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played his guitar. None of us who helped plan the event knew this would be happening. I think that’s all I have to say about that.
—The robotics field has experienced exponential growth in the last 20-plus years, thanks to advances in sensors, hardware, and software. But don’t worry, R2-D2 won’t be taking your job anytime soon. “Robots are assistants to people, not taking over for people. That’s where the trend is right now,” said Heartland Robotics founder Rod Brooks. (Earlier this month, I wrote about one company, Harvest Automation, that’s making robots designed to assist workers in the field of agriculture).
—Sometimes it’s great for a company not to be noticed by its customers. At least that’s what John Chuang, founder and CEO of Litl, thinks. His goal is for his company’s “Webbook” computers to work so smoothly and seamlessly that consumers don’t have to look back at the company behind them. “We feel that we’re most doing our job when you have a clean experience,” he says. “If you’re thinking about us, that’s really bad.”
—Keynote speaker Peter Diamandis talked us through why a competition is a great avenue for pushing entrepreneurs and researchers to innovate at a faster pace than previously thought possible. He founded the X Prize Foundation to encourage just that. He also said entrepreneurs can’t be stuck in the present, and must always think a few years ahead: “If you’re an entrepreneur and your company isn’t based on technology that will be available five years from now—if it’s based on technology available today—you’re dead.”
—The afternoon venture investor panel talked about the emerging challenges and breakthroughs associated with putting money into startups. Many in the industry have debated whether initial public offerings will make a comeback as an exit for venture investors, but Dana Callow, managing general partner of Boston Millennia Partners, seemed to think there could be better options for investors in acquisitions and partnerships. “I don’t want to take things public,” he said. “I think the venture capital community can do very well by embracing the corporate world.”
—We revealed a little-known secret in the Boston area, at … Next Page »
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