As a precusor to an event on June 25th called “What’s Next in Tech: Exploring the Growth Opportunities of 2009 and Beyond.” that he organized and will be moderating, Scott Kirsner challenged a few of the local tech bloggers to come up with some ideas on what will be the next trends for the coming wave of new technology companies.
I’m sure that Boston will make significant future contributions in both Bio Tech and Clean Tech, however I will let the knowledgeable experts provide further details for those domains.
In Communications, Computing, Software and the Web, the obvious current trends in new tech companies cluster around cloud computing and storage, green data centers , mobile applications, social networking, search engine marketing, gaming and virtual goods.
I suspect that Boston will continue with one of it’s tried and true approaches to building successful business within the next wave of technology. The same method was used by Levi Strauss during the California gold rush, sell the picks and shovels. I think this fits in well with the more conservative New England ways, less risky than going for the gold, but you can still build very successful businesses.
Translated to the world of technology, the strategy is to build the tools, infrastructure and marketplaces that create an even larger swell in whatever current wave of innovation is building momentum.
Without going back too far into the early days of the internet and the rise of distributed computing and client server applications, we only need to look at some of the successful companies spawned here during the web 1.0 period to see the pattern.
Booklink the 3rd Browser
Vermeer html editor
Open Market first commercially available Web (HTTP) servers
ViaWeb online store builder
Akamai web content servers
you get the idea
So lets see what some local companies are doing within the previously identified trends.
cloud computing and storage: see Cloud Crowd
green data centers: Viridity infrastructure to balance power, cooling and utilization.
mobile applications: Skyhook Wireless infrastructure for mobile positioning
social networking: Mzinga enterprise infrastructure for social media. Tipjoy social commerce infrastructure
search engine marketing: Wordstream, Hubspot tools to optimize SEM and Inbound Marketing
gaming and virtual goods: GamerDNA virtual bazaar for gamers , Viximo marketplace and tools for virtual goods commerce.
As the list clearly shows, the course of providing the tools, infrastructure and markets for the emerging technologies is still a mainstay of Boston’s approach to building businesses.
Scott’s question to us is “Whats next in Tech for Boston?” If we apply the picks and shovels template to the trends, we can determine where there may still be opportunities. One category, marketplace plays, may be promising.
One obvious vacuum is in the mobile space.
So you heard it here first, one of the next local companies will be building an “App Store” for the Android Platform. Rich Miner, if you are listening, I can pull a team together in a month, and with the imprimatur of Google Ventures, we should have a pretty good shot.
What do you think? We should all be going through this exercise so that we can position Boston and our companies as the economy returns to health.
Come hear what some of the brightest minds in Boston innovation think will be the next tech opportunities. Early registration ends today.