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Mar. 3, 2010 12:36 am

Ignite Philly 5 marks age of social entrepreneurs, city’s Google bid

Last November, we asked if the Philadelphia technology community was ready to take the next step. Tonight, at a trimmed-down Ignite Philly, we got a glimpse of what those next steps may look like. The event, which forces speakers to cram a presentation into a fast-moving five-minute speech was better attended and was better at […]

Last November, we asked if the Philadelphia technology community was ready to take the next step. Tonight, at a trimmed-down Ignite Philly, we got a glimpse of what those next steps may look like. The event, which forces speakers to cram a presentation into a fast-moving five-minute speech was better attended and was better at holding the attention of attendees than its predecessor (see our humble slideshow).

Fresh on the heels of new technology-based tax incentives, City Councilman Bill Green and Philadelphia CTO Allan Frank kicked off the event by announcing the city’s effort to lure Google’s new Fiber project to the city, an effort that began earlier this week using a #phillyfiber hashtag campaign (much more about the effort here).

Shortly after the rushed Google announcement and after Indy Hall co-founder Alex Hillman‘s subtle rebuttal, the night was characterized by a string of presentations focusing on social entrepreneurship.

The event was one of over 60 Ignites taking place on six continents as part of Global Ignite Week. As part of the Philadelphia event, the organizers were able to donate the event’s 235 five dollar ticket sales to raise $1,175 for Girls Rock Philly, a summer camp that helps young girls become musicians.

After the jump we hand out some awards for the event including best quote, best presentation and the “Kids Table” award.

BEST OVERALL AWARD

Raymond Weitekamp of Princeton’s Laptop Orchestra

Unlike the Oscar’s we won’t make you wait until the end to hear our best of show: Raymond Weitekamp of Princeton’s Laptop Orchestra.

Weitekamp demoed the group’s new software that uses the tilt of your Apple laptop to manipulate the music software of your choice. Therefore using a combination of tapping on the laptop, moving it around and pressing keys, the laptop can become its own spatially-aware musical instrument.

REVERSE SALESMAN AWARD

Although it strives to avoid sales pitches, the average Ignite presentation typically includes a plug for a business on the final slide. Septa Watch‘s Colin Weir, however, just had one goal: to tell us all how he became “Wikipedia Brown” through his knowledge of random facts.

The presentation had no motive (that we know of) and just served as a vehicle for Weir to express his love of history, trains and radios and offer some advice on how others might become as knowledgeable.

TECHNICALLY NOT TECH AWARD

Named after our weekly Monday feature, Jamie Salm of Mio Design‘s presentation about sustainable industrial design purposefully avoided anything technical to instead focus on the goals of their product designs. The result? Lot’s of cool projects that we’d like to use to deck out our future Technically Philly offices.

COLLEGE ROOMMATE AWARD

Michael Highland presents about dreaming and video games. The slide behind him (a screen shot from Zelda: A Link to the Past) reads: “You are the hero in this dream”

Anyone who has ever gone to college had a friend who, in a “moment of clarity,” often shared a long-held and often long-winded idea that bordered between brilliant and bizarre. Phrases like “have you ever just looked at the stars, man?” come to mind.

We had flash backs to our days at Temple when Michael Highland spoke about connecting lucid dreams with his work as a video game designer. The presentation was a strange exercise in self-analysis that will have us looking at Call of Duty differently for the rest of our lives.

KIDS TABLE AWARD

 

Largely addressing a crowd of 20 and 30-somethings, Philly venture capital veteran Garrett Melby described the work of GoodCompany Ventures, a nonprofit focusing on incubating businesses for social good. Decked out in the sleek white dockers of a yacht captain, Melby did what a good Ignite presenter should, he helped unveil a whole new industry. And, it turns out, Philadelphia has a leading role in the socially conscience venture capital community.

BEST QUOTE

 

We’ll agree with @trevmx on this one. It goes to OpenHatch‘s Asheesh Laroia: “What I like about being human is that there are a lot of people like me.”

Laroia, of course, was talking about using common experiences to help motivate each other to become better people. In this context, he was referring to helping a friend learn how to cook by sending her all a recipe along with all of the food required.

Technically Philly staff writer Christopher Wink contributed to this report.

Disclosure: Alex Hillman is a monthly sponsor of Technically Philly.

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Sean Blanda is an adviser to Technical.ly, the local technology news network, having cofounded its flagship Technically Philly in February 2009. He is a media consultant, engagement editor for Behance and lives in Brooklyn, NYC.

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