Scott Kirsner is back writing regularly for the Boston Globe again. His new weekly column, the Innovation Economy, will be covering "entrepreneurship, technology and venture capital" in New England. First, let me say that it is great to have Scott back focusing on this area. He has always been very receptive to discussing new companies and products with PR people. It also shows that the Boston Globe is showing some re-commitment to covering an important segment of the local economy.
Unfortunately in Scott’s first piece he examines what has become an all too familiar tune. The New England technology market is losing yet again to Silicon Valley — in the area of consumer technology. In this particular case, he contrasts the conservative, business-market orientation of New England VCs versus the more risk taking, consumer-tech oriented Valley VCs. I certainly won’t argue the overall point. We are all well-versed in the history of how we got to where we are today.
But there was one example that was made to contrast the two different approaches that I have always found somewhat unsettling. New England VCs tend to want to see companies actually making money, whereas this was not seen as important to the gang on the West Coast. Since when is expecting a company to actually make money not a positive thing? My colleague, Ted Weismann, wrote a previous post about this attitude in which he cited an entry on TechCrunch which compared our client, ZoomInfo, to some of it competitors and almost disparaged the fact that they were a "solid business" and the only ones that had actual revenues. Huh??
Yes, culturally we are more conservative. And yes, our tech economy maybe is based more around business than consumers. But there are still hundreds of great technology companies being built here, and many are targeting the consumer. Check out one of our clients, Zink, which is doing some incredible stuff that will change the digital printing business — both for consumers and business. You probably know of many more. If so, tell us about them. In the meantime, I look forward to future articles from Scott which I hope will change people’s perceptions about innovation in New England.