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At Friday's Innovation UnConference: The secrets of scaling, from Boston entrepreneurs

Posted by Scott Kirsner  October 24, 2011 08:37 AM

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My favorite entrepreneurial event of the year is the MassTLC Innovation Unconference. Mostly because I have no part in organizing it... the energy is amazing... and it attracts basically everyone in Boston who is working on an interesting new venture. So I get enough story ideas to last me a couple months.

The unconference format means the agenda for the day is set in the morning, when participants have a chance to stand up and announce sessions they'd like to run. Last year, with some other journalists, PR professionals, and entrepreneurs, I ran a session called "Generating Buzz for Your Venture," during which we compiled a list of 43 pieces of advice.

This year, jumping off a column I wrote earlier this month, I'm planning to propose a session on how start-ups get big — the secrets to scaling a business. Joining me will be founders and CEOs like Scott Griffith of Zipcar, Paul English of Kayak, Colin Angle of iRobot, Gail Goodman of Constant Contact, Matt Lauzon of Gemvara, Michael Simon of LogMeIn, and Niraj Shah of WayFair. Update: This will happen in Room 312 at the Hynes, from 2:30 - 3:30 PM.

My plan is to ask them for one example of a key decision they made that helped the company scale — whether related to marketing, hiring, product development, sales, fundraising, or something else.

And then I'm hoping that we can work with the audience a bit, picking 3 or 4 entrepreneurs and talking about some of the challenges they're dealing with. What better sounding board could you ask for than four public company CEOs... one CTO whose company has filed to go public (Kayak)... one founder of an 800-person private company that just raised $165 million (WayFair)... and one twenty-something CEO of a venture-backed start-up (Gemvara) on its way to 100 employees?

Hope to see you there...

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Innovation and technology news that matters, on a new website from the Boston Globe, featuring Scott Kirsner and other original reporting.
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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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Events

March 3: Web Innovators Group
Demos, drinks, and schmoozing at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge.

March 7-8: MassDigi Game Challenge
Competition for aspiring game developers... plus panels and keynotes related to the business of play.

April 3-4: Mass Biotech Annual Meeting
Issues facing the region's life sciences community.

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