Friday, June 12, 2009

TechFellow Awards Disappoints

Self-portrait of Joseph Ducreux
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Is it just me or do you think the TechFellow Awards was pretty lame and sort of seemed tossed off?

The TechFellow Awards presented itself as being all about disruptive innovation and making innovation happen. They had a huge list of prominent judges and my expectations were high. I was looking forward to learning about the newest disruptive innovations coming out of the crucible of cutting edgeness, the hotbed of invention, the bleeding fringe type stuff.

What we got was Social Networking, Virtual Goods, Instant Message integration, an audience vote for your favorite artist site, web email, chat and spam protection.

All good stuff but not really innovative in 2009. This is not meant as a cut to the award winners, they all deserve recognition, especially Eric Reis who is currently carrying the mantle of  "geek idol" and spreading much valuable knowledge and experience to the startupsphere.

My point is that the expectations were set for disruptive innovation and what was delivered was 2005 technology.

Where were the things changing our life currently? Surely the founders and executives at the following companies can be considered equally or more disruptive and innovative.

Presence based mobile applications  enabled by Wi-Fi Positioning System: Skyhook Wireless

Speech recogition: Vlingo

Video analytics and search technology: Visible Measures, ScanScout

Immersive gaming: Harmonix Music

Electronic Ink:  E-Ink

New business category and marketing tools:  Hubspot

Dev Tools: jQuery

Power Innovation: A123

And that is just the Boston list.

What about cloud computing, ever hear of Rails or Django? Real time search, micro sharing, new advertising platforms and so on.

There has to be more going on there, it is Silicon Valley for gosh sake. The idea is a great one and the companies that receive the geek grants of $ 50 will make good use of it.

Again, this is all about the expectation of savoring the freshness of disruptive innovation and getting served day old bread.

Am I off base here? Let me know what you think and feel free to add deserving innovators.

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  1. Well, this wouldn't be the first time when the marketing promises had nothing to do with reality, now would it? I for one no longer belive in promises like this - until I see the first edition of said ceremony I'll remain sceptical.

  2. Dave, thanks for stopping by. The issue is expectations.

    What you are saying is that the currently disruptive innovation will come when the funds are distributed by the Techfellow recipients.

    That did not come through in my reading of the initial announcement.

    I agree that the idea of the Techfellow Awards is very cool and innovative and I look forward to seeing the funding results.

    Again, my main point is that there might even be more innovative recipients of the "Geek Grants". Maybe the candidates nominated by the open nomination process, limited the judges choices.

    It just seemed that the field of candidates was viewed through a very focused aperture which produced a somewhat homogenized result.