A few additions to Philadelphia magazine’s profile of Technical.ly

Ahead of the fifth annual Philly Tech Week, Philadelphia magazine profiled Technical.ly, the local tech news site I cofounded that helps to organize the calendar of more than 150 events.

The piece is fair, largely flattering but challenging, too. It was written by Joel Mathis, whom I’ve come to know some through Philadelphia media circles but got to speak to more at length during the interview process (thanks for the interest Joel). I can admit that I was nervous how the piece would land after I found out the magazine announced plans to launch a vertical focused on “innovation,” but I’ve seen the piece and their plans for Biz Philly appear to be a wider business blog.

It’s still a strange time here for the local news media environment.

Still, though I think Joel did a fine job, I wanted to share a few more background thoughts for those who might be interested. Read the item here, or find a PDF of the article here or buy the mag if you can, then check out below.

(Also, check out this cool blog post of a mutual friend who reached out to make sure the typewriter I’m using in the photo was authentic — it was a gift from my grandfather.)

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Civic hacking helps us understand bigger social problems

Civic hacking is the act of using simple technical solutions to address or better understand bigger social problems. That’s something I found myself saying in an effort to better convey why open data and digital civic engagement isn’t just a distant issue for technologists but instead the conversation of transparency for today.

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3 themes of the Millennial generation

As part of a Philadelphia magazine issue on the ‘Millenial’ generation, I was interviewed in a Center City coffee shop by Nick Vadala, the bright, bearded and 20-something magazine contributor who was a former intern of mine at Technically Philly.

He was asking me about trends in our generation’s employment goals, and I found myself saying that we seemed defined (and work) by three themes, which made it into his nut graf but isn’t online yet so I wanted to share here.

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Mark Headd is your new Chief Data Officer: Philadelphia magazine

The future for the new City of Philadelphia Chief Data Officer Mark Headd and his role on this local government’s online transparency was the focus of my first contribution to Philadelphia magazine.

I’ve followed Headd, the city’s transparency movements and the open government movement for years, so I was eager to pitch and report out a more general-interest focused story. I was also excited to get the piece out to a broader audience — thanks to editor Tom McGrath for the interest and the opportunity.

I suggest you buy a copy, but you can also see the story online.

As always, I share some of what didn’t make it into the story below.

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Phillymag coverage of William Penn Foundation taking on News Inkubator concept

Illustration by Samuel Rhodes for Phillymag

In this month’s Philadelphia magazine, former CityPaper news editor Jeff Billman covers the forthcoming William Penn Foundation-funded news institute at Temple University and notes its roots in Technically Philly’s News Inkubator pitch:

…Quality journalism costs money to produce; these sites need both enough readers to attract advertisers and somebody to sell them ads. And that’s where the incubator comes into play. Ultimately, it may build upon an elegantly simple proposal pitched (unsuccessfully) last year by local tech blog Technically Philly to the Knight Foundation’s News Challenge: Packaged together, a dozen or more independent sites could offer advertisers hundreds of thousands of visitors, rather than a fraction of that on their own...


It’s seen as a great compliment that News Inkubator in any way influenced.

Click to enlarge.

The Philly Post: City departments that need a Web overhaul

As part of a push for a broader readership, back in March Technically Philly announced a content partnership with Philadelphia magazine and its new daily blog.

Fellow co-founder Brian James Kirk has been writing most of the weekly posts, as he’s still freelancing. But last week, I filled in, penning a short feature on five City of Philadelphia departments that could use a touch of Web openness.

The use of technology to transform government has been a growing municipal interest in city halls across the country.

Here, the City of Philadelphia has announced intentions to release a service-orientated 311 iPhone application, it’s applying for ultra high-speed broadband from Google and it’s in hot pursuit of a funded team of developers and technologists which may someday make our every government transparency dreams come true.

The overtures are there, even if the substance hasn’t yet hit the pavement.

Read the rest here.

Technically Philly stories that were picked up by others

When I hear from community members, readers and casual observers of the topically-focused, community-orientated Technically Philly news site I’ve helped grow over the past 14 months or so, I hear about it being a platform.

Yes, we offer the coverage on the city’s technology policy and trends in the region’s digital divide like no one else in the market, but increasingly I’m told about our value as a voice box for the growing cluster of startups, innovators and technologists who are calling Philadelphia home.

It struck me that someone ought to be tracking the stories that we find that bubble up through larger regional and national publications. It’s a role we very happily play, both for the city and for the companies and leaders we cover.

Below, some of the more notable examples, a list I hope to update in the future, if only for my own curiosity.

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Philadelphia Wedding: Old boyfriends make bad guests

Photo by Allebach. See more at Philadelphia-WeddingPhotography.com.
Photo by Allebach. See more at Philadelphia-WeddingPhotography.com.

Philadelphia Wedding is a beautiful glossy quarterly ancillary of the Philadelphia magazine brand, and, as I tweeted yesterday, I am thrilled to say I have the back page essay in the most recent issue on newsstands now.

A former girlfriend with a suddenly hyphenated name e-mailed me recently. Buried three paragraphs down, she alerted me to the fact that she was now happily and beautifully married. Not long before that, I’d received a text message from my first serious girlfriend, a girl who had once drawn hearts on my biology notebook, telling me she now had a child — this before I even knew she had a serious significant someone. [Source]

As always, I’ll share some extras that didn’t get in and some background after the jump.

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Four ways to improve the Philadelphia magazine Web site


A host of people smarter than I am call Philadelphia magazine home.

Better writers, reporters, editors, designers, photographers and more. I suspect they know worlds more about the business model, their print product and Web presence, but I can’t help but think Phillymag.com has a lot of work to be done.

Their lessons are worth learning for all publications on the Web, particularly magazines. Philadelphia is too large a market, and Philadelphia magazine is too historic a product for both not to be served by innovation in every field and industry.

Below see four broad areas Philadelphia magazine can improve its less-than-remarkable online product.

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