In spring 2021, I met up with a formerly Philly-based software engineer friend who was visiting the city, where I live. He’d left for Seattle a few years before when the local startup he worked for was acquired by a company there. As we chatted, he told me he remembered a tech scene full of meetups, happy hours and splashy Philly Tech Week kickoff events — all in person, of course.
He asked: Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, how was the tech scene really doing with all of that suddenly gone? Was there even a “scene” to speak of?
I had no idea how to answer him.
Back then, we at Technical.ly were still asking questions like “Where do technologists find community these days?” and “Does place still matter?” All-virtual-everything was still the norm, with no clear end to the pandemic in sight. It would take another couple of months for in-person — yet still outdoor — gatherings to become common, and still several months more for many to feel comfortable gathering indoors.
Nowadays, things look a little different, if not totally back to so-called normal. Corporate tech employers require at least some in-office work. Meetup groups are once again a third space following “pent-up demand” for casual networking and professional development (albeit with some growing pains). And for the first time since 2019, Technical.ly’s signature Philly Tech Week presented by Comcast conferences and celebrations will be entirely IRL.
In May 2023, Technical.ly is examining the state of both local tech economies and local tech communities, and how they interact with each other, for State of Local Tech Month.
We’re assessing: How vibrant are local tech communities at this stage of the pandemic? Which meetups and other professional hubs are most active? How are city centers recovering from pandemic-prompted economic setbacks, or not? Are remote and hybrid work actually as universal as they may seem, and what skills do local employers most seek?
Expect reporting on which industries are thriving in each of our markets; the lingering impact of Silicon Valley Bank’s demise on local startups; hiring and workplace culture trends; and related trends and issues. We’ll also seek to address what local means now, and why where we live and work matters.
As usual, we’ll publish explainers and guest commentary from experts and those with lived experience. Plus, in the next few weeks, look for the 2023 editions of Technical.ly’s annual RealLIST Connectors tracking the most connective tech community members in each of our markets. (Our RealLIST nominations form is now open year round!)
If we do our jobs right, I’ll be able to call up that transplanted friend and tell him: It’s back, and here’s what you’re missing.
Tell us: What notable trends do you see in your local tech community? Pitch a story or guest post by getting in touch with the newsroom:
And if you’re anywhere near the Philadelphia region, be sure to check out the full slate of Philly Tech Week 2023 events:
Knowledge is power!
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