Diversity & Inclusion

It’s my birthday. Here are my 3 wishes for the Delaware tech scene

This is what I want from you, Delaware.

A special day. (Photo by Flickr user Rich Renomeron, used under a Creative Commons license)

Hiya, Delaware. It’s my birthday, so I’m going to do something I’ve never done here before and pivot Technical.ly Delaware’s lens for a minute. Let’s get a little personal, shall we?
It may be my birthday, but more importantly, this coming week will mark six months since I began reporting on Delaware’s tech scene. Not long, I know — but in the trampled trenches of the beat reporting world, it’s long enough to have thoughts. I want to share those thoughts with you.
We’ve made a lot of progress together since I started in April. The tech community here is undoubtedly still a fledgling one: a ragtag band of misfit technologists, creatives, entrepreneurs, connectors, educators and advocates from all walks of life. It’s a scrappy crew, for sure — but it’s a scrappy crew with determination, passion for its purpose and an all-inclusive perspective.
Delaware, you’ve got a shit-ton of moxie. That’s why I like you. But you’re not always easy to love.
You know as well as I do that as of now, there’s not always local tech news to report on here or new profiles to write up (though there’s almost always new drone ‘tent [Editor’s note: That’s internal Technical.ly lingo for “content”]), but this community is in a constant state of growth. I was always aware of that, but I wasn’t really able to capture the full-effect of that growth until this past week’s Delaware Tech Meetup. For every old friend we’ve lost to greener startup pastures, we’ve managed to welcome new ones. We’re experimenting with new ideas and concepts.
We’re growing. Fast.
That being said, now’s as good a time as any for me to throw on my onerously conceited sweet 16 getup and flat out tell you what I want to see from you. This is my birthday wishlist.

1. A bigger push around civic tech

I’ll never forget the reactions from this community when I first started reporting here and began asking around about civic tech (or, as many of you referred to it, “civil tech”). There was almost nothing. The pieces were all in place, but the notion hadn’t been planted. That scene is gradually coming together, but it’s not going to happen by itself. A government can only be as open and accessible as its constituency wants it to be, and that takes advocacy. Just up the road, Philly is crushing in this regard.
Want more open data? Ask for it. Want an easier way to understand that information? Build a tool. Want to know why the governor has a secret email address under the moniker of a popular country music signer? Don’t we all.

2. Even more inclusivity

One thing I heard more than once at the latest Delaware Tech Meetup is how comfortable Delaware’s tech scene is and how welcoming the people within it are (someone said Delawareans “all hug each other”). That’s great and all, but we can do even better.
There are exceptionally talented creatives and technologists right under our noses (and they’re not all dudes). They might not be entrepreneurs or working at startups, and they might not be in Wilmington or Newark — but they are here, operating on the outskirts of the community just beyond the limits of our reach. Let’s extend that reach a little further.

3. Patience

Straight-up patience. Patience with the growth of this community, patience with access to capital that will be reciprocated with the growth of this community and patience with each other. A community with sizable value and impact potential does not build itself. One stone at a time, we are building it together. Patience.
But do not have patience with me.
Tell me if you think I’m wrong, tell me what I should be doing instead — and tell me why. It’s my job as a beat reporter to know the beat I’m working inside out. If the people that make up that beat aren’t satisfied with my work, I need to know — not just for the sake of my credibility as a journalist, but for the welfare of this community.
Hit me up on Twitter. Reach out to me on our public Slack. Come to Delaware Innovation Week in November and confront me in person. Or just email me at tony@technical.ly. I’m here to serve. Help me serve you better.
That being said, I’m going to go crack a couple of beers and high-five my amazingly supportive and tremendously talented teammates at Technical.ly. Cheers!

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