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.
Marisa and Roz
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
Scott 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.