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Dear Captains of Industry: Where is the Data to Support Your Position on Noncompetes?

Posted by Scott Kirsner  August 4, 2009 07:20 AM

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The debate continues about whether we ought to change the way that noncompete agreements are used by Massachusetts employers, but one possibility seems to have been taken off the table by our elected representatives: that we’ll ban them entirely.

And that’s depressing –- especially given the mounting evidence about the deleterious impact that noncompetes have on innovation and entrepreneurship. (For the uninitiated, employment contracts often contain a noncompete agreement which bans the employee from going to work for a competitor, or starting a competitive business, for a specified period of time after leaving the current employer -- even if he is laid off.)

My view is that getting rid of noncompetes would make our state more competitive by encouraging the creation of more start-ups and accelerating their growth by letting them hire the best people they can find. Eliminating noncompetes would also help us retain talented employees in Massachusetts –- rather than forcing them to seek work elsewhere in order to try to escape the reach of a noncompete agreement, as many do each year. I’m also not convinced that nixing noncompetes here would have any impact at all on the fortunes of existing businesses, big or small. In my experience, when someone leaves Company A to start or join Company B, as long as they’re playing fair -- not taking customer lists with them, for instance –- I think our economy gets stronger, and Company A is forced to become a better competitor.

Part of what has shaped my opinion is actual evidence. At a recent symposium sponsored by the Boston Bar Association, MIT professor Matt Marx presented data from several surveys and analyses he has conducted about the impact of noncompete agreements on various innovation industries, both nationally and in the state of Michigan specifically.

In one slide, he referenced some of his on-going research that is apparently finding that states that permit noncompete agreements seem to lose workers to states that don’t permit them. In particular, non-competes seem to drive off workers that are most productive (in terms of generating patents).

marxslide2.png


And here’s his concluding slide, noting, among other things, that noncompetes often cause people with deep expertise in one industry to take a “career detour” into another industry to avoid prosecution.


marxslide1.png


(For those who are interested in more data on the impact of noncompetes, here is a UCLA paper [in PDF form] that finds that two interesting phenomena tend to accompany noncompete agreements: lower executive compensation and decreased spending on R&D. And here is a summary of Marx's research [also in PDF form.] Some background on Marx: he's not a career academic, but holds seven patents in the field of speech recognition and has worked as a tech executive in both Massachusetts and California. There is also this paper from Columbia and UCLA researchers who found that after biotech companies go public or are acquired, they spawn fewer new start-ups in states where noncompetes are enforced.)

Earlier this year, State Rep. Will Brownsberger introduced a bill that would have effectively eliminated the use of noncompete agreements here. But Brownsberger is now advocating legislation that would try to encourage employers to craft shorter, less-restrictive noncompete agreements; eliminate them entirely for employees earning under $50,000 a year; and make sure that employees are aware that they’ll have to sign a noncompete before they accept a job offer. Many people are concerned that this revised legislation would still spawn plenty of lawsuits. (It’s worth looking at the discussion on Brownsberger’s site and reading this post from Greg Bialecki, the secretary of economic development for Massachusetts, who writes that “the uncertainty created [by new legislation] might even be worse than the status quo.”)

In the best-case scenarios under Brownsberger’s revised bill, a talented employee who wanted to leave her current job to do something new would have to stockpile enough money to serve out a six-month long noncompete agreement, or survive on 50 percent of her pay for a year or two if the employer chose to offer a longer “garden leave” arrangement. (Garden leave allows employers to ensure an ex-employee doesn’t compete with them for a year or more by paying a portion of the ex-employee’s salary.)

What happened to Brownsberger’s original stance? When I spoke to him at the Boston Bar Association event last month, he told me that he’d been persuaded to modify the original legislation mainly by talking to small companies that belong to groups like the Smaller Business Association of New England (I’d also gotten two phone calls from SBANE board members). Their belief is that the elimination of noncompete agreements would undermine the businesses they’ve spent years or decades building. Apparently, the logic is that existing businesses in Massachusetts would lose immeasurable value every time an employee walked out the door. I have to wonder how much value Google lost when Evan Williams left to start Odeo, the company that eventually created Twitter. How much value does a hair salon lose when a stylist leaves to go start her own salon? How is it that businesses in California manage to survive, thrive, and remain globally competitive, even as employees are free to walk out the door at will and apply their talents elsewhere?

What bothers me most is that companies, big or small, that support the status quo have not presented any data or examples to support their belief that nixing noncompetes would kneecap their businesses. They simply say that noncompetes are “essential tools to attract and retain employees,” in the words of EMC’s general counsel. Forrester CEO George Colony asks the question, ”How can today’s start-ups hope to mature into successful firms if their top performers are easily poached?” It’s a great question.

It’s interesting to note that Forrester (founded in Massachusetts in 1983 by Mr. Colony) has a current market cap of about half a billion dollars. Facebook (founded in Massachusetts in 2004, but now headquartered in Silicon Valley), is valued at about $10 billion by its investors. Perhaps it is not so hard for companies to mature and succeed in an environment devoid of noncompetes? (Another side note: as many as 10 percent of all Facebook employees joined the company from Google – without having to wait out a one- or two-year-long noncompete. Could that have helped accelerate Facebook's growth?)

Here’s a question for Mr. Colony: how horrible was it when Charlene Li, one of Forrester’s top social media analysts (based in California), left in mid-2008 to start her own research firm? There was no plunge in Forrester’s stock last July -– but perhaps the company lost customers, or suffered a decrease in revenues when Li went off to start her own California-based company? If there wasn’t, why would it be so awful if a Massachusetts-based Forrester employee left to do the same thing –- and contribute to the growth and vibrancy of our state’s economy?

Rather than lobbying legislators like Brownsberger in private, I would like to invite companies that support the status quo to make their case in public –- with data that would persuade us all that eliminating noncompetes would do irreparable harm to our state’s economy.

Here is a question, for starters. When California-based employees who work for a company like EMC Corp. or Akamai Technologies or Forrester or Biogen Idec depart to join a competitor or start their own venture, how much does that impact these Massachusetts-based companies? Why do they even bother continuing to operate offices and hire employees in such a Wild West, anti-business state?

I don’t believe, as some have asserted, that simply getting rid of noncompetes would make our innovation economy just like California’s. But I do believe that the law surrounding noncompetes is one very important lever we can control to increase the vibrancy and global competitiveness of our state’s economy, and encourage the world’s smartest people to come to here to work –- and stay here for their entire careers. (And I would add that I am very supportive of legislation that forces former employees to play fair with regard to trade secrets and intellectual property.)

During the Q&A period of last month’s noncompete symposium, I asked Brownsberger and the other panelists what data they had seen to support the argument that not having noncompetes would be a doomsday scenario for Massachusetts companies. No one could present any. You can listen to the whole symposium by downloading the MP3, or just clicking “play” below (attorney Stephen Chow from Burns & Levinson is the first voice you'll hear):

I agree with entrepreneur and investor Sim Simeonov, who writes:


    In technology, velocity of execution is everything. The pace of innovation is accelerating. Twenty years ago, when release cycles took 18-36 months, a one year non-compete wasn’t such a big deal. Today, when agile start-ups can ship [a new software release] every week, a year-long non-compete can have a significant impact on a company’s ability to compete for and recruit great talent and on individuals’ ability to apply their talents and skills early in the development of new markets.

Also worth reading is Tim Rowe’s recent opinion piece on Xconomy. Rowe is a partner at New Atlantic Ventures, and he runs the Cambridge Innovation Center in Kendall Square, which houses dozens of start-up companies. Rowe writes, “I believe movement from company to company is a form of innovation pollination, and we should encourage it.”

While no businessperson likes the idea of an ex-employee going out to compete with them, I think it’s time to talk about the greater good here -– not every company’s individual self-interest.

And it may be that it is going to take an army of a few thousand individual employees to persuade our legislators about the change we’d like to see –- after all, it is employees who are the ones who are shackled by these agreements. The group leading the charge to try to nix noncompetes in Massachusetts, the Alliance for Open Competition, has set up this petition where you can express your support.

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10 comments so far...
  1. great post scott. couldn't agree more.

    Posted by bijan sabet August 4, 09 01:28 PM
  1. Has a noncompete ever been held up in a courtroom and enforced?

    I've only ever heard of them being voided when challenged.

    Posted by Phil August 4, 09 02:20 PM
  1. Phil - all the time.

    Here's a case from earlier this year, involving EMC:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124397125011278229.html

    But the biggest impact noncompetes have is their "chilling effect" -- they prevent employees from leaving in the first place, for fear of being taken to court. Even if you get your noncompete voided by a court, it can be an expensive prospect...

    Posted by Scott Kirsner August 4, 09 02:41 PM
  1. My last employer threathened to enforce non-compete which prevented me from joining an employer with better career prospects, growth and a higher salary. Ultimately I left them and was forced to work out of state since the economy was sinking and was unable to find anything in MA. Personally I know of 3 cases where non-competes have been enforced and have taken a long time to get resolved resulting in high cost and stress to the employees....totally agree on banning non-competes in MA. The large talent pool here needs to be constantly challenged and non-competes only prevent this...

    Posted by NGR August 4, 09 04:19 PM
  1. I see some key issues against blanket elimination of non-competes:

    You asked if a hair salon lost a hairdresser and opened her own shop, if that would severely hurt the original hair salon. In fact it would. Consider the nature of getting your hair cut. Most people tend to have the same person always cut their hair, because that person cuts it the way they like it. When the new hair salon opens, many of that person's customers are likely to follow, damaging the original salon's bottom line. Apply this
    to other businesses, such as accounting, and you can start to see trouble.

    Also consider boutique engineering firms. There is great knowledge built up in their employees and if major corporations could simply poach those people by offering salaries the smaller companies cannot match, again the business is damaged.

    In the end...how do you prove that someone "stole customers" or "stole IP" if they can legally work for a company in the same industry? You walk out the door freely and start working for a competitor. You still have the same contacts list and the past career experience. Of course you'd then use that knowledge to your new occupational advantage. How do you keep your best employees from jumping ship at the first sight of trouble and, even worse, jumping to your competitor and taking their sales/engineering skills/etc with them?

    Posted by Jason August 4, 09 09:36 PM
  1. Great post and the author is dead on. Having been on both sides of the issue (owner of small tech company and employee of tech companies) it is seems like a more contentious and complex issue that it really is. Non-compete agreements completely benefit the employer and punish (sometimes severely) the employee. Ultimately, this lopsided arrangement is doomed.

    Some business leaders and their companies celebrate the “paper handcuffs” and enforce them vigorously. My experience (and those of friends and colleagues) is these same companies tend to place low-value on employees and treat them accordingly. In essence, these companies feel they are imparting the individual with knowledge and, thus, “own” this vessel of IP. The corporate attitude, culture and systems are designed to manage and control the worker. My guess is these companies spend a lot more on legal and HR activities to bludgeon and coerce employees into staying than they do in programs, benefits and general atmosphere of employee well-being and happiness.

    Does it not make sense that companies should create environments where talented, high-value employees WANT to work? Sure, some will leave but some will join. Miserable companies will have a net loss of skill/knowledge, mediocre companies have a neutral exchange and the good companies will gain more than they lose. What’s the problem?

    Companies that utilize non-competes fundamentally believe you (the employee)are lucky to work for them… I want to work for companies where we are lucky to have each other.

    BTW… As a high-producer with 20+ years experience, I left a company mentioned in this post and chose (through research) a CA-based company that treats employees as Assets not Resources (to be used and controlled).

    Posted by Cliff August 5, 09 07:41 AM
  1. Employees are not slaves. Unfortunately, the old guard that thinks non-competes are good, are killing our economy; and these are all too often the folks who today are laying off, furloughing and imposing pay cuts on the very employees who were "(invaluable" at hiring time, when they were required to sign non-competes). Creative destruction is the essence of of new growth. Dropping non-competes is part of that process. That is not to say that stealing IP or customers should be tolerated, you can fix that with non-disclosure rules. Companies that are only about their people assets, have not built a sustainable or remarkable business. Remarkable businesses have systems and other IP that is not people-dependent.

    Employees leave for lots of reasons, but big one is that their current employer has somehow stifled their drive. Enforcing a non-compete does not make for satisified workers. Satisfied workers are a company's best assets. No one needs to kiss anyone's keester, but a little respect and good coaching will encourage people to stay. Couple that with great systems and you get a sustainable company.

    Organizations such as SBANE have to speak for their for members, who all too often are part of the old guard. They are all dead wrong on this issue.

    Posted by Paul August 5, 09 09:52 AM
  1. Thanks, Scott, for all of your advocacy for change on this issue -- you are really helping an important cause.

    Here is the text of my lastest post on my own site, willbrownsberger.com, in part commenting on this excellent post by you. There's been some follow up comment on this post at my site.

    Since the BBO symposium a number of interesting exchanges have occurred by e-mail and in the blogosphere. Here are some links and thoughts. The context is that Rep. Lori Ehrlich and I are now pushing a bill that would provide substantial protections for employees, but not abolish non-compete agreements completely. Some feel we aren’t going far enough. Some favor the status quo. See previous posts and comments on this site.

    (1) Amrith Kumar has pointed to Price-Waterhouse data indicating that the New England (mostly MA) share of venture capital investment has basically been level, perhaps slightly uptrending, over the past 15 years. That doesn’t mean we couldn’t do better with a different non-compete policy, I think we could, but it does pretty effectively counter the argument that the market has expressed a clear negative view about our non-compete policy. For additional analysis of the PWC data, see this spreadsheet.

    (2) Trying to make sense of the perception among some VCs that MA’s policy has driven investment to California, I wondered whether if there was a subsector that the policy was affecting. Amrith made the suggestion that the quick hit segment was the most effected – simple concept businesses that are easy to throw together with limited technical advancement. He suggested that the companies that are easiest to start are also the ones easiest to offshore. On the other hand, some of these relatively simple concepts — like Twitter and Facebook — turn into pretty big businesses with real domestic value. Of course, a narrowly drawn non-compete — that our moderate legislation would continue to permit — would not keep necessarily a Google employee from founding Twitter (an example used by Scott Kirsner, see below); Twitter is a different business.

    (3) Another way of making sense of VC discomfort with the business climate was suggested by a study from the Kauffman foundation. The study argues that the VC industry nationally is under pressure from shrinking investment opportunities overall. The study suggests that the sectors that were particularly attractive for VC investment have matured and that other growing businesses are not as dependent on VC investment. The study suggests that the VC industry may need to shrink if it is to maintain healthy returns. None of this, in my mind, casts doubt on the huge contributions of venture investment to the growth of the economy, but it does give relevant context.

    (4) Scott Kirsner has pressed the case for my original bill, which would have eliminated non-competes. He focuses on the research of Matt Marx (also published by the Kauffman foundation as well as by the Kennedy School). There are two strands in the Marx dissertation. One strand suggests that inventors were moderately less mobile (and more likely to change field if they did move) in the state of Michigan after 1985 when Michigan started allowing non-compete agreements. It’s hard to interpret this finding. Even if one could conclude that the non-compete enforcement had some net negative impact on Michigan’s economy (and one could not possibly disentangle the effects of this change from the other trends in Michigan), this conclusion would not indicate that non-competes should be fully eliminated. Evidence that eating less is good for an obese person does not prove that the obese person should eat nothing at all.

    The other strand of the Marx study (elaborated in additional survey data he presented at the symposium) is very compelling, showing (a) how frequently non-compete agreements are foisted on uninformed employees; (b) how frequently the agreements are long in duration and force employees out of their field. For me this evidence emphasizes (a) the need for the procedural protections in the new version of the bill; (b) that the substantive standards in the new bill would make a huge change in current practice.

    (5) Greg Bialecki, the Governor’s Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, also chose to weigh in. He expressed concern about making changes, but in a follow-up post, clearly left the door open for further discussion. He is quite right that there are some difficult drafting issues, but we are getting the good input that will help us reach a clear bill.

    As I read the rich commentary coming in on my site and in other points in the blogosphere, all of which I’m grateful for, I am further convinced that we are on roughly the right path with this legislation. A number of specific suggestions have been made, all of which we will attend to carefully. We look forward to working with our colleagues in the legislature and with the Patrick administration to make some real progress.


    Continuing the conversation about non-competes * 2 comments
    By Will Brownsberger, August 8, 2009, 7:30 am

    Since the BBO symposium a number of interesting exchanges have occurred by e-mail and in the blogosphere. Here are some links and thoughts. The context is that Rep. Lori Ehrlich and I are now pushing a bill that would provide substantial protections for employees, but not abolish non-compete agreements completely. Some feel we aren’t going far enough. Some favor the status quo. See previous posts and comments on this site.

    (1) Amrith Kumar has pointed to Price-Waterhouse data indicating that the New England (mostly MA) share of venture capital investment has basically been level, perhaps slightly uptrending, over the past 15 years. That doesn’t mean we couldn’t do better with a different non-compete policy, I think we could, but it does pretty effectively counter the argument that the market has expressed a clear negative view about our non-compete policy. For additional analysis of the PWC data, see this spreadsheet.

    (2) Trying to make sense of the perception among some VCs that MA’s policy has driven investment to California, I wondered whether if there was a subsector that the policy was affecting. Amrith made the suggestion that the quick hit segment was the most effected – simple concept businesses that are easy to throw together with limited technical advancement. He suggested that the companies that are easiest to start are also the ones easiest to offshore. On the other hand, some of these relatively simple concepts — like Twitter and Facebook — turn into pretty big businesses with real domestic value. Of course, a narrowly drawn non-compete — that our moderate legislation would continue to permit — would not keep necessarily a Google employee from founding Twitter (an example used by Scott Kirsner, see below); Twitter is a different business.

    (3) Another way of making sense of VC discomfort with the business climate was suggested by a study from the Kauffman foundation. The study argues that the VC industry nationally is under pressure from shrinking investment opportunities overall. The study suggests that the sectors that were particularly attractive for VC investment have matured and that other growing businesses are not as dependent on VC investment. The study suggests that the VC industry may need to shrink if it is to maintain healthy returns. None of this, in my mind, casts doubt on the huge contributions of venture investment to the growth of the economy, but it does give relevant context.

    (4) Scott Kirsner has pressed the case for my original bill, which would have eliminated non-competes. He focuses on the research of Matt Marx (also published by the Kauffman foundation as well as by the Kennedy School). There are two strands in the Marx dissertation. One strand suggests that inventors were moderately less mobile (and more likely to change field if they did move) in the state of Michigan after 1985 when Michigan started allowing non-compete agreements. It’s hard to interpret this finding. Even if one could conclude that the non-compete enforcement had some net negative impact on Michigan’s economy (and one could not possibly disentangle the effects of this change from the other trends in Michigan), this conclusion would not indicate that non-competes should be fully eliminated. Evidence that eating less is good for an obese person does not prove that the obese person should eat nothing at all.

    The other strand of the Marx study (elaborated in additional survey data he presented at the symposium) is very compelling, showing (a) how frequently non-compete agreements are foisted on uninformed employees; (b) how frequently the agreements are long in duration and force employees out of their field. For me this evidence emphasizes (a) the need for the procedural protections in the new version of the bill; (b) that the substantive standards in the new bill would make a huge change in current practice.

    (5) Greg Bialecki, the Governor’s Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, also chose to weigh in. He expressed concern about making changes, but in a follow-up post, clearly left the door open for further discussion. He is quite right that there are some difficult drafting issues, but we are getting the good input that will help us reach a clear bill.

    As I read the rich commentary coming in on my site and in other points in the blogosphere, all of which I’m grateful for, I am further convinced that we are on roughly the right path with this legislation. A number of specific suggestions have been made, all of which we will attend to carefully. We look forward to working with our colleagues in the legislature and with the Patrick administration to make some real progress.

    Continuing the conversation about non-competes * 2 comments
    By Will Brownsberger, August 8, 2009, 7:30 am

    Since the BBO symposium a number of interesting exchanges have occurred by e-mail and in the blogosphere. Here are some links and thoughts. The context is that Rep. Lori Ehrlich and I are now pushing a bill that would provide substantial protections for employees, but not abolish non-compete agreements completely. Some feel we aren’t going far enough. Some favor the status quo. See previous posts and comments on this site.

    (1) Amrith Kumar has pointed to Price-Waterhouse data indicating that the New England (mostly MA) share of venture capital investment has basically been level, perhaps slightly uptrending, over the past 15 years. That doesn’t mean we couldn’t do better with a different non-compete policy, I think we could, but it does pretty effectively counter the argument that the market has expressed a clear negative view about our non-compete policy. For additional analysis of the PWC data, see this spreadsheet.

    (2) Trying to make sense of the perception among some VCs that MA’s policy has driven investment to California, I wondered whether if there was a subsector that the policy was affecting. Amrith made the suggestion that the quick hit segment was the most effected – simple concept businesses that are easy to throw together with limited technical advancement. He suggested that the companies that are easiest to start are also the ones easiest to offshore. On the other hand, some of these relatively simple concepts — like Twitter and Facebook — turn into pretty big businesses with real domestic value. Of course, a narrowly drawn non-compete — that our moderate legislation would continue to permit — would not keep necessarily a Google employee from founding Twitter (an example used by Scott Kirsner, see below); Twitter is a different business.

    (3) Another way of making sense of VC discomfort with the business climate was suggested by a study from the Kauffman foundation. The study argues that the VC industry nationally is under pressure from shrinking investment opportunities overall. The study suggests that the sectors that were particularly attractive for VC investment have matured and that other growing businesses are not as dependent on VC investment. The study suggests that the VC industry may need to shrink if it is to maintain healthy returns. None of this, in my mind, casts doubt on the huge contributions of venture investment to the growth of the economy, but it does give relevant context.

    (4) Scott Kirsner has pressed the case for my original bill, which would have eliminated non-competes. He focuses on the research of Matt Marx (also published by the Kauffman foundation as well as by the Kennedy School). There are two strands in the Marx dissertation. One strand suggests that inventors were moderately less mobile (and more likely to change field if they did move) in the state of Michigan after 1985 when Michigan started allowing non-compete agreements. It’s hard to interpret this finding. Even if one could conclude that the non-compete enforcement had some net negative impact on Michigan’s economy (and one could not possibly disentangle the effects of this change from the other trends in Michigan), this conclusion would not indicate that non-competes should be fully eliminated. Evidence that eating less is good for an obese person does not prove that the obese person should eat nothing at all.

    The other strand of the Marx study (elaborated in additional survey data he presented at the symposium) is very compelling, showing (a) how frequently non-compete agreements are foisted on uninformed employees; (b) how frequently the agreements are long in duration and force employees out of their field. For me this evidence emphasizes (a) the need for the procedural protections in the new version of the bill; (b) that the substantive standards in the new bill would make a huge change in current practice.

    (5) Greg Bialecki, the Governor’s Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, also chose to weigh in. He expressed concern about making changes, but in a follow-up post, clearly left the door open for further discussion. He is quite right that there are some difficult drafting issues, but we are getting the good input that will help us reach a clear bill.

    As I read the rich commentary coming in on my site and in other points in the blogosphere, all of which I’m grateful for, I am further convinced that we are on roughly the right path with this legislation. A number of specific suggestions have been made, all of which we will attend to carefully. We look forward to working with our colleagues in the legislature and with the Patrick administration to make some real progress.

    Posted by Will Brownsberger August 10, 09 05:58 AM
  1. Dear Scott,
    As you know, I am a firm believer that non-competes add a pernicious chilling effect on Boston-area entrepreneurialism. For anyone who is interested in this issue, I highly recommend Mike Masnick’s excellent article on TechDirt.com which points out that the goal of Non-Compete Agreements and Digital Rights Management are essentially the same: to restrict the free flow of information. Masnick correctly describes non-competes as the “DRM of human capital.” Likewise, the Harvard Business School recently produced a study comparing the economies of Silicon Valley, Boston, and the State of Michigan. That study concluded that the lack of enforcement of non-competes in California has led to that state’s explosive growth, especially in Silicon Valley. This is a critical issue for the Bay State and one that I hope our Legislature starts to consider seriously.

    Posted by Jeff Anderson August 11, 09 05:46 PM
  1. It should be immoral for a company to lay someone off and then fight their getting employment in their field of expertise! A large company, especially, has deep pockets and can afford to challenge an ex-employee in court while most of us do not. I thought MA was a 'right to work' state? Does a company have the right to cause me to get in to financial distress?
    Related, there seems to be a trend of companies in MA asking employees to sign employment agreements and non-competes 'after the fact'- often months or years after the person started! What's that all about??

    Posted by Barb Finer August 16, 09 06:13 PM
 

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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