First, let’s acknowledge that three years is not a terribly long time.
Still, I’m proud that three years ago last month, Brian James Kirk, Sean Blanda and I launched a blog to cover the technology community of Philadelphia. Three years later, we are full-time employees of a growing business with a good reputation.
In that time, we’ve had some accomplishments that are worth being proud of. It’s been a learning experience to be sure.
First, our organization is changing in lots of ways.
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.
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.
Sometimes, if not most times, what happens outside of the sessions can be what’s most valuable about a conference.
I learned plenty the traditional way at the 2011 Online News Association national conference, held in Boston this weekend Sept. 22-25, but I surely got more out of reconnecting with friends and colleagues from other markets, even more than I remember doing at past professional events. It also didn’t hurt that I dove more into Boston than I have while visiting elsewhere for work travel.
After a few years co-running a sustainable niche news site, participating in the online discourse around news innovation and attending events like ONA and others from the Aspen Institute, the University of Missouri and, yes, our own BarCamp NewsInnovation, I felt like attending the event was just as important to talk shop with others doing similar work across the country as it was to catch up on a lot of in-session conversations that felt less relevant to where we are professionally.
Tourism and good, smart friends aside, below I share what I learned in a conference’s traditional way.
(As noted here a couple months ago, we actually had a few fun shots taken by another great Philadelphia photographer, Neal Santos, but that just in preparation for another photo shoot altogether and weren’t formal headshots.)
The inaugural Philly Tech Week has passed, and I shared a roundup of the entire week, but I wanted to focus in on one of the larger events.
As I noted, my Technically Philly colleagues and fellow PTW organizers each took hold of a portion of the nine of the week’s 65 events that we organized. Among what I handled was taking the lead on our Friday night Signature Event, featuring a 150-person, catered cocktail reception at WHYY in Old City, featuring keynote speaker Rich Negrin, the City of Philadelphia Managing Director who discussed good government initiatives.
I have some take aways below, which I hope to add to, in addition to the text of the quick address I gave to kick off the evening and video, showing that I’m not very good at actually listening to what I write.
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.
The annual national Online News Association conference, to be held this fall in Boston, has launched its 2011 panel picker, in which those interested can vote to support their favorites of a couple hundred suggested sessions.
I am somewhat involved in three. To vote, users just need to sign up with an email. If you’re interested give love to any of these three:
Data Sets You Free — Informed by my Transparencity work, I proposed to lead a session with Robert Cheetham of Azavea and Chris Satullo of WHYY that would focus on the following: “In Philadelphia, a GIS shop, an NPR affiliate, a foundation, an indie news site and a technology community are coming together to organize, catalog, share and use city government data to create applications, stories and coverage that boosts transparency and efficiency. This presentation focuses on what was done, why collaboration was important and lessons on doing the same elsewhere.” Questions: 1. Why is government data so important? 2. What are challenges, obstacles and lessons from an actual example? 3. What can other journalists learn from such a project?
This isn’t a panel: 10 lessons from Technically Philly — “10 actionable lessons derived from what we’ve learned building Technically Philly, a profitable blog that covers technology in Philadelphia. No panel discussion, just 10 takeaways that you can use at your job tomorrow including sources of revenue and editorial philosophies that you didn’t learn in journalism school.”
Making it work with a small staff — Organized by colleague Sean Blanda, “How can you keep the lights on and the posts coming when you have a staff of ten or less? Join us as we discuss the workflow hacks and editorial jujitsu necessary for a first-rate news site.”
For now, it’ll have about a post a week, usually focusing on lessons in growing audience and sharing content online, in addition to specific case studies from our work and now, whenever we have the chance to grab someone smart who pops into our new office to talk about journalism, the future of news and the like, we’ll share a new episode in our Whiskey Chats podcast.
We launched the first episode this week when former TBD.com General Manager and WashingtonPost.com executive editor Jim Brady stopped by.
Thanks to Sean Blanda for editing and naming the product.