Philly Tech Week organizers, from left, Corinne Warnshuis, Christopher Wink, Kate Leshko, Juliana Reyes and Brian James Kirk. Photo by Colin Lenton
Technology has always been a way to open doors, if even just a crack. Today, as the fourth annual Philly Tech Week Presented by AT&T officially begins, let’s celebrate how it can help us lead identity building for the Northeast region of the country.
Generation-defining communications platforms and tools that help us discover and improve and understand our world better have taken us to new worlds and better connected us on old ones. Technology has made wealth and helped escape poverty. Not for all, not even for most, but it has certainly shown the way.
Because of the idealism that infuses innovation, there needs to be an inclusiveness at the very core of any community of people aiming to explore and exploit technology, whatever that technology is in a given era. Meritocracies are heady things to build, but certainly we can aspire to be focused on striking that balance between welcoming any and all new faces that wash upon our digital shores and celebrating the prideful tribalism of what we know.
Let’s use and promote and come to know the local leaders and companies and groups that define what it means to be from Philadelphia. But let us also recognize the broader narrative by which we will be defined.
Global consciousness is not foolish and American exceptionalism is not new, but add to your spirit an appreciation for the quickly defining mega-region of which Philadelphia is a center.
From Boston to Washington D.C. at the least, with Philadelphia, New York and Baltimore in the middle (Delaware and New Jersey to boot), the Northeast corridor of the United States is one of the densest, most populated, best transited innovation hubs the world has ever known. Individually, we are all building creative communities that are reshaping how we want to be defined. Together, we could lead the next century of ideas at a time when the world is racing to join the celebration of them.
This momentary spotlight on technology and entrepreneurial communities can be a chance to bring us all together emotionally in a way that Amtrak trains help us do physically. Set aside the sports allegiances and food preferences, the stereotypes and jokes and think about how many customers and clients and investors and friends we have across this corridor.
We can be part of something bigger than ourselves. Technology can bring us together.
It’s that kind of thinking that the fourth annual Philly Tech Week Presented by AT&T hopes to engender. The kind of thinking that boasts of a local spirit and civic determination that inspires us to lift up our neighbors while also looks to learn from all of the best ideas that can be summoned and developed and delivered.
At the very time that digital technology becomes less of a sector and more of an underpinning of any industry we ever knew, this is when we should build up our cities, one of humanity’s best innovations and incubators for ideas, and break our borders, without losing a love for wherever we call home.
There will always be a Philadelphia identity, just like there will always be specialists who know how the plumbing works of our digital infrastructure. But when we share ideas during this celebration of new ideas in Philadelphia, let’s not forget that we aren’t competing with another place, we are competing with lesser versions of who we can become.-30-
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