The Bay State’s Endless Pursuit of Killing Innovation

Once or twice a year, someone in the tech media or tech community decides to take a couple of shots at the Boston startup community for being too small, no longer being a heavy-weight, etc. For many reasons, these people are often wrong in their analysis.

Typically, they are making their claims without truly digging into the numbers on funding, company valuation, and exits. There are issues with the Boston startup ecosystem for sure, but mostly these people make their arguments based on the fact Boston isn’t Silicon Valley. One of my favorite lines you often hear is, “Boston has lost its tech luster compared to the Valley, other than in biotech.” Yes, because cell therapy and possibly curing cancer certainly aren’t as important as saying “yo” with one click of your phone versus three.

However there is one area of our innovation economy that deserves just about as much criticism as you can throw its way, and that is our government. Particularly our State government.

Within the past few months, they have ensured that old and no longer locally owned businesses with strong local lobbies can prevent people to work on competitive ideas. Because the competition in California has been such a bad thing for their tech ecosystem. And more recently they passed a tax taking money from ride-sharing companies like Lyft and Uber in order to pass some of their money along to the oh-so-noble Taxi industry. But don’t fret Bay State citizen, because this new tax on ride-sharing can’t be “charge[d to] a transportation network rider or a transportation network driver.” Because the geniuses in our State government will certainly be able to pinpoint and prove increased ride prices due to this tax.

Shaking my head, as the kids would say.

Unfortunately, I won’t know any of these hip references the kids say in a few years due to the fact that our government bureaucrats intend to stifle innovation on behalf of big monied interest groups while our wealth of young talent heads for greener pastures where their transportation money isn’t given to a corrupt medallion system and they can work wherever they want.

So, if you intend to take some shots at Boston tech anytime soon, please be sure to point them at our worst culprits.

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