I just polished off the majority of a plate of holiday cookies, my pants are too tight, and I’ve realized I’ve got to change my ways. That’s right, it’s that time of year again. It’s New Year’s resolution time. I love the Boston startup community. One of the reasons I love it here is that we that we realize the startup scene isn’t perfect and we’re constantly trying to make it better.
In that vein, here is my proposal for 10 New Year’s resolutions I hope we can adopt in order to make Boston and our startup community improve.
10. Stay out late and party more Boston has the highest proportion of young adults out of any major city in America” according to Onein3 Boston. One third of Boston’s residents are between 20 and 34. And the T has expanded its hours of operation during the weekends. We no longer have an excuse not to go out.
9. Make sure we have the correct permits when we decide to stay out late and party This year, the Tech Co party got shut down because of some permitting blah blah blah…. It’s time for us to build a closer relationship with City Hall to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Mayor Walsh, let’s get coffee sometime and talk about how we work together to make Boston better.
8. Be louder We’re doing amazing things here in Boston: we have companies like Superpedestrian Inc. that reinvented the bicycle wheel, NexAmp that builds utility-scale solar projects, and iRobot that makes well… robots! The shared economy got started here with companies like ZipCar. Did you know that? Probably not. Why not? Because we don’t talk about ourselves enough. There is no shame in saying you’re awesome when it’s a fact. We’re pretty awesome; it’s time to let everyone else know.
7. Stop paying attention to where people went to school This obsession with schooling is a weird northeast thing. We need to stop it. Instead, we should look at what people can accomplish, not where they paid tuition. We’re starting to break out of this habit and smart VCs like .406 Ventures, Atlas, and Bessemer are doing a great job looking beyond a diploma. Keep up the good work.
6. Be more like Greg Selkoe We should be more like Greg, not because he runs a multimillion dollar ecommerce site (don’t get me wrong: KarmaLoop’s pretty awesome), but because he understands that creative people are what drive the economy. He is a huge supporter of the arts and is helping integrate music and art into our city. Boston is full of amazing artistic talent, people like Rhett Price, who deserve our attention. When we party, let’s hire these people. And when we succeed, let’s sustain the culture of philanthropy that supports these institutions. (Full disclosure, Startup Institute had a big party earlier this year where Rhett and his bandmate Sage performed. They rocked.)
5. Exercise more Put down the donut. Back away from the computer. Go for a run.
4. Ignore the Weather There’s nothing we can do about it. So let’s try and stop complaining about the fact that winter lasts 6 months and summer seems to only last for six weeks. Also, global warming will soon solve this problem for us.
3. Be less competitive with other cities We’re not really competing against other cities. (Ok, I know that we are but bear with me...) It’s time to get past the east coast vs. west coast or Boston vs. New York mind set. Our real competition is unlocking the talent that already exists within Boston. There are tens of thousands of talented people already in Boston who have jobs at well-established institutions. Our job is to attract them to the startup community and help them understand how and why they should join a startup. (P.S. We can still compete through sports. Yankees suck.)
2. Explore the rest of Greater Boston Boston is bigger than Kendall Square and the Innovation District. Find a new neighborhood to grow your startup. The Red Line doesn’t end at South Station. Also, since we’re heading out in that direction, let’s make a stop at the Ashmont Grill.
1. Spend more time with your loved ones Success and happiness are not always related. Dave Balter, the former CEO of BzzAgent summed this up very well in an article published in Inc. this past October. Basically, remember to make to time for the people you love. Otherwise, why are doing all of this?
Hopefully, we can get behind these resolutions and bring them into 2014. Now where did I leave that last cookie?
Happy New Year!
Allan Telio is the vice president and director of Startup Institute Boston. Round 2 applications for the Spring 2014 Class are due Jan. 12, 2014.