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Boston Web Innovators Group

January 31, 2006

I attended the Boston Web Innovators Group meeting last night and met lots of interesting people. While my primary goal was to get feedback from developers regarding YAJAF, I found myself talking to lots of others about my overarching business plans.

A few quick highlights of the meeting:

Fresh Tilled Soil did a presentation discussing new/startup business methodology, something near and dear to my heart. They seem like a bunch of really bright guys and I had a chance to talk with the primary presenter, Richard Banfield a bit afterward. The focus of the presentation was the 'get it out there fast, let the market sort it out' approach to business development, something I list as one of the fundamental pillars of my own startup strategy. While it's one of my 'pillars' my discussion with Richard helped me realize I wasn't fully embracing my own startup philosophy. I believe they were offering consulting services to enable rapid prototype deployment. An interesting business model, and something I'm going to keep my eye on.

I spent some time talking with the creators of reddit, again some really smart guys. They're one of the 'summer founders program' startups created by Paul Graham's Y Combinator seed stage VC firm. You could see the passion for what they were doing, and the love of technology. I've had this bug to learn lisp and one of guys mentioned Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence Programming, apparently an amazing book with regards to lisp. If I ever have any time I'm going to try and check it out.

I met the writer of the blog darwinianweb.com, Adam Green. He was a really cool guy who had some interesting advice and insights into my particular startup. I thoroughly enjoyed my discussion with him and have added 'darwinianweb' to my regular feed list. At one point during the night he turned to the reddit guys and said "Are you developing software, or are you developing a product?". A very interesting question, to which everyone answered "we're making software". I find the implications of that question really interesting, something I've felt on a gut level. It fits in with my technology as creative endeavor philosophy, something I think that is frequently misunderstood.

I think the best part of a meeting like this is the coming together of really bright people. I spoke with lawyers, fellow entrepreneurs, consultants, technologists and VC's and I derived something of value from nearly every conversation.

While I achieved my goal of getting feedback on YAJAF, something the YAJAF blog has failed to do, there was a lot more I got out of it as well. Thanks to David Beisel and Masthead Venture Partners for putting it on.

Update: I forgot to mention another pretty cool couple of founders and their startup tourbus. It's kind of like a live search/rss notifier/social networking project to update you on upcoming live performances, here's their blog. I don't know about you but I know I've had the "really they played in Boston? When did that happen?" experience on way more than one occasion.