Person of Interest: Jason Evanish
The man at the center of Boston’s young tech scene is just as skilled at finding a good workshop as a good beer.
Jason Evanish can sound pretty cocky about what Boston’s young entrepreneurs need to know. Then again, everybody keeps asking him. As the driving force behind the website Greenhorn Connect, the city’s go-to resource for emerging startups, the 26-year-old Evanish (pronounced E-vanish, like an e-company), tells other young techies which networking events are worth it and which ones to skip, where the job openings are, and who they need to see to get their fledgling ventures off the ground. “If you’re not going to help move a startup forward, I’m not going to recommend you,” he says of his evaluations. “And if you charge $400 for something I think people can get for free, I’m also not going to recommend you.”
Along the way, he’s been making quite a name for himself. Not long ago, Globe tech writer Scott Kirsner tweeted, “Someone said to me yesterday, ‘Jason Evanish runs this town.’ Funny but sorta true, if you’re in your 20s and in tech.” Besides rating networking mixers and aggregating job openings, Evanish’s site organizes gatherings of its own. For example, Greenhorn recently ran a workshop called RamenCamp to showcase the virtues — and bigger payoffs down the road — of launching lean companies without third-party dough. In other words, beware VCs and trust in yourself.
Evanish got his idea for the site after graduating from Northeastern’s tech entrepreneurship program. He and a college buddy found the city’s multiplicity of techie meet-and-greets, conferences, expert panels, and workshops endlessly confusing. “Finally, we were like, ‘You know what, I don’t think we’re the only ones who have this problem,’” he recalls.
Evanish hopes to one day cash in with his own startup, but for now, Greenhorn is profitable only if you don’t count the time he puts into it. Revenues at the moment come from a few sponsorships and companies paying $35 to post jobs. Still, it’s easy to see big things for Evanish. His passionate blog posts show that he understands his Gen-Y readers — possibly because, like them, he has some fairly irreverent views on careers and the job market they’re all facing.