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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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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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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Featured speaker @ Sloss Tech in Birmingham, Alabama

I traveled to Birmingham, Alabama to be part of the revival of SlossTech, where I joined a panel discussing how different entrepreneurship ecosystems vary by geography.

Among my favorite pushes: Everyone has projections about why their city is special but spreadsheets are full of hopes and lies.

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A few notes from my conversation with Guy Raz of ‘How I Built This’

For Technical.ly’s postponed, all-virtual Introduced conference, I closed out the day interviewing Guy Raz, the influential podcaster behind ‘How I Build This.’ He has a new book by the same name.

For those interested in economic development and entrepreneurship, the conversation is worth a listen. My colleague Stephen Babcock put together a nice recap, and here are a couple points I took away:

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News organizations: how do you get throughout feedback from your community?

I assume that the idea of ‘letters to the editor’ was once a representative and effective means for news organizations to receive feedback from their community.

I’m not certain it remains so. For one, those can of course only be sent in for what has already been announced. I also get the sense not many reporters really listened or could gauge the preponderance of feedback.

The rise of quantitative surveying helps, though of course surveys are also not necessarily representative. We at Technically Media do our fair bit of surveying, after events and annually too. We also host regular curated groups of readers and (importantly) those we aspire to be readers of ours.

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I was given the ‘Community Leadership Award’ by the Urban Affairs Coalition

I was given a ‘Community Leadership Award‘ by the Friends of the Coalition, a young leaders group associated with the influential Urban Affairs Coalition.

Knowing UAC’s reputation, I would have already been proud, but I was also surrounded by impressive company. My longtime friend Helen Ubinas, an Inquirer columnist, also received an award. That’s us smiling together in the above photo.

In introducing me, Kevin Harden, Jr. cited my work over the last 10 years in local journalism and community organizing, with a special focus on our adding Generocity.org to our existing Technical.ly work. He thought Generocity’s work was of particular importance.

Thanks also to Brandon Johnson, Felicia Harris and the other Friends of Coalition members, and UAC Executive Director Sharmain Matlock-Turner and the entire UAC team.

Here are the simple remarks I jotted down and shared to a group of 100 or so, at a reception following UAC’s 50th annual breakfast.

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Klein News Innovation Camp keynote interview with Michael Smerconish

For the 11th annual Klein News Innovation Camp, an unconference on the future of news organized by my company, I interviewed our lunchtime keynote: Michael Smerconish, the radio personality and CNN host, Saturday. (Read coverage from Cover.This)

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Why we launched ADVANCE, a conference on smarter impact for nonprofit professionals

In 2015, my company began publishing a second brand: Generocity.org, which aimed to offer beat reporting on nonprofit and mission work in local communities, starting in Philadelphia.

We’ve learned plenty. Last week we hosted ADVANCE, a pilot one-day conference for Generocity’s audience of nonprofit professionals. The aim was to feature case studies and concepts that would help the 100 attendees advance their mission careers. Our keynote was Kickstarter cofounder and former CEO Yancey Strickler, who has a new book on a more just economy.

I helped introduce the day by setting up what our reporting has taught us about our audience, and this growing community of future-thinking impact leaders. Though a modest start, I think it’s important we piloted this conference.

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