Philacon Valley: The surging technology communities of Philadelphia, the Delaware Valley

The older streets of Philadelphia with the Center City-skyscraping Liberty Towers peering over.

Wipe clean the rust.

Philadelphia, Pa., the first great and longest-lasting great American city, which fell on long-hard, embarrassing times for much of the second-half of the 20th century, has every reason to take on the future of urban existence — innovation.

I’m using the opportunity to also introduce a new venture, Technically Philly, a blog covering the community of people using technology in Philadelphia.

And that community is growing. If it’s green development or technology, Philadelphia has a thriving underground version of it. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Philacon Valley.

OK, OK, yeah it’s lame, but I can’t help but notice there is some sort of buzz of late about innovation in this old, beleaguered metropolis. It is home to the rapidly, perhaps terrifyingly, expanding telecommunications giant Comcast. The blossoming Philly geek scene holds the underground crown of the country. The city is full of happy start-ups. Philly is silly with blogs, from geeks, to hipsters, to, well it all.

Though the major players in this two newspaper town are often criticized, they hold a particular distinction from their sister organization, which is, fair or not, claiming profitability and ratcheting success. WHYY is rolling out some lovely online innovation itself. Like all good innovation, frustration is leading now to residet action, instead of inaction. Younger audiences are having a country-wide impact. The national NewsInnovation BarCamp is in Philly, as is one of the most active co-habitation work spaces, Independents Hall.

We at Technically Philly, also founded by my dear friends Sean Blanda and Brian James Kirk, want to cover all of that.

We all love Philadelphia, but we are also journalists, so we won’t ignore the bad. And there’s bad.

The economy has slowed Philly’s wage-tax eradication. Philly doesn’t seem to get much love for anything nationwide, and tech is another example. Forbes recently called it just the 28th most wired city in the country.

Silicon Valley has gotten widespread enough that there are bound to be spin-offs, particularly when the scene is hard hit.

This city has two hip alternative weeklies, a righteous blog scene, including two dominant citywide fixtures, Philebrity and Phawker, all of whom can help promote this scene outside of the region. I hope they will, another way we can fight that pesky self-defeatism.

What do you think about Philadelphia’s technology, innovation or other underground subcultures? Is this news for those unfamiliar with Philadelphia – or even those from the region?

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