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.
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)
Print is going to last longer than we might think because we can prove print in a way we cannot prove with digital.
Someone recently mentioned to me that in 10 years, we’ll still be predicting the death of newspapers. I think sitting here, in my office, looking at a copy of the Wall Street Journal that I stuffed into my pocket after finding it on a bench at the 2nd Street station in Old City Philadelphia, I believe that to be true.
Let me say something controversial: newspapers mean something more than news sites. Just like printed photographs mean something more than Facebook pictures.
Digital media still should amaze in their flexibility, utility and reach. But their printed counterparts are also still remarkable for all the reasons their future seem limited: they are inflexible, expensive and in-viral.
More than a year ago, I handled a half dozen interviews and a couple rewrites on a story for the Inquirer that covered what Philadelphia workplaces will look like in the future. As is sometimes the case, it never found its home in print.
The story’s primary timeliness has been lost, but I think it still has merit. So, with permission from my editor, I share it below, in addition to a slew of extras from the heavy lifting of reporting.
“So forget about blogs and bloggers and blogging and focus on this – the cost and difficulty of publishing absolutely anything, by anyone, into a global medium, just got a whole lot lower. And the effects of that increased pool of potential producers is going to be vast.”
It’s the seemingly unintentional, passive-aggressive jab that I sometimes get from older or otherwise more established journalists, writers and editors. Most often and in many ways, I’m sure the sentiment is pristine in its accuracy, often abutted by the never-to-be-defended-against “it takes time,” which, of course is always true.
But I can’t help but think what’s happened since, say, 2007 or even later, is something bigger that is changing the value of a lot of once rock solid professional advice for young and otherwise aspiring journalists, and making it awfully hard out there.
For people just starting their careers, the damage may be deep and long-lasting, potentially creating a kind of “lost generation.” Studies suggest that an extended period of youthful joblessness can significantly depress lifetime income as people get stuck in jobs that are beneath their capabilities, or come to be seen by employers as damaged goods.
It’s the latest stylish trend piece at a time when general stories on an economy that might not return for two or three years are already old hat. A lot of the numbers are fuzzy and the effect may be questionable, but there’s no questioning that it’s daunting for many 20-somethings.
We graduated and walked into perhaps the worst economy since before our grandparents were our age. A few more distinctions this author has taken on has made those statistics seem even more frightening, but outside of the occasional sobbing, I try to remind myself that there’s no better time or place in the world than where I am now.