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Yael Borofsky: new Technically Philly reporter returns to Philadelphia after 2.5 years in Bay Area

Another in the Entrance Exam series, as part of the Why I Love Philly campaign from Young Involved Philadelphia and Indy Hall. Tell the world why you love where you live by tweeting #whyilovephilly. When it comes to covering a community, it has always been an asset to have a healthy mix of reporters with […]

Another in the Entrance Exam series, as part of the Why I Love Philly campaign from Young Involved Philadelphia and Indy Hall. Tell the world why you love where you live by tweeting #whyilovephilly.

When it comes to covering a community, it has always been an asset to have a healthy mix of reporters with deep ties and others who bring fresh eyes. After three years of intensive coverage of the technology community here, it was time for a new perspective.

#notatSXSW: the next #whyilovephilly party

  • Tues. March 13, 6-9 p.m.
  • Extended Happy Hour @ Barcade
  • 1114 Frankford Avenue, Fishtown
  • RSVP here.
  • Hosted by Technically Philly, Geekadelphia, Indy Hall and Young Involved Philadelphia

A young, curious reporter who was living in San Francisco but with family in the region here seemed like a fine choice to add to the Technically Philly team as our newest dedicated reporter.

Meet Yael Borofsky, who was most recently serving as a project director and associate editor at the Breakthrough Institute, an Oakland, Calif. based think tank dedicated mostly to global energy and climate issues.

Borofsky, 24, was born at Thomas Jefferson Hospital and was raised with stints in the Art Museum district, Overbrook Park, New Jersey and Reading, though mostly in Oaks. To be fair, her Philadelphia authenticity needs no defending.

Despite her time in the Bay Area and dedicated Ivy League undergraduate career at Cornell, Borofsky was still penning a Flyers column for a small blog network. Yes. A Flyers column.

In the interview process, she stood out for other reasons too, so, like we do with other smart people who join the technology community here from areas far and wide, we wanted to learn more. Below, we talk more about her interests and how you can start a conversation with her before talking about your latest project.

Edited for length and clarity.

What is your interest in technology, specifically a local community of it?

The work I’ve done studying technological innovation at my previous job has made me interested in technology from a sociological perspective. What inspires someone to create something new? How do people — like me — react to new technologies and incorporate them into their daily lives? How do communities adjust to the positive and negative consequences of new technologies? These are the types of questions that make me so curious about reporting on the technology community in Philadelphia.

As a semi-outsider, there is really a sense in Philly that technologists are creating products and services to improve or enhance the lives of their fellow Philadelphians. I’m excited to understand how the tech community touches all the other communities that thrive within the city.

What are you most looking forward to about Philly?

I’m really excited to see the Phillies and Flyers play essentially whenever I want. I’ve also been following the renaissance of food and coffee in Philly and I can’t wait to discover my favorite spots. I love that feeling when you’ve got a go-to place in every neighborhood. It makes a big city feel like home. Oh! And I’m very happy to be so close to my family after living 3,000 miles away from them — Hi Mom!

Why should entrepreneurs and other tech community members come to you with their stories?

One thing I’m really fascinated with is how people come up with ideas and then bring them to fruition. I’m of the mindset that the most fantastic innovations are rarely the product of just one mind, which means technology creation stories are always full of quirky twists and improbable turns. I’m really curious to hear these tales so it’s a major perk that it’s my job to report on them.

Why do you think Technically Philly is a good fit for you?

Technically Philly is a great fit for me because it allows me to work at the intersection of some of my greatest passions: writing and journalism, technology and cities. It’s a pretty good deal that it’s my job to spend every day exploring and writing about technology in a vibrant and complex city like Philly. It’s also invigorating and motivating to work with people who share some of my passions.

What are you going to miss most about San Francisco/Oakland?

Aside from cheesy things like my friends — and our book club — roommates and my beautiful apartment in Noe Valley, I’m going to miss, in no particular order: the Saturday morning farmers’ market at the Ferry Building, Blue Bottle New Orleans style iced coffee, Cafe Sophie mochas with marshmallows, running through Strawberry Canyon to Grizzly Peak in Berkeley, beet balsamic ice cream and everything about hiking at both Big Sur and Point Reyes National Seashore.

OK, that’s a lot of things. I’m really going to miss the Bay Area. But I’m also stoked about living in Center City and bragging to my dad that I can eat at his favorite restaurant, Charles’ Plaza, whenever I want, without getting caught in traffic on 76.

What perceptions did you confront in San Francisco of Philly?

I think San Franciscans are totally convinced that all babies in Philly drink cheap beer.

Tell us something surprising about you that’s going to be a great ice breaker for someone to talk to you about?

If you want to get me monologuing about something other than curly hair, ask me about my memory blog, Mneumozine, about San Francisco or about my love for coffee.


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