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Talking about innovation in Massachusetts, with Governor Patrick

Posted by Scott Kirsner  July 21, 2011 11:52 AM

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Governor Deval Patrick dropped by an annual employee meeting held by Endeca yesterday, and I had a chance to ask him a few questions in an on-stage interview. Several Endeca employees also lobbed questions. The Cambridge company makes software that presents detailed information about business metrics, and also software for managing e-commerce sites; I last wrote about them in 2010. (The company, which today has 450 employees in a dozen offices, began life in a Harvard Business School dorm room, in 1999. That's CEO and co-founder Steve Papa at right, with Gov. Patrick.)

Here's what we talked about:

- His own use of technology at home, on the road, and in the office (he's a BlackBerry & MacBook guy)
- Whether he uses any sort of "information dashboard" to monitor what's happening within state agencies
- What he hears when he talks to Massachusetts CEOs about how to make the state more globally competitive
- Which innovation clusters he thinks need state support
- Whether there are ways to make state agencies more tolerant of taking risks, when it comes to trying new technologies developed by smaller companies (IE, not Oracle or Microsoft or IBM.)

The audience asked questions about how Massachusetts competes (or collaborates) with other states, and also about employee non-compete agreements, which can limit the options of an employee who wants to leave one company and go work for another in the same space (or start one of her own). "Silicon Valley seems to do fine without the kinds of restrictive non-competes we have here," the governor said. "I don't really see why we would want to compromise the ability of somebody to try a competitor idea in the same neighborhood as the company they used to work for — obviously, again, protecting intellectual property rights." Later, he said, "You don't want to have anything that is perceived as an impediment on [entrepreneurialism]..."

The audio is about 25 minutes long, and begins with an embarrassing intro of yours truly. (The governor had already been introduced, and had given a ten-minute talk.) Press play below, or click the MP3 link to download the file.

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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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