Tech Talk

High-tech execs have seen--and been part of--Madison's emergence as a tech town. Here's their take on what went on and what's to come.

Mark McGuire

President and co-founder of Alice.com (and co-founder of NameProtect.com and Jellyfish.com, both of which were sold in 2007)

I knew Madison’s tech sector had arrived when … both Google and Microsoft opened up offices to compete for talent here last year. With the acquisitions of Jellyfish (by Microsoft) and Shopbop (by Amazon), we now have three of the Internet’s heavyweights with operations in town.

Russell Smestad

President of Mirus Bio LLC and founder and CEO of Biotech Profiles, LLC

Pharma giant Roche’s $125 million acquisition of Mirus Bio Corporation is significant not only because it’s homegrown technology going international, but because … it marks the first time in the bio-pharmaceutical space that a pharmaceutical organization has acquired a company and agreed to keep it open as a discovery research site. They’d usually consolidate research at another site, but they want to keep it nimble. For discovery science you need small, focused work groups willing to pursue that novel science.

Scott Converse

Director of Technology Programs for the UW–Madison School of Business

The next hot tech subsector to watch is … tools that allow for better managerial decision making. Call it anything you want—business intelligence, business performance management, forecasting and trending, data mining analytics—in the end it’s about converting raw data into information and knowledge that can be used to make better business decisions.

Jeffrey Williams

President and CEO of Platypus Technologies, LLC

In 2009, the important tech happening I foresee around town is … all things to do with the cell, including stem cells and cell-based assays.

Mark Bugher

Director, University Research Park

To continue evolving as a high-tech town, Madison needs to … focus on the business-development side: attracting skilled workers and making financing available for growing companies.

Katie Vaughn contributed to this story.

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