Entrepreneurs often start early: here are 5 of my own examples

Entrepreneurship has a legacy of leaders who got started early. That sense of independence, experimentation and motivation to be challenged appears to often be a natural instinct.

When I started Technical.ly in early 2009, I had no experience or real awareness of entrepreneurship. We’ve learned a lot, and in truth, I still remain a relatively inexperienced founder, but I have taken and enjoyed this early entrepreneurial experience.

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Snowpocalypse: here’s a flowchart on whether you can park your car

Parking in the snow in dense urban neighborhoods is always a testy issue. People have strong opinions about whether you can use a chair to reserve a spot or swipe another’s — legal or not. Thankfully I sold my car last year, but I’m still a sucker for life hacks for city living.

Considering it’s something that happens in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia and likely anywhere else where great urbanism means parking is limitless, we need better agreement of what’s proper etiquette. Here’s my take.

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Qatar: everything I learned while visiting the wealthiest country in the world

Joe is a friendly Filipino private car driver who has lived and worked in Doha, the capital and dominant city of tiny Persian Gulf country Qatar, for the last decade. He forces a laugh and answers “maybe” to any question I ask him that seems to make him uncomfortable.

Last month, I was in Qatar to mentor at a hackathon organized by Aljazeera, the global news organization based in Doha. Leading up to and during my time there, I did a lot of reading about the Gulf. I had a couple dozen conversations with people who live there, like Joe, and I did a fair amount of exploring parts of Doha, or at least as much as I could considering I spent most of my short few days there inside a convention center.

I found the country so interesting (and complicated) that I wanted to share nearly everything I learned about the Arab desert nation state. Find that below.

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Leadership Philadelphia called me one of 55 young ‘keepers’

The half-century old Leadership Philadelphia civic service nonprofit named me recently one of 55 young leaders in the region worth “keeping.” I’m among more than a dozen local tech leaders included.

Those of us named are said to be future leaders of Philadelphia that should be connected with more established leaders to ensure we remain invested here. It’s the same group that organizes the 10-month long leadership fellowship I proudly completed in 2013.

True to form of Leadership Philadelphia, led by a mentor of mine Liz Dow, this is not just a vanity list. Over the course of six monthly networking events, we’ll be paired with more established leaders to foster mentorship relationships outside of our existing communities. The series started last week with an event at the historic Union League.

It’s both a true honor and an incredible opportunity to meet people I will work with for years to come.

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A conversation on building a maker community: Philacentrics

I’m thankful I was included in a salon-style dinner among a dozen Philadelphia city creative and philanthropic leaders at the historic Waterworks restaurant. The prompt for the conversation over dinner was the ‘maker economy.’

The discussion focused on Philadelphia but clearly the themes tie to a lot of cities around the world today: how do we build a broad future economy? The conversation was off-the-record, but there were a few topics interesting enough to be worth sharing without attribution.

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Al Jazeera hackathon imagines the future of news [GigaOm]

Gigaom’s Matthew Ingram recapped the Aljazeera hackathon that brought me to Qatar over Thanksgiving. I got a mention in his nice write-up. His words:

Christopher Wink, who founded the Technical.ly network of local technology sites in Philadelphia, Brooklyn and other cities, was one of the mentors that Al Jazeera brought in for the event — which pulled together 90 participants from 37 countries, out of more than 1,600 applications. He has a blog post in which he lists some of his favorite projects, and almost all of them seem like they could help make the job of a journalist easier, or in some way expand the practice of news (there’s another good list here). [[MORE]]

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My first internet

In 2002, I was a junior in high school. In my school, there was a mess of networked computer printers that effectively, if uselessly, allowed you to print from one room to another. It often caused confusion and, looking back, was my first experience with the serendipity I love of the internet. I just recycled the box to prove it.

I recently found that old box from a pair of work boots I bought for my first summer working for a construction company in the county I grew up in. Once I saw the box, I immediately remembered what I used it for back in high school. I had a strange habit of visiting those networked printers — in the library, computer lab, various classrooms — and grabbing whatever was sitting in the printer tray at the given time. There almost always was something leftover.

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