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A View From The Catbird Seat [Dec. 27, 2013]

Submitted on
Friday, December 27, 2013
,
BostInno

By Jay Batson

This year I switched from an active operating role as founder of Acquia to being a mentor and angel investor in early-stage startups. Between helping companies via Techstars, MassChallenge, and random introductions, I’ve tried to lend a helping hand to many, many dozens of companies this year. Which means I’ve gained a rare place among those who can see the local tech ecosystem from a high perch, and I have a couple of thoughts about our tech culture.

The growth in the number of startups in Boston since I founded Acquia in 2007 has increased phenomenally, and I see no end in sight. Credit what you wish – the emergence of AWS, the "Lean Startup," or the growth in angel capital – the result is that Boston is no longer only the birthplace of old mini-computer or networking companies. Rather, it has re-energized into a full startup ecosystem. These startups have created thousands of jobs in the city, and I’m really happy with where our tech community is at.

It’s particularly exciting to see the vast bulk of these companies locating themselves within half a mile of the Red Line, stretching from Davis Square to the Broadway stop in South Boston. Notably, unless they are in the Cambridge Innovation Center, most startups are no longer in Kendall Square, which has become the home of Big Companies. It’s great; I can bike from company to company in 10 minutes, making it the most geographically concentrated tech center in the country. (Thanks to the City of Boston’s Nicole Freedman for making Boston so bikeable!)

This extended “Red Line Tech Corridor” is what I think Boston will become known for, eclipsing the “128 Corridor." I don’t see this stopping in 2014, and predict most startups will rent office space in the Leather District, Downtown Crossing, Chinatown, or the A St. end of South Boston. (Rents in the Innovation District have quickly gotten too high for startups!) But this concentration in the historic downtown area will only happen if the buildings are updated with credible, fiber-based high-speed Internet. Amazingly, a ton of startup-priced vacant office space in these areas simply does not have fast network access. If the new Mayor wants a meaty, high-impact problem to tackle early in his new administration, here it is. This state of connectivity is embarrassing for the city.

Best Advice I Ever Got: Dries Buytaert [Sept. 9, 2013]

Submitted on
Monday, September 9, 2013
,
Inc. Magazine

Original Drupal creator and Acquia co-founder/CTO Dries Buytaert explains why startup founders can never think too big--and shares his story of open-source web publishing.

When I started working on Drupal in my college dormitory 12 years ago, I had no idea that one day it would be used by 2 percent of the world's websites. What's even more exciting is the open-source community that has grown up around Drupal. More than 20,000 contributors share their code and are responsible for the Drupal we know today.

I co-founded Acquia six years ago to support the growing number of organizations that rely on Drupal, and also co-founded Mollom to solve the spam moderation challenges for website owners. Six years later, Mollom was acquired, and Acquia has almost 400 employees. As I've encountered challenges every step of the way, I've discovered that some of the best advice I've received is useful no matter what the project.

1. Think big

So often I meet entrepreneurs who are working on a startup concept. They have a great idea and a business plan to bring it to market, but they're thinking too small about what they're trying to do.

How Commercial Progression Built A Business On Drupal [Mar 12, 2013]

Submitted on
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
,
Forbes.com

Drupal is one of the most prominent content management systems and is used by about 2.1% of all websites worldwide. Alex Fisher, a native of Dearborn, Michigan was able to build a business with six employees by designing websites using Drupal. Commercial Progression counts organizations like National Geographic Channel, TRW Automotive, the University of Michigan, and Detroit Public TV as customers.

Fisher worked at Ford’s communications division for 7 years while attending school at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. This is when Ford used to have a TV network with several channels broadcasting programs demonstrating how to fix and sells cars. After working at Ford, Fisher joined a company called Move Networks, but was laid off along with many other employees in 2009. This is when Fisher decided to take the plunge and start his own company with a $4,000 investment of his own money.

Drupal Founder Makes List of Top Young Tech Entrepreneurs

Submitted on
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
,
CMS Wire

Who are the top young technology entrepreneurs according to a survey conducted by BusinessWeek? While we here at CMSWire we deeply disappointed our very own Brice Dunwoodie didn’t make the list, we were equally impressed that Dries Buytaert, founder of Drupal did.

“Make sure you have a solid business plan and you’ve done your homework and are passionate about what you are doing, and people will recognize your potential,” says Buytaert.