You can say this about Boston's proposed Innovation District: it is already home to some pretty fine dining.
The networking organization Mobile Monday Boston assembled a group of CEOs in the private dining room at Barbara Lynch's recently-opened Menton, in the neighborhood previously known as Fort Point Channel (Mayor Menino once tried to christen it the "Cyber District," although that name didn't stick.)
I moderated a very informal conversation among the attendees, who were mainly there to network, swill wine, and dine on tasty salmon or beef. Two things we talked about: favorite mobile apps (just about everyone named apps that run on the iPhone or iPad), and predictions about the future of the mobile ecosystem.
Predictions first: some participants felt that as more smartphones can access the Internet at high speeds, the importance of apps will decline, since apps have evolved, by and large, to deal with the shortcomings of Web browsers and bandwidth limitations on most handsets. Folks seemed bullish about HTML5 as a format for delivering video to phones, as opposed to Flash (which most smartphones don't support.) Jeff Glass of Bain Capital Ventures (that's him at the center of the pic) predicted that Microsoft will make some mobile acquisitions to help make it more competitive in the space, and several people said they felt that iPhone, Android, and Microsoft will be the three surviving players with significant share in mobile operating systems. No one stood up for BlackBerry, and the prognosis for Nokia was even worse.
As for the favorite apps mentioned...
Skyhook Wireless CEO Ted Morgan (pictured at right, with Greg Raiz of Raizlabs) said he likes the Scrabble-like game Words with Friends... Merrill Lynch's Ken Sharma said he's a fan of the iPad news app Pulse...Goby CEO Mark Watkins says the travel app TripIt helps him stay organized while on the road...Cadio co-founder Thaddeus Fulford-Jones said he uses CardStar to manage his loyalty cards...Springpad CEO Jeff Janer likes the voice-driven personal assistant Siri (recently acquired by Apple)...music apps Shazam, Spotify, and Pandora all got favorable mentions...Kate Imbach of Skyhook, one of the prime movers behind Mobile Monday, plugged Kayak and Bands in Town (both created in the Boston area)...Maggie Taylor of Skyhook, clearly an aspiring singer, put I Am T-Paine and the "Glee" app atop her list...and Dave Mitchell of Connected Bits said he likes the Articles app, which is a sleekly-designed interface for Wikipedia, and Reeder, for reading RSS feeds.
Ted Morgan of Skyhook showed me an app that folks at his company developed called iSwig, which lets you share your favorite drink at popular bars ... and also see what others are drinking.
Menton, unfortunately, is too new a place to have any iSwig data about patrons' favorite cocktails. (Pictured at left are Walt Doyle of Where and Mark Watkins of Goby.)
Tomorrow night, there's another event co-sponsored by Mobile Monday: an open air block party in Downtown Crossing, with live music and an appearance by Cirque du Soleil performers.
About Scott Kirsner
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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December 9: Web Innovators Group
Demos of new mobile apps and web ventures at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge. Free admission; cash bar.
December 10: Fintech Demo Day
Short demos from startups in the financial technology realm.
December 11: Unpitch
Entrepreneurs and investors sit down for lunch, advice, and feedback. Entrepreneurs must apply to participate.