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Inaugural Boston TechJam block party slated for October 3rd

Posted by Scott Kirsner  August 14, 2013 08:00 AM

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Mark Lorion started circulating the idea back in March: what if someone threw a block party in Boston's Innovation District to highlight the energy of the city’s tech scene? Initially, he hoped to close off a couple blocks of Summer Street in Fort Point Channel, right near where Lorian’s employer, a mobile startup called Apperian, is based.

That didn’t fly. But city officials countered by suggesting that Lorion hold the event at District Hall, the new Innovation District gathering place on Northern Avenue, and an adjacent parking lot.

The event Lorion conceived, Boston TechJam, has gained major momentum: it involves companies like EnerNOC, LogMeIn, and Zipcar as well as trade groups like the New England Venture Capital Association, MassTLC and MITX. And it’s happening from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. on October 3rd. That'll be right around the time that District Hall, still under construction, officially opens. And the City of Boston is also planning a week-long event celebrating the "ideas economy" for the same week.

Lorion, chief marketing officer at Apperian, says Boston TechJam was motivated by a desire to showcase the city’s startup scene for students. “It drives me crazy when I hear students saying, ‘Which city should I go to: San Francisco or New York?’ We need to hang onto them. One of the elements that really differentiates Boston is that it’s tight knit. People are collaborative and they want to help each other. I want the city to be known for that, and as a fun place to do business.”

The event will feature bands with members who work in the startup sphere; food trucks; craft beer; artwork from the Fort Point Arts Community; and sponsor tents with games and giveaways. There will also be a “speed pitch” event, with student teams and other entrepreneurs pitching ideas to an investor panel.

Students get in for free; everyone else pays $10, which goes to a computer science education fund.

Lorion tells me that the current space he has lined up can fit about 1,200 people. “I’m hoping we can blow through that number quickly, so we can get access to another parking lot next to District Hall,” he says. There’s also a group planning a potential after-party.

Sounds like a fun event for the fall social schedule...

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Innovation and technology news that matters, on a new website from the Boston Globe, featuring Scott Kirsner and other original reporting.

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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