Techies take over: Philly Tech Week in full effect
The circa-2007 Christopher Wink was a Temple University student determined to work his byline into the pages of the Philadelphia Inquirer on a daily basis.
“And then our industry took an interesting turn,” he said Monday.
In 2009, Wink co-founded the technology news website, TechnicallyPhilly.com, with Temple friends Brian James Kirk and Sean Blanda.
“Made sense for us to start something on our own back in 2009,” Wink said. “And technology and technology business was not only an interesting subject matter but one that really had promise in Philadelphia.”
The circa-2014 Wink, 28, is still determined to build on that promise, which translates into showcasing the city in a venue beyond the black and white pages of the daily newspaper.
Philly Tech Week, now in its fourth iteration, is a weeklong celebration of technology held across the city from April 4 to April 12. The event kicked off over the weekend with the world’s largest video game on the Cira Centre. The game was a sequel to last year’s game of Pong, which first took the record.
This collection of seminars, roundtables and gatherings is a platform to showcase Philadelphia’s tech scene as well as bring innovators from across the country to the country’s fifth largest city. Wink said the goal has always been to make the event all-inclusive. ”We worked really hard for it not just to be a young, creative class of kids, and not just old institutions. It’s a place where we can meet in the middle.”
The city’s tech scene became a place for people of every gender, race, background, handicap or taste.
“And I think Philadelphia, because it started as a smaller tech scene, has done a good job of being inclusive because we all wanted to a bigger community,” he said. “We’re working hard to make technology something that everyone can be a part of.”
Luke Butler, chief of staff to the deputy mayor for economic development, said the event will attract a crowd of about 25,000 with more than 140 events organized by 300 planners.
“I think it reflects a growth in the tech sector in general,” he said. “The fact that this has grown year and year is a great signal of strength to Philadelphia’s tech sector.”
But can Philly be the next Silicon Valley?
Wink said it can’t and shouldn’t compete with the heavy hitters.
“I think instead we’re working on being the best version of ourselves, to be able to retain smart people who come through here and recognize that they can build what they want to build here,” he said. “If there is another market that’s better for them, that’s great. We want everyone to succeed and I don’t want to hold anyone here. I want people to choose to be here. And so I think we’re trying to build the best versions of ourselves, and I would caution anyone, anywhere, to try and recreate something from somewhere else. That’s not who we are.”