After trying last year, with just a week’s notice, we were able to coordinate to add to Philly Tech Week a conversation with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. I interviewed him on-stage.
Let’s start with scale: I attended a political fundraiser and wrote a check for $250.
Next, consider context: it was for someone I’ve known for longer than I can remember, among the closest of my family friends, who lived a few houses down from me when I was just a few months old.
Even still, I actually agonized a bit about the decision. Journalism is a thicket of rules and expectations and among the loudest is to stay objective in politics and distant from the money that feeds it. I was worried my donating would cloud the work I do as editorial director at niche publisher Technically Media. Here’s why I decided it was the right decision.
In April 2012, we at Technically Media announced Ph.ly, a URL shortener that had a companion content strategy — a curated weekly newsletter sharing the three biggest pieces of local journalism or civic information. Over the next 18 months, I published the weekly newsletter as a side project and experiment. Here are a few things I learned before sidelining the project by 2014.
After 18 months and two phases of the fledgling side project, we’re setting aside the monthly Technical.ly podcast.
We couldn’t invest the time into the project that it required, it didn’t fit into our short-term strategy and the audience wasn’t growing fast enough for an exception to be made. (We were only regularly getting a few hundred downloads).
Journalists have to approach issues they care about differently than others. There’s a fine line between influence and bias. I’ve joined the board of Coded by Kids, a program of coding classes for youth, and I’d like to share why.
On editorial teams that I’ve been a part of, two tasks not core to reporting still take up time that I think could be more automated. Both were attempted to be addressed at Canvas, the first media innovation hackathon organized by Aljazeera in Qatar this weekend.
I am proud to say I was there in Doha this week serving as one of 10 mentors for the 90 participants from 37 countries who were chosen out of 1,600 applicants (40 percent of those chosen were women). The winning projects were chosen out of 19. (Other favorites)
To promote his new book ‘Things a Little Bird Told Me,’ Twitter cofounder Biz Stone was at the Free Library of Philadelphia for a ticketed, breakfast event for which I interviewed him on stage for a half-hour before audience questions finished the morning.
My line of questions can be seen here. I tried to to steer the conversation away from what has already been said by Stone, a well-covered tech entrepreneur who is in the midst of a popular book tour, but we still hit upon some of what has already been covered: the designer by trade has focused on bringing the human touch to software.
That helps explain how decidedly simple Twitter is and how Stone’s new startup Jelly, a network-driven answer app, has stayed focused on getting social responses.
LEADERSHIP Philadelphia is a more than 50 year old civic society development nonprofit that has been the model for similar groups around the country. Among its programs, its furthest reaching is the annual Core Class, which selectively takes 110 mostly mid-career candidates from corporate, philanthropic, institutional and community groups and takes them through a 10-month program about Philadelphia, leadership and civil society.
Since 1993, Liz Dow, the well-connected, well-regarded, clear leader has been the nonprofit’s executive director, and I was blessed to come to know her in the past three years. It’s through that very meaningful relationship, with someone whom I have come to consider a confidant, that I was offered the chance to apply for and be accepted into the 2013 Core Class.
As the next class gets settled, I wanted to digest what I learned from the experience.
My good friend Eric Smith, whose successes in publishing and audience have kept me motivated, wrote some very flattering things in celebration of his own birthday, mostly about how we love to faux battle by way of our respective geek blogs Geekadelphia and Technically Philly. An excerpt:
… Without realizing it, Chris had finally given me the greatest gift of all… playful competition. I love being able to throw a jab at him now and again via Twitter or on the blog. Mocking him when I see the buzzwords flying… I should list that as an interest on my Facebook profile. I’m thrilled when I hear about a local PR firm thinking Chris and I (aka Technically Philly and Geekadelphia) hate each other. When he gave his keynote speech during the first Philly Tech Week, I ruined his moment with a tweet (this was an accident though!). When he received an award at the Geek Awards, he slammed the hell out of Geekadelphia, and I loved it.
But despite the joking around… Chris makes me want to be better at what I do.
Below watch video of my Geek Awards presentation when I had a little fun at Geekadelphia’s expense, though their fans let me hear it.