I headed into Boston bright and early to congregate at the Renaissance Waterfront Hotel at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC). With over 500 attendees, there was lots of opportunity to network. I thrive on networking at innovation-oriented events, because I find it helps me see things from different angles and be more creative. These events are different from the pure networking events where people are just looking to unwind or find a friend. The innovation community helps you think and create, which has been my mantra lately.
I decided to try out the 30hands Mobile app
in a different way, more from a journalistic perspective. We call 30hands Mobile a “photo storytelling app”, because it lets people organize photos and images into a storyline then record audio on top of the photos. If the storyline doesn’t flow the right way, just drag and drop the thumbnail images around into the desired order. Recorded audio stays with the images as they move around. If you stutter when speaking or just don’t like it, just click record again and record over the previous audio. From the desktop, there’s a preview button (play) that let’s you review the whole story. When you’re ready with it, click the action button in the upper right and publish it as a video presentation to your camera roll or to a 30hands site, if you’ve signed up for one. We’re still working on some more editing features, so I was wondering how the app would work for a journalist.The first thing I did was just start walking around and talking to people. After some chit-chat, I asked if I could take a photo and record a few words. Everyone I asked was happy to oblige. The first person I ran into (near the big stack of bacon, incidently) was Mohamad Ali
, gracious Chair of the MassTLC, at least until the meeting kicked off. Mohamad set the pace with an upbeat overview of what we would hear (highlighted by Governor Patrick and Bob Kraft). Next, I ran into quietly confident Matt Bilotti
, the President of the Northeastern University entrepreneurship club who spoke very eloquently. I think he’s a non-profit, too, because his personal website has a dot org extension. The next highlights were the charming Susie Kitchens
, British General Consul to New England, followed by two laughing charcters, John Landry
and Scott Kirsner
(preparing himself to interview the Governor with a cup of Dunkins).
The meeting was began with Scott interviewing the Governor
and talk of Innovation, Education and Retaining Tech Talent in Massachusetts. Several audience members asked great question that stimulated more discussion outside the main hall.
After the break, Bob Kraft told one great story after another from his passion to owning the Patriots that started when he was a young businessman to his emphasis on how valuable intergrity and character are in building a great brand and business. He may have been preaching to the choir, but the choir always wants to get validation and pat itself on the back. The most riveting part of his talk was his play by play telling of how he came to own the Patriots, from parking lot to stadium to the whole shebang. Most telling was how he had to go against the advice of his financial advisers and appease his wife when she apparently raised more than an eyebrow at his large investments. However — she stood by him and probably influenced him to bring that sense of family to work and to the team.
At the end of the show, I noticed a table with some kids from the Advanced Math & Science Academy
standing and playing around a table full of joyful tech toys like laptops, tablets and remote control cars. I couldn’t resist and had to stop by to talk with them. They enthusiastically showed me what they were working on and gladly told their stories behind their 30hands photos. This school believes that Computer Science
should be required for all students in K12. By integrating it into the everyday classroom, they made it fun and exciting for all students. Teaching Comp Sci lends itself to Project-Based Learning, which is a sure way to engage students to learn more and to self-initiate their own personal learning.As I headed for my car, I reflected on the morning and how much I had gained from talking with all these very different people who all have a common connection, which is the love of technology. I believe you will connect with them, too. Watch the 7 minutes of cool in the video below to see what I mean. And if you want to try something creative like this yourself, download the free app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.