Monday, April 6, 2009

Is Microsoft Embracing Its Inner NERD?

It couldn't have been a mistake that the acronym for Microsoft's new outpost on the banks of the River Charles, the New England Research and Development Center, turns out to be NERD. (Could it?)

But there was some debate at last month's Foo Camp East gathering about whether Microsoft was really going to officially embrace the NERD name for the facility.

Legendary techie, blogger and entrepreneur Dan Bricklin argued that NERD, or "NERD Center," is the perfect branding. "NERD Center sounds like nerve center," Bricklin told me today. "Because it's so geeky, it will get them so much more publicity." But Bricklin says he didn't yet see any signs that Microsoft officially likes the nerd word. (When you search on Google or MSN for "Microsoft NERD," among the things you get are this Mass High Tech story and this danah boyd interview on a Microsoft company blog.)

While NERD isn't anywhere on the official Microsoft Cambridge Web site, and hasn't been part of the company's local recruitment advertising that's all over the T in Cambridge, managing director Reed Sturtevant let me know in an e-mail this morning that "we do refer to the facility affectionately as NERD, so we were just mock-complaining with Dan Bricklin when he was using that at Foo." (Sturtevant runs Microsoft Startup Labs, one of three tenants in the Cambridge facility.)

We'll see, though, whether it becomes any sort of official designation. [Update: the photo is a t-shirt that Sturtevant sent to me on 4.7 to show that there's at least some MSFT employee swag that acknowledges NERD.]

As an aside, one of the really *great* things about the NERD Center is that they've been open to hosting lots of tech community events there. That's a lead that other companies ought to follow...

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On the events radar: Mass. Innovation Nights and Foo East

I hear that last night's Web Innovators Group meeting was mobbed... more than 1000 people. Kevin Kosh from CHEN PR has some coverage, including videos.

Two other things on my radar screen for March and April:

    Bobbie Carlton e-mailed this week to let me know she is starting a new demo night in Waltham that may or may not turn out to be similar to WebInno. (At the least, it'll start off by being smaller.) The first one is April 8th.


    O'Reilly and Microsoft are putting on Foo East later this month at Microsoft's new digs in Cambridge. I believe this is the first time O'Reilly has done a Foo Camp in Boston... and the participant list looks pretty prime.

And if you're not on the list for Foo East (I'm told it's over-booked), there are three totally open BarCamp "unconferences" coming up this spring:

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