Thursday, September 12, 2013

#MIN54 at Workbar

Workbar's New Central Square Digs This Way
Any excuse to go to Central Square is a good one in my book. The tech pundits are finally discovering what many of us have known for decades -- Central Square has always been cooler than those other squares in Cambridge :-) even that one closer to the Institute At The Center Of The Universe :-) So having #MIN54 as a reason to hang out in Central Square and to check out Workbar's new digs on Prospect Street was a great opportunity.

Urban Landscape Viewed From Workbar 5th Floor

The products on display were a nice mix of techie, foodie, and other cool stuff. My absolute favorite was the Bradley tactile timepiece from eone. Not only do you see what time it is, but you also feel what time it is. This is a great example of universal design. Sure it's a watch for blind people, but it is also appealing to sighted people and it doesn't make the blind wearer look clunky and unstylish. When I told my partner, who is blind, about it, she was very excited. Feeling where the ball bearing is works way better than talking watches.

Demoing the Bradley Watch
Hey, anything involving collaboration between engineers from the Institute At The Center Of The Universe and designers from RISD has got to be good, right? Two thumbs up for eone!

Presenting the Bradley Watch
On the decidedly non-techie side, I enjoyed the scents of Amber Blue and Prosperity Candle. Amber Blue makes small batches of  natural, organic, luxury, herb-based skincare products. I ran into MIN regular Eric Andersen at the Amber Blue table checking out the wonderful-smelling products.

Eric Checking Out Amber Blue Skin Care Products
Prosperity Candle had a huge variety of scents to sniff. My fave was magnolia. Using custom candles to promote your brand at corporate events is definitely different from the usual pens, notepads, and tote bags.

Prosperity Candles
Another product that impressed me was AxVault, a community centered around musical instruments, an e-commerce store, and a media outlet all in one -- social instrument shopping. If I were a musician, I'd join.
Presenting AxVault
It was great to see Halley Tucker with the proof copy of Founders Less Than Three hot off the press. I remembered speaking with her at a MIN crowdfunding event about her Kickstarter experience. I've already downloaded the book onto my Kindle and started reading it. Already enjoying founders meeting cute. Congrats to Halley!
The Proof Copy Hot Off The Press!
Speaking of matchmaking for founders, the two Jeremy's presented an exciting mobile app, Prime$take, for connecting startups with investors and mentors who have compatible business needs, locations, and personality traits. Hmm, they might enjoy reading Founders Less Than Three :-)

Guys Named Jeremy

Another hit presentation was the folks from Endorfyn. Endorfyn finds what's new from all your favorite artists: music, movies, TV shows, videos, books, and what have you,  and lets you know when they're available to buy, rent, or stream on whatever platform. No more wondering when Brenda Wineapple's latest book is available on Audible or Rodrigo y Gabriela's latest music is on iTunes. Endorfyn will let me know as soon as it happens. Also, the Endorfyn team had matching T-shirts, so they win Best Costume of #MIN54.

Best Costume!
Absolutely the best thing about #MIN54, though, was dumplings! Guo tie -- one of the few Chinese words I remember. Patty Chen's Dumpling Room is opening soon in Central Square and after tasting these, I can't wait! I'm told Central Square is about to become the center of the dumpling universe.

And They Had Boba Tea Too!
The surprise pitch of the night was from Chef Nookie of Commonwealth, a new restaurant coming to Kendall Square. Gotta love the real-time Twitter feed at MIN!

Chef Nookie's Tweet Got Him Invited To Pitch His Kickstarter Campaign
I'm happy to report that Chef Nookie made his goal with 13 days to go! Farm-to-table meals AND George Howell coffee, how much more could Kendall Square want?!?

For the traditional "Expert Looking Expert" photo, we have MIN regular Nate Therrien looking especially expert as he is wearing a tie.

Expert Looking Expert