Amplifying the Message of TieCon East 2014

photo KeithSpiroPhotoDSC_4983 TiECON East 2014 crowdsWhen more than 550 entrepreneurs attend the same event, it most likely is the one called TiECON East, the largest entrepreneurial conference in the world. This was my first time attending and after two incredible, jammed packed days, I can say this event is unique. If you’ve never attended, get on the mailing list and make a point of being there next year.

TiE, a not-for-profit global network of entrepreneurs and professionals, was founded in 1992 in California during a chance meeting of a handful of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs with roots in India. Although its birth name, The Indus Entrepreneurs, signifies the Indus roots of the founders, TiE, these days, stands for Talent, Ideas and Enterprise. And in Boston, their mission is clearly all about fostering entrepreneurship, Beyond Boundaries – Breaking Boundaries – the 2014 theme!

Here are some standouts from the two day event that included a comprehensive startup bootcamp:

The first ever Leader Bank TiE Sharks- sank their teeth into five startups – tough questions – but funded over $100k for two businesses and when a lopsided deal was offered – audience members jumped up to demand better terms-and in fact, in the end three members of the audience countered those terms and added additional funding. Congrats photo by KeithSpiroPhotoDSC_4319

Roger Marino, co-founder of EMC generously shared experience,business tips and his time. _KeithSpiroPhotoDSC_5229Roger Marino EMC, Pittsburg Penguins ownerFrom EMC lunch and learn, we heard about the new evolving position and large need for DATA SCIENTISTS and learned that most think it is easier to take a business person and teach the business value of the analytics than retrain an IT person.

New to me was the TiE Power Lunch, which consisted of a unique sign up list in which you could choose your conversation topic and leader. There was quite a range of topics.

Coming from a sales and marketing background, I truly enjoyed the session entitled “Sell Baby Sell” moderated by MIT’s Bill Aulet and including Mike Troiano and Peter Lamson on the panel. Kevin Haverty talked about how much easier it is to scale up by being local everywhere than using a traditional hub and spoke operation. And while it was surprising a panel of just “old white guys” (noted Bill Aulet), the audience and panel agreed that tech has changed but people have not. The standards of 100 suspects, to 10 prospects to one closed order still exist and as long as carbon based life forms exist, they (people) will buy from people.

photo by KeithSpiroPhotoDSC_4174 US Representative  Tulsi Gabbard A very special visit and talk came from the US Representative from Hawaii and the first Hindu Member of Congress, Tulsi Gabbard.  First elected at age 21 in a five way race, she dares to ask in the hallowed halls of congress – “what are we accomplishing” while she reaches across the aisle and Co-Founded The Future Caucus. She is classy, passionate and principled by her Indian culture & teachings of The Bhagavad-Gita and she continues to be motivated today by its call to selfless action.

 Here are my takeaways:

Staying steady and focused, you can go from selling coconuts to making more than a penny on every Charlie Card transaction as does Ganapathi S. Founder and CEO of Terminal Exchange Systems.

Asking for support from TiE Boston in 2002 as Leader Bank CEO and President Sushil Tuli did, can land you in the giving back role sponsoring the first ever TiE Sharks event just 12 successful years later.

The basics of good manners and a culturally rich upbringing and nurturing does create some simple rules for success:

Give back, what you can, when you can – as others have done for you

Share your best- always

Start young and encourage everyone.

And certainly, the Indus Community spiritual call to selfless action and helping others makes for a rich and rewarding life.

There is power and unstoppable energy in a team that includes these folks.Suneha and her volunteers at TiECON East

Congratulations to all that made this event happen.


Who attended in the capacity of photographer as Kendall Press works tirelessly for our clients taking print and business communications to even higher levels by amplifying our clients messages. A full slide show can be found here.

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KSA Marriott Kendall Square Clean Up

Marriott General Manager Alan Smith welcomes the KSA

Innovation Happens Everywhere

“Innovation Happens Everywhere”  said Jose Estabil, Director , Program for Entrepreneurial Innovation, SK Tech, MIT Initiative, and a former project director and current advisor at MIT Portugal, at a gathering of The Open Hub at Sherin and Lodgen last week.

©KeithSpiroPhoto Jose Estabil of MIT

You can hear Jose Estabil’s welcoming comments here.  As the internet reaches further and faster, the whole world becomes smaller and indeed, we are developing a global village of innovation and entrepreneurship.  Jose spoke eloquently about innovators needing wider validation and introduced the group by saying, “they are good. They just don’t live here.”

chad o'connor photo by keith spiroChad O’Connor  kicked off the evening. Forty plus teams were involved in this cohort of Building Global Innovators and some twenty of them were in attendance that night. Portugal acknowledges that it hasn’t always done a good job of getting their stories out to the world and there is a need to build trust beyond just the association with the MIT brand. So they brought an international assortment of teams that participated in their competition including finalists from Italy, Russia, Switzerland and Portugal.

Open Hub, itself a young organization, builds on the Boston World Partnerships tradition that great people, doing good things, can work with organizations and individuals to deliver outstanding results. The evening, co-hosted by Sherin & Lodgen, proved just that.

To succeed today, you need to understand the global phenomenon of innovation and enterprise.  You also need to understand people and what’s important in the human connection. While I met many at the event and exchanged business cards with a few of the represented groups, two stood out.

First, MobiREV created in Italy and here in Boston presenting their platform that will manage all interactions between people and travel.  Not only did the principals give me an overview of  their integrated solution for smart ticketing in any kind of public transport – but they were the only ones to send digital and printed follow up. Gives me confidence when they say billing and expense reporting made easy – I believe them.20140520_175302[1]

Nothing beats a hand written thank you note – specific to the conversation we shared….and they sent me plenty of extra cards to pass around. I am a long time fan of the “Johnny Appleseed” approach to networking. One card for you – and here, take a couple for others who you think might be similarly entranced by what you’ve seen. They made me part of their advance marketing team. Good for you MobiREV. Micaela, here’s your shoutout.

The other organization with style and a first class approach was Octodon, a Russian startup with a very practical device. They were standing in front of this framed print of a typewriter and I couldn’t help but note the irony and opportunity it represented.

Octodon's Alexey & Eugenia photo by keith spiroQWERTY was designed to slow down typists so the keys wouldn’t jam. Octodon uses an intuitive approach to a personally adjustable touch sensitive keystroke system that I got a handle on it in just five minutes.  I’ve used swype and it gets dumber as it “expects” that it has learned my writing style. Predictive completion? Auto Correction?  Doesn’t cut it in its current iteration. Not once have I used the expression “Hey Dude” and yet it has come up more than once in voice recognition and swype. Come on developers- pay more attention to detail and get more beta testers. I’ll take Octodon any day over Auto Correct #Fail.

Xconomy's Bill Ghormley photo by keith spiroHere are my takeaways from Octodon. Octodon's overlay photo by keith spiro





A 1:1 sized keyboard overlay, a shout out on their facebook page and an invitation to test their product further. Woot!

They have my attention. My smart device is only as smart as the keystrokes I’ve created and not some predictive predator  ready to embarrass.

Score a successful night of networking for Open Hub, Sherin Lodgen and MIT Portugal.

Keith for the Team at Kendall Press

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The Roxbury Youth Orchestra, led by David France, performs underground at the North Station T stop in Boston ©KeithSpiroPhoto

Sustainable Cities – Places Worth Living

Sustainable Cities - The Stad Amsterdam in Boston Harbor KeithSpiroPhotoDSC_0308KSwC

Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Studies recently teamed up with MIT SENSEable City Lab for a conference on sustainable cities and held it on board the Stad Amsterdam – a full rigged, three-masted clipper ship. Taking place in Boston Harbor, this unique conference demonstrated the power of collaboration, creativity, a grand bit of fun, and the fact that the concept of the real-time city is now very real.

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