Point/Counterpoint is a recurring feature on BDCwire which explores the pros and cons of various parts of life in Boston. These arguments may, or may not, break any new ground, but are meant as a starting point for you too to make an argument. What do you think? Are you all for Boston becoming such a big startup city or against it?
Alex Khatchadourian, arguing in favor of Boston as a startup city.
Boston is beginning to see an increased influx of Massachusetts startups coming into the city and setting down roots. Just like how artists congregate in a particular neighborhood so do startups, and the rush of many newborn tech companies has made the old brick-and-beam buildings of Boston its new innovation haven. Besides obvious reasons for being a new techie mecca, like convenient public transportation, good restaurants, and cheap rent (well cheaper than the $58/square-foot they would be paying in Cambridge), Boston is a plethora of bright-eyed and big brained college students eager to strap on some New Balances and dive head first into any entry level position at a startup, so long as they can play ping-pong and video games while sitting on beanbags in the common area during lunch. New startups equals more jobs. Claiming over 100 universities and colleges, the sheer number of students in this city makes the idea of finding a job with such competition sound like daunting feat. Startups are looking for young, vibrant and innovative workforces and will be looking directly to some of the most famous universities in the country – Boston University, MIT, and Harvard University – for fresh intellect. So besides the unnecesary loctaions of Starbucks and the lavish, yet identical looking microlofts that will begin to pop up down Tremont and around Downtown Crossing, consider the just-out-of-college or grad school job search just a wee bit easier.
Perry Eaton, arguing against Boston as a startup city
It’s hard to support or reject anything as broad as “the startup scene.” Within such a burgeoning community is everything from non-profits to quick moneymakers. Thus, it’s impossible to make the case that all startups are bad. But as someone who has spent his entire life in the Boston area, what’s daunting about the influx of modern grassroots profit-machines can’t be pinpointed to one specific company, or even a group, but more so the hasty richening of the blood that runs throughout Boston. If startup hub San Francisco is any indication, there’s certainly a fear that Boston will quickly become more and more unaffordable, further and further from its epicenter as this scene grows, but perhaps equally as concerning is the deterioration of Boston’s identity as a city. It may a bit too protective of me to comment, but if Boston becomes a destination to make a quick buck in your 20’s and 30’s only to move elsewhere once that goal is accomplished, the tradition of the city could begin to fade. “The startup community” certainly promotes its own community growth, what with its tech meet-ups and hack-a-thons and those craft beer-fueled opportunities to pounce on each vulnerable-looking young developer in sight, but it will take more than that for a startup community to jive with the Boston community. Whether the growth of startups in this city will mean more Fitbits and farm-to-table restaurants or if it will result in the threat of our local community spaces being overtaken by startup bros (extreme example, I know), is yet to be determined, but it’s a chance that’s scary to take.
And we get it that you have a startup, but do you really have to talk about it all the time? Jeez.