Religion as tradition, not rule

Like others I knew in the middle class U.S. Northeast in the 1990s, I was raised Roman Catholic by a family who felt limited by the religion’s slowly moving moral structure. I was there for a foundation that I could return to later in my life, by my parents encouragement. For all the complaining I did then, I am thankful for that.

For the first time in years (excluding weddings, though even mine wasn’t Catholic), later this week on Christmas Eve I plan to be in a church service. But there still isn’t much there for me. I’m saddened by that.

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Here’s the audio from my on-stage interview of Philadelphia Mayor Elect Jim Kenney

In front of an audience of 150 civil servants and economic development executives from throughout the mid-Atlantic, I interviewed last week Philadelphia Mayor Elect Jim Kenney for the second annual Rise conference on civic innovation we at Technical.ly organize.

Find the transcript and write-up here. Below listen to the audio,

Continue reading Here’s the audio from my on-stage interview of Philadelphia Mayor Elect Jim Kenney

Surprises from our inaugural Delaware Innovation Week

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.

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What happens to old customers when your prices go up

Raising prices for a product or service is challenging. One strategy is to keep the headline price but simply offer a cheaper product — fewer chips in the bag, fewer deliverables in the sponsorship package.

But what happens when you so misfired from the get go that you can’t sneak in a change? Or, what if your product or service has simply gotten far better and more competitive?

I’ve heard lots of advice on how founders and early stage companies often start off by charging too little and need to try to maximize their ask early on. Too bad I didn’t know that starting Technical.ly — because our business team still struggles with the legacy of our pricing strategy from our founding, some six years ago.

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Generalists and specialists: when to hire for habits and when not to

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.

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The news business is the only where the CEO isn’t meant to control controversy

This summer, I was really proud to receive a leadership award from Temple University’s Fox School of Business. The next day the local tech news site I cofounded, Technical.ly, ran a highly critical analysis of that school’s signature business plan competition and widely panned it as having lacked any real successes in 15 years.

Awkward.

A year ago, we replaced me as Editor in Chief and I have been transitioning to more of a publisher (connecting and overseeing business and editorial). The experience brings up an interesting reminder of my role in a news organization I helped found but no longer have complete control over.

Continue reading The news business is the only where the CEO isn’t meant to control controversy

Innovation in Philadelphia Q&A with Dilworth Paxon CEO Ajay Raju and me

How are so-called innovation clusters happening across the country and in Philadelphia specifically? Alongside Dilworth Paxson law firm CEO Ajay Raju, I was interviewed on the subject over drinks at Parc on Rittenhouse Park.

The interview was for Temple University law school’s blog and came in a two-part series from a Temple law professor and transcribed by a precocious law student.

Read part one here, in which we talk about Philadelphia’s own development of a tech and entrepreneurship communit

Read part two here, in which we talk about what that development can mean for the rest of Philadelphia.

One professor’s attempt at a $25 programmable robot: my profile of Locorobos and Pramod Abichandani

The research on low-cost, educational robotics led by Drexel University professor Pramod Abichandani was the focus of a profile I wrote for the college’s academic journal. It ran this summer.

We’ve written about him on Technical.ly here. My piece was a bit more focused on his research process. Find the full story online here.

As I do with my freelance writing, I have some extras that I cut from the story below.

Continue reading One professor’s attempt at a $25 programmable robot: my profile of Locorobos and Pramod Abichandani