Tag Archives: mass inno

Mass Innovation Night March

This week I attended another great Mass Innovation night in Cambridge, Boston. The Xconomy Mobile Madness event was still happening when we got there so we snagged a free beer and poked around at what was going on there. Have to admit that when I got to the whoopie stand though I became a bit distracted! The Chococoa Bakery had some really decadent mini whoopie pies! I only had the chocolate with chocolate ganache, but I did have 2 of them – yum! I tried not to feel too guilty as they only use organic ingredients…

I did finally manage to drag myself away from the chocolate whoopies, and caught up with a few people. Then the presentations started in the main Microsoft NERD center room. A few of the products/services caught my interest including VoKnow. This seems like a really useful idea for anyone who doesn’t have time to sit and read the news or events that interest them, i.e. commuters. VoKnow is like Pandora for news – you sign-up and create customized channels covering topics like news, weather and even your Twitter stream – and VoKnow will read them aloud to you. Better than listening to the radio because you decide what topics you want to hear about, pause, rewind or fast forward – they have a growing list of channels to choose from. When asked about costs we found out the service is free and the app is free – can’t beat that! Business model is based on infrequent ads playing during the audio stream. I liked the idea so much I just signed up!

Plug is another mobile service that really got me interested. The idea is to connect more deeply with events you are attending – network with people with the same interests as you, get a direct Twitter stream of the event you are attending, complete surveys during the event sent by the organizer. Plug integrates with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn bringing in limited profile information to help match other event attendees. For event organizers, they can have all information about the event and attendees in one place. They can share event agenda, update information in real-time on the event ‘wall’, share location maps and directions and gather analytics such as the number of connections made at the event, amount of interaction and feedback from attendees. Mobile is the future and this is a great step down the right path of where things are headed and it is free for the app.

Lastly, I couldn’t help but stop by the Hello Ladies table. Ever since I saw they were coming to this event I have been following them and receiving the daily headlines. They gear themselves as the online magazine for smart, busy women. The articles they have are not the junk trash from the grocery checkout nor are they too highbrow to disengage you. They cover stories and blogs on topics that most professional women can read, enjoy and discuss further by commenting on the articles.

Interestingly, QR codes were a big feature of the evening with each table getting their own QR code. QR Codes are those black and white fuzzy looking boxes you see around places more and more. By scanning it with your phone, a tweet was created about the product automatically! The tweet can be edited before it is sent, so overall I think this is a neat idea. It would have been even neater if I hadn’t left my phone charging on the kitchen table when I left the house! Felt quite naked without it.

The after party was at the Za bar round the corner. Hadn’t been there before, but I did sample their pizza and I can testify that it was rather good. Had a great evening talking to everyone there, and very surprisingly for me, I didn’t get home until after midnight. It was worth it though!!!

Looking forward to the next Mass Inno night on April 13th at another new location!!!

See you there…

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Innovation in Massachussetts

Last week I went to my very first networking event – I know, what took me so long! Went to the Mass Innovation Night massinnovationnights.com which was hosted at Clock Tower Place in Maynard. Never been to Maynard either and seems like a really cute downtown area – must head back for a coffee sometime!

The night is set up with a collection of tables for each product or service, and short demonstrations from the most voted for product. Some very interesting products and new services that were showcased and I wanted to talk about a couple that caught my eye.

Spreadable spreadable.com is a word of mouth type referral engine tool. Add a referral button to your website that allows all your happy customers to refer friends to you. The cool thing is that you can customize the message that is sent to the friends – so you get your company/product brand message clearly out there the way you want it. The Spreadable widget can also allow a different customized message depending on whether the referral is via email or a social site like Facebook or Twitter. Reporting is included and you can see how many referral went out, who your biggest (and most important) referrer is in case you want to reward them, and where the majority of your referrals appear – social network, email, mobile, etc.

You can get a free 30 day trial on their website, so it is worth giving it a try. They still have some work to do on it, but seem to be on track for things like the ability to customize discount coupons and tracking how many purchasers came from a specific promotion link. Overall, I think this looks like a great product with the potential to really grow a brand market – turning your customers into your brand advocates.

Another presentation was from Active Interview activeinterview.com who are bringing a new technique to helping you find that perfect candidate to fill your job opening. Instead of just shlepping through endless resumes, you can ask candidates specific questions and see their video responses. You can see scoring for all candidate submissions and because it is all online, all stakeholders can have a chance to review/score and comment on candidates.

The dashboard for each job opening results is easy and intuitive to understand. Each candidate is listed with some details and more importantly, the average score from reviewers and whether the candidate moves forward in the recruiting process.

Depending on the type of job opening you have this may be a great way to quickly determine the best candidates to bring in for face-to-face interviews. Younger and outgoing types may be best suited for this, but maybe people in general are getting more familiar with webcams images of themselves!!! I think this looks like a product that will find it’s market and really take off – as a long as LinkedIn or Facebook don’t gobble it up first!