My thoughtful coworkers brought in to the office a young Ben Franklin impersonator to discuss entrepreneurship and civic good in publishing last month. It was perhaps the most fun celebration of the ninth anniversary of starting what became Technically Media I could ask for.
(For some reason, someone shouted out that we should only have serious faces in the above photo. Believe me, we were having lots of fun.)
Afterward, I did a little Twitter rant I thought I’d save here for posterity.
The sixth annual Baltimore Innovation Week has already kicked off, and so I’ve been thinking, as I always do, about what’s different or special this year.
There’s this strange and perhaps dated idea that mission and money don’t mix.
I suppose it comes from a time of less transparency, of very black and white lines between nonprofits and for profits. But I find it altogether puzzling today.
Someone asked me recently what was the biggest motivator for me to start a company, and I told him it was fear.
That’s true, if still somewhat self-deprecating.
When you’re growing a team, it’s easy for you to get the attention. You have the power to always take the final word. You can always be the focus of the meeting or the team social event or the group discussion.
Harvard University’s Nieman Lab journalism trade publication profiled last week Technically Media, the digital media company I cofounded, for the first time since 2012 (that year we got both a profile and an expansion look).
This new profile, which you should read, seemed like a grand opportunity to revisit the check I made in 2015 when we surpassed $1 million in revenue for the first time. So to supplement my professional accomplishments of last year, I wanted to share a few notes included in the Nieman Lab report I find important.
The truest goal for starting a company is to grow it to a stronger place of stability.
To battle a generational low point in business incorporation, we’ve built a solid drumbeat celebrating entrepreneurship. To complement this charge, we need a serious dialogue about transitioning founders into leaders, from the one who started a company to the one who is growing it.
As a cofounder of 25-person publishing company Technically Media who has interviewed hundreds of founders and CEOs along the way, I am experiencing this transition myself. To give yourself the best shot at success in business, you must know what your goals are. One of them should be looking for opportunities to make this transition from founder to leader.
That was the focus of a lecture and workshop I led at the second annual Fearless Conference, held by the precocious Melissa Alam, who has developed a wonderful community of (mostly) young women aspiring to build businesses of their own. Below I share my slides, some notes and reaction to my talk.
You determine success by what goals you set. The mission of Philly Tech Week from the very start six years ago was to create an entry point for others to discover the community of technologists and entrepreneurs bubbling up in Philadelphia.
So this annual, community-supported calendar of events celebrating technology, entrepreneurship and innovation in Philadelphia will have a role for as long as those subjects warrant local on-boarding. Led by us at local tech news network Technical.ly, some 50 partners put together 150 events during a 10-day period ending this past weekend. And though we’re still collecting survey results and feedback from attendees, organizers and supporters, the early feedback I remains consistent with past years: (a) the collective calendar brings more people out to all our events and (b) the attendees include community-regulars and, just as important, people trying to better understand how to join in.
When that stops, that’s likely when PTW (and events like it) cease to matter. What does change each year is what stands out to me as particularly telling or representative from the calendar. That’s where I’m often most proud.