When a group of technologists got together to talk about July 4, 2026

Last year, on November 29, 2011, I was able to host a group of civic-minded creative class technologists and entrepreneurs for one of a dozen parlor sessions that Philadelphia civic leader Sam Katz led to garner feedback for USA250, an effort to begin planning for July 4, 2026.

The initiative publicly launched this summer.

It will be the 250th anniversary of the reading of the Declaration of Independence, the informal beginning of what would become the United States of America and given that it happened in Philadelphia, there’s interest in making sure something big happens here in Philadelphia — something better than 1976 and perhaps even 1876 and 1926.

One surprise from the conversation, during which attendees shared what they could contribute and would want to see? Sam Katz, someone I’ve long admired, was taken by how skeptical and negative this mostly young group of future thinkers were. He had had conversations with many groups like this and overwhelmingly people had shot for the stars — host the Super Bowl, the Olympics and more to put Philadelphia on display. Our group seemed far more excited to continue to slow grow our successes.

The mix was welcome. We held the discussion at Devnuts, the coworking space in Northern Liberties.

Here’s who was confirmed to attend.

  • Alex Hillman, Indy Hall
  • John Fazio, Devnuts
  • Chris Cera, Philly Startup Leaders
  • Mike Brennan, Drexel
  • Dana Bauer, Azavea
  • Corey Leigh Latislaw, Comcast
  • David Clayton, Breadboard
  • Tim Wisniewski, Developer
  • Wil Reynolds. SEER Interactive
  • Alex King, Defined Clarity
  • Apu Gupta, Storably
  • Leah Kauffman, Philly.com
  • Keya Dennenbaum, ElectNext
  • William Stallwood, Cipher Prime
  • Eric Smith, Geekadelphia
  • Chris Wink, Technically Philly