Scott Kirsner
Scott Kirsner
Columnist
Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com 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, Boston Magazine, and Variety. Scott is 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." He is a founder of the site Innovation Leader, which focuses on innovation initiatives inside big companies. Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and the Convergence Forum. His recent Boston Globe columns are here.

Stories by Scott Kirsner

Special space for Crimson startups
First look: Harvard's new Launch Lab, a home for alumni startups
Harvard-affiliated startups began moving into the university's new Launch Lab this month.
Just three years after Harvard University opened its Innovation Lab, a space for students to develop startup ideas, there's a new annex for alumni businesses located right across the street. The Launch Lab is intended to support not only recent grads who may be growing companies they started when they were students, but also alumni several years out who are working on new ventures. Both the Launch Lab and the Innovation Lab are in the former WGBH television complex on Western Avenue in Allston. I stopped by earlier this month to have a look... Read More
Make it in Mass.?
Can manufacturing in Massachusetts go viral?
Eric Hold works on the electrical boards of a mass spectrometer at 908 Devices in South Boston. (Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)

“What we need are manufacturing jobs, not stupid social apps.”

That was a comment appended to a column I wrote in August about two app start-ups in Boston, and I thought it raised a good question: Who is creating those new manufacturing jobs? If you want to weld, rivet, or stamp for a living, rather than code and upload, where will you work?

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Upgrading the conference call
Boston-based Talko, led by Ray Ozzie, unveils new communication app
Talko founders Matt Pope, Eric Patey, and Ray Ozzie, in the startup's North End office.
Just a few blocks away from where Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, entrepreneur Ray Ozzie and a small team have been reimagining telephone calls for the 21st century. And today, they're debuting a new iPhone app called Talko that seeks to nudge the phone out of the "just dial a number and hold it to your ear" era and into the 21st century. Read More
Rethinking online shopping, in the old Sears building
First look: Launch, new Boston incubator for e-commerce ventures
Ben Fischman, founder of the Launch incubator for e-commerce startups.
What better place to cook up new e-commerce companies than the tower of an old Sears & Roebuck distribution center? That's where Ben Fischman, the founder of Lids and Rue La La, has found space for his new e-commerce incubator, dubbed Launch. There's no website yet, and the team is still small, but I dropped in last week for a visit. Read More
A tale of two crowdfunding ventures
A Weston startup ran a “crowdfunding” campaign this summer to raise money to begin production of a tabletop robot, Jibo, that interacts with people, helping to manage schedules or initiate videoconferences.
In the middle of July, two local entrepreneurs launched “crowdfunding” campaigns two days apart. They were seeking enough preorders from customers to help them start making new products. One was a sleek aluminum iPad stand called the SlingAmp, priced at about $35. The other was Jibo, a $600 robot that will be able to do things like coordinate family schedules and read bedtime stories. Read More
Things change
Shake-up at LogMeIn's Xively division, focused on the 'Internet of Things'
(Globe photo / Essdras M. Suarez)
Several top execs focused on launching new services to support the "Internet of Things" — sometimes called machine-to-machine communication, or M2M — have left Boston-based LogMeIn in recent months. And LogMeIn is closing the London office of what had been Pachube, a startup it acquired in 2011. But a LogMeIn spokesperson tells me that the publicly-traded company is not shutting down Xively, its division that offers cloud-based software and services to help companies create and manage their own Internet of Things projects, like tracking the maintenance needs of factory equipment, or monitoring a fleet of trucks. Read More
Time traveling
Walk Boston's innovation trail, September 28th
The Bulfinch Building at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Innovation historian Bob Krim and I occasionally — very occasionally — organize a walking tour of what we call the Innovation Trail in Boston and Cambridge. It's an alternative version of the Freedom Trail entirely focused on science, technology, and entrepreneurship. We talk about the past and present — and you'll get into some cool historic places like the Ether Dome at Mass General, above. Read More
After Segway
Getting advanced prosthetics to those who need them
Dean Kamen shakes hands with “Luke,” the robotic arm developed by his company, DEKA. (Photo from DEKA)
For the past eight years, in an old mill building in Manchester, N.H., a team of engineers has been developing what you might call the Tesla of artificial limbs. The DEKA Arm System, about the same size and weight of an adult’s arm, can pick up an egg from a carton or a credit card from a desk. Read More
New neighbors
PayPal's Start Tank opens its doors to six more startups
Entrepreneurs working in PayPal's Start Tank, which offers chosen companies free office space up to a year. (Photo by Dina Rudick / Globe Staff)
It's getting harder for startups to score free office space at PayPal's Boston office. PayPal executive David Chang, who oversees the "Start Tank" program that sets up chosen entrepreneurs with office space that PayPal isn't yet using, says only about 11 percent of applicants got in this fall. That's compared to a 20 percent acceptance rate earlier this year. Read More