I was proud of the 7th annual Philly Geek Awards

From its origins, I was certainly around the Philly Geek Awards, organized by a volunteer group surrounding the local culture blog Geekadelphia, run by a handful of my friends. But it was mostly from afar, sometimes speaking and being silly with them.

In 2016, as sometimes happens with volunteer efforts, the annual black-tie-meets-cosplay event was thrown into jeopardy, as several of its organizers had moved away in a sudden and similar cycle. It had no one to lead its organization, so I volunteered our team to keep the tradition alive. It was a real risk for our organization and the brand overall, but it felt important to keep the event moving. We pieced it together, with a rushed venue relationship and tricky catering limitations, and though it was far from perfect, we kept the tradition alive.

This weekend our Technically Media team, with the support of a volunteer planning committee, brought the event back to what it was meant to be — a highly produced, sold-out celebration of passionate subcommunities with civic pride in spades.

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Full audio from my interview of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney during Philly Tech Week

For the fourth time, I interviewed Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney on stage, for the third time during Philly Tech Week, the event series I help organize annually. This took place back in early May: find coverage from Technical.ly Philly here.

It’s a kind of journalism I’m embracing for a community I represent.

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Growing Greater Philadelphia: I was on this NBC 10 documentary series

Technology isn’t an industry. It’s an approach.

That was something I offered in an episode of this NBC 10 series called “Growing Greater Philadelphia” on the region’s economic development. I also noted that the city is no longer suffering a brain drain problem — it’s more about mid-career professionals. Watch a clip below or the whole episode here, and other pieces in the series.

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Why it took 8 years for me to become CEO of my own company

I’m a first time entrepreneur, having cofounded a niche publishing company. For more than eight years, I have been among those most responsible for the organization’s longterm strategy. For most of those years, I played the role of public face, among the first to serve very nearly all the roles we now have. We have a team of more than 20 and invoiced for nearly $1.7 million in 2016, all of which I feel responsible for supporting and growing.

But only today did I take on the title of CEO.

No one had ever held the title at our organization before. In an era championing entrepreneurship and fetishizing the young and the innovative, we are quick to anoint untested first time founders as chief executives. How many one person or four person companies do you know with a first-time CEO? It’s meant to offer clarity and it’s a great resume line. I am going to tell you why I think that’s a mistake. It’s also why it took me eight years to feel comfortable calling myself an organization’s CEO.

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4 lessons from sports stars that stuck with me as a kid

For all the meaningful sources of life lessons I received as a kid, from my parents to religion, and the many shades of the Golden Rule, I was still a sports-crazed boy growing up in the 1990s.

That means I internalized a lot of advice from athletes, whether or not they actually ever said them (sports quotes are full of apocryphal and fictitious claims). I was amused recently to think of a handful of very-90s-era memories I have about lessons from North American sports legends. In addition to being stuck in time, this collection is funny because I am so far from a knowledgeable sports fan today.

So these are corny for all sorts of reasons. Yet I do find myself thinking of these even today.

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I spoke at the 16th annual New Market Tax Credits conference

Economic empowerment in underdeveloped communities can benefit from the wonkily named federal New Market Tax Credit program. Now often used for property development, it has a legacy with supporting operating businesses in economically depressed parts of the country.

I spoke last month at the 16th annual New Market Tax Credits conference held in Miami, and I offered  perspective on how tech communities are growing up adjacent to these communities of need.

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Reporters, we aren’t referees, we are in the game: thoughts on ‘Fake News’

Too many reporters still think they’re referees, when really, they’re in the game.

That was something I shared during an enlightening panel discussion I was a part of on ‘Fake News,‘ as hosted by WHYY and NPR host Joshua Jackson. (Read this overview of the event.)

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I interviewed Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf during Philly Tech Week 2017

After trying last year, with just a week’s notice, we were able to coordinate to add to Philly Tech Week a conversation with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. I interviewed him on-stage.

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