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Colin Devroe

Photographer. Podcaster. Blogger. Reverse Engineer.

The Independents Hall Grand Opening Party

Arriving in Philadelphia on September 1st, quite possibly one of the nicest days I’ve experienced all year, I knew I was in for something special. Bright blue skies filled with cool, crisp late summer air – it was the type of weather that you remember for quite awhile.

Early Saturday at Indy Hall

Independents Hall is nested nicely in Old City, two-floors above Strawberry Street (or what could be called an alley), and is now the venue for the future of coworking in Philadelphia. Spending the better part of the day there, on a Saturday, working with a few other people is a real joy. The space, the people, the weather – all factors in inspiring productivity.

My main reason for coming to Independents Hall on this day was to be part of the judging panel for the Viddler MealToday contest and to use the space’s grand opening party as the backdrop for the announcement of its winner. Alex Hillman, and the rest of the coworkers at Indy Hall, were all extremely accommodating – allowing us to take over a few of their desks for the day, a good portion of their second floor, their projector, and their board room. Really, we couldn’t have asked for better hosts.

I had a ball seeing all of the people in Philly again and had a great time judging MealTodays with Scott McNulty, Marisa McClellan, Rob Sandie, and Gary Vaynerchuk. We’ll be releasing a video later today We’ve released a video on the Viddler Spotlight (our blog), which shows what went on that night and that should give you a good glimpse into what it was like to be at Indy Hall’s party and to be judging the MealTodays.

With well over 100 people in attendance there is no doubt in Philadelphia’s interest in coworking and community (and probably champagne). Such support makes me both jealous and inspired to someday setup a coworking space further north of Philadelphia. But that won’t be until I have time to settle down.

If I didn’t get to say hi to you while in Philadelphia, sorry. I’ll be in again this weekend for Podcamp Philly.

Recollecting BlogPhiladelphia

If I had a dime for everytime someone asked me why I lived in Pennsylvania, instead of somewhere not so “behind the times” like Silicon Valley, I’d probably have a free cup of coffee. But this past week’s BlogPhiladelphia unconference flies in the face of the misnomer that Pennsylvania is indeed “behind the times”.

The main problem is; we’re all hiding. In general the entire east coast is overridden by old-world companies that are closed, non-communicative, and local. With more events like BlogPhiladelphia – I think we could start to see some real change in Pennsylvania. I think we’ll start seeing some of these companies start to reach for the open, community-driven successes of their west coast “competitors”.

BlogPhiladelphia was thoroughly enjoyable. Unless you knew it, you’d never guess that this was the first event of its kind (that I know of) that has been held in the Philadephia area. The unconference was well organized, well attended, and properly represented outside of its venue walls.

The sessions of BlogPhiladelphia

Every session on the BlogPhiladelphia schedule seemed to have just the right balance between education and discussion. Each seemed to also hold enough value that it made me wish that I could have attended them all instead of needing to choose between two conflicting sessions.

Each session had a “leader” who acted as the moderator for the discussion topic rather than a lecturer. This worked very nicely for the majority of the topics and each moderator seemed to do a very good job at involving the attendees into the discussion topic. My favorite sessions ended up being those where the leader of them didn’t end up saying a whole lot, but rather steered the conversation in a way that kept with its topic. I think the vast majority of the session leaders did a fantastic job!

The food of BlogPhiladelphia

Pleasantly surprised. That is how I would describe my reaction to the food that was served at BlogPhiladelphia. Breakfast and lunch, for each day, was provided by uwishunu.com, ziddio, and philly.com. Thanks to each of those organizations, and whomever picked the menu, for providing good food rather than what is typically given at some of these types of events which would eventually have you going home holding your stomach.

The after parties!

When I arrived in Philadelphia on Wednesday night I drove straight from my home to the studio offices of P’unk Ave for a pre-party hosted by my new friends Geoff, Alex, and Rick. The P’unk Ave guys are excellent hosts! The pre-party was great and I can’t wait to get back to Philadelphia sometime to spend more time with the P’unk Ave team.

After Thursday’s sessions we were invited by the Radisson-Warwick hotel to the bar in the lobby ( I think it was called Tavern 17? ) for free finger-foods and wine. The wine was actually fairly good (I’d venture a guess that it was some type of Australian Shiraz. Can anyone confirm?) and I wish there was someone there to thank for everything before we headed to the next location.

 

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Alex Hillman

 

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Marisa and Roz

 

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Crazy people!

 

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Owen Winkler

 

The party at Triumph Brewing Company. All photos credit Roz.

 

The party moved to the Triumph Brewing Company where, and I think I can speak for everyone that attended, we all had a very good time chatting, playing games, taking photos, and just generally enjoying the company of our fellow attendees. Thanks to Indepedents Hall (Alex Hillman) and anyone else that helped pick up the tab for us all to enjoy ourselves until Triumph closed. If it wasn’t for you I may have remembered Geoff Dimasi of P’unk Ave picking on me all night.

I was unable to attend the final after party on Friday night due to my long drive home. In retrospect I should have stayed for a few hours because all I ended up doing is sitting in traffic. Ugh.

The value of BlogPhiladelphia

Photo descriptionScott McNulty and I

Photo credit: Marisa McClellan

As Chris Conley pointed out in his recap of BlogPhiladelphia, there is much more value than meets the eye with BlogPhildelphia in the relationships and conversations you hold during offtimes of the event and after the event has come and gone. This is something that is true for nearly every event I’ve attended over the last half year with Viddler. The value of these events is in the relationships you build while attending them.

Not that there was not any value in the sessions or discussions that took place during BlogPhiladelphia. To loosely quote several attendees that commented about their experiences: “I’ve learned more in the last 48-hours than I have in the last few years.”.

BlogPhiladelphia was a huge success and was very meaningful for everyone that attended. I’m very happy to have attended and I look forward for the next event in Philadelphia.