Harvard President Drew Faust inspires me.
On May 1st, she rode the Red Line to JFK/UMASS to join 200 city, business and education leaders to mark the official opening of UMass Boston’s Venture Development Center. Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino graciously met her at JFK/UMass and gave her a ride a few short blocks to campus.
During her keynote, Faust said: “The Red Line is not just transportation. It connects programs; it connects institutions; and, most important…it connects people…it provides us with a vision of what our community…can become if we commit to working together to get there.” She noted how all of the universities connected by the “T” are an enormous innovation engine that drives the Boston area and state economy.
President Faust’s story about innovation along the Red Line is posted on the Harvard University Office of the President’s web site. You can also view it on YouTube.
I was inspired not just by how enthusiastically she embraced our grand opening theme, but that she rode the Red Line. So, ever since May 1st, I have been a regular rider on the Red Line, and have enjoyed every minute. Now I am fully committed. Last week I scrapped our lovable twenty year old Japanese car.
What is so fascinating about the Red Line? It has the right kind of vibe. The train cars are filled with the young talent who drive innovation in Boston. These types don’t like to work in dreary office buildings in the suburbs that are a wasteland when the sun goes down.
I guess this is why Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator, in How to Start a Start-Up, advises start-up entrepreneurs to “get a place on the Red Line.” Not surprisingly, most of the folks in the start-ups in our venture incubator live in the city.
It feels good to ride with those who see an opportunity to change things and make the world a better place. And to play a role in their success. – WJB