Rants, Raves, and Rap. Pre-Lunch Soundoff at XSITE Was a Hit.
When we asked readers two weeks ago to send their biggest gripes with or suggestions for the innovation community, we told them to not hold back. Well, we got we asked for at XSITE 2011: The Entrepreneurship Era.
For example: “These laws don’t need to be tweaked, they need a shotgun murder and a burial behind the barn,” said Jeremy Brown.
Brown was ranting about laws in the Bay State that enable companies to make workers sign agreements that bar them from joining a competing company for at least a year. He said the binding agreements, which states like California don’t have, prevent his small Cambridge, MA-based robotics startup Rep Invariant Systems from attracting top talent from other veteran robotics companies in the state.
Then there were Josh Bob and Chris Palatucci, who had somewhat contradictory complaints. Bob, CEO and founder of Boston-based Textaurant said tech entrepreneurs should flesh out their product and get some potential customers before hitting up angel investors for cash. Eventually they should “get it through their thick skulls that they should get some traction before they go out and get money,” he said.
Palatucci, of Palatucci Executive Search, said that investors need to “put the venture back in venture capital,” particularly when it comes to life sciences. He said angels look all too much like VCs and VCs look more like private equity investors. He asked venture capitalists to take a risk on biotechs with pre-clinical data.
Jason Evanish of Greenhorn Connect used Jason Terry of the 2011 NBA champion Dallas Mavericks to inspire the audience. Terry had the NBA trophy tattooed on his arm before the beginning of the season, showing his confidence that the Mavericks had the right team and resources to make it to the top. Evanish said Boston should be equally confident in its own arsenal, pick up some “swagger” and tell entrepreneurs they should move to Boston rather than migrate to Silicon Valley.
And last but not least, there was Drew Hession-Kunz, founder of i-Nalysis and an adjunct business professor at Boston College. He rapped. The audience clapped. It was a bit of a struggle on both sides. He had complaints about angel investors, company founders, schools, and venture capitalists. And yes, he voiced those in a three-minute-long rap.