Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dinner Discussion on Consumer Tech in Boston

Last Thursday night, I moderated a dinner discussion at Sandrine's in Harvard Square called "Consumer Tech in Boston...Stalking the Wily Consumer."

The goal was to bring together a group of entrepreneurs, execs, and designers who create consumer products (whether physical or digital), share some "best practices," and talk about what it takes to swim against the prevailing current here in Massachusetts (which, if you haven't noticed, is enterprise tech.) This was one of the occasional Nantucket Conference-related dinners held on the mainland; the private subterranean dining room at Sandrine's was packed with about 40 people.

Our speakers were:

    > Steve Krampf, Co-founder and CEO, Chestnut Hill Sound (creator of "George")
    > Antonio Rodriguez, Founder, Tabblo; General Manager, HP Publishing Services
    > Harry West, VP of Strategy and Innovation, Continuum; the firm has been involved in designing Reebok's pump sneaker, P&G's Swiffer, nTag's intelligent nametag, and OLPC's $100 Laptop
    > Carl Yankowski, CEO, Ambient Devices; former CEO of Palm Computing and President of Sony Electronics.

Among the topics we covered were market research...retailer/distributor loops...fundraising...the connection between hardware and software...and the merits of simplicity.

Chiming in from the audience, you'll hear Woody Benson of Prism VentureWorks, David Friend of Carbonite, and John Landry of Lead Dog Ventures (among others.)

The audio file is here in MP3 form. It's just under 50 minutes long...and there's lots of audible silverware clinking and wine drinking (so I'd recommend listening to it while you're chowing down.)

Antonio also posted some thoughts on the discussion on his blog.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Sunday's column, and new Globe video series

Yesterday's Globe column focused on the different approaches that Iqbal Quadir and Nicholas Negroponte are taking to bring new technologies to developing countries.

There's also a new video series from, "Office Invasion," which launched last week. The premise is that we take you inside a cool workplace and poke our cameras around for a while. The first target company was Continuum, a design firm in West Newton.

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