This will be my first year of saying no

For as long as I remember, I was proud of being someone whose default response was YES. It was the right mind frame for my teens and 20s. But I turned 30 last year. And I now I want to get better at the other side of that spectrum: saying no.

So I made it one of my 2017 resolutions: to say NO more often. Though I hope to do lots with that perspective, it will come down to focusing my attention.

This is my pledge to myself that I will say no, that I will limit what I do and agree to so that I only focus on what I can do well. That means I will have to say no to things I care about.

One of the clearest ways I’m doing that is by dropping and limiting my existing extra curricular activities, while being far choosier about any I add. Understand: this does not mean I don’t have interest in these or other issues. This means I’m focusing on what I can provide unique value to and fits me now.

I’m aiming to take this more into my day job (so I don’t let my office get as cluttered and messy as it was in the header photo from early 2015) but for the first clearest way to show my progress, I wanted to share what I’ve already set in motion.

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How civic engagement is changing in Philadelphia

The ways that civic engagement is changing in Philadelphia was the focus of a short keynote I gave to help kickoff the Penn Public Policy Challenge at the Fels Institute of Government on Friday.

I focused on the public-private efforts that have been a defining part of the civic-minded technology community I’ve covered in Philadelphia for the last years. I spoke to about 40 mostly Penn graduate students who will be participating in the competition over the next few months. Find my notes below.

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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.

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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.

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.

NewsWorks Tonight: talking OpenDataPhilly.org, SEPTA’s TransitView and OPA Data Liberator

NewsWorks Tonight, the daily, local, drive-time news radio program on NPR-affiliate WHYY in Philadelphia, invited me on for a segment that aired Monday about the launch of OpenDataPhilly.org and other new data initiatives.

Though I was sure to note during my interview that OpenDataPhilly was built by development shop Azavea, unfortunately that was cut in the tight finalized product.

Listen to the entire show here. Below, listen to my short segment with host Dave Heller.

In addition to OpenDataPhilly.org, Heller asks me about the OPA Data Liberator project and SEPTA’s new TransitView initiative. To be clear, while related in audience and now included in ODP, those projects were not specifically created by using the data catalog’s information.

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I was recently interviewed for WHYY on eBay’s acquisition of regional e-commerce powerhouse GSI Commerce, but this was the first time I appeared on the new local radio program, which launched in May.

OpenDataPhilly.org unveiling, what it means, how it happened

More than 120 people crowded into the Dorrance Hamilton Public Media Commons at WHYY to watch a data catalog unveiled. The event was a part of Philly Tech Week.

Ten dozen people, including developers, journalists, nonprofit leaders, city representatives and the curious hung around for an hour, with standing room only left, to be there when OpenDataPhilly.org officially kicked off. That says something about the Philadelphia technology community and its interest in the online transparency movement around government.

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