Nantucket Conference Recap

May 7, 2008

I just got back from the Nantucket Conference, a veritable who’s who of the Boston technology world. This was my first time and I met a ton of interesting people. The theme was “Who’s Changing the Game” and I learned a lot about what we can do to make SchoolPulse successful.

  • Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, talked about the way real innovations can change fundamental behavior. This resonated for me because SchoolPulse is trying to do just that – to get parents and teachers to make the web a regular stop in their busy lives.
  • Eran Egozy, CTO of Harmonix, and Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot, both shared stories about the long, rocky road to success in the technology business. Many of us have expectations built on internet time, but the fact is that many of the great companies out there took many years to find the the right model before they became big names.
  • Woody Benson, Partner of Prism Ventures, sat on a panel with Hilmi Ozguc, CEO of Maven Networks. Woody’s view is that venture capital investing is fundamentally about intuition — having a sense that what a young company is working on will be important at some time.
  • The importance of rapid prototyping and release cycles came up again and again. Do not hold your product or service back until you think it is perfect. It will never be perfect, and if you wait you will have lost the opportunity to get the most valuable design input of all: market feedback.
  • Christine Petersen, VP of Marketing at TripAdvisor, had some great stories about the success they have had building their brand and visibility with viral tools like their “cities I’ve visited” travel map on Facebook.

It was great to get outside the office for a few days and talk, at a high level, about what we’re trying to do with SchoolPulse. I got lots of good feedback and made a bunch of connections. I’m already looking forward to next year!