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Bettina Hein on the Innovation unConference and What Makes Boston’s Innovation Scene Buzz

Bettina Hein
It’s
that time of year again – MassTLC unConference time! In fact, it’s this Friday! To get us all in the mood, we sat down
with some of Boston’s best leaders and unConference
mentors
to find out what they think
makes Boston’s innovation scene buzz and what to expect from this year’s
unConference.
First
up, Bettina Hein, Founder and CEO of Pixability. Bettina has entrepreneurship in
her blood, dating back at least as far as her German grandfather. Bettina is a
fixture on the Boston start-up scene, and serves as a role model for other
female entrepreneurs, starting the ShEO Network with Zipcar founder Robin
Chase. Her take on the Boston start-up scene below:
What makes Boston an innovation hub?
The
unique thing about Boston is the large concentration of educational
institutions. That creates many graduates who are prime suspects for founding
new businesses, working in new businesses, and just making our start-up economy
so vibrant.
How is innovation evolving in Boston and where
is it heading next? 
I am
really bullish on the Boston innovation ecosystem because of the number of
companies being started here, as well as the number of support initiatives we
have access to, like TechStars, Mass Challenge and the BREW
entrepreneurship week
. Each
of these programs support young companies. I believe that Boston will be home
to the next billion-dollar tech startup.
Are there any elements that we lack that would
make our ecosystem thrive even more? 
Yes! There
is a very concrete element missing – high-speed rail access to New York. I believe
there is an innovation corridor between Boston and New York, as so many
companies who have headquarters in NY, not to mention the vibrant media hub
there.
The
commercial orientation of New York married with the cerebral qualities of
Boston makes for an extended metro area of innovation. But to link that
strongly, we urgently need the Acela to take one and a half hours, not three
and a half.
What advice would you give young female
entrepreneurs just starting out? 
I’d give
the same advice to both male and female entrepreneurs, though often women need
to be edged on a little bit more. Just
go do it.
Don’t
wait for this next nugget of experience or this certification or this Master’s
degree that you think you need to become an entrepreneur. Go out, do it and get
the experience. Education and experience are great, but you don’t learn to
become an entrepreneur by studying it from afar.
What brings you back to the unConference each
year? 
I love
that the unConference is like a hive – it’s so alive with conversations and brings
people together the way a conference should. It’s egalitarian- no people on
pedestals with adoring onlookers, but rather people interacting on a peer-to-peer
level. Individual ideas count – more than being selected by a committee of people
who say this person should be on stage, but this person cannot.
As a previous mentor, what do you enjoy most
about mentoring? 
For me,
I so enjoy helping someone make progress in his or her entrepreneurial journey.
It could be on a personal level, where you tell people about your own journey
and share. Or it may be about sharing industry facts that the mentee needs to know.
It gives me a lot of satisfaction if I can help someone become a better
entrepreneur or found a better company.
How can entrepreneurs make the most of this
year’s unConference? 
Prepare.
Look at the mentors to determine who might be able to help your company take a
step forward.
But once
you’re there don’t get too hung up on that.  Look for the people that you wanted to talk to,
but keep an open mind as to who else could contribute to your success. Go a bit
with the flow.
Thanks
for your great insights, Bettina. We look forward to seeing you THIS FRIDAY,
November 16 at the Hynes Convention Center for the MassTLC
unConference

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