I was honored with the 2024 IBIT “Innovators Award”

I proudly accepted Wednesday the “Innovators Award” from the Temple University Fox School of Business’s Institute for Business and Information Technology. The award is “given annually to a person or persons for innovation in applying IT to create business opportunity.”

The award was timed with the launch of the 14th annual Philly Tech Week, which I founded, and the 15th anniversary of Technical.ly, a local news org that has adapted in this strange economic period for community journalism. The transfer of Generocity.org last year was also a relevant example of my work.I was proud that my references for the award were my friends journalist-turned-college-dean David Boardman and entrepreneur Bob Moore. I formerly emceed these very awards, which are led by the thoughtful and analytical Munir Y. Mandviwalla and Laurel Miller. Knowing what they put into these awards made it all the more special. I was certainly in good company: My fellow award-winner was Jeff Hamilton, who was the CIO of Pfizer while the company rolled out its covid-19 vaccine.

Below, I share my remarks from the award event.

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Why do so many people hate journalists so much?

Why do so many people hate journalists so much? I think part of the answer is journalism isn’t only what you think it is. Gimme a sec.

Spoiler: I’m a journalist but more properly I’m a guy who founded a local news organization 15 years ago. Still going! So my entire professional career has been spent on the sustainability of local journalism. Career choices!

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I read 56 books in 2023

Gosh, that was a lot.

How? Well, a baby waking up at 5am ended up resulting in my reading way more than usual. Poor sleep all around, come to think of it, so in some sense I hope I don’t read this many books again. I also gave up most TV weeknights, though I already didn’t watch much. Find all my reading notes here, and see the list below.

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2024 Resolutions

I’ve started 2024 to continue what I started last year.

Looking back at years of resolutions I’ve had both sorts of plans: when I wanted to make change, and when I wanted to continue the work of the year prior. This year I intend to be more of the latter — no big changes intended. My post pandemic life emerged in 2023. I hope for 2024 to be stronger because of it.

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My 2023 in review

I’ll now always consider 2020-2022 as three pandemic years, and 2023 as something resembling a return. Much of what I did this year felt like setting a new normal, which I hope to continue in 2024.

I felt more sure as a parent, got back on a plane and felt so much more was in place at work. There were challenges to be sure, but I’m heartened to look at back at something more like the open life I’ve been lucky to have. Below, I share some highlights and review progress on my resolutions.

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Economic development strategies must focus on people, not companies

Economic strategies should focus on people, not companies.

It was always true but the pandemic made it obvious, as Technical.ly reporting has shown. I said something like that in an opening keynote before leading a conversation at the Young, Smart & Local conference in New Orleans last week. I then got to lead a conversation with Dominique Clarke of Tulsa Remote and Perry Sholes. I’ve written on the topic before, but I pulled together data analysis across my reporting. My slides and other pics courtesy of the conference are below.

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Named an ‘Advocate for Equity’

Though I was confident I wasn’t going to win, this really was one of those times where I felt honored to be nominated.

I was listed among five collaborators and genuine friends as a nominee to be called a top “Advocate for Equity” by 1Philadelphia, a new initiative focused on inclusive innovation in the region. My bud Michael O’Bryan, who runs a consultancy and is a popular champion of equity efforts, took the honor at an event Saturday. It was part of what the group calls its Innovation Weekend.

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Middle managers matter: remarks at TAB event

1 in 5 professionals in the United States now manages people — major growth since 2000, as our economy has shifted. Lots of them are there for the wrong reasons. The good ones do magic. I said something like this on behalf of Technical.ly next to honeygrow founder/CEO Justin Rosenberg and ORS Partners ops Leslie Hafter at this energizing breakfast conversation put on by Matthew Saline and Mike Krupit for the TAB CEO community. Thanks for the opportunity!

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Can we mourn men who have done terrible things?

How should men who have committed heinous acts be memorialized in death?

I was asked that after a video I posted about a friend’s murder, and I’d like to answer it with a different personal story. Years ago, one of my closest childhood friends was accused and convicted of one of the worst crimes we have in our society.

I hadn’t seen him in many years but it’s hard to learn something like that about someone you once knew so well. I thought a lot about his victims, people I never knew and how they’d have his scar for the rest of their lives. I looked back for signs, I considered what it said about me to have once been so close to someone who did a thing like that.

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