I put people first, then technology: Biz Stone

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.

Continue reading I put people first, then technology: Biz Stone

My experience taking the 10-month LEADERSHIP Philadelphia core class

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.

Continue reading My experience taking the 10-month LEADERSHIP Philadelphia core class

Eight Days in Spain: Running with the Bulls (and more)

My trip to Spain in July was full of lots of the new, but, as you’d expect, plenty of the old too.

At the most recent Story Shuffle, I told the story of lessons I learned from Running with the Bulls in Pamplona. But I got to do plenty more in little more than a week.

In fact, eight days in the hub of ancient kingdom turned struggling modern Western European stalwart Spain proved to be among the best trips of my life.

In addition to the Running, in Pamplona I saw the first bullfight of my life. I also had suckling pig at the oldest restaurant in the world, saw more Picassas and Dalis than ever before, ordered tapas, sangria and paella in Spanish, swam in the Mediterranean, visited Gaudi and, of course, did so while reading Hemingway’s the Sun Also Rises for the first time. Below are a view videos and takeaways.

Continue reading Eight Days in Spain: Running with the Bulls (and more)

Eric Smith of Geekadelphia says very nice things about me after I made fun of his work publicly [Video]

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.

Our Founding Fathers would have loved social media but questioned its future

The Founding Fathers would have loved and leveraged social media but been fearful of its future implications on privacy and speech issues, said a host of experts at an event on the impact of new communications patterns.

Earlier this month, I moderated a panel on the subject at the National Constitution Center featuring Jennifer Preston, a social media reporter from the New York Times, Kashmir Hill, a web law reporter from Forbes and Lori Andrews, the author of a related book which served as regular fodder for the discussion, which appeared on CSPAN 2, Book TV.

Find background and audio of the entire program on the NCC blog here. Watch the entire hour-long panel discussion on CSPAN here. (Alternate link here)

Thanks to Stefan Frank for organizing the event and including me. Below, I have a three-minute clip of the final question of the night, in which, after spending the evening speaking about the perils of social media, each panelist reminds us of the power and benefit. (I watched myself on my big ol’ home TV, which was amusing.)

Continue reading Our Founding Fathers would have loved social media but questioned its future

OpenDataRace: talking on WHYY NewsWorks Tonight about the OpenDataPhilly.org contest

Near the close of the OpenDataRace, a popularity contest for data sets that affect nonprofit missions, I was asked onto NewsWorks Tonight, the daily, local drive-time news radio show from NPR affiliate WHYY. We recorded the segment last week and it aired Monday.

Read more about the contest here, see the data sets and register to vote here and listen to the NewsWorks segment below.

LISTEN HERE.

I was on the program back in June to talk about the open data movement and other initiatives here. I got some fun comments from friends, like this one.

Philly Daily News List of ‘Rising Power Players’ under 40; I’m on it

The Philadelphia Daily News today ran a cover story celebrating 10 of the city’s ‘rising power players,’ in celebrating the close of this year’s State of Young Philly, and I am proud to say I’ve been included.

Find the story online here, and my section here. Go buy a copy.

I was included for being one of three co-founders of local technology news site Technically Philly and being involved in the development of the city’s startup and hacker communities. I was perhaps most pleased that I have so far survived the Philly.com comments, mostly because I have helped build a small for-profit with three full-time employees.

The automatically-generated plaque that a company offered me by email after this news story ran. Though the $169 price tag was a little more than I thought worth it, I was interested in the process and how the newspaper itself didn't offer this.

While I am certainly proud to be included, I am humbled knowing that there are so many other young Philadelphians making great change. There is no way this list of 10 could do that justice. It’s just a highlight of some of us, and I’m proud to be part of it, but I am more than aware of how many others could have been on this list.

For the record, though, I am only 25, not 27. I should also say that I am certainly nervous about being included because of my relatively small contribution at such a young age. I look forward to being involved in much more in the future.

A PDF of the cover here and the article here.

I should also add that my colleague Sean Blanda was also recently included in a young up-incomers list.

White House Urban Entrepreneurship Forum: speaking on public-private partnerships

White House Urban Entrepreneurship forum Better Together panel, featuring (from left) moderator Kathleen Warner from Startup America; Doug Rand from the White House Office of Science and Technoogy; Sherryl Kulman from the Wharton Program for Social Impact; Prof. Youngjin Yoo from Temple University's Fox School of Business; Jane Vincent from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Dept and, behind the camera, me.

One of seven White House Urban Entrepreneurship forums across the country was hosted at Temple University in Philadelphia Monday, and, in addition to Technically Philly being a media sponsor, I served on one of a dozen panels.

Find the Livestream and Technically Philly coverage of Philadelphia Mayor Nutter’s address here.

I was on a panel called “Better Together: Public-Private Partnerships to Accelerate Urban Entrepreneurship and Startups.”

Unfortunately, our time was truncated due to a late start, so I spoke briefly once and answered one question.

I spoke about Technically Philly involving itself in connecting startups and entrepreneurs with the city, by way of Philly Tech Week, the Open Data Philly initiative and further fostering collaboration in various corners of the region’s technology community.

White House officials are holding these forums, from Newark to New Orleans, to connect and discuss ideas with local business leaders and entrepreneurs. Philadelphia’s forum coincided with a meaningful minority business event. The forum was co-hosted by the White House, The Office of Mayor Nutter, U.S. Departments of Commerce, Energy, Labor, Treasury, Education, and several federal, state, and local agencies.

Broetry Poetry Slam: ‘Portrait of a Bro’ in Spoken Word [VIDEO]

To promote the amusing book Broetry, which is a collection of poems from the “bro” perspective, Geekadelphia and Quirk Books held a Broetry Slam at National Mechanics, a bar in Old City Philadelphia. Attendees were encouraged to come with a broetry of their own to compete for a crown and a swag bag of great books from Quirk. Not only did I participate, yes, I indeed won. I was awarded a cool collection of books by Quirk Books employee Doogie Horner, a comedian whom I wrote about last month.

It was something of a spoken word. ..Because of that, I apologize to all people who do wonderful, beautiful, artistic things with spoken word. I am well aware that I may have killed the art form.

Continue reading Broetry Poetry Slam: ‘Portrait of a Bro’ in Spoken Word [VIDEO]

Hitchhiking in South Dakota: Story Shuffle 7 audio is now live

For Story Shuffle 7, held in a fine rowhome in the Newbold section of South Philadelphia inside a beautiful and eventually stormy night, I told the story of my first hitchhiking experience in South Dakota.

My lesson: trusting in strangers is a great risk that often comes with great reward.

Check out all the stories here. Listen to mine here or by using the player below.

LISTEN HERE