Temple Review: why big companies still lead innovation and how that’s changing

How large technology companies still lead innovation in the world is the focus of a freelance story I wrote for Temple Review, the alumni magazine of Temple University.

Read the story here or download the PDF here, on page 24.

An earlier nut graf: Innovation has been seen as strictly in the purview of tiny, agile startups, taking an idea and bringing it to market. But as the speed of new technologies continues to quicken, the need for large businesses to help bring products to market becomes even greater. So big corporations are not only playing a remarkably underplayed role in innovation, they are also innovating in how they change the world altogether.

Give it a read and then check some of the extras from my interviews that didn’t make it into the piece.

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Number of Views:5072

Clay Shirky: “News has to be subsidized, and it has to be cheap, and it has to be free”

Academic Clay Shirky tossed down another great post ahead of an undergraduate course he’s teaching at NYU. In the end, he calls for more chaos — more competitive approaches to creating meaning news for citizens, beyond news for consumers.

You ought to read the whole piece, but here are a couple of my favorite parts:

This system was never ideal—out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made—and long before Craig Newmark and Arianna Huffington began their reign of terror, Gannett and Scripps were pioneering debt-laden balance sheets, highly paid executives, and short-term profit-chasing. But even in their worst days, newspapers supported the minority of journalists reporting actual news, for the minority of citizens who cared. In return, the people who followed sports or celebrities, or clipped recipes and coupons, got to live in a town where the City Council was marginally less likely to be corrupt.

“There are only three things I’m sure of: News has to be subsidized, and it has to be cheap, and it has to be free.”

If we adopt the radical view that what seems to be happening is actually happening, then a crisis in reporting isn’t something that might take place in the future. A 30% reduction in newsroom staff, with more to come, means this is the crisis, right now. Any way of creating news that gets cost below income, however odd, is a good way, and any way that doesn’t, however hallowed, is bad.

Number of Views:3064
District172-wide

District 172: John Perzel coverage for NEast Philly, funded by JLab

 

Though I took part in three of 14 JLab-funded Philadelphia Enterprise Reporting Fund projects, first announced here last fall, I led one of them.

For Northeast Philadelphia hyperlocal NEast Philly, I helped lead the editorial direction of a project called District 172: the politics of change after state Rep. John Perzel.

Following the indicted former state Speaker of the House, whose corruption trial has been postponed until the fall, we covered what the impact the loss of a 30-year state leader would be on his district, particularly a small swath that had served as his political base.

 

Find all the coverage here.

I had the following roles:

Number of Views:3226

News Frontier Database from Columbia Journalism Review: Technically Philly and NEast Philly included

The Columbia Journalism Review launched this year its News Frontier Database, meant to be a curated directory of independent online news organizations, included the two niche sites on which I collaborate.

See the entire News Frontier Database here.

Technically Philly was an early listing, having been contacted by CJR in March and launching in early May. See that listing here.

Northeast Philly hyperlocal NEast Philly was recently added too. See that page here.

Including those two, there are just four Pennsylvania sites listed, all from Philadelphia, including also PlanPhilly, with which Technically Media is now doing some work, and another FactCheck.

Number of Views:3050

Tweroid: When is the best time to be tweeting?

I tried out the Tweroid service. [Updated: I also tried the service for @TechnicallyPHL]

The value proposition is to sign in, wait an hour or so, get an assessment of when your followers are most active online. The ask might be to then starting tweeting at those times to have the biggest impact.

So, according to this, for maximum audience, I should be tweeting at noon and in the 4pm hour on weekdays

I’m left wondering if that’s the value of social media — directing your gaze to the biggest crowd, or if it should be more spontaneously. As metrics can continue to deploy

Number of Views:4253

Steps to incorporate a business in Philadelphia (or elsewhere)

Last month, I described the process of dissolving the Technically Media general partnership, so I wanted to close the loop by quickly sharing our process for incorporation.

Mostly, this was a lesson in paying for a lawyer — doing it (mostly) right is worth paying. But I also wanted to share a few lessons I learned and some resources I used.

Why we decided to incorporate: (a) I expressed concern that as a new homeowner, I wanted greater protection from liability for our work (like liable or breach of contract concerns), and, as an added benefit, (b) we wanted to be W2 employees of our company, for the credit value of guaranteed payments. Moving forward, we also recognized (c) the benefit for the possibility of hiring employees.

Find the steps and resources below.

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Number of Views:6509

Technically Philly team photos by Neal Santos

Technically Media co-founders Sean Blanda, Brian James and Christopher Wink. Photo by Neal Santos

All photos by Neal Santos while preparing for a Technically Philly Technology Leaders Breakfast photo shoot back in March.

See the other team photos here. Below is one of the photos from the next morning’s leaders breakfast, which

Number of Views:8740

Ten Twitter basics you should steal from my social media strategy work

I’ve managed more than a few Twitter strategies, for nonprofits, groups, organizations and news sites, and have picked up a few basics that you should be sure to steal.

  1. Signing off initials — If you have multiple people using your organization’s account, sign off with initials for transparency, personal connection and ease.
  2. Do create regular content — Part of my schtick is having a lunchtime regular feature, like Noontime Number for Technically Philly and Running News at Noon for Back on My Feet. It’s something followers come to expect and helps you be sure to fill content.
  3. Do take the RSS feed from your blog and then do a second (or third) tweet later for ifferent audience — It helps feed the beast, but also means your next tweet will hit for a new audience. Note, though, that some feel Twitter should be all engagement, so sending an RSS feed is somewhat looked down on. Still, I think as long as an RSS feed doesn’t dominate your Twitter conversation, it’s an added value.
  4. Do tweet your content more than once — Yes, as a follow up to the item above, keep in mind that Twitter users tend to focus in at different times, from the morning to lunch to the evening or something like it, so by tweeting a story a few times (without getting spammy), you have a better chance of hitting an interested party.
  5. Do use CoTweet to manage multiple accounts with multiple user — the former central Pennsylvania startup has a lot of good features for archiving messages, assigning followup and forward posting tweets.
  6. Instead of just responding, RT a meaningful message — When you reply to someone, RT her message and add your own when space allows. This gets other people into the conversation. If no one is interested, then take it to DM or email.
  7. Do more often have a call to action — (usually a link) but don’t be afraid to offer meaning in words. It’s a push media, so what are you pushing? Don’t take that to mean you should always be pushing your stuff, but conversation, engagement, sharing, linking, etc. are all good calls to action.
  8. Do be able to share a specific point in those 140 characters — So, ‘Man speaks at classroom’ is a whole lot less effective than ‘this is how we can make homework suck less, man says,’ which can inspire conversation or thought or response or, even better, a click.
  9. Tweet strong quotes or (even better) hard numbers – I’ve always found pushing clear information and statistics travels better than something less actionable or more vague.
  10. Break quick news on Twitter — When you’re reporting on something, feed good, interesting, independent content on Twitter. When possible, sure, having a link of yours can help you capture the clicks, but ultimately, you’re trying to create an audience and you do that with content, so Twitter needs its own material.
Number of Views:11084

Broetry Poetry Slam: ‘Portrait of a Bro’ in Spoken Word [VIDEO]

To promote the amusing book Broetry, which is a collection of poems from the “bro” perspective, Geekadelphia and Quirk Books held a Broetry Slam at National Mechanics, a bar in Old City Philadelphia. Attendees were encouraged to come with a broetry of their own to compete for a crown and a swag bag of great books from Quirk. Not only did I participate, yes, I indeed won. I was awarded a cool collection of books by Quirk Books employee Doogie Horner, a comedian whom I wrote about last month.

It was something of a spoken word. ..Because of that, I apologize to all people who do wonderful, beautiful, artistic things with spoken word. I am well aware that I may have killed the art form.

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Number of Views:13098

NBC Philadelphia ‘Request for Proposals Cooperative Arrangement with Non-Profit Local News Organization’

As part of its agreement with FCC to take over majority stake in NBC Universal, Comcast pledged to, among other things, bolster local news.

A half dozen NBC local affiliates, including Philadelphia, announcing a request for proposals to partner with nonprofit news organizations is just that.

I’d sure hope attention is being paid by WHYY and its NewsWorks initiative and the Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network, both of which could create some dynamic, interesting partnerships with a broadcast outlet with a large online audience to boot.

Applications are due next Friday, July 22. Details and applications here.

Number of Views:6094