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Our 6 favorite #longreads of 2014

Grab your tablet and catch up on our picks for Philly's best longform writing of 2014.

A cell phone salesman goes from “minion” to lead developer; a young entrepreneur heads to Silicon Valley only to raise a seed round in Philadelphia; the city’s wage tax turns 75, will it live to see 100?

That’s a preview of some of our favorite longform writing on Philly this year. See our top stories below.


Squareknot’s $300K saga

“What follows is a story about what it takes to raise early-stage investment in this town. Namely, a prominent champion or two, momentum and some naïveté. We’ll spoil this part: [Jason] Rappaport raised a modest $300,000 exclusively from local investors and is on track to launch a public beta this month. But how he did it? That’s the more compelling story.”


Philly’s city wage tax just turned 75. Here’s its dubious legacy

“But for all the white papers, op-eds and panel discussions, the city’s tax structure, while most certainly flawed, is not a hindrance for starting a company. The messy tax policy, which prominently includes a local income tax, is a hindrance for bigger companies to stay. That means that the city wage tax may likely be the single most important — and addressable — public policy issue facing Philadelphia today.”


How a former cell phone salesman became a dev lead at Tonic Design

“South Philadelphian Mike Matranga was the first ‘minion,’ as the team calls them, but there have been many since: more than one-third of the nearly 30 DmgCtrl team members have been, or are currently minions, said cofounder Jason Allum. They are former youth ministers, servers, art students.”


What’s a B Corp and why does it matter?

“Long after the Dodge brothers first shocked polite society with their obscene displays of wealth and unwittingly enshrined shareholder wealth maximization into law, a new set of tycoons have built a new vehicle to overtake the shareholder model and deliver a new form of capitalism for a new century: the benefit corporation.”


Why dev firm Jarvus trained, then hired, Philly public school grads

Nafis Bey didn’t want to go to college. Instead, the soft-spoken West Philadelphia native decided to become an IT apprentice at the School District, where he learned how to fix computers and became one of Science Leadership Academy’s resident tech specialists. […] Bey, now 22, is one of two Philadelphia public school graduates who work at the eleven-person Northern Liberties dev shop Jarvus Innovations. Both of those Jarvus employees graduated from the School District’s Urban Technology Project apprenticeship program.”


Uber is fighting hard for friendly legislation in Pa.

State records for 2014 indicate the company has sunk more than $93,000 so far into lobbying efforts, a paltry sum for a juggernaut of a tech company now valued at $18 billion, but nonetheless significant for what it represents: Uber’s cozying up to the very forces of regulation it claims to be doing battle against. (By comparison, Uber has spent a little more than $60,000 on lobbying in Maryland, the first state to rule Uber a transportation — not technology — company.)”

Companies: B Lab / Squareknot / Tonic Design / Jarvus Innovations / Uber

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