Philly Tech Week April 22-28, 2012: seeking anchor organizers and sponsors for second annual festival

The second annual Philly Tech Week will take place April 22-28, 2011, as we announced on Technically Philly recently.

We unveiled our media kit, made impressively by my colleague Brian James Kirk, which you can see here.

The open calendar of events was first held this past April, attracting more than 4,000 people attended at least one of 65 events held throughout the city and surrounding counties during the inaugural celebration. See my roundup of the event series impact here.

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Philly Daily News List of ‘Rising Power Players’ under 40; I’m on it

The Philadelphia Daily News today ran a cover story celebrating 10 of the city’s ‘rising power players,’ in celebrating the close of this year’s State of Young Philly, and I am proud to say I’ve been included.

Find the story online here, and my section here. Go buy a copy.

I was included for being one of three co-founders of local technology news site Technically Philly and being involved in the development of the city’s startup and hacker communities. I was perhaps most pleased that I have so far survived the Philly.com comments, mostly because I have helped build a small for-profit with three full-time employees.

The automatically-generated plaque that a company offered me by email after this news story ran. Though the $169 price tag was a little more than I thought worth it, I was interested in the process and how the newspaper itself didn't offer this.

While I am certainly proud to be included, I am humbled knowing that there are so many other young Philadelphians making great change. There is no way this list of 10 could do that justice. It’s just a highlight of some of us, and I’m proud to be part of it, but I am more than aware of how many others could have been on this list.

For the record, though, I am only 25, not 27. I should also say that I am certainly nervous about being included because of my relatively small contribution at such a young age. I look forward to being involved in much more in the future.

A PDF of the cover here and the article here.

I should also add that my colleague Sean Blanda was also recently included in a young up-incomers list.

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Beware ‘filter bubbles’ online: TED talk from Eli Pariser

From this very compelling TED video from former MoveOn.org Executive Director Eli Pariser on ‘filter bubbles’ happening online due to personalized algorithms (i.e., in truth there is no one Google search, as nearly 60 filters dictate results)

“We may have the story of the internet wrong. This is how the founding mythology goes: in a broadcast society, there were these gatekeepers, the editors, and they controlled the flows of information. And along came the internet, and it swept them out of the way and allowed all of us to connect together and it was awesome. But that’s not actually what’s happening right now. What we’re seeing is more of a passing of the torch, from human gatekeepers to algorithmic ones. And the thing is, the algorithms don’t yet have the kind of embedded ethics that the editors did. So if algorithms are going to curate the world for us, if they’re going to decide what we get to see and what we don’t get to see, then we need to make sure that they’re not just keyed to relevance, but that they also show us things that are uncomfortable or challenging or important…”

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Macbook Pro: why this general consumer went the Apple route

After years of catching heat from colleagues, friends and sources in the technology world for tapping on my Dell laptop, I jumped in and bought a Macbook Pro, after reading, seeking advice and asking a lot of questions. Suddenly, the passing of Steve Jobs had a more timely, personal meaning.

Like most, I grew up a Windows user. I was comfortable with it. I liked it, even. So, when I bought laptops — three since 2004 — I stuck with what I knew: Dell, following their college media blitz from that time (remember that timely ad campaign, video below or here).

That ended up changing, and I have some thoughts on why.
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Quotable on WHYY: Temple University apps and maps studio funding could lead to ‘connective tissue’ of product pipeline

A newly funded ‘apps and maps’ studio at Temple University could be another part of the ‘connective tissue’ between early stage ideas from novice entrepreneurs and sales worthy or impact-driven ideas, I told WHYY reporter Maiken Scott last week for her story on the news.

I reported on the funding for Technically Philly. Read her story here.

In the world of radio, there were a few versions, and I don’t have the full version with my audio included, but below hear two of the audio pieces: one from Maiken and my audio clip that was played following the host’s intro.

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Steve Jobs: ‘I don’t want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers’ [VIDEO]

In honor of the passing of Steve Jobs, I was trolling through videos of the Apple co-founder. I came across one that was very relevant to the news industry today.

More than a year ago, Steve Jobs spoke about the iPad and Apple’s broad role in touching publishing and journalism, during a broader interview at the D8 conference.

At 1:50 in the below video, watch highlights of Jobs talking about his relationship with news and follow the quote below.

“One of my beliefs, very strongly, is that any democracy depends on a free, healthy press…. Some of these papers — news and editorial gathering organizations — are really important. I don’t want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers myself. I think we need editorial more than ever right now. Anything that we can do to help the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and other news gathering organizations find new ways of expression so they can afford to get paid, so they can afford to keep their news gathering editorial operations in tact, I’m all for. What we have to do is figure out a way to get people to start paying for this hard earned content. So [the tablet industry] provides us an opportunity to offer something more than just a web page and to start charging something for that. I’m trying to get these folks to take more aggressive postures than what they traditionally charged for print because they don’t have the expenses of printing, they don’t have the expenses of delivery and to charge a reasonable price and go for volume. I think people are willing to pay for content.”

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Will jobs ever come back?: maybe there is an answer to the employment bomb

Is our recession another blip in centuries of economic rises and falls or is something darker happening?

Part of me agrees with the recent post from media critic Jeff Jarvis, who voiced a concern I’ve been working through myself: efficiency-creating technology has continued to speed and, well, there are a lot of old people coming.

There is a real conversation happening that a new normal rate of unemployment should be expected, though there is counter to that — we’re just too close to the economic collapse to have any sense of what is normal.

But here’s one additional thought I keep gnawing over.

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Success in service industry: Retainers, recommendations and referrals

Knee deep in a service industry business, I’ve found a real, consistent rhythm of where financial success comes to these types of companies.

The act of selling products, of course, is like finding your Atman of the service industry, so, acknowledging that that is at the top of the pyramid and any kind of client work is the foundation, let’s look at what helps these service businesses thrive enough financially to ever endeavor to trial a product or two: the three “R’s.”

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Five things I learned about Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter watching his NBC 10 ‘Ask the Mayor’ program [VIDEO]

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter gave an hour of his time this week to answer resident questions that came to host NBC 10 by way of email, Twitter and Facebook, as we reported on Technically Philly in sharing video of the event.

Nutter has already been praised for use of Twitter – a move we had asked him about during a Q&A in July 2010 , a few months before the city imported communications director Desiree Peterkin-Bell, who had helped transform Newark Mayor Cory Booker into an urban political social media star.

The Ask the Mayor event — prompted by NBC 10 social media hire Lou Dubois and Bell — was unique, interesting and compelling. NBC 10 deserves credit for only sharing a single softball question — about cheesesteaks, of course — and Nutter and his team deserve praise too for participating in something new and relatively open. It was clear and admirable that Nutter hadn’t been prepared for the questions.

Granted, none of those questions amounted to public affairs journalism, but many did seem to represent the perspective of Philadelphians. Watch the five video segments of the event here or watch the first below and see what I learned about Nutter watching them.

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ONA 2011: conferences are good for more than just their sessions [VIDEO]

My colleagues Sean Blanda, Brian James Kirk and I learned plenty at the 2011 Online News Association conference in Boston, but we also did more touring and connected more with old friends and colleagues than last year. We even sneaked out to use the city's new bicycle sharing program and visit Fenway Park, among other sights. We were in Boston for the conference from Sept. 22-25. Photo by some lady who took the camera from her elderly father.

Sometimes, if not most times, what happens outside of the sessions can be what’s most valuable about a conference.

I learned plenty the traditional way at the 2011 Online News Association national conference, held in Boston this weekend Sept. 22-25, but I surely got more out of reconnecting with friends and colleagues from other markets, even more than I remember doing at past professional events. It also didn’t hurt that I dove more into Boston than I have while visiting elsewhere for work travel.

ONA has been a national convener among news innovation conversations for more than a decade, and more locally, I’ve been involved with reviving the Philadelphia chapter of the group.

Full disclosure: this year, I was able to attend thanks to the very generous support of the Center for Public Interest Journalism at Temple University and the Wyncote Foundation. I was able to attend last year with similar support from the William Penn Foundation, which has additionally funded the Transparencity reporting project I have led.

After a few years co-running a sustainable niche news site, participating in the online discourse around news innovation and attending events like ONA and others from the Aspen Institute, the University of Missouri and, yes, our own BarCamp NewsInnovation, I felt like attending the event was just as important to talk shop with others doing similar work across the country as it was to catch up on a lot of in-session conversations that felt less relevant to where we are professionally.

Tourism and good, smart friends aside, below I share what I learned in a conference’s traditional way.

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