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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

Speaking at the 2017 tecBRIDGE Entreprenuerial Institute

Photo credit: Mandy Pennington on Twitter.

On Friday I had the privilege to host two sessions at the 2017 tecBRIDGE Entrepreneurial Institute Conference at Marywood University. The event was very well attended (I’d say nearly  200 people, but I don’t know for sure). The speakers and panels were engaging, interesting, and the number of people that remained until the last minute of the event was evidence of that.

My session was titled Social Media Metrics that Matter. I didn’t choose the title but I enjoyed the topic. The audience was mainly students focusing on being future business owners and also local businesses and organizations in our area. I can tell from the feedback that the subject matter was welcome.

The way I laid out my outline was to bring everyone in the room up-to-speed with common metrics that can be tracked on social networks. We spoke about how each of those metrics impacts the business, the content, the page. Then, we used a few example businesses to determine which of the metrics each of them should track and why.

It was a good exercise, even for me, and I hope those that attended each of my two sessions got something out of it.

learning commons

Learning Commons, Marywood University, Scranton, PA – November 2016

Published: November 29, 2016

Attending TecBridge’s Entrepreneurship Institute

On Friday I was able to pop into TecBridge’s Entrepreneurship Institute at Marywood University. It is an event designed to pull back the veil of starting, funding, branding, and generally running a company.

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When I arrived the panel for early stage funding was going on and the questions and answers seemed to be going pretty well. If you’ve ever been to an event like this the questions were the usual – “how are valuations created?”, “how can I sell my product overseas?”, etc. I believe in our area there isn’t as much awareness of how early stage startups are founded, teams built, and funded and so events like this one are sorely needed. Entrepreneurship isn’t part of the lexicon here in northeastern Pennsylvania. There are some people that have that spirit and have aspirations of building great products or companies. But not nearly enough.  Go to New York or the Bay Area and you’ll see events like this happening every week. If we want to see this sort of spirit happening here we need to continue to beat the drum. Tweet. Write blog posts. Start meetups. Have chats over beers. Continue to let people know that we can build great products and companies here and that there are tons of resources to help them do so.

The breakout sessions, or workshops, were where most of the practical value of this event was likely received by the attendees. Rather than a panel simply answering questions broadly, the workshops helped the attendees to work through a problem and see the processes work step-by-step. I was able to pop into a few of them – notably Kathryn Bondi’s workshop and Mandy Pennington’s workshop. Both would add extremely practical processes and workflows to any entrepreneur’s bag of tricks. Essential tools to help any one starting a business.

Here are a few more poorly shot photos:

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More of these types of events are needed for our area. In fact, they don’t even need to be as well resourced or supported as this one was to be successful. Marywood’s campus is a gorgeous venue but these sorts of discussions can just as easily be held in the conference rooms, lunch rooms, pubs, or high school gymnasiums of our area. I’m glad we have TecBridge to continue to create and help promote these sorts of things. Even you do not follow TecBridge on Twitter do so.

I look forward to popping into as many as I can.

NEPA BlogCon 2016

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I often wonder what it would be like to be a first-time attendee at a conference like NEPA BlogCon. Even with the speakers attempting to keep things easy-to-understand I’m sure the flood of information can be overwhelming. I think that is why the mix of presentations at these sorts of events is so important. It can’t be all buzzword-ridden tips and tricks and how-tos. Some of it needs to raise high above the how and address more of the why. Principles rather than rules.

I think NEPA BlogCon does a decent job at striking this balance. This year’s presentation line-up showed how to add visuals to blog posts to make them more effective but they also discussed motivations and passions. No matter what blogging or social media platforms you use yourself, everyone can identify with the passion behind the topics they choose to write about or create media for. There is emotion behind why we do what we do (even if you do it for work) and many times that emotion was palpable during the presentations.

Blogging started as journaling. Public diaries written to connect with someone outside of your bedroom out in the world where hopefully someone would read and listen and understand what you were going through. That same passion has spilled over into every topic under the sun including parenting, technology, food, wildlife preservation, and vacation planning. People love these topics and so they write and create and share and record and speak and draw about them. And they put this media out into the world to hopefully connect with someone outside of their offices that will understand and connect with that passion too.

How can one harness that passion to achieve their goals with their content? That’s the question that ultimately gets answered at events like NEPA BlogCon. The goal could be to earn a buck. But the goals also could be to change minds, to educate, to have fun!

NEPA BlogCon may have the word “blog” in the name but blogging has become so much more than a singular activity and toolset. Tools do not matter any more. One’s blog may be rooted at one source web site (hopefully) but one’s content spreads out over the ether like daffodil seeds blowing in the wind passing over the plains of Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. How does one harness these tools? Which one’s should I use for my audience? Which one’s shouldn’t I use and why? NEPA BlogCon touches, and rightly so, on all of these things also.

If you are passionate about something and have been attempting to share that passion through online media, and if you’re reading this because you are curious about whether or not you should attend next year’s NEPA BlogCon then you’ve already answered that question. Yes, you should.

This year’s conference was held at Penn State Worthington Scranton in Dunmore, PA. This was the closest NEPA BlogCon has ever been to where I live. And, it will be at the same location next year. I’m very excited about this because a few attendees have already expressed interest in adding an activity or two to the day prior to the event as a result. I hope to see some time slated for hacking on our blogs and also for doing something outdoors (like a hike) and using the experiences and photos we gather on the hike to help new bloggers share that online. Should be great.

Thanks as always to the organizers and volunteers and sponsors.

Here are a few photos I snapped at the event followed by a few other blog posts shared by attendees.

James D. Gallagher Conference Center

Videographer

Food and coffee

Food and coffee

Rubik's Cube

My capturing setup

5th anniversary cake

Orange Whip Band at SBC in Pittston

A few other attendees have shared their experiences. Britney Kolodziej shared a very Buzzfeed-esque, gif-filled post. P.J. shares his first experience at the con. And I’m not sure who did this but there is a shared Google Doc with tons of notes from the presentations.

Oh, and don’t miss the official NEPA BlogCon 2016 Photoset on Flickr.