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Will's books

Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town
3 of 5 stars
The story of Bassett furniture and John Bassett III in particular is a great one that should be told. Beth Macy does a reasonable job telling it, but spends much too much time discussing her challenges and experiences writing the book as...
The Silent Man
5 of 5 stars
Another great John Wells book. I previously compared Alex Berenson and his hero, John Wells, with Vince Flynn and his troubled CIA agent/assassin, Mitch Rapp. Towards the end of Flynn's short life and in his final Rapp books, Flynn got a...
Getting Started with Hobby Quadcopters and Drones
2 of 5 stars
When I was looking up reviews of drones on the web, I found several mentions of this "book" (a pamphlet,really). It's OK,but all the information can be easily found elsewhere online. The repeated warning about crashing your drone and sta...
The Martian
5 of 5 stars
Wow. Just . . . wow. This was one of the most entertaining books I have read in a long time. The story is fabulous and the execution wonderful. Basically a diary of an astronaut left behind in an escape from a failed Mars mission (though...
The Ghost War
5 of 5 stars
I've read a few other of Berenson's John Wells books before and found them entertaining,although not up to the standard set by Vince Flynn and his hero, Mitch Rapp. Sadly, Flynn passed away and having finished all the Mitch Rapp books, I...

TechStars Comes to Boston

Over the last few years, it has become increasingly difficult for Boston-based fledgling startups to get a leg up; to get, well . . . started.  It’s mind boggling, really.  There is so much talent and there are so many good ideas, it’s just been shocking to witness teams and ideas die on the vine.  Some of this is about the availability of money, of course, with many New England VCs choosing to invest in larger or later stage deals, but more of it, in my opinion, has been about the environment.  While there are some avenues for startup entrepreneurs to get help and advice, they are few and far between and often hard to get access to.  Recently, Y Combinator, the last bastion of Boston-area startup aide chose to leave Cambridge for sunnier digs in the Bay Area.

The good news is that TechStars has been planning a move to Boston for the last six months and has just announced that will be in full operation this summer.  TechStars has been hugely successful in Boulder.  Its success has been because the program is based on mentorship.  TechStars has a terrific group of mentors (yeah, including yours truly) that guide, teach, coach and help new entrepreneurs accelerate their ideas into real companies.  And, of course, there’s money involved.  TechStars invests a small amount of money to kick start each of the companies in the program.

Does it work?  Hell yes!  Last year, TechStars Boulder’s second year of operation, 393 teams applied for 10 slots.  The high number of applications were driven by the success of the companies involved in the program – 12 of the 20 that have been through it have received follow-on funding and 2 of the companies from the first year (2007) have already been acquired.  See more here.

TechStars Boston will be managed by Shawn Broderick and backed up by Boulder TechStars co-founders David Cohen and Brad Feld.  A long list of Boston-area Mentors has already signed on to participate including, Colin Angle, Dan Bricklin, Don Dodge, Eran Egozy, Chris Heidelberger, Nabeel Hyatt, Warren Katz, John Landry, Rich Levandov, Bijan Sabet, Ronald Schmelzer, Bill Warner and me.

TechStars Boston will be located in Cambridge and is now open for applications for its ten summer 2009 slots.  Applications are due by March 21, 2009.

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