WebInno18 Boston: Data Analysis of Startup Meetup Registrants

By Kirsten Waerstad on July 13, 2008

The popular Boston Web Innovators Group held in Cambridge, MA is coming up this Tuesday, July 15th 2008.  Like the events before it, WebInno18 promises to be another great event.  I plan to attend and might even experiment with Twitter Blogging it on my @OnStartups twitter profile.  If you're going to be there, send me a tweet and let me know.  Will look out for you.

For one of the prior WebInno meetups, I did a quick analysis of those attending (using the RSS data of registrants as the input) and had come up with some Web Innovator Cambridge statistics.  I had the PHP script to do the quick analysis developed by one of the OnStartups readers.

Thought I'd do another one this time around and identify how the make-up of the group has (or has not) changed).

Here's the top keywords that show up in the profiles of the people signed up so far.  There are about 870 registrants for Web Inno 18 so far (compared to 792 for Web Inno 17).  The event definitely seems to be growing.

Token Web Inno 18 Web Inno 17
Manager 54 38
CEO 53 43
President 41 35
Founder 41 39
Senior 40 18
LLC 29 10
Marketing 25 17
Director 24 37
VP 24 20
Engineer/Engineering 23 15
Co-Founder 22 14
Director 22 18
Development/Developer 20 11
CTO 19 13
Consultant 17 13
Principal 15 20
Ventures 12 18
Architect 7 9
Harvard 7 9
MIT 7 5
Designer 7 7

Hope to see you at WebInno 18.  If you have any doubts that the Boston area has a vibrant Internet startup community, this should dispel those doubts. Hat tip to David Beisel who has done a fantastic job building this up.  I can remember the early, early days of WebInno when all of us would fit around a bar in Kendall Square.  We've come a long way.  Thanks David!

Hope to see you on Tuesday at the Royal Sonesta hotel.  I might try to put together an informal dinner for a few folks before (or after) the event as I've done every time since I started going to these things.  Send me a tweet at @onstartups if you're interested.  I usually limit it to about 6 people and keep it to just tech-entrepreneur types that I haven't had the chance to chat with in a while.

Topics: Event webinno
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We Love To Hate Microsoft But What About Apple?

By Dharmesh Shah on July 9, 2008

The reasons so many people hate (or intensely dislike) Microsoft are plentiful and for the most part, pretty easy to understand.  If you were to ask around, reasons cited would centralize around too much power, lack of innovation, stifling creativity, being "closed" and generally products that on average, fail to delight customers.  If you're one of those that hates Microsoft, I'm sure you have your reasons.  Many of us love to hate Microsoft.

And, of course, lots of us love Apple.  We love Apple in that sheepishly adoring way that causes us to want to run our fingers lovingly over our favorite Apple product when nobody is looking just because it makes us happy.  Happy in a good way, and not in that weird, twisted kind of way.  It's an innocent love.  All sunshine and daffodils. 

But, I'm going to argue that though we will likely continue to love Apple for a while, there may come a day we hate doing so. 

Why might we hate to love Apple someday?

One simple, fundamental reason:  Apple cares too much about customers, and the customer experience -- and not much about the community.  Apple has become a benevolent dictator.  They'll invest lots of time, energy and money making their products great and their customers "happy".  But, at their core, they want it to be them that delivers that happiness -- not someone else.  Third-party developers are a necessary evil.

There's a reason for this:  Apple (rightly) thinks that a phenomenal experience is created by closed, proprietary systems by companies that control the boundaries and edges of product design. 

Great experiences are created when the experience designer can dictate and control as much as possible.  The iPod would not have been great if the hardware were designed by one company, the device software by another, applications by another, etc.  The iPod was exceptionally great because Apple controlled it all.

This is why the original Apple computers had such a better experience than the IBM PC.  On the IBM PC platform different companies built the hardware, OS, apps, devices, etc.  Lots of creativity -- but understandably, lots of crap.  And lots of complexity for the user/customer.

So, Apple likes control.  But this advantage of control only goes so far.  Eventually, users will come to value something more than the delightful experience.  Might be performance of an individual component (larger storage), lower price, wider selection of add-ons, etc.  (Maybe even replaceable batteries, less confining DRM, etc.)

Now, thanks to Apple, millions of consumers are enjoying technology like digital music that would likely not have done so without Apple's fanatical focus on solving for ease-of-use and experience.  But, now that we're there, will our love of Apple endure? 

And, if we do continue to love Apple, will we hate ourselves for doing so someday?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

The insight for startups?  Some of the biggest innovations and market successes come from companies that are total control-freaks and fanatically focused on solving the problem.  Often, the problem is best solved by an uncompromising purity of approach.  

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