Communities / Entrepreneurs / History / Media / Philadelphia

Watch the ‘Developing Philly’ docuseries, 10 years later

After episodes were screened at Philly Startup Leaders' Founder Factory, the filmmakers and community members featured in the series reflected on how the local tech community has changed.

(L to R) Alex Hillman, David Dylan Thomas, Maurice Gaston, Chris Cera and Bala Peterson discuss "Developing Philly." ( Huffman)
Who remembers what the Philly tech community was like 10 years ago?

Lucky for those of us who weren’t around or who don’t remember, the docuseries “Developing Philly” provides a time capsule into the tech community in 2012 and 2013. Members of the current Philly tech community gathered Monday night to watch episodes of the series and reflect on the last 10 years as part of Philly Startup Leaders’ annual Founder Factory event.

The series, which premiered at Philly Tech Week 2012, covers the history of the Philly tech community and the growth it experienced a decade ago.

David Dylan Thomas, one of the filmmakers, said during a panel following the screening that it was validating to see a group of people watching the documentary 10 years later.

“When we were making it, it never occurred to us that there would be new people entering the community,” he said. “For me, this would be a way to look back at the origins of that community.”

Maurice Gaston, the docuseries’ other filmmaker, said it’s valuable to watch the series now that there’s distance between himself and those experiences, and to reflect on how the community has and has not changed.

Alex Hillman, cofounder of Indy Hall, is featured in the docuseries. Watching it back years later, he said, he thinks the series captured the hopeful energy of the tech community at the time.

“I think the earliest days of Philly tech were unbridled hopefulness and optimism and people who thought they could do anything, even if it made zero sense at all,” he said. “To rewatch it and be like, no, we can be hopeful, I think is really important.”

If you’re curious to look back at what Philly tech was like at the time, you can watch the full seven episode series below:

Episode 1: “The End is the Beginning”

Episode 2: “Anyone Can Be an Entrepreneur”

Episode 3: “Come Together”

Episode 4: “Neighborhoods”

Episode 5: “Clubhouses”

Episode 6: “Get on Your Boots”

Episode 7: “The Shape of Things to Come”

Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2023 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
Companies: Indy Hall / Philly Startup Leaders

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