We’re excited to gather the best in Boston’s innovation ecosystem this week at 50 on Fire 2017.

On Thursday, 11/9, we’ll be celebrating our finalists with festive food, drinks and music. And, of course, we’ll be announcing our 50 on Fire winners with a high-energy reveal video. Want to join the fun? Grab tickets before they sell out.

Before the big event we wanted to share a bit more about our honorees. We asked out finalists a few simple questions. Let’s check out their answers:

Who was the first person to take a major chance on you and your business? 

Mark Bollman, of Ball and Buck, a Retail Finalist, put it simply that “his mom” was the first person who took a major chance on his business.

David Chang, who is being honored, as an Education finalist, with the Babson Summer Venture Program said, “The first person that took a chance on me was Chris Gardner who rolled the dice and hired me as a product manager without relevant experience. I went on to work for Chris at both edocs and m-Qube, VC-backed startups that were acquired. Shortly after my stint at PayPal, Chris’ latest started was also acquired by PayPal. What’s more, Chris recently backed an AngelList syndicate that I led. Full circle!” 

Tara Foley, Founder and CEO of Follain, and a Retail Finalist, told us, “Besides my husband James, who got on board immediately with the fact that Follain would change our lives immensely, the first person to really take a risk on me was Jodie McLean, the CEO of Edens, a national retail real estate firm. Jodie is an advocate for female-run businesses, and has been a mentor of mine since before we even launched. In fact, she was even one of the impetus’ for our launch! She saw something in me and in our plan and then advised me on our plans and connected me with the right investors, experts, and others I needed to get Follain off the ground. I’ll always be grateful Jodie came into my life, and that she remains in my life all these years later.”

What was the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Jenni Dinger of Suffolk University, an Education Finalist, said, “One of the best pieces of advice I received is learn how to say ‘yes’ and to say ‘no.’ The seasoned exec told me that I would need to get comfortable quickly in telling people ‘no, that’s not my job’ or ‘no, that’s out of the scope of this project.’ He made sure to tell me that I needed to do this regardless of who was asking, even a senior executive. On the flip side, he said to say ‘yes’ when other people wanted to get involved or take over a project. As soon as someone else can do what you’re doing, you’re no longer innovating. Give away the reigns and move on to the next thing!” 
One of our Marketing and Advertising Finalists, Bob Sherwin of Wayfair, said, “Most decisions are not permanent, so don’t be afraid to try new things or let the quest for perfection get in the way of building momentum.”

Justin Kittredge, Founder and CEO of ISlide, a Retail Finalist said the best advice he has ever received is, “Hire slowly and fire quickly.”,

In one sentence, why are you on fire?

Kraft Analytics Group, a Sport and Fitness Finalist, said “Analytics is the future of sports and KAGR brings the heat!”

Artists for Humanity, a 2017 Civic Finalist mentioned, “When in 2017, we mentor, engage, and creatively employ over 215 under resourced Boston teens, equipping them to be the next crop of 50 on Fire candidates, that’s why Artists for Humanity is on fire!”


Thank you to our 50 on Fire Sponsors!