If you’ve been around venture capital, technology and marketing long enough you’re probably used to geographic rivalries, if that’s what they are. The Silicon Valley, Alley, Cambridge, Austin, Seattle whack-a-mole game of "who’s hot" is fun sport, but sometimes it saps energy and focus, both precious commodities these days.
Look no further than the red-hot mobile space. If you listen to some, San Francisco is the only place to be right now. Sure, Apple created a vortex that arguably spun out the smartphone craze. And Google has certainly delivered, with Android-powered phones now outselling iPhones. But a tsunami isn’t really a tsunami until it travels many miles from the origin of the disruption.
With due respect to Apple, Google and other West coast notables, the “rest of the market,” the exciting, vibrant and quirky mobile ecosystem, isn’t confined to a single geography. Even in greater Boston, innovation is no longer bound by the traditional boundaries such as Route 128 or Kendall Square; today areas such as SoWa (South of Washington Street) and Fort Point Channel are nurturing many of this region’s most talked about start-ups.
We have exciting companies such as Apperian and AisleBuyer leading a new vanguard in Boston proper. Meanwhile, forever-relevant Cambridge is producing companies such as JumpTap and, at the seed level, exciting entrepreneurs such as those in residence over at Polaris Venture Partners’ Dogpatch Labs, start-ups that are learning under the capable tutelage of erstwhile Microsoft N.E.R.D. Gus Weber.
My point is that Boston has a vibrant mobile ecosystem and we must celebrate it more vociferously, or at least as much as they do in San Fran. And not just the high-profile acquisitions, such as Where (scooped up by eBay), but the fact that more than 30,000 people are now working within 400 companies in greater Boston’s mobile sector, according to the Mass Technology Leadership Council. And this number will continue to climb as consumers move en masse to mobile for everything, not just voice.
This mini rant is barely necessary. Voices louder (and more dedicated) than mine are leading the charge for mobile in Boston, from Mobile Monday Boston to the aforementioned Mass TLC. But, after listening to someone argue last Friday that San Fran is the THE place for mobile right now, I guess I just needed to vent. After all, mobile is a pretty big market. It’s bigger than any one city or region. It’s bigger than any one technology or application. And it’s certainly a huge part of our collective future in greater Boston.
Contributed by Scott Bauman. Follow him @sbauman