far or go very fast. The answer is obvious.

The parents of teenagers would love to have a car that wont go very far or go very fast. They could just cruise around the neighborhood, drive it to school, see their friends, plug it in overnight.

Because that kind of electric car offers something that doesnt threaten incumbents and provides a low-end solution, Christensen says that has a greater chance of surviving and ultimately upending the auto market than Teslas flashy Roadsters and sedans.

VCs aiming too high

Christensen said he thinks the venture capital world needs to be disrupted because it is focused too much on making big killings on big investments at a time when there are plenty of good smaller investments to be made on companies that will be disruptive.

He offered as an example his friend, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Before teaching, Christensen ran a small company in Massachusetts at the same time Romney started Bain Capital, and the firm invested $1 million in Staples when it was just starting out.

Romney actually took the time to call and to ask him to buy his supplies from Staples, even though he was just a small business. But when Christensen some years later sent another friend who was raising $1 million for a good idea, Romney told the man that Bain didnt make those kinds of investments any more. They only wanted to invest $10 million or more.

Venture capital is always wanting to go up market. Its like the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. ‘Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.’ People in private equity complain that they have so much capital and so few places to invest. But you have lots of entrepreneurs trying to raise money at the low end and find that they cant get funding because of this mismatch. I think that there is an opportunity there.

A new course for academia

Christensen wrote his first opinions on why Harvard Business School and other higher-ed institutions were in line to be disrupted back in 1999. Much of what he predicted then is coming true, and the disruption is accelerating.

For 300 years, higher education was not disruptable because there was no technological core. If San Jose State wants to become a globally known research institution, they have to emulate UC Berkeley and Cal Tech. They cant disrupt, he said on Wednesday.

But now online learning brings to higher education this technological core, and people who are very complacent are in deep trouble. The fact that everybody was trying to move upmarket and make their university better and better and better drove prices of education up to where they are today.

Right now, Harvard Business School is investing millions of dollars in online learning, but it is being developed to be used in our existing business model, and well sell it to other universities to use in their existing business models.

But there is a different business model that is disrupting this in addition to online learning. Its on-the-job education. This model of learning is you come in for a week and well teach you about strategy and you go off and develop a strategy. Come back later for two weeks on product development. You learn it and you use it. These are very different business models and thats whats killing us.

Fifteen years from now more than half of the universities will be in bankruptcy, including the state schools.

In the end, I am excited to see that happen.

Cromwell Schubarth is the Senior Technology Reporter at the Business Journal.

His phone number is 408.299.1823.

Awesome Boston Launch!

Debi Kleiman

Boston Just Got More Awesome

By Debi Kleiman | MITX

It was a cold, clear, winter day, only a year ago when the seed was planted.

Awesome Boston

A dedicated group of Boston-based community leaders, entrepreneurs, executives, academics and government leaders gathered together at the 2012 World Class Cities Partnership Chatham Forum to think about how to make Greater Boston a better place to live and work, with an eye on innovation and futuristic thinking.

A recurring theme – our Innovation Economy has a PR problem.

There is no Boston story that we all know, that defines us – that tells the world about what makes our scene unique. Perhaps it’s just plain old New England modesty, but it’s holding us back from greatness. We are terrible marketers of Greater Boston’s tech scene. We need to shout loud and proud about our successes, inventions and achievements. In doing so, we will attract more talent to our companies and drive more innovation. This kind of Boston branding will translate into so many other good things for our community.

So today, a small group from that winter offsite a year ago, now loosely organized as the Mass Action unCommittee, is beta launching what we think is at least part of a solution.

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AwesomeBoston.org was created to be a place where we could showcase our success stories and dynamic innovation leaders. But we didn’t want to stop there; we wanted to find a way to get these stories and people in front of our #1 asset – the students that call Boston home for four years. If they can meet these folks and hear their stories firsthand, then these students will start to see their own Boston success story and choose to start their careers here.

Awesome Boston Launch from peter andrews // collaboratorium on Vimeo.

AwesomeBoston.org has two parts to fill this need: the Speakers Bureau and the Content Hub. For the Speakers Bureau, we wanted to make our innovation leaders accessible to students. We offer students an easy way to bring local CEOs and exciting entrepreneurs on-campus for business club and interest group events.

The first set of CEOs volunteered without hesitation when we told them the goal. Through the Speakers Bureau, students can invite a leader to campus and create a connection between their on-campus world and our innovation scene. This is a great first step to helping these students find a business network in Boston. As we all know, once you have a network, it’s very hard to leave.

The second part is the Content Hub. There is so much fantastic content created by the many organizations that hold events and meet-ups, with blogs and videos about our home-grown success stories and entrepreneurs. We wanted to aggregate this content, regardless of source, so that it’s easy to see what makes Boston’s innovation scene so very awesome. We have some terrific content already from our partners, but we’d welcome more. Let us know if you’ve got something that fits with the awesomeness at AwesomeBoston.org, as we’d love to include it.

This site is really just one way to meet the goal of shouting louder and prouder, building brand Boston. Relentless storytelling is the answer. We all should be talking more about Boston, why it is a character in all our success stories and why what we have here is so special. Let’s not keep it a secret anymore. We can make it even more Awesome!

Got ideas for AwesomeBoston.org – please let us know by visiting the site. Got comments about why your Boston is awesome? Share them in the section below.

Debi Kleiman - Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange

Debi Kleiman – MITX

Debi Kleiman is President of MITX (Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange); you can reach her on Twitter @drkleiman.

The Mass Action unCommittee includes:

Peter Andrews (Design and Dev for AwesomeBoston.org), Devin Cole, Danielle Duplin, Helena Fruscio, Paul Hlatky, Tito Jackson, Mike Lake, Yoon Lee, Chad O’Connor, Lisa Reilly, Jaime Reynolds, Erica Rife, Ian Sample, Nancy Saucier, and C.A. Webb.

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ABOUT AWESOME BOSTON

AwesomeBoston.org is the destination for success stories in Greater Boston.

Whether it is startups with huge ideas, large companies grown from humble roots, nonprofits making society thrive, thought leaders in academia, or government officials and investors connecting people to vital resources, each of these key pieces of the Boston ecosystem should be better known to each other and to the public. 

Born out of ideas discussed at the Urban Excellence unConference in February 2012, AwesomeBoston.org was created by a group of dedicated business, academic, government and non-profit leaders committed to improving Massachusetts, the Mass Action unCommittee.

The purpose of AwesomeBoston.org is twofold:

1. In an effort to better define Boston’s “story,” the site provides a platform where Boston-area business success stories are told and promoted.

2. AwesomeBoston.org serves as a portal for college and university student groups to gain access to successful Boston-based leaders who have volunteered to speak at on-campus events in an effort to further share and promote the success that can be had by launching and growing a business in Massachusetts.

AwesomeBoston.org makes sure these success stories reach a broader audience so that they can inspire more people to choose Boston for its unparalleled access to opportunity.

unCommittee Members:

WHAT IS AWESOMEBOSTON?

Awesome Boston is a newly launched program that brings the collective “story” of Boston’s innovation economy to the the world around us, showcasing the game-changing business and vibrant start-up culture that drives this great city.
Launched as a collaboration of prominent civic groups and leading citizens, the AwesomeBoston.org portal seeks to engage and inform people around the world about Boston’s unparalleled economic opportunity.
The Awesome Boston initiative takes this message further by bringing successful local C-level execs to our local college campuses to discuss how the Greater Boston ecosystem was an integral part of their success and why it was, and is, a great place to live, work and play after college.
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