What is the future of the Philly Startup Leaders listserv? [Infographic] - Technical.ly Philly

Dec. 6, 2012 10:30 am

What is the future of the Philly Startup Leaders listserv? [Infographic]

The Philly Startup Leaders [find our previous coverage here] listserv, the years-old, catch-all email discussion among some of its self-identified membership, is feeling a bit lonely these days, one tech scenester recently wrote to the community. “Our PSL listserve is awfully and eerily quiet,” wrote Rambesh Sambasivan. “I used to learn a lot just by listening in on […]

The Philly Startup Leaders [find our previous coverage here] listserv, the years-old, catch-all email discussion among some of its self-identified membership, is feeling a bit lonely these days, one tech scenester recently wrote to the community.

“Our PSL listserve is awfully and eerily quiet,” wrote Rambesh Sambasivan. “I used to learn a lot just by listening in on PSL conversations. It seems lifeless lately.”

Some suggested that it was the natural ebb and flow of things and that the listserv is more just a way to get your feet wet. The real conversations, one community member said, happen offline at events. And in the past couple years, the number of events in and around entrepreneurship has exploded.

Sign up for the listserv here.

Ben Farahmand, a graduate student at University of the Arts who’s writing his thesis on entrepreneurial learning in Philly, took a different approach. He created a visualization mapping how often certain words are used on the listserv. Though the methodology can be questioned, the perspective is there: a growing community tool that ebbs and flows.

Here’s his analysis:

It seems that the amount of times the word “help” is being used has significantly increased relative to other categories this past month. This means people are using the word “help” in one of two different situations: one where people are asking for help, the other for giving help. Without going into each email containing the word help and highlighting each sentence, it’s difficult to know whether asks or gives are occurring.

Visit Farahmand’s site here.

In the past, members of the half-decade-old, informal membership group have questioned the role the organization, particularly its wide-ranging email listserv, plays in the community.

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Before appRenaissance CEO Bob Moul took over volunteer leadership of the group in late 2011, PSL had lost two consecutive presidents to brain drain — one to the Valley and another to New York — and an outgrowth of new community resources had seemed to sap utility. But Moul’s new energy (and relationships) and an increasingly friendly climate between regional institutions and the early stage community have brought new life to PSL in the past year (like its PSL Labs initiative).

The listserv, though, is another, narrower matter. Still, for PSL’s own community, the format hasn’t yet been supplanted, so the energy might just return, for those who can handle the big spray of comments, questions and perspective that often come through.

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