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 MoreLayoffs at adtech firmVideo analytics startup Visible Measures cuts staff
One of Boston's best-funded adtech startups, Visible Measures, has been shedding employees, with the latest round of layoffs taking place yesterday. According to former employees and executives at other companies who have been fielding resumes from laid off employees, the cuts represent 30 or more people, about one-quarter of Visible Measures' workforce. CEO Brian Shin declined comment yesterday evening, pointing me to a public relations rep who hasn't responded to phone calls or e-mails. The layoffs affect employees across all departments, says one former employee, adding that the company may have simply grown too fast in a hyper-competitive business: "A serious case of cart in front of horse," he says.
Read MoreParties without the clean-up'Avon meets Skype' with new video house party software from Kitsy Lane
I'm not a big buyer of dangly earrings or silver-and-turquoise cuffs, but I have to admit: the new video "house party" software from Kitsy Lane, a Boston-based e-commerce startup, is a lot of fun. Instead of lining up a babysitter and visiting a friend's house to nibble cheese and crackers and try on costume jewelry, you sign on for a group videochat. The new vParty software is part of a recently-launched site from Kitsy Lane called Chelsea Row that focuses on selling jewelry and accessories online, through in-person "trunk shows" and the new live video events.
Read MoreSpeak softly...Apple is growing the Cambridge research team focused on improving Siri speech recognition
On the eve of its next big product announcement, Apple is expanding its super-secret research office in Kendall Square. Several commercial realtors tell me that the Cupertino company has leased more than half a floor at One Broadway, an MIT-owned building that also houses Facebook's small local team, several venture capital firms, and the Cambridge Innovation Center. The new office, about 13,000 square feet on one of the building's upper floors, is a major expansion for Apple, which currently has a small team on the building's fifth floor.
Sitting behind the computer monitor on Phil Beauregard’s cluttered desk at a startup called Objective Logistics is a hardcover book published in 2011: the authorized biography of Steve Jobs.
Jobs managed to pull off something that is rarer in the business world than a no-hitter is in baseball. For about a decade after his return to Apple in 1997, Jobs ran two successful public companies, Apple and Pixar, simultaneously.
Read MoreConstruction reportInside CIC's shared digs in Downtown Crossing, still under construction
Silicon Valley's Accel Partners and Cambridge-based Causeway Media Partners are among the investors pumping $35 million into SeatGeek, a search engine for tickets to sporting events, concerts, and other live events. Similar to the way Kayak.com scours the web for airfares and hotel rates, SeatGeek does the same across multiple ticketing sites like StubHub and Broadway.com.
Also putting money into the Manhattan-based startup are the rapper Nas, NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony, and NFL quarterbacks Eli and Peyton Manning.
If you've ever tried to book a flight during February's school vacation weeks, or a hotel in Arizona in August, you've seen demand-based pricing in action. In some cities, even parking meters adjust their prices based on how many spots are left on a block.
Now a San Francisco startup, Beyond Pricing, is bringing demand-based pricing to people who rent out their homes — or just spare rooms — through Airbnb. The free service adjusts the price of a condo in the North End or a spare bedroom in Back Bay up or down, based on how much demand exists on each specific night of the year.
Read MoreBoston's biggest businessesIn education and health care, the future is about cost and access
I must admit: even though Filene's closed almost ten years ago, I was a little sad to see the escalators, the stacks of sweaters, and the perfume-spritzers gone. But the Watertown architecture firm Sasaki Associates has kept a few traces of the department store that was once part of every Bostonian's life as it transformed the top four floors of the landmark Downtown Crossing building into offices for Havas. Havas is a French communications conglomerate that owns Boston ad agency Arnold Worldwide; Debi Kleiman, an executive vice president at Havas Media and former director of the trade group MITX, gave me an early look at the space last week.
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, 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 the Convergence Forum. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.