Andrea Toochin

Andrea Toochin

Business, work, and the path to and through the MBA.

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Startups & Hipsters Converge in Boston

27.01.13 | 3 notes | googlegoogle ventureshipstersstartupsbostoncambridgesouth stationkendall squaredowntown crossingquarelevelupfacebookkickstarter

I’m in an office-cum-loft space on Summer Street on a Thursday evening. I’m drinking vodka and soda provided by a bunch of 20-somethings that run a Web agency. I’m somewhere between South Station and Downtown Crossing, apparently the next hot area. I’m in another situation where people are dumbfounded - why is a Harvard administrator at a tech networking event? And I’m thinking…

Am I the only one over 25? 

Am I the only one without either a sleeve or fancy hip hightop sneakers? 

Am I the only one that’s never kickstarter-ed? 

Am I the only one that knows what an 8-track is? 

It feels a bit bizarre and not because I’m one of about four women and a handful of people over 30 in a room of white 24-year-old men. It’s because it’s both exciting and scary to think that men like these will control this country in a decade or two. And so, some anonymous ramblings I overheard that evening. Keep in mind, at 25, one doesn’t realize one doesn’t know much of anything, no matter how smart or talented. Hence the need for Sandberg at Facebook. 

  • Think about future presidents and imagine that their entire life will be visible and documented thanks to Facebook and its competitors. 
  • Is there really nothing wrong with Facebook marketing if marketing is all about optimizing the customer experience? Really? Then I beg the question - is it really benefiting the customer if the end result is a better marketing campaign for a light beer?
  • Is Square set to blow up? Because though simply Square brings the credit option to small businesses, it also caters to the generations on the line that lack the trust for a payment option that isn’t physical, tangible. 
  • Is LevelUp, according to one attendee, allegedly burning through cash? Are they opting for a Groupon-style model, ie heavy sales force, high revenue, low profit? Then again Google had no profit for four years and Google Ventures is among their funders. Plus, in my opinion, LevelUp is actually pursuing a different approach to transaction costs and payments. But will it take too long? 
  • Is Summer Street and Downtown Crossing the next hot area? Is this area between South Station, the Leather District, Chinatown and Boston Common an undervalued area with growth potential? Is part of this potential because Cambridge is almost forcing people across the river because of sky-high commercial rent prices around Kendall? 

Whatever the answers, the truth is, right now America needs growth and these men have something most of us don’t - the naivety and guts that come with youth. More than anything else, this nation needs growth, a renaissance, and for now, we’ll take brains and balls, over vision and soul. 

3 notes

  1. andreatoochin posted this