Philly Tech Week Signature event: video of my address and take aways

Standing with my colleague Sean Blanda, City Managing Director Rich Negrin and my colleague Brian James Kirk at Signature Event. Photo by Rachel Playe.

The inaugural Philly Tech Week has passed, and I shared a roundup of the entire week, but I wanted to focus in on one of the larger events.

As I noted, my Technically Philly colleagues and fellow PTW organizers each took hold of a portion of the nine of the week’s 65 events that we organized. Among what I handled was taking the lead on our Friday night Signature Event, featuring a 150-person, catered cocktail reception at WHYY in Old City, featuring keynote speaker Rich Negrin, the City of Philadelphia Managing Director who discussed good government initiatives.

I have some take aways below, which I hope to add to, in addition to the text of the quick address I gave to kick off the evening and video, showing that I’m not very good at actually listening to what I write.

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Philly Tech Week: the inaugual roundup of coverage, lessons and highlights

The inaugural Philly Tech Week, made official by City Council, has come and gone.

All told, my fellow Technically Philly co-founders and PTW co-organizers helped bring together 65 events, from more than 50 groups that attracted more than 3,000 people (we’re still tallying) in the first six day-event that we first suggested in the summer, confirmed in November but did get moving until February.

So, as is my custom, I wanted to gather together what happened, the thoughts from others and my take aways so we can do even better next year.

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Osama bin Laden: 10 most interesting tweets around his alleged death

(AP Photo/Rahimullah Yousafzai)

So last night President Obama announced that the U.S. military had killed and reclaimed the body of al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, accused of masterminding the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Around 10:20 p.m., I was culling through Twitter following Philly Tech Week when I saw a stream of tweets referencing an upcoming Obama national address. Rumors were flying and news began coming it: the conference wasn’t about Libya, then it was said it would be about bin Laden.

From there, Twitter took off and after 11 p.m., the President made his address.

I thought I’d share some of my favorite tweets of the night, considering it was how i followed the news, though my housemate and I watched the address online via streaming White House video:

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The Night of the Gun by David Carr: three lessons from reading this ‘junkie memoirs’

Three great lessons were central David Carr’s memoir the Night of the Gun, published in 2008, which I only recently read. Carr differentiated his story from other self-described ‘junkie memoirs’ by taking two years to rigorously report on his own life, interviewing those closest and uncovering the records that might corroborate.

  1. Our pasts are more fungible than we would ever imagine — Surely heightened by an ugly past of addiction and violence, the New York Times columnist had created a very different memory than what, it turned out actually happened. By reporting his own life, he found, indeed, he was the one that had the gun that night (story shared in video below), in addition to quite a few other stories about violence he said he couldn’t have imagined. Most might not have that kind of extreme, but his reporting his life story does bring up an interesting reality.
  2. Addiction is a strenuously complicated obstacle — Having recently shared some lessons on addiction and homelessness from my time with a social services agency, it might seem obvious that I was taken by Carr’s ability to write about addiction with experience and directness.
  3. Stories are all about marketing — How you tell your story or another’s has everything to do with perception and direction and angle. As Carr wrote, and others took interest in, his story could either be a tidy tale of a father overcoming drugs and welfare to take custody of his twin girls, or abusive addict escaping his mistakes and misdeeds for the height of professional success. …You might have a very different take on those actually very similar stories.

A few favorites pieces shared below.

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Lessons in civic pride: Story Shuffle 6 audio is now live

Story Shuffle 6, with a theme of  Rebirth, I remembered a lesson I learned from an old neighbor: If I don’t clean it up, someone might notice.

Find all the stories here. Listen to mine here or below.

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OpenDataPhilly.org unveiling, what it means, how it happened

More than 120 people crowded into the Dorrance Hamilton Public Media Commons at WHYY to watch a data catalog unveiled. The event was a part of Philly Tech Week.

Ten dozen people, including developers, journalists, nonprofit leaders, city representatives and the curious hung around for an hour, with standing room only left, to be there when OpenDataPhilly.org officially kicked off. That says something about the Philadelphia technology community and its interest in the online transparency movement around government.

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Kicking off Philly Tech Week, April 25-30, 2011

By way of City Council resolution, it is officially Philly Tech Week.

Back in January, I first announced here this open calendar of events meant to promote technology and innovation in Philadelphia, as organized by my two colleagues and I at Technically Philly.

Thanks to our all of our sponsors, including the official Philly Tech Week headquarters WHYY, some 50 event organizers, thousands of attendees and friends, we have brought together a week-long celebration of technology and innovation featuring some 65 events across industries, focuses and interests.

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Here’s the radio spot currently running on WHYY.

This morning, at a kickoff breakfast for event organizers, we launched the first ever Philly Tech Week to finish up Saturday. This afternoon, we’ll be unveiling the first catalog of City of Philadelphia data online and much more is to come.

Below, find some highlighted events:

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Why this truancy ad sucks and what I think would be better

Media, particularly that which is meant to attract the indifference of youth, has to be more informed by the end user.

Riding the El in Philadelphia, I see this truancy ad with Bill Cosby pretty often.

Maybe I’m just cynical, but this seems so clearly to be an ad that completely ignores its audience. This ad’s message of getting kids to go to school was made by adults, for adults or by high-achieving kids, for high-achieving kids.

I’m not sure I believe that any kid who is at risk for skipping school would look at this ad and be moved to change his or her ways.

It’s a picture of an aged Bill Cosby and a pack of clean cut students, suggesting going to school ‘made me a winner.’ I don’t believe it’s compelling: nameless kids and an older celebrity. I don’t think there is anyone there who, without context, would inspire other students to follow this suggested path.

What would be compelling, I believe, is making clear the looming risks of not graduating high school.

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Hardly Strictly Young roundtable: alternative Knight Commission recommendations

Data, context and engagement were the themes of the Hardly. Strictly. Young. event at the University of Missouri Reynolds Journalism Institute this week, says Michael Maness, the Knight Foundation Vice President of Journalism and Media Innovation.

Also read a Columbia Journalism Review overview from fellow attendee, new friend and total asshole Craig Silverman, who takes the opportunity to poke fun at me. (I forgive him.)

The two-day conference meant for brainstorming alternative recommendations to implement a 2009 Knight Commission report was something of an idea-hackathon.

Though I arrived on Saturday to couchsurf in St. Louis first, the confab kicked off with a welcome dinner Sunday night and was made mostly of rotating groups of us 30 members discussing implementation ideas Monday and presenting those ideas Tuesday. The goal was to create real ideas for implementation.

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Five criteria for the flourishing of news entities of the future

Late at a bar in my neighborhood, a friend asked me: how are you innovative?

His general assessment was that Technically Media, a consultancy, and Technically Philly, a news site, weren’t particularly innovative or interesting for 2011. We’re an online-based startup of 20-somethings creating journalism-fueled content. That might barley bass for envelope-pushing in the late 1990s.

Sure, we think editorial strategy — in which all organizations create content to build audience to have impact — is interesting, and that’s a big part of what we’re doing, but I wasn’t satisfied.

So I’m going to share what I came to: the five criteria of news entities of the future.

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