Think of Boston-based footwear brands — Converse, New Balance, Reebok — and what comes to mind are shoes you'd wear to a pick-up basketball game or a weekend 10K. Ben Fischman, a serial entrepreneur who started the cap retailer Lids and the "flash sale" site Rue La La, wants to change that. His latest venture, M. Gemi, will sell Italian-made women's shoes apropos for gallery openings and charity galas.
Read MoreTakin' care of businessDrop-in workspace Cove, founded in D.C., is coming to Boston
Starbucks founder Howard Schultz popularized the notion of the "third place" — a hang-out in between home and work, or home and school. Now, Washington, D.C. entrepreneur Adam Segal is creating what you might think of as a "fourth place." His company, Cove, is creating a chain of drop-in "productivity spaces" that are more oriented toward getting work done than the local coffee shop, but also not intended for five days a week of toil.
Read MoreNew urbanismTravel site Kayak quietly moved most of its local employees to Cambridge
Like an empty-nester who can't quite give up the house in the 'burbs but wants a condo in the city, the travel booking site Kayak now has two local offices. Kayak has long had a tech team based in Concord, but starting in January it began moving about 90 employees into an East Cambridge office with views of the Zakim Bridge and the Charles River.
Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting.
Read MoreKendall Square: A report on who's there
Some interesting data from the Kendall Square Association on the composition of that intensely innovative, increasingly expensive neighborhood:
The association spent the past 18 months looking at about 770 companies with offices in the Square, and categorizing them by industry sector. Interestingly, biotech and health care companies now represent the biggest single slice. (I touched on this shift in a Globe column last October.) But the research didn't capture every company located within an incubator or a shared office space; the KSA estimates there are about 1,100 businesses in total in the neighborhood.
Let me tell you about the bet I won recently with Ben Einstein, founder of the hardware investment firm Bolt.
We were talking about one of the pieces missing from the local startup scene: CEOs of the biggest companies in this part of the world, like Raytheon, State Street Corp., TJX, Dunkin' Brands, or Staples. You just don't often encounter them in the wild, off their corporate reservations. None of them had been to Bolt, whose Downtown Crossing office and prototyping facility houses about a half-dozen consumer electronics startups.
Read MoreDemoing at SXSWSonzia takes digital school desk to Austin, plans Kickstarter campaign
My most recent Boston Globe column focuses on Jon Hirschtick and the team of entrepreneurs behind Onshape, a Cambridge startup that is launching the beta version of its product today. Hirschtick and several other key Onshape team members, like chief executive John McEleney, were previously founders of SolidWorks, a company that pioneered computer-aided design software for Windows PCs. This time, they're building a Web-based application that will run on just about any device — including smartphones and tablets.
Need a desk in Bangalore one week and Davis Square the next?
TechHub, which operates a network of co-working spaces in India, Romania, Latvia, and the United Kingdom, plans to open in Somerville this month. And much like a card that will give you access to frequent flier lounges, a TechHub membership will let you work in any of the locations as you jet around the globe. TechHub was founded in London in 2010.
Read MoreA Keurig for rink rats?Sparx Hockey debuting $599 home skate sharpening device
If you’re a hockey player, or you have one in your family, Russell Layton thinks he knows the errand you hate the most: taking in skates to get sharpened. It’s even a chore for professional teams, whose players like to give their skates a glistening fresh edge every game — “and sometimes, in between periods,” said Layton.
He played club hockey at Northeastern in the 1990s, and worked as an engineer in the healthcare and telecom industries. But Layton said he became a bit obsessed with the dull blade dilemma.
Read MoreTrading triumphQuantopian hands $100,000 account to winning algorithm writer
One more thing you'll be able to summon with a smartphone app, starting this spring: a blue-jacketed valet who'll take your keys and park your car. The San Francisco startup Luxe Valet, which recently raised $20 million in fresh funding, hopes to be up and running in Boston in time for Opening Day at Fenway Park.
Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and the Convergence Forum. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.