We hear a lot of chatter about Philadelphia’s brain drain, particularly from our technology community. We’ve read the reports and heard the studies, but we wanted to hear from the people who have actually left. Why’d they go, would they stay, will they come back? So here now, we introduce Exit Interview, a weekly interview series with someone who has left Philadelphia, perhaps for another country or region or even just out of city limits and often taking talent, business and jobs with them. Let’s see if there are any surprises.If you or someone you know left Philly for whatever reason, we want to hear from you. Contact us.
First up is Greg Wilder of Orpheus Media Research, the music technology company and Switch presenter. As always, the conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
When did you actually leave Philly? And where did you go?
December 15th, to Brooklyn’s DUMBO area.
Why did you leave for Brooklyn?
We knew for a while that Orpheus Media Research needed to move in the beginning of 2011.
The reason we needed to move OMR is, because we are working in media and music, there were no clients or momentum in Philadelphia. We were Megabusing it all the time. That gets old very fast. We weren’t gonna move to Los Angeles so we decided New York is the place to be then.
When you present in person you can get six times more done than in a call. When we would show up to client we would get a ton done. When we were Megabus-ing, we would say “with one day in New York, we got done 2 weeks worth of work in Philly.”
Allison [Conrad], our COO, has moved as well. Bruce [Margetich], our interim CEO, is staying in Philly because he’s well plugged into the capital community there. That’s one of the reasons we will be back and forth a lot, and we’ll still be at Indy Hall.
Was there a specific event or moment that you realized you had to leave?
It first hit me in a day-long meeting spending the whole day in New York and we got so much done by being here. It was like “my god, we have to be here” It was a number of months ago. Last Spring, even.
Was there anything that could have been done differently to keep you?
If the music industry was more present, we wouldn’t have left Philly. It wasn’t a personal decision.
Will you ever return to Philly?
If we are in a position where are partnerships are solid, maybe. For example, Pandora is in Oakland and they can be there because of where they got in the industry. We could be anywhere. It’s very likely that we would come back one day.
When someone you meet from outside the region asks about Philadelphia and its startup/tech community, what do you tell them?
The first thing I mention is Indy Hall. When I tell people we are from Philly, they say “There’s a really hip tech scene out there.”
One of the things that happened last night, actually, is that we went to the wine and spirits shop downstairs and I told the girl there that we were form Philly. And the girl said “Aw Philly is my favorite American city. A lot of New Yorkers say that they love Philly better.”
What can we look forward to from OMR in your new digs?
Ever since Switch, we basically are in a period of rapid expansion. After the holidays, there will be a shit storm of news coming out of OMR.