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The Friday Five: Best Session Titles from Yesterday's Innovation Unconference

Posted by Scott Kirsner  October 2, 2009 07:20 AM

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At an unconference, where many simultaneous sessions compete to lure attendees at the same time, coming up with an appealing title for your session is important.

Topics are determined at the beginning of the day by the attendees, and session titles are posted to a wall that attendees look at to make their decisions about how they'll spend their time. It's an agenda crossed with a bulletin board.

Yesterday was the second annual Innovation Unconference organized by the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, and there were some great titles on the board. These were my five favorites.

(Why doesn't every conference have such enticing-sounding workshops and presentations?)


Presented by Terrafugia co-founder Carl Dietrich, who parked his flying car out in front of the conference center. My answer to his question: absolutely. (But will the Mrs. let me fly it?)


Not sure who Eric Jackson is, but I liked his session title.


Russ Wilcox was part of the founding team at E Ink, which developed the screen for Amazon's Kindle e-book reader (and most other e-book devices on the market.) He's still CEO there. Flybridge Capital Partners VC Chip Hazard, formerly at Greylock, has been involved in at least one high-profile founder firing at Cambridge start-up Ars Digita that erupted into a lawsuit.


Richard Dale is a partner at the Boston VC firm Sigma Partners.


Run by Bill Warner, founder of Avid Technology & Wildfire Communications, and organizer of yesterday's Unconference.

If you have notes or links related to any of these sessions, feel free to post them below.

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11 comments so far...
  1. Great titles and fun reading on a Friday morning. Sorry I missed this great UNconference #masstlc

    Posted by William Toll October 2, 09 08:24 AM
  1. Did we find a good problem for the flying car to solve???

    Posted by Steve Vinter October 2, 09 08:57 AM
  1. Scott,
    Great seeing you as a panel whirlwind in the halls of MassTLC's Innovation UnConference. Next year, we present "PR Improv" together :).

    In the meantime, your readers will love the closing session on "Intention and Innovation" from Bill Warner, trustee of MassTLC. Warner charted the bio cloud - our brains - as the only way to launch an idea that helps people and provide a chance of success (and fun).

    Here's link to my audio posted on Utterli: You'll hear Bill's time with Avid and WildFire, as well as great ideas and statements of intent from the audience too.

    Enjoy (more stuff at tagged #masstlc, UnConference)

    Posted by Adam Zand @NoOneYouKnow October 2, 09 09:08 AM
  1. My favorite session of the day was when Globe columnist Scott Kirsner teamed up with Tim Rowe, CEO at Cambridge Innovation Center & Venture Partner at New Atlantic Ventures, to run a well attended discussion on “Turbo Charging the New Culture of Entrepeneurship in MA”.

    Visit a blog summary of the discussions:

    Posted by Dana Harris October 2, 09 09:24 AM
  1. Sorry all,
    My previous link is a photo Bill Warner and his flip chart graphing the Intentions/beliefs/innovation/audience premise.

    The audio for Bill's session is at:

    Additionally, here's the PR Improv panel I led with Mass High Tech's Doug Banks; Judith Hurwitz; Patrick Rafter; Bobbie Carlton:
    Part 1:
    Part 2:

    You'll hear us working with entrepreneurs on their business idea, honing messages, targeting media reps and actually doing a media and anlayst pitch to Doug & Judith

    Posted by Adam Zand @NoOneYouKnow October 2, 09 10:03 AM
  1. UNconference takes everything "broken" about conferences and fixes it! Next year add a "So You Built It & They Aren't Coming, Now What?" panel for the realities of Tesla level ideas.

    Posted by Jackie Bassett October 3, 09 07:00 AM
  1. So much happening at the same time. Sorry to miss the "Turbo Charging the New Economy of Entrepreneurship in MA" session. Happy to see that Dana Harris posted a link to a blog summary of the discussion, and that the comments are starting to fill up with other links to content from other sessions (as if we were in more than one place at a time).

    Posted by Claire Wadlington October 3, 09 09:04 AM
  1. The Mass Tech Leadership Council Innovation 2009 unConference was even better than the one last year. I concur that "Turbo Charging the New Culture of Entrepeneurship in MA” was outstanding. It was a nice change to recognize all the good things going on in the New England entrepreneurial community and identify pragmatic ways to improve.

    Posted by Brad johnson October 3, 09 05:32 PM
  1. Scott,

    You and Tim ran an awesome session at the unConference...definitely the talk of the community. I look forward to seeing what actions may come of the solutions proposed at the event.

    You also might be interested in this...I compiled all of the content generated (media, audio, pics, blogs, links) into one place:



    Posted by Jason Evanish October 4, 09 08:21 PM
  1. "Firing Founders is VC-101: How to Keep Your Founder Job" session provided valuable insight on why founders “flounder” and what they can do to succeed.

    Here’s the Top 10 Lessons on How to Keep Your Founder Job gleamed from the session:

    Posted by Dana Harris October 6, 09 12:23 PM
  1. Agreed, great conference. I missed most of the catchy named ones listed, but got a lot out of it. Sorry I missed Bill Warner's starting your idea on no money. Scott, as enumerated above, the panel you co-hosted on "turbo-charging" entrepreneurship was definitely one of the highlights. I think the mood of the crowd quickly switched from "there's not enough going on around here" to a realization (shock and awe?) of how much great stuff was going on, and that we needed better connections between them. Would be interested in hearing some brave masochist attempting to go to every possible event for the course of a month.

    Posted by Daniel Sullivan October 7, 09 05:07 PM


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About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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