Talking Points

Talking Points: Work visas on agenda as Mass. tech leaders go to D.C.

The US Capitol Building was seen at sunset earlier this month.
The US Capitol Building was seen at sunset earlier this month.

Here we snow again. Not as much as expected, but it’s plenty windy out there today. Hold onto your hat as we bring you the latest from Jon Chesto, another record-setting day on Wall Street, and a roundup of the top stories for Monday, Feb. 13.

More at stake: There’s a new sense of urgency as local tech executives head to Washington this week to attend a national industry conference and to lobby the state’s congressional delegation.

Access to talent was already atop the Mass Technology Leadership Council’s agenda, before President Donald Trump took office. But it’s become a much more pressing issue following Trump’s new travel limits.

The common refrain: It’s not just about the seven countries in Trump’s immigration restrictions. The MassTLC execs say the administration’s approach could affect any firm with workers from other countries — that is, the vast majority of the region’s major tech employers. They once hoped for more visas to be available. Now, they’re bracing for the opposite.


While in D.C., the MassTLC contingent expects to meet with Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, as well as a number of representatives. The CEOs of Boston software firms Carbonite and Acquia will go, as will executives from PTC and Wayfair.

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

The travel ban’s fate could be settled in the courts. That’s why MassTLC is drawing up a friend-of-court brief, to support an ongoing legal effort to overturn the restrictions.

Carbonite CEO Mohamad Ali says he used to be like many of his colleagues, in that he largely related to the federal government as a bystander. Not anymore. High-tech execs are increasingly realizing that their companies’ future could very well depend on their decisions to get off the sidelines.

Jon Chesto is a Globe reporter. Reach him at and follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.

Market Wrap

Executive Summary

Coming to a T-shirt of cap near you: Fresh off their comeback victory in Super Bowl LI, the New England Patriots are already looking ahead at how to market the next drive toward the NFL’s top spot.

The team has filed paperwork to trademark the catchphrase “Blitz for Six.” Much was made of Coach Bill Belichick leading fans in a cheer of, “No Days Off,” at the rolling rally last Tuesday. Well, the team is also looking to trademark that phrase, as well.


Just like winning championships, the idea of coming up with one-liners is nothing new for the Patriots. They already have trademarks on “Do Your Job,” “The Patriot Way,” and “19-0.” (Ouch, that last one hurt a little bit.)

Elevator continues to go up: Coming off a record setting pace last week, the three top market indexes showed no signs of slowing down on Monday.

From the Wall Street Journal: The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped nearly 143 points amid more solid earnings reports and fresh hints at tax breaks. Shares among banks and industrial companies were among Monday’s biggest gainers, including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Caterpillar.

Investors are also eagerly anticipating what Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen will say when she testifies before the US Senate Tuesday and the House Wednesday.

Stage set for Sage: A Cambridge-based biotech got some encouraging news on its drug trial, which helped its stock surge.


From Boston Business Journal: Sage Therapeutics is testing a drug that showed positive results for treating a “major depressive disorder.” The 13 patients in the clinical trial tolerated the drug well and their depressive symptoms were reduced.

The biotech’s work focuses on the central nervous system, including a drug that treats postpartum depression. Shares in the company were up 12 percent after the morning announcement. Sage closed the day up 11.75 percent.

New car parked at Harvard yard: It belongs to Brian C. Rogers, chairman of T. Rowe Price Group.

Rogers, who earned his undergraduate and MBA Harvard, is being added to the board of directors for the Harvard University endowment fund. He joins the fund’s board at a time when the new CEO, Narv Narvekar, is cutting the endowment’s 230-member staff in half as the $35.7 billion fund undergoes a major overhaul.

Narvekar is likely to tap Rogers’ investment experience as he looks to “develop new investment and risk frameworks” moving forward.

Trending pick

A new wrinkle: Allergan PLC, the maker of Botox, is buying Zeltig Aesthetics Inc. for $2.48 billion . That adds another company whose products focus on fighting fat and smoothing out wrinkles to the Allergan arsenal.

Line Items

All eyes on the next iPhone:

Investors eagerly await 10th anniversary edition -- Wall Street Journal

It pays to be at the top:

But investors aren’t always happy about that -- Financial Times

Congress takes aim at drug price:

Marathon criticized for $89,000 per year med -- Business Insider

Leaders focus on women and work:

Trump, Trudeau exchange ideas on economy, trade -- New York Times


Can America make things again?: President Donald Trump has pledged to be the greatest jobs producer God ever created. But he’s got automation and cheap labor in foreign countries as pretty big challenges to overcome.

A story published in today’s Globe analyzes how manufacturing, once the lifeblood of the US economy, may be a tough route for Trump to create new jobs that will please his backers. That’s because production jobs will likely require more education than they did in the past, when a high school education was enough to get by.

With more competition from foreign countries, particularly China, where labor is cheaper, profits have eroded for American manufacturers.

Can President Trump turn it around? It won’t be easy.

The Talking Points newsletter is compiled by George Brennan. Follow George on Twitter at @gpb227. If you liked what you’ve read, please tell your friends to sign up .