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Tech Superpowers

Provider of technology tools started humbly.

Michael Oh knows a thing or two about technology. As a young freshman at MIT, he decided to use his experience working for minimum wage at the local Apple Macintosh reseller to start up an IT consulting firm. What started out with one bicycle, one client, and a $200 loan in 1992 has grown to a $1.6 million business that Inc. magazine recognized as one of the 500 fastest-growing companies in America. We recently spoke with Oh about Boston-based Tech SuperPowers.

What does Tech Superpowers do?

Tech Superpowers provides technology tools for creative and innovative businesses in and around the Boston area. For many of our clients, we’re the sole source of IT information, advice, supplies, equipment, and training. Our consultants provide small and medium sized companies with technology resources that they don’t normally have the time to research, find, and install. We’re also the largest Apple Specialist and Apple Authorized Service Center in downtown Boston.

With what kinds of businesses do you primarily work?

We work with mainly small and medium-sized companies, but we have a number of larger enterprise clients because of our cross-platform expertise.

Since most creative professionals (those in video and graphic design, for instance) use Macs, our expertise became well known within the creative community. So when freelancers and designers would work within larger environments where the IT staff is not familiar with (and in many case, fear) Macs, they would call us for help.

What’s the Newbury Open Network and how is Tech Superpowers involved?

The Newbury Open Network is Boston’s first centrally-run multinode free public 802.11 network. We believe that the future of the omnipresent Internet is through corporate sponsorship of public streets, parks, and communities–and open wireless networks are the way that the public will be able to connect for free at high speeds to the Internet.

The whole network was put together by Tech Superpowers. We created, designed, funded, and installed the network ourselves. We pay for the T1 connection that provides access, and although we paid the same for it before, we just use it more now.

When does it make sense for a company to use a wireless network?

The utility of a wireless network within an organization, small or large, depends on how well your staff can work outside the cubicle. For instance, we recently reduced our number of desks for field technicians from three to one, because we found that with a company-wide wireless network, people worked wherever they liked–and they preferred to work on a couch, standing by the kitchen counter, or in our conference rooms.

Of course, the rest of the business has to work well with this concept–you’ve got to have good laptops, paperless systems, comprehensive database systems, and cordless phones that work within your office phone system. But 802.11 systems are the last piece to the puzzle–with wireless networking, you’re really able to have a mobile office.

Can you tell us a bit about the Tech Meeting Center you’ve set up?

The Tech Meeting Center is a great place for executives and business people to have small, high- or low-tech meetings that’s centrally located. It’s got T1 internet access, wireless access, a 32-inch TV with DVD, projector, touch-sensitive white board, Bose stereo system, teleconference phone, and seating for 12.

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