Studio Café Blog

Turning Ideas to Startup Success– Sarah Boisvert

sarahboisvertimage“Great ideas by themselves are not innovation.” – Sarah Boisvert

Serial entrepreneur and trailblazer Sarah Boisvert co-founded a digital fabrication company in 1986 before digital fabrication was even “a thing,” and she has been at the forefront of the industry ever since.

In this episode Sarah shares key concepts for testing ideas and turning them into innovation, including:

  • What the scientific method has to do with business
  • Why fast, dirty, and cheap experiments can be your most powerful tactic
  • The distinction between seeking what works vs. proving your idea does work
  • Knowing when to let go of a design or an idea
  • Overcoming fear of failure
  • And much more!

Guest Bio:

Sarah Boisvert is a serial entrepreneur whose first startup, Potomac Photonics, Inc., built and sold lasers, including the laser for LASIK eye surgery, and laser-based machine tools. After leading the sale of Potomac in 1999, Sarah consulted for organizations such as JDS Uniphase, Domino Printing Sciences, Coherent, and the MIT Fab Lab Network. Most recently, Sarah has founded Fab Lab Hub to support nearly 1,000 Fab Labs around the world. Fab Workforce is Sarah’s latest project, a training program in traditional and distributed manufacturing through hands-on, project-based learning in nontraditional settings.



Host & Producer:

Katya Margolin

Writer, Editor, Multimedia Storyteller


Music Credits:

“Play,” Cloudy October

“Sweet Cream In It,” Jel

Venture Cafe Presents Maya Nitzberg

Venture Cafe Presents , Development and Strategic Partnerships Coordinator at The Possible Project. She spoke with host Christine Dunn about the non-profit youth entrepreneurship development program.

Venture Cafe Presents is done in partnership with Arcpoint Strategy.

This Week: Sept. 11 – 17, 2016


Our Office Hours program provides opportunities to get feedback on three two different days this week. First, Joe Caruso hosts Office Hours on Tuesday; then, on Wednesday evening, Kristin Polito hosts Office Hours outside of the Café. Then, during Venture Café Thursday, we’re pleased to welcome Matt Cloyd, Alok Singh, and Mike Perez to our roster of adept advisors hosting Office Hours. They’ll join four of our other regular contributors hosting Office Hours in the Café this Thursday.

This week’s Thursday gathering plays host to our first theme night this Fall: Robotics. We’d like to thank Byron Galbraith, Co-Founder and Chief Data Scientist at Talla and one of our fabulous Volunteers, for playing a major role in helping to organize this Thursday’s theme night. Also, ArcPoint Strategic Communications is filming another edition of Venture Café Presents on Thursday. The full schedule is listed below.

If you were here last Thursday you may have met our newest team member, Chandra Briggman. Chandra joins us as the new Venture Café Thursdays Director. If you haven’t already met her, please give her a warm welcome at an upcoming gathering.

Next week, Roxbury Innovation Center (RIC) hosts its monthly Café Night in Dudley Square on Tuesday, September 20. Innovation in the City occurs at Microsoft NERD on September 27 and 28. And, of course, there’s also HUBweek from September 25 – October 1, where we’re hosting the Roxbury Showcase at RIC on September 26 and Driving Startup Growth: Building an Innovation Ecosystem at CIC Cambridge on September 27.

Hope to see you this week,


Tuesday – September 13, 2016

2:00 – 6:00 P.M. | Office Hours: Joe Caruso – Advocate for Entrepreneurs Cancelled; our apologies for the inconvenience.
1 Broadway, 5th Floor, Cambridge, MA 02140

Wednesday – September 14, 2016

6:00 – 9:00 P.M. | Office Hours: Kristin Polito – SCORE
1 Broadway, 5th Floor, Cambridge, MA 02140

Thursday – September 15, 2016

3:00 – 8:00 P.M. | Venture Café in Session: Robotics
1 Broadway, 5th Floor, Cambridge, MA 02140

Feature Events @ Venture Café Thursday
3:00 – 5:00 P.M. | Landscaping the EU and US Cybersecurity Arena

5:30 – 6:30 P.M. | How Much for that Robot Doggie in the Window? – Designing and Defining The Market for Robotics

6:00 – 7:00 P.M. | MosaicHUB Founders Roundtable

6:30 – 7:30 P.M. | TCN UpStart Roundtable with Joe Jones, formerly of iRobot

6:45 – 7:45 P.M. | A.I. and Robots: Why should robots be intelligent and who will pay for them?

Office Hours @ Venture Café Thursday
3:00 – 5:00 P.M. | Chuck Goldstone – it’s about your startup’s story

3:00 – 5:00 P.M. | Marcus Yee – IBM Cambridge

3:00 – 5:00 P.M. | Matt Cloyd – public sector product development

3:00 – 5:30 P.M. | Marty Sack – SCORE

3:30 – 5:30 P.M. | George Mabry – Converge Venture Partners

5:30 – 7:30 P.M. | Alok Singh – go-to-market strategies

6:00 – 8:00 P.M. | Mike Perez – information technology security

Info Tables @ Venture Café Thursday
5:30 – 7:30 P.M. |

5:30 – 7:30 P.M. | Heddoko

5:30 – 7:30 P.M. | MOVIA

5:30 – 7:30 P.M. | Northeastern Robotics Club

5:30 – 7:30 P.M. | Phiro

5:30 – 7:30 P.M. | Tertill

5:30 – 7:30 P.M. | Woobo

Venture Cafe Presents Deb Kemper of Golden Seeds

Venture Cafe Presents Deb Kemper, Managing Director of the Boston Forum of Golden Seeds. She spoke with host Christine Dunn about the current landscape of angel investing and today’s women entrepreneurs.

Visit Arc Point Strategy for the full video:

Venture Cafe Presents Vicky Wu Davis, Founder and Executive Director of Youth CITIES

In her discussion with host Christine Dunn, Vicky Wu Davis talks about innovation in the world of education and how Youth CITIES is making a difference in the lives of today’s students.

Visit Arc Point Strategy for the full video:

Get Things Done: Performance Optimizer and Entrepreneur Shares Tactics from Blend of Sciences

Pedro De AbreuIf you take any productivity tips this year, let it be founded in science! Tune in to this pithy special episode where we follow-up with our last guest, Harvard scholar and entrepreneur Pedro de Abreu, to get tips on how to make the most of each day– and our ceaseless to-do list.

Pedro de Abreu is a Harvard scholar, Founder of 14X IG, TEDx Speaker, and a rapidly growing thought leader.


Pedro De Abreu is an entrepreneur, Harvard scholar, author, TEDx speaker, and the founder of 14x Innovation Group (14X IG). He has a Master’s degree in Applied Psychology and Neuroscience in Mind, Brain, and Education from Harvard University, is a Teaching Fellow and Co-Instructor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and is the Co-Chair of the Brain Initiative at The Future Society within the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Guest: Pedro De Abreu, Founder and CEO, 14X IG


Host & Producer: Katya Margolin, Writer, Editor, Multimedia Storyteller


Music Credits:

“The Last Four Things,” Deceptikon

“Nostrand,” Ratatat

Venture Cafe Presents Michael Burtov of GeoOrbital

Entrepreneur and Venture Cafe volunteer Mike Burtov talks with host Christine Dunn about his innovative hardware company GeoOrbital, their successful Kickstarter, and the unique atmosphere of the Venture Cafe.

Visit Arc Point Strategy for the full video:

Venture Cafe Presents Shelagh Braley of FoundersWire

In her conversation with host Christine Dunn, Shelagh Braley discusses the importance of highlighting the stories of entrepreneurs and innovators in the Boston community.

Visit Arc Point Strategy for the full video:

Venture Café Presents Aarathi Balijiepalli, Neurobiologist

A neurobiologist and panelist at Female Founder’s Night. In her conversation with host Christine Dunn, Aarathi Balijiepalli discussed the importance of inspiring more women and girls to pursue careers in scientific fields and providing improved infrastructure for the support of women and families in the workplace.

Visit Arc Point Strategy for the full video:

Venture Café Presents Kylila Bullard, Artistic Social Entrepreneur

Kylila Bullard speaks on the importance of the Center’s mission to support innovation and entrepreneurship in the local community. In her conversation with Christine Dunn, Kylila especially emphasizes the strength of the arts in promoting cultural competence and building community.

Visit Arc Point Strategy for the full video: