Thursday, April 19, 2012

Conifers Around the World Slideshow

Here's one of the things I've been working on for IDRI: a slideshow of photos from Conifers Around the World to put on YouTube.

Friday, April 13, 2012

#MIN37 in Lowell

The Fashion Truck on Jackson Street
Mass Innovation Nights celebrated its third birthday in Lowell at Appleton Mills. #MIN37 showcased local innovation out here in the Merrimack Valley, the edge of the universe to many Bostonians and Cantabrigians but home to many of us. It was great to have only a 10 minute drive to the event!

One of the four chosen presenters was parked outside on Jackson Street next to the Hamilton Canal, the Fashion Truck. Emily Benson was just opening up her boutique on wheels and was already attracting fashion lovers.
The Fashion Truck Ready for Business
Fashionistas Inside the Truck
I managed to tear myself away from the Fashion Truck and head on into the Appleton Mills to check out the other products.

The space looked great with lots of light and art on the walls. Last time I was at Appleton Mills was for the book launch of Young Angel Midnight. This was a different but equally creative and enthusiastic crowd.

Christine Sierra was ably handling the sign-in table while Bobbie and Tim rounded up the innovators.

Christine Sierra
The sponsors for the evening were:
  • The City of Lowell -- great hosts
  • The Deshpande Foundation -- awesome support for innovation
  • The Merrimack Valley Sandbox -- who also provided business development, marketing, and strategy expertise in the Experts Corner
  • The Appleton Mills -- a great space
  • Comcast -- who generously provided free Wi-Fi and expertise in the Experts Corner
I was thrilled to meet Desh Deshpande, a force for good in the Merrimack Valley and an inspiring entrepreneur.
Our Sponsors from the Deshpande Foundation and the City of Lowell
The crowd started to build shortly after 6:00PM with a mix of people from the local area and Mass Innovation regulars who hadn't visited Lowell before.

The Crowd
I particularly wanted to talk to the guys from who were presenting their award-winning interactive tour about Lawrence: The Path. It uses cool beehive shape signs and online videos to tell the tale of two sisters who were caught in the largest industrial disaster in Massachusetts history - the fall of the Pemberton Mill. I've done the tour 3 times now and have added it to the Lawrence attractions in our New England Day Trips At-Hand app. I enjoyed being able to tell Nick how much I enjoyed the tour.

Nick from
The team from Bizulu made a big impression with their different take on the online auction and with their matching T-shirts. I awarded them best costume of MIN37. Their Competitive Entertainment Shopping lightning fast auction technology is definitely innovative. I got to chat with them some more at the after party -- great team and cool product.
Team Bizulu
Jenne Rayburn is a Boston based handcrafted jewelry and apparel design company. Her jewelry is gorgeous and her philosophy is inspiring.

Jenne Rayburn
Just Scentsational!  offers innovative organic products designed to rid your yard and garden of unwanted pests the natural way. He assured me this would keep the skunks out of my yard without irritating me. If I'm plagued with skunks again this year, I may well give Just Scentsational! a call.

Just Scentsational!

Encapsulator is a disposable web browser. It's a cool way to protect against malware attacks. Instead of leaving behind a trail of login information and stuff that could be copied from your browser, you visit, surf the web the way you do now, and throw away your web browser when you're done. Jay walked us through a demo that showed what kind of information could be snarfed up by malware when we're browsing unprotected. He showed the same session using Encapsulator and none of the information was stored. Cool techie stuff is always my favorite part of MIN and this was definitely cool and techie.

Jay Demoing Encapsulator for Fiona
Akken showed off their web-based business software suite for staffing and recruiting companies.


The student entrepreneurs from Five Senses have an intriguing concept and loads of enthusiasm. Their electronic system simulates relaxing environments that appeal to all five senses. Imagine being able to bring a full sensory experience of the beach or the forest to folks in nursing homes who need the stimulation but can't necessarily get out into their desired environment. It was a pleasure to talk with these guys.

Five Senses Team

Turkey Shore Distilleries introduced their Old Ipswich Tavern Rum aged in oak barrels. They get the best prop award for the oak barrel and the cool copper tubing. The after party at Garcia Brogan's featured a rum tasting with small shots of straight rum and rumenade, which is rum mixed with lemonade.


Rum Tasting at Garcia Brogan's
I had a lot of fun with the experts from the Merrimack Valley Sandbox, trying for just the right "Experts Looking Expert" shot. I also got to meet Sovanna Pouv, whose name I see all the time and who seems to have his hand in all things Lowell. Oh, and there was indeed birthday cake for MIN's 3rd birthday. What a great night for innovation and for Lowell. I look forward to more involvement with the local innovation scene.

Merrimack Valley Sandbox Experts Looking Expert
Looking Expert and Entrepreneurial and Having Fun!