Boston: the hub of the CMS world?
There’s a reason Bostonians like to call their city “The Hub of the Universe.” We’ve always been the epicenter for a lot of stuff: great universities, world-class hospitals, tech innovation, the most talented sports teams in the universe. (Pay no attention to that recent Big Football Game.)
So let’s put another stake in the ground: Boston is absolutely, positively the hub of the web content management world. Anyone care to debate?
Take a quick spin through a list of commonly cited web CMS market leaders and you’ll be hard pressed to find a greater concentration of content management software providers in one geographic location. It took me all of two minutes to type up the following list of vendors with world HQ or, at the least, a major presence in or around Boston. (If I’ve missed any, help me out in the comments, please!).
Draw a 40-mile circle around Boston and you can plot these companies inside:
- Percussion Software (Woburn, MA)
- PaperThin (Quincy, MA)
- Ektron (Nashua, NH)
- Sitecore (US East HQ in Manchester, NH)
- Kentico, (US East HQ, Nashua)
- Acquia (Burlington, MA)
- Bridgeline Digital (Woburn)
- Terminal Four (North American HQ, Cambridge)
Adding to that, Day Software opened a location here and got acquired by Adobe (some say to be acquired). And if you broaden the category to other web marketing tools and platforms, the list gets miles long: Quasi-CMS and web marketing platform provider HubSpot is here (now with 300+ staff, we knew them back in ’06 when it was two guys, Brian and Dharmesh, across the hall in Cambridge).
The question is: Why this abundance of CMS leadership here?
There’s no single answer, although I have a few. There is a ton of technical and developer talent here. And Boston is rife with entrepreneurs who’ve started many of these companies from the ground up. And there are many angel investors and venture capitalists to fuel the growth. Naturally, having all these companies in one region means there’s a base of experienced talent to recruit from, bringing in more vendors who open major outposts in or around Boston (see: Sitecore).
This creates a fertile territory for staffing, and for nurturing … robust competition. Employees leaving one vendor can find a fast home at another. [Disclosure: I previously hung my hat at one of the vendors mentioned in the list. It happens.]
With all the CMS consulting and implementation work we do, we’re constantly amazed how small the world is, who we run into in far-flung cities, and how Boston is usually in the mix. It’s not uncommon for sales reps from competing Boston CMS vendors to be on the same cross-country flight, prepared to make back-to-back pitches to the same client in San Francisco, or Denver, or Dallas.
The same in our business: Boston has a healthy crop of agencies that specialize in CMS. (Point of fact: Connective DX founded and runs the Sitecore New England User Group – currently the largest Sitecore UG in the world, with 181 members from in and around Boston/Cambridge. Typically the largest contingent at monthly meetings is agency developers.)
CMS vendors in the Boston region – what brings you here? What does this region have going for it, in your eyes? And just as important, what does it lack? What would improve the climate?
Vendors elsewhere: Care to stand up for your city? Why are you where you are?