Even in high school, I had it in my head that buying new clothes was vain.
Picture my mother pleading with me to let her buy me pants that fit me. At some point I realized that she had started sneaking in new pairs of socks and throwing out my old ones with holes. One of the first places I went after I got my driver’s license was to a thrift store, afterward proudly showing my parents a $5 suit I bought (and wore way later into life than I should have, like at our closing party at Philly Tech Week 2012).
While my teenage friends cared about clothes, I was defiantly disinterested in any of it. I was proud I saved what money I earned and perhaps prouder of how little I ever asked my parents to contribute. (For their part, they were more often embarrassed of my taking hand-me-downs from bosses and friends. They were worried it might look like they weren’t taking care of me, even though they most certainly were. I had one of the most loving households I could imagine, which might be why I didn’t want to ask them for anything else — look at how they helped me pay for college.)
But then I got older and entered the workforce, where the first impressions you make aren’t cast aside by the whims of youthfulness.
It took quite a few experiences as a professional for me realize that there’s a balance between spending too much money and time on clothes and too little, and I hadn’t found it. That’s when I had to make a change.
Continue reading Why I’ve (slowly and modestly) paid more attention to fashion for professional gain
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.
Continue reading Entrepreneurs often start early: here are 5 of my own examples
I flubbed the current events quiz to be sure but otherwise a worthy appearance on the podcast of Baltimore-based news gamification startup NewsUp.
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, built on some thoughts I shared back in 2010.
Continue reading Snowpocalypse: here’s a flowchart on whether you can park your car
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.
Continue reading Qatar: everything I learned while visiting the wealthiest country in the world
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.
Here’s what the year of 2014 looked like for me.
I have a thing for resolutions but I’ve decided to keep my personal goals elsewhere. So this is just a chance to capture some of the professional successes I had in 2014 and to be thankful for them.
Continue reading Some professional accomplishments of mine in 2014
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.
Continue reading A conversation on building a maker community: Philacentrics
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]]