These are the 10 most talked-about Philly Startup Leaders listserv threads

Want to gauge what the region's tech scene cares about? Start with the year's most-discussed topics on the ever-lively PSL listserv.

Center City at night.

(Photo by Flickr user Michael Righi, under a Creative Commons license)

Failure. The city/suburbs divide. Organizational soul-searching. Misquotes in the news.

Those were some of 2014’s most-discussed topics on the very active Philly Startup Leaders listserv, the email home of the local tech group, according to data provided by PSL. (The listserv itself, we’ll say, is a great way to gauge the pulse of the local tech scene.)

We recap the most active threads below. You have to sign up for the listserv to get into the archives.


1. My Startup Has Failed. But it’s ok.

  • Steve Palmer explains to PSL why he shut down, a food truck locator. The community applauded his honesty and mulled the idea of acquiring “startup scrap,” or the code from a failed startup.
  • Ramesh Sambasivan said: “What the startup ecosystem needs is a code-shelter for abandoned code, just like an animal shelter exists for abandoned pets.”
  • See our story on the closing of here.
  • Palmer is still based in Lancaster but is now working at New York City-based Knack, a DreamIt Ventures company that allows users to build online databases.

2. Valley Forge Tech – Zonoff “Connected Home” Demo

  • A promo for the Valley Forge Tech Meetup turns into a slightly vicious city/suburbs debate because of how Zivtech’s Alex Urevick-Ackelsberg read a quote from Zonoff CEO Mike Harris.
  • Said DuckDuckGo’s Gabe Weinberg: “I see no useful distinction in terms of startups between Conshohocken and Manayunk, for example, even though one of them is technically in Philadelphia.”
  • Also discussed: The accuracy of the press.
  • For what it’s worth, the pair had beers and hashed it all out, Urevick-Ackelsberg told us last spring. 
  • See our story, on why Harris said it’s important to have a staff with a wide age-range, inspired by the thread here.

3. Project management software suggestions?


  • PSL members weigh in on their favorite project management software, including Asana, JIRA and PivotalTracker.

4. A sketch of what the PSL List could be

  • Inspired by conversations around the shortcomings of the PSL listserv, Kert Heinecke, who runs PSL Bootcamp, launches Sakuru, and PSL debates whether or not the PSL listserv needs fixing.
  • This is so meta.

5. Economical Color Label Printer Suggestions

  • This thread pivots (see what we did there) to a conversation around the question: Is it kosher to address a group as “you guys”? Do women care about this?
  • Said Benjamin Franklin Technology Partners’ Alan Kraus: “FYI–As a tournament Scrabble player, the Philly word ‘Youse’ has been an acceptable word for many years. Of course, that doesn’t address the original issue of whether the often used ‘Youse guys’ is politically correct.”

6. Reaction to story on Comcast

    • Here’s what happens when reporter (and, full disclosure, former intern) Rosella LaFevre posts a few out-of-context quotes from Comcast’s Chief Business Development Officer Sam Schwartz (from this Inquirer story) on the listserv: Madness ensues.
    • The tech scene also took to Twitter on this one.
    • Post-PSL thread, Schwartz invited a group of PSL-ers to Comcast to chat about how Comcast could get involved with the tech scene, PSL member Michael Bertoni told us last summer.
    • See our story touching on the tiff here.

7. Co-founder agreement when one invests in cash and the other in sweat-equity

  • PSL talks legal advice for a specific cofounder arrangement, lawyers advise against grabbing a template from the internet without consulting a lawyer.
  • Mentioned: Drexel’s Entrepreneurial Law Clinic (free legal advice) and Pepper Hamilton’s “emerging company program for qualifying companies on a shoestring budget.”
  • Also discussed: How do you feel about cofounder situations where one invests cash and the other invests sweat equity?

8. Tech Talent Moving To Philly From the ‘Burbs

  • A thread about how developers are opting more and more for jobs within city limits turns into a discussion about what many see as the real challenge: how to retain talent, given the dire straits that Philadelphia’s schools are in.
  • Said Phil Ives: “It’s a cake walk to get a Jr. developer with 3 – 5 years experience. It’s quite difficult to get someone with 5 – 10 years because they leave the city because they want a family and the school situation here is Criminal.”
  • It’s a topic that’s popped up in many a tech event and conversation, most recently at Barcamp, where several sessions centered around education.

9. FW: Gabriel Weinberg’s Blog: Pre-order Traction Book

10. Newcomer to Philadelphia – what’s the startup scene like?

  • A San Francisco-based tech executive looking to leave the corporate world for the startup world asks PSL where to find startup job opportunities.
  • We offer this.


Also, tickets for PSL’s headline event, Founder Factory, are now on sale. The full-day event will take place on Jan. 13 at the Cira Centre and focus on how startups can get early traction. Rudy Karsan, founder and CEO of the IBM-acquired Kenexa (the second-biggest Philly tech acquisition since 2000), will speak, along with familiar faces like RJMetrics’ Robert Moore, DuckDuckGo’s Gabe Weinberg and Curalate’s Apu Gupta.

Get tickets ($25-$75) -30-
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