‘Journalism Thinking’ doesn’t need a business model. It needs a call to arms

I originally posted this on Medium here. It received considerable endorsement, including here, here and here.

Early professional news networks in the 14th and 15th centuries were couriers on horseback, informing warlords and merchants. Even competitors saw the value in shared professional news gathering, when there wasn’t a state-owned alternative. Subscriptions, then, subsidized the first foreign affairs and business reporters.

Over the next 500 years, innovations in distribution and in printing and paper technology shaped professional news-gathering into the 20th century model we most recognize today: advertising revenue subsidized relatively low unit costs to ensure widely available mass media (albeit almost exclusively from a white male perspective, but that needs its own post entirely).

Today we’re well into the first generation of the digital transformation of news-gathering and distribution. Yet we as journalism practitioners are still managing to underestimate how dramatically things have changed.

Continue reading ‘Journalism Thinking’ doesn’t need a business model. It needs a call to arms

A thank you to my coworkers ahead of Technical.ly’s 10th anniversary

A decade ago this month a couple friends and I started down a pathway that became Technical.ly so in the next couple weeks I am going to do some sharing.

A couple weeks ago, we hosted our inaugural Alumni Ball — gathering both current and former staff at the Pen and Pencil Club — and on February 26th in Philadelphia, we’re hosting a public celebration, conjoined with our largest jobs fair. We’ll also run plenty of editorial mentions honoring this anniversary.

First things first publicly, I wrote a Twitter thread unashamedly showing off about how lucky I feel about the team I am a part of right now. I’m sharing that here, with slight editing.

Continue reading A thank you to my coworkers ahead of Technical.ly’s 10th anniversary

I helped organize Code for America’s inaugural national Brigade Congress

Long a believer in the importance of the nascent civic technology community, I’ve been a fan of national nonprofit Code for America. So I was thrilled for the chance to support the group in producing its first ever Brigade Congress, a national unconference focused on civic tech, last month.

Continue reading I helped organize Code for America’s inaugural national Brigade Congress

Notes on reporting a challenging community journalism profile

I bylined a challenging profile of a Philly tech community member that published on Technical.ly last week. It was a 30-interview, 7,000-word kind of longread, something different than work I’ve done before.

I felt the story was important for a local community I serve, but I also felt there were broader lessons and concepts that I believe have relevance to other small communities everywhere. Between that and my own personal interest in continuing to develop my credentials in that kind of work, I invested quite a bit of my free time to the project over the last month.

We have published other pieces of longform — see other examples here. But this was the first person-specific long read profile I’ve written — others came close but were far less exhaustive. I have some thoughts to share below. If you haven’t already, please read the piece here.

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“I want a thousand 100-person companies”: a few notes on my part of a profile on Curalate CEO Apu Gupta

Writer John Marchese profiled Apu Gupta, the CEO and cofounder of image intelligence startup Curalate, in Philadelphia magazine this month. It’s a good piece, so read it.

(Last year, Phillymag kindly profiled my cofounder and I too )

I’ve followed Apu and Curalate since their earliest days and been long eager to discuss entrepreneurship ecosystem building in the Philadelphia region — as I do in a dozen other communities in the country. (Find Technical.ly coverage of Apu and Curalate, including the offices we shared).

Business communities need to grow new, dynamic companies. In a still young Philly tech startup sector, we’ve asked the question of whether Curalate will be that region’s next big story, as part of building its scene further.

So in trying to contextualize Apu’s importance, John joined me at our annual Super Meetup this summer and asked me some questions. I wanted to share a few more thoughts on the piece.

Continue reading “I want a thousand 100-person companies”: a few notes on my part of a profile on Curalate CEO Apu Gupta

What made me proud about our sixth annual Philly Tech Week

You determine success by what goals you set. The mission of Philly Tech Week from the very start six years ago was to create an entry point for others to discover the community of technologists and entrepreneurs bubbling up in Philadelphia.

So this annual, community-supported calendar of events celebrating technology, entrepreneurship and innovation in Philadelphia will have a role for as long as those subjects warrant local on-boarding. Led by us at local tech news network Technical.ly, some 50 partners put together 150 events during a 10-day period ending this past weekend. And though we’re still collecting survey results and feedback from attendees, organizers and supporters, the early feedback I remains consistent with past years: (a) the collective calendar brings more people out to all our events and (b) the attendees include community-regulars and, just as important, people trying to better understand how to join in.

When that stops, that’s likely when PTW (and events like it) cease to matter. What does change each year is what stands out to me as particularly telling or representative from the calendar. That’s where I’m often most proud.

Continue reading What made me proud about our sixth annual Philly Tech Week

Here’s the audio from my on-stage interview of Philadelphia Mayor Elect Jim Kenney

In front of an audience of 150 civil servants and economic development executives from throughout the mid-Atlantic, I interviewed last week Philadelphia Mayor Elect Jim Kenney for the second annual Rise conference on civic innovation we at Technical.ly organize.

Find the transcript and write-up here. Below listen to the audio,

Continue reading Here’s the audio from my on-stage interview of Philadelphia Mayor Elect Jim Kenney

What happens to old customers when your prices go up

Raising prices for a product or service is challenging. One strategy is to keep the headline price but simply offer a cheaper product — fewer chips in the bag, fewer deliverables in the sponsorship package.

But what happens when you so misfired from the get go that you can’t sneak in a change? Or, what if your product or service has simply gotten far better and more competitive?

I’ve heard lots of advice on how founders and early stage companies often start off by charging too little and need to try to maximize their ask early on. Too bad I didn’t know that starting Technical.ly — because our business team still struggles with the legacy of our pricing strategy from our founding, some six years ago.

Continue reading What happens to old customers when your prices go up