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Response to: Facebook ‘Shock’ Has Boston Firms Searching for Next Zuckerberg.[1]

Anyone, who is truly serious about “searching” for the next Facebook in the greater Boston area, first has to be serious about getting rid of non-compete agreements in Massachusetts. Not doing so, is to ignore the data and simply to repeat the same mistakes.

The data shows that no companies of any scale have been built in the past 20 years in the restrictive immobile jobs environment that is the result of how non-competes are written, misused, and adjudicated in Massachusetts. Under those conditions, it is not surprising that the pie is getting smaller. Even if the next Facebook was found, the company still couldn’t be built in the environment of non-competes.

During Facebook’s critical growth period, it was able to hire experienced key employees from Google and other Silicon Valley technology companies, without having to consider whether there was a non-compete issue. Though Google lost some employees to Facebook, Google also thrived during the same period. And, it can be argued that Google’s efforts in social media are brought more into focus with a strong Facebook as a competitor.[2]

There are other issues in the Boston innovation culture, but eliminating non-competes would produce a major positive shift in the culture, and would set the stage for addressing the other issues as well. The innovation culture that will result from eliminating non-compete agreements will produce promising scalable companies.

Notes and References

1. Facebook ‘Shock’ Has Boston Firms Searching for Next Zuckerberg. Laura Keeley. Bloomberg. 2011.07.07.

2. For more information on Facebook’s growth, see:

3. In the making: A revolution to rid Massachusetts of noncompete agreements. Scott Kirsner. The Boston Globe. 2011.07.07, 2011.07.03.

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