Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Breakfast Roundtable at MIT

Today I had breakfast at the President's House at MIT.

Rewind: towards the middle of last week, I received a phone call from Governor Deval Patrick's office - an invitation to the Technology Roundtable at MIT. My initial reactions were that of shock and excitement...

At the table: MA Governor Patrick, Susan Hockfield (president of MIT), Jack Wilson (president of UMass), and CEOs: John Chambers (Cisco), Paul Sagan (Akamai), Joe Tucci (EMC), William Green (Accenture), Colin Angle (iRobot + actor in the movie, 21), and some kid from Western MA with a pseudo-dutchboy haircut, me!

As the discussion moved forward, many points were made about the future of the tech industry in Massachusetts, impact on the state economy, and promoting entrepreneurship.

When the issue of focusing on green energy (as it applies to tech) arrived... I commented that Western MA's most valuable resource for the tech industry is abundance of power: renewable hydro-electric power. At the moment, Google is in the process of building a major data-center of in The Dalles, OR (population: 12,000) because of the cheap and renewable energy from the hydro-electric dam. Holyoke has 16 hydro-electric sources, the most of any city in the state - by almost 3 times as much as the runner-up. Holyoke also has the Mt Tom Power Plant and ISO as an added bonus. You have the bargain, clean hydro, multiple sources of energy and water for cooling the data-center... it's data-storage/processing company's dream.

Is there a chance that a company like Google might look at Holyoke for there next data-center? From some of the CEOs and other experts I've talked to... Yes, it's very likely.

Well, enough of my rambling. Today was unforgettable and it was a great honor to meet some of the world's most brilliant thinkers.


Joey B said...

Congrats on the invitation... I'm glad the Governor's office recognized that there is something in Massachusetts west of Worcester.

I've always been amazed how underutilized our hydroelectric system in Holyoke is. Does it just boil down to the fact that the city isn't marketing itself well?

VanDog said...

I truly hope something was accomplished with this meeting, or at least all of you plan to meet again soon. People are looking for leadership in the tech industry, and some sort of clear direction, but all we ever hear about are social programs that attract people who have little interest in entrepreneurship, and force home grown entrepreneurs to leave the state.

Funny, look at the political access you've gained by staying here in Mass.

Elizabeth said...

What was their reaction to your stats about hydro-electric power in Holyoke?

Brendan Ciecko said...

Joey, thank you. It boils down to a few things: the lack of marketing to the right people, the highest commercial tax rate in the state.

Reducing in HM said...


This is entirely unrelated but I am looking to have a community member come in and read from the upcoming Harry Potter book at a school event in December being held at Barnes and Noble. As an up and coming young entrepreneur in Holyoke would you possibly be interested?

You can e-mail me at

insightbiztech said...

Congratulations, Brendan, on representing Holyoke in such an outstanding way. Your work and involvement may go a long way in piquing Google's interest for the town.

Best wishes and future success!

--Paul Morris