Mashable, the seventh most popular blog on the Web, often hosts mixers in its home city of New York, but hasn’t wandered down the New Jersey Turnpike to kick it with Philly.
As any Phillies fan can tell you, Philadelphia and New York sometimes have a contentious relationship. Admittedly, Technically Philly feared that a New York brand would just elbow its way into throwing a party, take our money at the door and potentially disrespect the city’s tech scene.
However, co-organizers Alex Hillman, of Old City’s Independents Hall, and Mashable’s COO and events planner Adam Hirsch say they both took great pains to be sure the event wasn’t simply a New York takeover.
“If they would have came in and done the event without reaching out to us it would have been detrimental,” Hillman said. “Not just to the event, but to the relationship between New York and Philly.”
Hirsch said that he was in talks with IndyHall for months before announcing the event, and never considered doing the event without the support of the coworking group. When reaching out from New York, Mashable usually likes to partner with a local presence, and tries to avoid throwing parties without community support.
“There’s a good chance that would have created tension between the two,” said Hillman, “I think they went about it in a good way.”
Hillman was adamant about having the Mashable party align with the interests of the Philadelphia community and the IndyHall brand, and pushed for Mashable to change some of its normal practices.
“It is a different type than we usually do,” said Hirsch, “One: it’s free. Two: it’s on a Friday night.”
As a point of comparison, Hirsch has also planned an Atlanta event in May that is being held on a Thursday and costs attendees $20 a pop, but will feature a live band and open bar. The Philadelphia event is free, takes place in a larger venue and will have sponsors take care of much of the bar tab. The Atlanta event is currently sold out, while Cavanaugh’s should have space to spare.
“In New York people are used to paying $10 to $20 dollars per event, just because all of these venues in New York charge to rent the venue,” said Hirsch, who says that Mashable only aims to break even when hosting events.
In Philadelphia’s case, Mashable was responsible for their own travel expenses and for acting as the national mouthpiece for the event. IndyHall secured a location, promoted it locally and signed up local sponsors to help pay for the liquor and event costs.
Hirsch, who has never been to a tech event in Philadelphia, also anticipates that the Philadelphia event will be different in scale compared to other cities.
“Obviously there aren’t going to be the big name brands that you see at the New York or San Fransisco events. By big name brands I mean the startups that people sometimes associate with Web 2.0: your Googles, Microsofts, or Yahoos.”
He said New York and San Fransisco often have their technology scenes so fragmented that it is hard to get all sectors together in one event. He believed Philadelphia is capable of bringing together all pieces in one event.
If Mashable sticks around, they may see their prediction of a unified tech scene come true. The day after the Mashable meetup is Ignite Philly and Indy Hall’s first day at their new offices is the following Monday.
“It’s going to be completely ridiculous,” said Hillman.-30-