Boston thinks big


How can we breed entrepreneurs? It's a fascinating question, and a critical one to answer as we try to figure out how to create new jobs.

Research on entrepreneurs underscores the importance of close physical proximity. In other words, while ours is a wired world, entrepreneurs benefit tremendously from being around other entrepreneurs. This type of network effect allows individuals to form instant connections with others.

Bestselling author Ori Brafman believes that distance affects the building of relationships. All else equal, stronger relationships will result from people who are closer to one another than from those who are geographically disconnected. (For more, check out this clip.)

A natural energy emanates from local start-up activity. This is one of the reasons that office space in San Francisco is insanely expensive. You'll be more energized and productive if you're surrounded by energized and productive people. At least that's the theory.

Big Data Innovation

It should be no surprise, then, that a great deal of Big Data-related innovation is happening in Boston, MA. MIT, Harvard and other progressive and technologically advanced universities are spawning new projects and working with both the private and public sectors. And the city's mayor, Thomas Menino, is one of the most forward-thinking politicians in the country.

Against this backdrop, the opportunity for innovation is too big to ignore - something that many people understand. Count Chris Lynch as one of them. Lynch is currently a partner at Atlas Venture after stepping down from his position as CEO of Vertica. He recently vowed to fund 20 big data startups. Yes, 20.

Simon Says

Will all of these startups succeed? Of course not. Many if not most will fail. To this end, Big Data is no different than other industries in previous decades. For instance, did you know that there used to be nearly 2,000 automobile companies?

As I look forward to 2013 and beyond, plenty of Big Data startups will fail. Others will get acquired. A few will merge with others. And then there will be those that become household names, at least to data management folks like me.

I have no crystal ball, but of this much I am sure. Big Data is a big opportunity.


What say you?


About Author

Phil Simon

Author, Speaker, and Professor

Phil Simon is a keynote speaker and recognized technology expert. He is the award-winning author of eight management books, most recently Analytics: The Agile Way. His ninth will be Slack For Dummies (April, 2020, Wiley) He consults organizations on matters related to strategy, data, analytics, and technology. His contributions have appeared in The Harvard Business Review, CNN, Wired, The New York Times, and many other sites. He teaches information systems and analytics at Arizona State University's W. P. Carey School of Business.

Leave A Reply

Back to Top