Audio: Founders of Carbonite, iRobot, CSN Stores and TripAdvisor talk about how they grew their companies
I had the chance to moderate a panel this morning featuring the founders of some of Boston's most successful tech companies: iRobot (publicly-traded), TripAdvisor (most heavily-trafficked network of travel sites on the Internet), CSN Stores ($380 million in revenue last year), and Carbonite (fastest-growing IT services company of 2010, according to Inc. Magazine, and a possible IPO candidate in 2011 or 2012.) The panel was part of the Mass Technology Leadership Council's annual meeting, out in Waltham.
Among the topics we discussed:
- The moment when you thought your company might go under.
- The dumbest thing a prospective investor ever said about your business
- Biggest challenge to your company's growth right now
- How much hiring are you doing in 2011, and in what roles?
- Tough interview questions you ask, or challenges you present to candidates
- How you encourage innovation in small companies you acquire, or in far flung offices that you operate
We wrapped up by talking about marketing... including why Carbonite CEO David Friend grudgingly wrote a $1 million check to radio host Rush Limbaugh, and how comedian Dave Chapelle contributed to the success of iRobot's Roomba vaccuum cleaner — for free.
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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More from Scott
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.