Friday, March 15, 2013

the #MIN48 epic

View of Boston from Holt Hill in Andover
Did you know you can see Boston from Andover? You can. It looks pretty good on a fine spring (sort of) day too. Though I was enjoying the view and the bluebirds at Ward Reservation I cut my walk short so I could attend the 48th instance of Mass Innovation Night. Think of it: 48 great events over 4 years. That's an achievement. Congrats to Bobbie C and her awesome team and thanks to all the sponsors over the past 4 years!

Fenway Park
Even before the awesomeness that is Fenway Park was built, Boston was a hub of innovation. Your assignment, dear reader, is to check out Steven Puleo's A City So Grand.  Boston was a happening place in 1860. So it was definitely fitting that MIN celebrated 4 years of great product launches in the very heart of Boston in the shadow of Fenway Park at the Landsdowne Pub. Thanks to Landsdowne Pub for hosting.

The New MIN Sign
I started encountering MIN regulars before I even got inside the Landsdowne. MIN regular and all around awesome dude, William Toll, stopped to take a pic of the MIN megaphone banner at the same time I did.  Actually, the sign was probably the best photo I got all night. The dark pub and small alcoves for the demo tables made for a challenge. I decided to try going with a very high ISO rating (6400) to get that watercolorish artistic look instead of crisp and business-like -- with mixed results but I just had to try. I even used the watercolor effect filter in Photoshop to bring out the flatness a little more.
The #MIN48 Crowd As Watercolor
So now, on to the cool products. I very much enjoyed talking with Jeff from Mortgage Auction even though I am not in the market for a mortgage. I like the idea of the lenders bidding to produce the best quote for the borrower. I also thought Mortgage Auction nailed the presentation with great slides and a real live customer describing his experience. Kudos to Mortgage Auction.

The Dark Alley of Mortgage Shopping Today -- No Wonder We Need Mortgage Auction

The most unexpectedly cool product I encountered was Shelldhwani Speakers. The visual beauty and the acoustic properties of natural sea shells combine with Shelldhwani's technology to enhance the pleasure of listening to your audio devices -- way cooler than any of the external speakers I've tried with my iPod.

Shell Speaker
The ThinkerDeck demo reminded me of how the traditional model  of index cards that you can shuffle and color code, etc. really helps with organizing information. ThinkerDeck is an iPad app for capturing, storing, and managing notes, ideas, and inspiration. Simple, elegant, and so useful.

Innovation in water? You bet! Saka Natural Alkaline Water is refreshing, bottled at source without any additives, has a pH of 8.2 and lots of minerals, and comes in collapsible, BPA-free, phthalate free bottles. It tasted great and quenched my thirst. And I love that they're a global brand based in Charlestown.

Saka Water
Lots of MIN regulars spend lots of time in airports (when they're not at MIN :-)) and they got very excited about Tripchi.  Bored at the airport during your flight delay? Imagine customized recommendations of things to do in the airport based on your personality, interests and flight info. Imagine exclusive deals on food, beverages, and shopping. Imagine detailed content for exploring the airport. I predict that lots of folks who attended #MIN48 immediately signed up for the Tripchi Beta.


HelpAroundTown is another innovation on an old idea: hiring your neighbors to do tasks for you. Remember  your early entrepreneurship experience mowing neighbors' lawns and shoveling their driveways? Imagine a job board that connects people needing help with neighbors seeking work!

As someone who frequently drops iDevices, I liked  the OnGuard Vertex iPhone and iPad cases with stands that work both horizontally and vertically.

OnGuard Vertex

Chatting with the regulars and the first time attendees, checking out as many products as I could, talking with the experts, playing with my camera ... is all so much I couldn't possibly write a complete account of the evening. There were all kinds of terrific people so I got to practice my portrait photography. Kash posed for me as did all of the experts and many of the regulars.

The experts all looked very expert and they had a great corner near the entrance so got lots of visitors early on. Chris looked particularly expert, so he gets to be the traditional "expert looking expert" image.
Chris Looking Expert

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