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.
Continue reading Be a leader, not a founder
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.
Continue reading What made me proud about our sixth annual Philly Tech Week
Let’s start with the obvious: I help run a (very) very small, young business. By very nearly any measure, $1 million in annual revenue shows no great scale.
But for this first-time entrepreneur, slowly bootstrapping a niche news company like Technically Media, it means a lot to me to hit that nice round number in 2015. We have a full-time team of 15 with another half-dozen independent contractors who support the daily production of a news and events product with a strong reputation. We continue to find purpose with Technical.ly and expect our second brand Generocity.org to signal a coming explosion of local social impact conversations like local tech is here now.
I want to share what this means to us.
Continue reading We beat $1M in revenue in 2015; small, growing and proud
We at Technical.ly hosted our inaugural Delaware Innovation Week. It was our smallest community yet to do something like that, so we anxious to see what would happen.
The early signs show the model worked — new people came to take part in the week and join the community. So we’ll be back in November 2016.
Since it was the first year, I thought I’d share some surprises that came across.
Continue reading Surprises from our inaugural Delaware Innovation Week
When you’re building a team, each role is best filled by someone on a range between generalists and specialists. The first is flexible but lacking expertise, and the latter is experienced but lacking range.
Of course, like the term use among animals, most of us are somewhere on a spectrum, but it still can be a helpful prism to see your applicant pool. Some celebrate the generalist and others honor the specialist but both are necessary and nuanced. And perhaps most important to remember: anyone can move along that spectrum, depending on their willingness and adaptability. But be conscious of your choices.
Continue reading Generalists and specialists: when to hire for habits and when not to
We’re staying in Philadelphia of course. But after three years as a tenant of noted University City-based venture capital firm First Round Capital, we’ve outgrown the space.
By the end of the year, we’ll be moving our more than dozen-person team to the top floor of the Curtis Center, a historic building in Old City Philadelphia that once held the celebrated Curits Publishing Company (the ones behind the Saturday Evening Post, the Ladies Home Journal and the Public Ledger, among other brands).
Continue reading Technically Media will be establishing new headquarters
Ahead of the fifth annual Philly Tech Week back in April, consultant and Drexel University chairman Stan Silverman, who writes a regular column for the Philadelphia Business Journal, decided to write about Technical.ly and my work there.
Unfortunately the Business Journal’s leadership flexed its editorial discretion and spiked the story. It wasn’t the first time we heard something about us was dropped by the publication — Silverman told me he never had a column idea killed like that before by his editor.
One can’t know exactly why but one might come to assume it’s a rather petty swipe at us, as they see us as a kind of competition. I hope we can all appreciate the irony that during this very same Philly Tech Week, we happily included and helped to promote a Business Journal event, their IT awards. Oh it’s too perfect.
I guess it’s just the difference between the open web and ugly legacy tendancies.
Read Silverman’s column, which he published on his personal site, here.
Temple University Magazine, my alma mater’s alumni magazine, called @technicallyPHL one of 25 Twitter accounts with Temple ties worth following [PDF]. They used an old photo of me looking a little dumpy from this profile
The fifth annual Philly Tech Week, now presented by Comcast, kicks off later this week. There are more than 150 events on the calendar, two dozen of the largest anchors we at Technical.ly organize. We publish in five markets now and do an array of events but this is easily the largest undertaking of ours each year.
Below find out what you can learn by looking at that calendar.
Continue reading What you can learn from the calendar of our fifth annual Philly Tech Week
Ahead of the fifth annual Philly Tech Week, Philadelphia magazine profiled Technical.ly, the local tech news site I cofounded that helps to organize the calendar of more than 150 events.
The piece is fair, largely flattering but challenging, too. It was written by Joel Mathis, whom I’ve come to know some through Philadelphia media circles but got to speak to more at length during the interview process (thanks for the interest Joel). I can admit that I was nervous how the piece would land after I found out the magazine announced plans to launch a vertical focused on “innovation,” but I’ve seen the piece and their plans for Biz Philly appear to be a wider business blog.
It’s still a strange time here for the local news media environment.
Still, though I think Joel did a fine job, I wanted to share a few more background thoughts for those who might be interested. Read the item here, or find a PDF of the article here or buy the mag if you can, then check out below.
(Also, check out this cool blog post of a mutual friend who reached out to make sure the typewriter I’m using in the photo was authentic — it was a gift from my grandfather.)
Continue reading A few additions to Philadelphia magazine’s profile of Technical.ly