Why did we wait so long to hold a NewCo Festival in Boston?  NewCo Boston seriously has one of the most exciting lineups I’ve seen in the four years we’ve been staging these events.

With so much innovation happening in Boston we really should have spread this lineup over two days so we all would have the opportunity to meet more of these business leaders.  That is a lesson for next year.  This year will require some tough choices.  You can’t go wrong.  Here are my recommendations:

8:30a: Best Bees

Personal bias here — I grew up working on a farm and currently invest in Almond Orchards in California’s Central Valley where the bee crisis is a major deal.  But c’mon, who isn’t intrigued to check out “Smart Hive Technology” that is about actual homes for insects rather than clusters of computer processors?

Honorable Mention for Akami which is offering a tour of their Network Operations Control Center.  I’ve had the chance to check out some NOC’s and they are RAD.  Akami’s is sure to be right out of Cheyenne Mountain.

10:30a: Emotion Mining

When I was running the IPG Media Lab, much of the pioneering science measuring the emotional and cognitive impact of ad exposure came out of Boston.  In the fully mediated world in which we live, making an emotional connection is the key to effective marketing.  Curious to learn how these guys do it.

Honorable Mention to Gingko Bioworks. “The world’s first organism engineering foundry.”  Sounds like a visit to the Tyrell Corporation in Blade Runner.

12:30p: Soofa

This is a spin out from the MIT Media Lab using design thinking to solve persistent urban issues.  If you are looking for the authentic NewCo vibe, check this session out.

Honorable mention: IdeaPaint — I LOVE their products and have turned the walls of my last three offices into whiteboards.

2:30p: Wayfair

Having worked a fair amount of my career in eCommerce, I am curious to learn about Wayfair’s success. Given the rampant rise of online marketplaces, Wayfair is blazing the trail from marketplace seller to an ecommerce destination.

Honorable Mention: BikeBus — getting a spin class in while commuting to work?  #Genius.

4:30p: CarGurus

I’ve bought cars from dealers, brokers, individuals, and even off eBay.  None of those experiences were wholly satisfying.  Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a better way to buy a car?  Hopefully CarGurus can teach us.

Honorable Mention: Toast.  I’m married to a restaurateur and I’ve seen first hand how POS software has revolutionized her business.  Curious to see where the future of this powerful tool is going.

Be sure to hit the after party at 5:30.  You will never find professional networking easier than when you can go up to anyone and simply ask them what sessions they attended that day.  Bring lots of business cards!  Have fun!  Please share your experience on social media.

Brian Monahan is a co-founder of NewCo.  He is an award winning digital marketer for companies large and small including a recent stint leading marketing at Walmart.com.

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