You’ve probably been wondering where this blog has been the past few months — and the real reason is not only have I been busy with my day job, but I also took the plunge and moved across the USA to the Bay Area.
Yes, after 18 years it was time to bid Boston and New England adieu. After nearly a decade and a half of living on planes, traveling to the west coast for analyst events, consulting projects, speaking engagements, and conferences, I found that Boston was getting too small in the areas I concentrated in — consumer electronics, mobility, and the Web. Yes, it has pockets of activity around mobile infrastructure — mobile payments, analytics, and the same when it comes to the Web infrastructure, but the Boston area is more of an enterprise play than a consumer one.
While I also found the Boston VC and Angel communities extremely accommodating, and enjoyed working on several projects, I also found that the community was focusing less and less on the types of innovation that my role was increasingly focusing on — products and services that at the end of the day were being offered to the everyday person instead of the F1000 corporation.
So after 18 years of nearly monthly trips coast to coast, and previous roles where I had more staff in the Valley than in Boston, I made the decision, I took the plunge, and jumped in with both feet, into the West Coast technology market. My days of flying out on Mondays and flying back on Fridays to be home with the family would be over. And so would be the days of recovery. There comes a time in a person’s life when traveling so much is no longer fun, no longer fulfilling, especially if you go to the same places over and over again most of the time — for me that was San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, San Diego, and the conference pilgrimage to Las Vegas multiple times per year.
Don’t get me wrong, I will sorely miss Boston, the Cape, the Maine Coast and all the friends, ex-colleagues, and others I have come to know both personally and professionally over the years. Yanking your entire family from its current roots and transplanting it 3,000+ miles away is not an easy decision to make. But it was a chance to be physically closer to the people I work for and the people I work with, on a daily basis. And the Winter we had in the Boston area this past year was also one that pushed the entire family to the brink of finally taking the plunge.
I will miss the North End and the South Shore. I will miss the social and professional events at Harvard and MIT. I will miss Mobile Monday Boston, one of the largest Mobile Monday events worldwide and hope that it will continue to grow and I encourage others to attend. I will miss Mass Innovation Nights, a beacon for not just tech-related entrepreneurs, but anyone who wants to start a business, in any field. I will miss Boston Tweetups and Boston Media Makers brunches at Doyle’s Pub in Jamaica Plain on the first Sunday of every month, where I met a lot of really cool people who really have digital media flowing through their veins on a daily basis.
I will miss New England clam chowdah, fish cakes and beans, and the Boston Creme Pie at the Parker House. Grendel’s Den in Cambridge. Hiking the Freedom Trail, riding the T, taking the commuter rail into Boston, and the commuter boats from Hingham and the pilgrimage to that special town each Summer. A town I used to live in many years ago.
For many, many years I spent most of my professional time on a plane never really getting to know the Boston technology community until a career turn in 2009 gave me the time to finally explore what was going on in my back yard. While I looked long and hard for the right opportunity to come from the Boston area, it was elsewhere where the opportunities kept coming from — Seattle, the Bay Area, and New York. It was the later that came through with a strong tie to the West Coast (once again) that led me to pursue a final decision to go West!
I didn’t spend much of the Spring in Boston due to an increasing workload with clients outside of the area. And so in early July, we emerged in the Bay Area to start anew. Unfortunately, there was little time for formal goodbyes back in Boston except with a few close friends. Things just moved so fast.
There are a lot of people in New England who have inspired me over the past three years, and a number of people I’d like to wish well.
Matt Gross who took on a leading role in running Mobile Monday Boston, got me involved early on after I exited from IDC, and who continued to grow the event in attendance and quality over the years. And MOMO Boston is coordinated with MOMO Silicon Valley, so I look to get re-engaged with those leading the charge here.
Bobby Carleton who runs Mass Innovation Nights and who continues to spotlight some of the brightest talent in the Boston area, with entrepreneurs from many disciplines. Bobbie tirelessly puts together a major event each month, and not even a major flooding of the Charles can stop her efforts.
Steve Garfield and all the folks at Boston Media Makers. A great bunch of people who share, mingle, and descend upon Doyle’s once a month for breakfast, social community, sharing insights and enlightenment, despite snowstorms, major holidays, broken water mains, and frogs.
Arno Grbac who founded Trusted Ones and continues to focus on making social recommendation engines better and better every day.
Raj Aggarwall, CEO of Localytics, a great entrepreneur with a vision for where mobile analytics is going in the future.
Josh Bob, another gifted Boston-area entrepreneur and founder of textaurant, who has a vision for tomorrow’s restaurant services.
Jeffrey Bussgang at Flybridge Capital Partners who introduced me to a number of people in person, by phone, and by email who were involved in Boston’s tech community when I was finally home long enough (16 months) to discover the talent and depth of personalities in my own backyard for the very first time.
and then there was…
Lee Wright who I met one night at a MOMO Boston event and continued to trade insight with for over a year, as our paths in mobility had many inflection points.
Michael Fitzgerald, a friend and a gifted writer who I have known for many, many years and last year entered the Niemen Fellowship at Harvard in the pursuit of his dreams.
and Jeffrey Henning, a good friend and ex-colleague who sold his firm Perseus Development Corporation, helped form Vovici and has since gone on to another senior role recently. Alas, we were almost neighbors once again.
So many, many people, too many to continue to list here.
Thank you Boston and New England, for a great ride over the many years!
– Randy Giusto