Stop worrying about having too many people at your event

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.

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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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5 ways the world will change in five years: Non-Obvious Dinner

How will the world change in the next 5 years? That is the prompt for the annual ‘Non-Obvious Dinner’ organized by Jeff Rollins and Ben duPont, two entrepreneurship leaders whom I’ve come to meet in launching Technical.ly Delaware.

I was among 100 guests invited by the pair to the historic Wilmington Club earlier this month asked to arrive with an answer to that question. First, over dinner, we shared at tables of 10, and we chose the best at our table to present to the entire group, and one was chosen as the most interesting and believable way the world would change in the next five years. (here is another idea from someone who attended last year)

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Philly Tech Week: 5 events I’m most proud of happening

Event production is stressful, chaotic and labor-intensive. It is also an act in designed collision. There is a lot of learning to be done in all of these ways.

This Friday will kickoff the fourth annual Philly Tech Week Presented by AT&T, far and away the largest collaborative effort in which I have ever taken part. To track what I’m learning in the process, I pulled five of the more than 130 events happening during the week from which I believe I’m learning the most.

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Innovative News Storytelling: 5 ways and dozens of examples

Define the mission underpinning the work of your news organization, and then allow yourself to experiment with new and potentially better ways of telling stories.

That’s my interest in finding new innovative storytelling methods, and so I was excited by the chance to share examples with nearly 100 reporters and educators who visited a session I cohosted during a national news innovation conference in Atlanta last week.

Know why you’re doing your coverage and find the method that best creates that outcome. While that may mean a beautiful, highly produced product like the Serengeti Lion web interactive from National Geographic, depicted above, my focus here is sharing low-cost or free ideas for inspiration.

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Civic Innovation: my answers to 7 questions I asked this Mayors’ Innovation Summit panel

Textizen CEO Michelle Lee giving her lightning talk before our panel on civic innovation, which featued, from left, Michael Brennan of SecondMuse, Brigitte Daniel of Wilco Electronic Systems, Keya Dannenbaum of ElectNext, Alex Hillman of Indy Hall and myself.
Textizen CEO Michelle Lee giving her lightning talk before our panel on civic innovation, which featued, from left, Michael Brennan of SecondMuse, Brigitte Daniel of Wilco Electronic Systems, Keya Dannenbaum of ElectNext, Alex Hillman of Indy Hall and myself. Photo lovingly stolen from Aaron Ogle.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors held its annual Mayors’ Innovation Summit in Philadelphia last week, and I moderated a panel Friday morning focused on ‘civic innovation,’ a fancy phrasing for a new era of groundswell public-private partnerships growing out of technology and creative communities across the country.

As is custom, I shared beforehand some questions I wanted to ask the group, and while we didn’t get to all of them because we got into some good conversations, I figured I’d share my perspective on those questions.

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Attract and retain new young, educated people but keep our cities distinctive [Knight Milennials]

knight-millenials

Cities want to attract and retain young educated talent to fuel their knowledge economies, drive a tax base and create a community that can continue to grow by welcoming more new people in the future. Modern markets are insatiable and indefinitely incomplete.

That’s the clearest, simplest mission I can glean from all the chirping about celebrating gains Philadelphia has made in its old brain drain problem.

But last week at a Knight Foundation session with the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, I wanted to push that thinking forward in two ways that I don’t think I hear often enough in that conversation: (a) the idea that too much change can in effect take away what is distinctive about a city and (b) that any real success would improve the lives of existing Philadelphians too, not just push them out like in other cities.

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11 student media startup ideas: Upenn Entrepreneurial Journalism Demo Night

media-sam-apple

Eleven University of Pennsylvania students pitched their media startup ideas at an Entrepreneurial Journalism Demo Night held in the Kelly Writers House last week. I was there by invitation of the class’s professor Sam Apple, whose reporting background stems from a stint experimenting with launching theFasterTimes.com.

The Daily Pennsylvanian, the student newspaper, covered the pitch night here, so I just wanted to share the 11 pitches I saw.

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