An Innovation Walk in the Snow: Can You Guess My Route?

Xconomy Boston — 

The streets of Cambridge, MA, are wind blown and snow-ridden these days. Quiet and beautiful in their way. The breeze is up, but only laggards have not yet cleared their sidewalks. So I thought it was a perfect time to slip on my snow pants, lace up my boots, and set out for a little walk. I didn’t think about it until after I was back, but my path took me right past, or very close to, the homes of some real innovation pioneers. See if you can trace my route by my description.

Here’s a big hint: I started at Full Moon restaurant in Huron Village. After a short walk, I found myself just a snowball’s throw from the home of Turing Prize winner Butler Lampson, a pioneer in Ethernet, WYSIWYG word processing, and laser printing. His famous 1972 memo, “Why Alto?,” envisioned the personal computer. He is now at Microsoft Research.

But instead of going right past Lampson’s place, I turned the other way and strode by the former home of Danny Hillis, the Thinking Machines co-founder and later VP of R&D at Walt Disney Imagineering, and more recently co-founder of Applied Minds out in warmer climes in California.

Next up was the home of Xconomist Bob Hower, a partner at Advanced Technology Ventures, and after that I saw some folks putting out garbage at the home of another Xconomist, Joe Chung—he’s a co-founder of Art Technology Group, Allurent, and now (along with former ATG co-founder Jeet Singh) of Redstar, a novel type of venture/investment firm. Right after passing Joe’s place, I threw a snowball at the home of Paul Maeder of Highland Capital Partners but kept on walking instead past the former home of Polaroid founder and legendary inventor Edwin Land.

From there it was a long loop past the old house of Mike Cavallo, domain director of the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Climate Initiative. (He was previously CFO of computer software firm Trenza, as well as executive director of the U.S. Chess Federation.) Then I slipped past Yo-Yo Ma’s mini-mansion (well, he is a different type of innovator), and a short while later passed right in front of Eric Lander’s place—the mathematician and head of the Broad Institute bought an old school building, which he converted into a house but reportedly without sacrificing the gym/basketball court! He must be afraid to mix it up with me on the court (I was champion of the Xconomy H-O-R-S-E tourney this summer after all), which would explain why I haven’t been invited to play there.

Then I was back home, on the opposite site of the “tracks” from Lander. So, can you guess the route? Do you know of any other innovators whose homes my path crossed that I forgot or didn’t know about? Is there another place on the planet with the innovation density of Cambridge?

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