By the end of the year, we’ll be moving our more than dozen-person team to the top floor of the Curtis Center, a historic building in Old City Philadelphia that once held the celebrated Curits Publishing Company (the ones behind the Saturday Evening Post, the Ladies Home Journal and the Public Ledger, among other brands).
Leadership development and team building programs are full of small-scale physical challenges that require collaboration. Though they’re mostly just simple puzzles that follow similar models, having just participated in another a few weeks ago, I can say there are many lessons worth being reminded of.
Outdoor education nonprofit Outward Bound is one of those groups best known for these corporate training affairs, and LEADERSHIP Philadelphia, one of the older local civic training nonprofits in the country, had me again take part in an afternoon of such activities as part of a program of theirs I’m in. I want to share some of what I left the event thinking about back on Sept. 18.
I got engaged. Then I got married.
Between those two dates, I built one of the most involved spreadsheets of my life (yup, that’s something I think about). SACM and I used that spreadsheet to choose our wedding venue, predict attendance, invite guests, track purchases and monitor gifts. We’ve also been using it to give advice to friends.
Some of what we collected is private but lots of it is worth sharing for your own planning and budgeting purposes. That’s what I do below.
For the fourth annual Baltimore Innovation Week, we at Technical.ly exercised a wide range of event formats. Years into exploring events as mission delivery and revenue accrual and marketing balance, we still need to get better. But I continue to be proud of what we accomplish.
To show that, I want to highlight a few event formats I was personally proud to be a part of during #BIW15, which featured 57 events during 10 days and close to 10,000 people — it was big, bigger even than last year. (Find a wrap of this #BIW15 here.)
You won’t have too many people for the event you’re hosting. Make a bet on it.
Many of us will host events at some point in our lives — choosing a date, creating some programming and inviting people to come. I do quite a bit of this, some 50 events a year for work, a dozen or more a year for social groups I’m a member of and maybe that many among friends or one-off special get-to-gethers.
Often you might hear someone express frustration with the delicate balance, that you don’t want too few people there but you also can’t have too many. I’m here to help you: in very nearly every case, it’s better to have too many people than too few so that’s exactly how you should optimize. Don’t waste energy worrying whether you have too many people coming.
To an audience of 100, I gave the keynote at FOSSCON, a one-day, open source conference held in Philadelphia for attendees from around the country this Saturday. (I also covered the event for Technical.ly here).
It was easily the most technical event at which I had a prominent speaker role — usually, I’m a side show to offer reporting background on a related issue. This time, I was closing out the event, which featured prominent open source leaders. But I wasn’t there to offer technical insight — which I don’t have — but instead meant to take reporting perspective and put it through the open source lens.
My title was “How Open Source is Changing the World,” and the argument was that open source software culture has shaped so many other changes happening in local tech communities — how technical recruiting gets done, why governments are pursuing open data, where tech businesses are locating.
I did an OK job at this.
Ahead of the fifth annual Philly Tech Week back in April, consultant and Drexel University chairman Stan Silverman, who writes a regular column for the Philadelphia Business Journal, decided to write about Technical.ly and my work there.
Unfortunately the Business Journal’s leadership flexed its editorial discretion and spiked the story. It wasn’t the first time we heard something about us was dropped by the publication — Silverman told me he never had a column idea killed like that before by his editor.
One can’t know exactly why but one might come to assume it’s a rather petty swipe at us, as they see us as a kind of competition. I hope we can all appreciate the irony that during this very same Philly Tech Week, we happily included and helped to promote a Business Journal event, their IT awards. Oh it’s too perfect.
I guess it’s just the difference between the open web and ugly legacy tendancies.
Read Silverman’s column, which he published on his personal site, here.
Sometimes when a word is really powerful, it gets over-used enough that its power dwindles. This happens in cycles, like how “collaboration” was sorely stretched in recent years as institutions got hip to open source culture, and now as “innovation” is being slid into the name of any new effort from any organization aiming to look forward-thinking.
That over-use doesn’t mean the word isn’t effective. It is. But it should mean it requires defense. So when I was asked to submit to business marketing magazine SmartCEO my own definition of the word and my process for employing it, I tried to do just that.