Why Community Is Important

by Holland-Mark | April 20, 2012

We started a series of posts a while back about the BostInno rebranding effort, and never quite finished them. The re-launch was a such a huge success, everyone got kind of swept up in it, and we just kind of dropped the ball.

I wanted to revisit it, not so much to talk about the process, but to share why I think BostInno matters so much to the Boston startup community and beyond.

In very practical terms, BostInno is a media channel. I know Chase, Kevin and co. hope it’s a place people feel some urgency to visit, to keep in touch with what’s happening in the region we all care most about. That’s what “the view from inside” is about, and it’s what distinguishes BostInno’s point-of-view from the cold gaze of established media outsiders.

On a deeper level, though, Streetwise media (BostInno’s parent co, now focused on rolling out similar properties in DC, New York, and elsewhere) is about much more than that.

The company’s mission – and by extension it’s brand – is rooted in a simple belief about the power of communities, a belief that communities can change the world. You’ve probably heard it said that individuals can change the world, and there’s certainly truth in that. But individuals do that by creating communities of people that share their point of view.

And what does it take to build a community? Well, it takes a bunch of things… but one of them is a means of communication. And we’ve seen this throughout history.

Who here has heard of the “Massachusetts Spy?” Google it. It was a newspaper, printed 3 times a week in Colonial Massachusetts. And although most of you have never heard of it, most historians agree that the United States wouldn’t have happened without “the Spy’s” role bringing people together, sharing ideas, and crystalizing a point of view about the revolution.

Heard of Facebook? Very different medium, obviously, but again an instrument which enabled a community of disenfranchised young people across the Middle East to communicate with themselves, fueling the Arab Spring and a set of geopolitical changes people our age will be dealing with for the next 50 years. On a humbler scale you could argue TechCrunch played a comparable role as an organ of the Silicon Valley startup community (at least before it became whatever it is now.) TechCrunch and Silicon Alley Reporter were among the advantages the Palo Alto crowd had over the rest of us, organs to facilitate the flow of information among a group of smart people who wanted to change the world.

Streetwise is doing that same thing for cities across America, but it all started in Boston. It has become an organ of the innovator community here, serving the people who are managing the future by making it happen.

To quote someone smart a while back… We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. BostInno is a way for us to come together and connect. Share and refine ideas. Interact and relate. Establish and deepen professional and personal relationships. It will do all those things if the people reading this… if you, right now, decide to make it exactly that.

So there’s work to do. Join us, and let’s make sure Boston is the place people most want to change the world from in 2012 and beyond.


This post originally appeared on Bostinno.com on April 20, 2012.