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Wrote this up quickly in response to the great points & fantastic set of articles in the Boston Globe’s “The Road to Awesome” (be sure to see the sidebar articles on the left)! Some complementary thoughts:

Create Celebrities – They show we’re hot. Seth Priebatsch from SCVNGR should be on the cover of Boston Magazine the way that Dennis Crowley is on the cover of New York. Akamai’s “Star Wars-style” control room should regularly get full-page spreads as the nexus for awesomeness that powers a huge chunk of the Internet. Let’s celebrate the ruthlessly cool tech in our backyard that so few know about, and create superstars of our up & comers.

Businesses, Open Your Doors – Boston-area firms need to open up and be welcoming to our students. They can inspire them to stay. Gaming & consumer-facing products should provide a full-on welcome, getting senior executives to host students onsite, showering them with SWAG, and showing that they, too, can bring Valley-style perks (game rooms, snack stations) to their employees. And if their offices don’t look as cool as Zynga, Facebook, Google – get an interior re-design. Your grandpa-style Steelcase digs are undergrad repellent!

Get Out There – David Skok’s startup presentations are just awesome. Rich Miner is the co-father of Android & a Google Ventures Partner. These guys (and others) should be at every university in the greater Boston area, multiple times a year, connecting with those we want to motivate to stay. Our VCs are so talented and genuinely inspiring – we need them sharing pizza and soda (or beer for the older crowd and those who know you can buy fake IDs here) with our students, letting our best & brightest know that Wall Street isn’t the only place to play. VCs – wear a hoodie (like John Doer did at the iPhone SDK launch). And VCs ought to bring their portfolio firms with them. Alex Finkelstein of Spark & Jason Baptiste of OnSwipe just spoke to my class & crushed it – after class you’d have thought my students had just heard from Jay Z or Justin Timberlake (or whoever it is that young people find hip).

So it Snows Here – Some of Us Like That: Our sailing, skiing, lobster, and microbrews are every bit as good as W. Coast sunshine. Hey – San Francisco can be a pretty rainy & cold place in the summer. Give ‘em a hard time about that, too! Plus if you want to be an entrepreneur it helps to have a spouse with a stable job. Our Universities & hospitals provide great stable careers that can let the other partner risk it all. Our schools are awesome and this is a great place to raise a kid. I’d much rather bring my family up in MBTA-accessible Brookline or Newton than Brooklyn or SF.

Stop it with the Sharp Elbows – When we get our students together from other universities you can almost feel the sharpness of the elbows in the room. Sure there’s a Cal / Stanford rivalry out West, but more often than not this stays on the sports field. In Boston the pedigree wars often create barriers that hurt rather than help. It’s gotten worse – in the Bubble days HBS would allow other schools to co-sponsor panels & share the limelight. No longer. BU’s grad program has never invited BC to participate in their tech-focused case competition, yet brings in schools from outside the US. And I’m sure some of our Eagles can use a lesson on how to play nice with others, too. Northeastern, Bentley, Olin & so many more have lots of entrepreneurial talent beyond the Babson bullhorn. Get them at the table, too!

Open Up & Create a Nexus – Where’s our equivalent of Stanford’s E-Corner? Let’s have VCs & entrepreneurs come to campus, invite in all of the schools, podcast it to the world, and celebrate what we’ve got going on here. Know firms that want to provide funding? I’d love to set this up. I’m sure the NERDers at Microsoft would love to provide neutral ground, too!

Kudos – to Microsoft NERD – Who’d have thought Ballmer’s shop would come into Cambridge & become ‘the’ nexus for our startup community? That firm deserves a community service award for opening their doors to so many events & sponsorships. And Kudos to Scott Kirsner, too. If you’re a student you ought to search Facebook for Innovation Open House and sign up.

Profs & administrators – get with the program. I’m always shocked by how rare it is to find Boston academics at events in our startup community. Conventional “A level” research is important – it needs to be nurtured and encouraged. It is the coin of the realm. But the realm now has a debit card, PayPal, and a lot more “coin” alternatives that are influencing institutional excellence. Providing rocket fuel to help smart students blast off – developing worldclass programs, nurturing successful student entrepreneurs – is shoulder-to-shoulder important with deep/narrow “A-level” academic research. Let the best of these time consuming & impactful contributions stand as counting “fully” in promotion decisions.

Wanna collude? Let’s do a meetup this summer & keep the ideas flowing. We need a “Task Force Awesome” to hothouse some of these ideas & draw in others. Someone with time & talent, please organize & I’ll be there (preferably after June 1st). See you on Twitter! @gallaugher

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