Here are 5 trends in ‘startup clusters’ I discussed in a lecture at Jefferson Innovation

Back in February I gave a lecture at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s ‘Innovation’ lab about trends in ‘startup clusters,’ or the modern, dense collection of next-stage companies.

I wrote about those trends here, and you can find my slides here (with my hilarious jokes). Below, for the hardy among you, watch my hour-long presentation.

Watch my appearance on the 2Techies podcast

I first met Miami founder Michael Hall in early 2016 when I reported a feature on and hosted an event with the entrepreneurship community there. Since then, I’ve spent time with him a handful of times, at SXSW, over dinner and during another pair of trips I made to Miami.

He’s a charming and humble explorer in his and other startup communities, friendly enough to share with others what he learns along the way. So I was tickled to join him on the second season of his popular on-going weekly video podcast interview series called 2Techies, in which he interviews others involved in tech communities.

See it here, or watch it below with a few notes from our conversation.

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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.

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Freddy Adams Tournament [VIDEO]

With Mike Herzenberg and Scott Hoffman, two of my childhood idols, I played in the three-on-three basketball portion of the 19th annual Freddy Adams Sports Tournament in Fishtown, Philadelphia.

In honor of a teenager who was killed in 1993, the tournament is a big cultural anchor point of my neighborhood.

We played well enough for being a bit out of shape and practice. We made it to the quarterfinals, the fifth to last team standing of 50 or so teams. Photos and video below.

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My remarks to Philadelphia City Council after resolution names April 25-30, 2011 as Philly Tech Week

Philadelphia City Councilman Bill Green introducing a Resolution formally calling April 25-30, 2011 as Philly Tech Week, flanked by Councilman Brian O'Neill at left and Councilman Wilson Goode at right, with Sean Blanda and myself, in City Council chambers the morning of April 7, 2011.

With the passage of Resolution 110218, Philadelphia City Council officially named the last six days of April officially as Philly Tech Week, as celebrated with a reading of the resolution in council chambers Thursday morning.

There, my colleague Sean Blanda and I, two of the three co-founders of Technically Philly and organizers of Philly Tech Week, received an embossed copy of the resolution from Councilman Bill Green, who introduced the legislation, and Councilmen Brian O’Neill and Wilson Goode, who co-sponsored the measure. I addressed council briefly to note two things: that (1) technology and the Digital Philadelphia vision is more than just gadgets and (2) the Philly Tech Week resolution featured two dozen groups and organizations because the technology community is so broad.

These resolutions can be a little silly, but they do serve as validation of the interest and growth of the technology community in Philadelphia. It was an honor to represent the community, even though we’re only a small part of its growth.

Below, watch my brief remarks and see the notes that I should have prepared.

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Mummers Parade 2011: Reflections on marshalling with Hegeman String Band

A quick morning run through of the Hegeman String Band routine before heading to the 2011 Mummers Parade

The bus driver didn’t have a beer. At least that’s what I’d say if you asked me on the record.

It was just after 6 p.m. on New Year’s Day 2011, and I was squeezed between two other fellas dressed in black sharing a vinyl bench on a yellow school bus that was careening above Center City Philadelphia by way of I-676. The bus was full, half with other mostly 20-somethings in black and an older crowd in flamboyant and flowery costumes. Every inch of the bus that wasn’t stuffed with human was reserved for coolers of canned beer and, judging by the frequency of offerings, either a dozen or one-well-circled bottle of liquor.

I’m sure most of that made its way up to the bus driver, flashes of yellow street lights and a city skyline coloring his face in his wide bus rear view mirror, otherwise darkened by the cold, black winter night. I just can’t say what happened when it got there or what happened to all the bottles I had to turn away.

One was a blackberry rum.

I can’t remember the others because the singing was just too loud. I’d never sung along to so many songs I didn’t know. Their words, their meaning, their origins.

This was halftime of the 2011 Mummers Day Parade from the eyes of someone who was in it. Or, in my case, someone who was temporarily welcomed into the century-old Philadelphia tradition. A tradition so outrageous and beloved that only Philly could keep it so well unknown (despite small attempts to spread).

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Announced proposal for William Penn Foundation hyperlocal investment

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One half of the influential round table at the unveiling of a proposed William Penn Foundation news innovation involvement.

Forty leaders in Philadelphia media were on hand last week for the unveiling of a structure to develop more public affairs journalism in the region, as proposed by a university research center on behalf of the William Penn Foundation.

From 8:30 a.m. to after 2 p.m. on Jan. 7 inside the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission conference room of the American College of Physicians Building in Old City, a series of discussions focused on bolstering the next generation of news gathering in Philadelphia around community-building and replacing competition with collaboration.

Explicit details were left slim to encourage a dialogue, but loosely defined, Jan Schaffer, the executive director of American University-housed J-Lab, recommended an aggregated content hub that could be supplemented by a limited editorial team. The funded sustainability of that recommendation was not detailed, but rather suggested to be put off for three years until an appropriate level of support was developed, she said. Hers were only recommendations for the Penn Foundation. No action was announced, nor taken.

Rather, Schaffer, a former Philadelphia Inquirer business editor and Pulitzer Prize winner, led a fact-finding research project for the better part of 2009 on behalf of the Penn Foundation, which included more than 60 interviews and ran from July to October. The day was her chance to gauge response. She has not yet submitted a formal proposal but, she said, expects to do so this quarter. Last week’s open unveiling and ensuing feedback would inform her final suggestions, she said.

The ramifications of what Schaffer proposes could have a historic impact. That is, if anything happens at all.

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Take aways from the Future of Local Politics and the Web panel

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A panel held by Refresh Philly on the Future of Local Politics on the Web at the Comcast Center in Center City Philadelphia Nov. 2, 2009. From left: Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce CEO Rob Wonderling; pa2010.com contributor Benjamin Barnett; Young Philly Politics contributor Alex Urevick-Ackelsberg and myself who moderated. Photo by Sean Blanda

Whether Web technology and social media can have a major impact on local politics in a place like Philadelphia or if they remain secondary tools, became the major topic and a divided one at a panel that served as the November Refresh Philly meeting.

The hour-long panel discussion, which I moderated, was entitled the Future of Local Politics and the Web.

  • Panel member Alex Urevick-Ackelsberg, a co-founder of progressive policy online forum Young Philly Politics, seemed dogged in his assessment that the Web remains a supplementary tool to traditional campaign field operations.
  • Panel member Benjamin Barnett, the micro-blogger for statewide campaign news site pa2010.com spoke about the role the Web could have in boosting the profile and followship of otherwise limited candidates, most notably citywide Republican candidate in heavily Democratic Philadelphia.
  • The third panel member Rob Wonderling, the new CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, was careful not to overstate the role the Web can play on a municipal level but split somewhere in the middle by noting its role in championing transparency and responsiveness of government.

While that discussion remained most present during the event, there was plenty more to be had. Below some other take aways, video of the event and questions I didn’t have time to ask.

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