But it’s not the first ONA chapter here. As recent as summer 2008, an ONA Philly chapter, led by then Inquirer online editor Chris Krewson and Philly.com editor Wendy Warren, held a big regional conference. But it was a time of heavy contraction and stress over at 400 North Broad Street. The workload wasn’t spread enough and that iteration fizzled. (Credit to Krewson and Warren for first bringing the group here — and setting up the first Facebook group.)
My friend, the young sage Daniel Victor, who took a gig at Philly.com under Warren earlier this year after the collapse at TBD, has taken up the cause. Enlisting the Technically Philly crew (hi, that’s me!) and local AP editor Amy Fiscus, Victor is bringing the show back. I’m happy he jump-started the idea, but I’m proud to have been part of bringing this back and expect to play a role for a long time in the future.
We had small 20-30 person meetups in July and August and now are moving forward. On Sept. 15, NewsWorks is hosting a show and tell on their near one-year anniversary of work from WHYY, details above at right in sidebar.
From what I know, there’s never been a national ONA conference in Philadelphia. That’s something I’d like to see changed.
My Technically Philly colleagues Sean Blanda, Brian James Kirk and I were honored to have Philly Tech Week named Philadelphia’s Best Local Annual Event. In accepting the award, we were able to thank the entire technology community for getting involved and remind the nearly 400 people in attendance that Philly Tech Week 2012 is coming the last week of next April, in addition to a fine message from Kirk.
Because I so loved the event and because I consider the Geekadelphia crew good buddies, I was awash with thoughts on this year and next. Below, I share some of them.
While I was at Back on My Feet, something I was proud of completing was, with the great help of a colleague, a company style guide.
A style guide should be a fundamental piece of documentation that goes a long way to creating an institutional memory. If everything imploded, a style guide would help you rebuild your organization — with workflow being more explicitly enumerated in staff manuals.
As your organization grows, it’s easy to wake up and find a lot of disparate, disconnected pieces that you’ll need to assemble again. Take hold and keep connected the work you do for a tighter, more inspired and successful campaign.
In looking at other guides and finding value in ours, there are a few items that I think every style guide should include:
I have a friend who went to college where he did for, really, one leading reason: the accent.
Sure, he found a nice campus at a respected university with a good reputation and a big price tag, but, ultimately, he sought colleges in and around Boston because he loved that accent.
Boston, most might say, is a culturally distinctive city of 650,000 in a region steeped in history, plagued by all the problems dense places face and respected for its future.
Boston and its portion of New England surely has a lot going for it — in Philadelphia, it’s the city we probably most often compare ourselves to in terms of college graduate retention and sustaining of life sciences business — but I argue one of the strongest, most meaningful reasons for its success that no one seems to talk about is, yes, those broad As of the Boston accent.
So I’m here to argue that one of the greatest ways to continue to bolster Philadelphia’s reputation is to expand its cultural exportation through movies, music and TV, highlighted by that accent that the rest of the country rarely can identify.
While I was involved with some strategy, reporting, introductions, planning and, for Broadband2035, I led the relationship with the city’s Planning Commission (more on that below), my colleague Brian James Kirk really led our roles in these two initiatives.
Abandoned City, depicted above was an investigation of vacant property in Philadelphia and its impact on communities.
CityPaper led the reporting and devoted a cover story and other print space for reporting
PlanPhilly offered additional reporting, editing and the web platform
Technically Philly initiated the partnership and worked with a developer to visualize and map those findings.
Broadband2035, which is ongoing, investigated the impact access to affordable broadband has on low-income communities
PlanPhilly offered reporting, editing and guidance
Technically Philly led the reporting, worked with the city’s Planning Commission to incorporate broadband plans into its comprehensive Philadelphia2035 vision and hosted the series page.
One of seven White House Urban Entrepreneurship forums across the country was hosted at Temple University in Philadelphia Monday, and, in addition to Technically Philly being a media sponsor, I served on one of a dozen panels.
Find the Livestream and Technically Philly coverage of Philadelphia Mayor Nutter’s address here.
I was on a panel called “Better Together: Public-Private Partnerships to Accelerate Urban Entrepreneurship and Startups.”
Unfortunately, our time was truncated due to a late start, so I spoke briefly once and answered one question.
I spoke about Technically Philly involving itself in connecting startups and entrepreneurs with the city, by way of Philly Tech Week, the Open Data Philly initiative and further fostering collaboration in various corners of the region’s technology community.
White House officials are holding these forums, from Newark to New Orleans, to connect and discuss ideas with local business leaders and entrepreneurs. Philadelphia’s forum coincided with a meaningful minority business event. The forum was co-hosted by the White House, The Office of Mayor Nutter, U.S. Departments of Commerce, Energy, Labor, Treasury, Education, and several federal, state, and local agencies.
As NewsWorks reported, there was immediate concern about the loss of local jobs through contraction and restructuring. In my conversation, I pushed on the notion that there is important value for the region’s perception as a technology hub to have significant exits to point to.
This acquisition, I suggested, can be seen as a good thing.
In doing so, I raised the ire of Old City coworking space Independents Hall co-founder Alex Hillman, who told me he felt strongly that growing companies in Philadelphia was a lot more important than selling out to bigger players elsewhere.
This post is going to argue that we’re both right.
Read the story here or download the PDF here, on page 24.
An earlier nut graf: Innovation has been seen as strictly in the purview of tiny, agile startups, taking an idea and bringing it to market. But as the speed of new technologies continues to quicken, the need for large businesses to help bring products to market becomes even greater. So big corporations are not only playing a remarkably underplayed role in innovation, they are also innovating in how they change the world altogether.
Give it a read and then check some of the extras from my interviews that didn’t make it into the piece.
You ought to read the whole piece, but here are a couple of my favorite parts:
This system was never ideal—out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made—and long before Craig Newmark and Arianna Huffington began their reign of terror, Gannett and Scripps were pioneering debt-laden balance sheets, highly paid executives, and short-term profit-chasing. But even in their worst days, newspapers supported the minority of journalists reporting actual news, for the minority of citizens who cared. In return, the people who followed sports or celebrities, or clipped recipes and coupons, got to live in a town where the City Council was marginally less likely to be corrupt.
“There are only three things I’m sure of: News has to be subsidized, and it has to be cheap, and it has to be free.”
If we adopt the radical view that what seems to be happening is actually happening, then a crisis in reporting isn’t something that might take place in the future. A 30% reduction in newsroom staff, with more to come, means this is the crisis, right now. Any way of creating news that gets cost below income, however odd, is a good way, and any way that doesn’t, however hallowed, is bad.
Following the indicted former state Speaker of the House, whose corruption trial has been postponed until the fall, we covered what the impact the loss of a 30-year state leader would be on his district, particularly a small swath that had served as his political base.