Writings by a younger, less handsome man who shares my name

Google’s deadline has passed for communities to apply for an all-expenses-paid gigabit test network. So now what?

The 600+ communities who rallied for Google gigabit have fallen silent, including here in Philadelphia. This silence speaks volumes. If gigabit really matters, shouldn’t we still be talking about it on our own?

Do we really want gigabit, or do we just want to win Google’s favor?

I think we really want gigabit, and this is a golden opportunity – not only to bring gigabit to Philly, but also to show communities around the world how they can do the same.

The world needs someone to fill the gigabit vacuum left by Google. That someone should be Philly.

Gigabit is not about Google

Gigabit was never about Google. Google is only installing gigabit in one portion of one community. That leaves the rest of the 600+ communities who applied for Google’s gigabit experiment to fend for themselves.

Google drew worldwide attention to gigabit. Now the rest is up to us.

In Philadelphia, we know exactly what to do when people with money and power don’t step up to help us. Hell, that’s what’s been happening here for decades.

We do things ourselves.

I’m not saying that a bunch of entrepreneurs and hackers can wire our entire city with gigabit fiber ourselves. What I am saying is that we can create so much demand for gigabit that the people with money and power would be crazy not to invest in gigabit.

That’s the vision for Gigabit City.

Read more…

Great cities have a soul. They have a set of dominant values and priorities that shape conversations, influence ambitions and attract like-minded people to live and work there.

[Image of man with megaphone]
New York’s soul is, without a doubt, capitalism. It’s flavored by a countercurrent of artistic and creative ambition, but it’s capitalism’s influence that you feel everywhere.

L.A.’s soul is entertainment, with all the vanity, opportunism and dazzling innovation that comes with it. Las Vegas, its neighbor to the east, is built around indulgence, with simple vices made digestible and nonthreatening for everyone from fraternity brothers to their grandparents.

Philly’s soul is harder to capture. I have some thoughts on it but they are still too murky to share.

Last weekend, with all this in mind, I went to Washington DC to get to know the soul of its startup scene. Startups there are immersed in a city of advocacy, where idealists flock to make change and cynics flock to take advantage of things as they are.

So what does this climate of advocacy mean for startups and innovators in Washington DC?

The short answer is, I don’t know. I spent just one short weekend there, which is long enough to notice a few things but not long enough to be confident in any of them.

So why write at all? Read more…

I’m excited to announce that I’m a free agent entrepreneur once again.

I decided to leave TicketLeap, one of the best companies in Philadelphia, so I could return to pursuing my own dreams. I left as soon as I knew that my heart was no longer in it — at the peak of my productivity and before it could affect my work. And I did it without a clear plan for what’s next.

Later this week, I’ll be sharing the full story behind my decision on this blog, including my thoughts on what’s next for me. The blog post will be called “Jumping Without a Parachute” and its release will coincide with the blog’s official launch.

I will describe why I had to leave a kick ass job at a kick ass company where I was at the top of my game. I share the critical thing that was missing from my life. I wonder if the same thing might be missing from yours.
Read more…