Can you believe it’s that time of the year again?
Seems like only yesterday we were at last year’s stakeholder’s meeting at Linode’s forthcoming office, hearing others introduce themselves and (usually) stump for their company and the Philly tech scene in quick blurbs.
But this year, at our Stakeholder Breakfast, officially kicking off Philly Tech Week 2017 presented by Comcast, we shook things up. Sure, we heard from cofounder Chris Wink who talked about the need to foster more entrepreneurship in our region. We got a quick recap of Comcast’s entrepreneurship initiatives by way of Danielle Cohn and a praise for the Science Center from Jeanne Mell. Plus, Councilman David Oh presented a City Council resolution officially proclaiming April 28 to May 6 of 2017 as Philly Tech Week 2017.
But after the homemade English muffins were buttered (thanks, LocalStove) and the coffee was poured, we set up the curated list of community members with a Philly tech speed-dating session of sorts: go and meet someone you don’t know.
And wouldn’t you know it: there were lots of people that hadn’t met. Some had common ground or at least knew of each other. Others were complete strangers. But the conversations they established yielded a sneak peek into what our community makes of itself and some of the key discussions that are going to be happening throughout the year.
WeWork’s Anita Shannon and The Yard’s Tara Frankel
Funny enough, in a room filled with tech scenesters, reps from the two coworking centers quickly matched up. The Yard, a Brooklyn-based company slated to open its first Philly expansion this fall, is coming into a town where WeWork has four spots peppered across the city. Unsurprisingly, they found common ground in praising Philly’s tech growth.
“If there are more coworking spaces in town, it’s just better for Philly,” said Shannon of the incoming coworking provider.
Cecilia Mihalich from Cerner and Jeanne Mell from the Science Center
Mihalich was surprised to learn about the Science Center’s purpose (and longstanding tradition) having been a lifelong Philly resident. She raved to Mell about the concept of FailFest, also new to her ears.
“I’m going to steal that idea,” she told the Science Center’s VP of Marketing Communications, who in turn told Mihalich how pumped she was about the slate of PTW events happening at the Science Center as well as the Future of Digital Marketing conference.
Pedro Antenucci from Regulatory DataCorp and Technically Media’s Brian James Kirk
This one was quite surprising to this reporter. It’s not everyday you bump into a fellow Venezuelan during tech events. Antenucci took his moment with Kirk to say he wanted Philly Tech Week to engage the suburbs more. The company he works with is based out of King of Prussia. “This ecosystem needs to keep approaching the suburbs,” Antenucci said.
PromptWorks’ Dawn McDougall and O3 World’s Courtney Wilburn
You’d think Dawn and Courtney would have met in person before: Mc Dougall is the ever-active Code for Philly executive director (and, most recently, operations manager at PromptWorks) and Wilburn is a O3 World dev with a notable profile and coorganizer of Lesbians Who Tech.
The chat centered around the complexities of diversity in tech. Wilburn introduced McDougs to the concept of “diversity theater,” in which tech companies purposefully increase the profile of their diverse staff to create the illusion of an inclusive hiring process.
Philly Tech Week continues this afternoon with a bangin’ Innovation Crawl through town. See you there!
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