The inaugural Philly Tech Week has passed, and I shared a roundup of the entire week, but I wanted to focus in on one of the larger events.
As I noted, my Technically Philly colleagues and fellow PTW organizers each took hold of a portion of the nine of the week’s 65 events that we organized. Among what I handled was taking the lead on our Friday night Signature Event, featuring a 150-person, catered cocktail reception at WHYY in Old City, featuring keynote speaker Rich Negrin, the City of Philadelphia Managing Director who discussed good government initiatives.
I have some take aways below, which I hope to add to, in addition to the text of the quick address I gave to kick off the evening and video, showing that I’m not very good at actually listening to what I write.
My prepared remarks:
Thank you all for coming to tonight’s Signature Event and, perhaps more importantly, thank you for participating in the inaugural Philly Tech Week.
Together, we organized 65 events with more than 50 groups across the city in a variety of industries and venues and styles. Philadelphia: can we please applaud ourselves?
My name is Christopher Wink. I am one of three co-founders of technology news site Technically Philly. Together with my colleagues Sean Blanda and Brian James Kirk, we conceived of and organized Philly Tech Week, but everyone in this room knows the technology community of Philadelphia is bigger and broader and bolder than any of us on our own. It just needed a voice.
I’ve been joking with friends recently that the real future of news is event planning. In truth, convening and creating action is a clear path, and one we’re embracing at Technically Philly. We believe one of the clearest ways to grow Philadelphia’s reputation and impact is reducing redundancy and fostering collaboration to take on our region’s challenges together.
So in March we brought together a small group of technology community leaders from diverse industries and backgrounds to meet and be the face of this year’s Philly Tech Week around collaboration. We’d like to share a short 3-minute video, produced by our colleague Steve Metzger, with you now.
COLLABORATION VIDEO FROM STEVE METZGER
Then I went on:
City Councilman Bill Green introduced a Resolution that named these six days officially Philly Tech Week, and as I said then, I’d be surprised if any vanity resolution ever had as many proper nouns as ours had. This is a community with more corners than anything in geometry, from entrepreneurs in life sciences and social gaming, to hackers, to coders, to developers, to designers, to IT professionals, to social media stars, to activists, and all the dreamers and the doers therein.
This was the first Philly Tech Week, thrown together in a few months time. Despite that, among 65 events, we saw the unveiling of OpenDataPhilly.org, a civic hacker tool built by Azavea and endorsed by the City of Philadelphia’s Division of Technology. Tomorrow, during BarCamp NewsInnovation at Temple University, while 300 journalists learn about the future of their craft, a few dozen coders will build tools using that data, and the lines between those two groups will continue to blur. The Emerging Technologies for Enterprise conference from Chariot Solutions sold out and continued its reputation as one of the country’s premiere development events. Five new Philly startups were pushed out into the world, our nascent video game and robotics communities showed off what they can do, the future of music, sustainability and shelter were all discussed, with technology being the primary driver of change. WordPress, Rails and other platforms and languages that build this new world were shared with new friends and embraced by old ones.
There were 65 events. I couldn’t begin to mention them all.
I do want to thank our sponsors, WHYY for being our official headquarters, Chariot Solutions, Alteva, PHD Virtual, Morgan Lewis, Verizon, Tropo, University City Science Center, Little Giant Media, Bluewolf, Monetate, InterDigital, NPower, Open Desks, Jarvus, Reed Technology, Krispy Kreme, Vitamin Water and even more, actually.
I want to bring up former Inquirer editorial page editor and WHYY News and Civic Dialogue chief Chris Satullo to talk about this community’s power, the role public media can play and introduce our keynote speaker, but first let me leave you with this.
It’s my role as a journalist to question power, and here, that means, in part, the City of Philadelphia. But there is something very powerful for which I want to credit the City’s Division of Technology, with direction from former Chief Technology Officer Allan Frank. Last fall, Frank and his team shared a more detailed Digital Philadelphia vision.
Under a mess of branding and a push for more funding, there was brilliance. Technology has very little to do with iPhone apps and servers.
Technology will shape the future of Philadelphia in three profound ways, the vision said: it will help us create jobs, it will help us give better access and education to all Philadelphians regardless of income and it will make our government more transparent, effective and efficient.
It doesn’t matter anymore if our government will do these things because we can do so on our own. If you need a call to action for now and every day until next year’s Philly Tech Week, it will be to collaborate behind those three goals.
Thank you for your time and let’s go out and continue to make Philadelphia a better place for all of her residents using technology.
- No matter how many times I see myself speak, still, I want to tell myself: speak slower (I hate the idea of speaking for too long so for some reason I think I’ll solve it by speaking too quickly)
- Three speakers, five minutes each max
- More booze, less food
- Do get a caterer
- Sell tickets cheaper early and jack the prize up to incentive early buys