9 Take-Aways from Philly Tech Week 2019
Philly Tech Week 2019 brought the larger trends in tech to life in Philadelphia this past week. A week filled with events, workshops, seminars, and happy hours demonstrated how Philadelphia’s tech scene is innovating new trends and adapting to those happening around the country and the world. Startup founders, corporate innovators, freelancers, software engineers, front, back, and full-stack web developers, marketers, business developers, recruiters, investors, and more came together to make a memorable week of what’s happening and what’s to come.
From the events we attended and people we spoke with, we developed 9 take-aways from the eye-opening, perspective-expanding, mind-sharpening time that was Philly Tech Week 2019:
1. The Tech Industry is Driven for More Diversity
Not only were there events centered around diversity and inclusion, but Philly Tech Week itself was filled with diversity. We met people from an array of cultural backgrounds, with different styles, beliefs, and perceptions of the world. We heard fascinating stories and intriguing ideas of how to disrupt conventiality. Diversity isn’t about fulfilling a quota or being politically correct. Diversity brings new ideas, fresh perspectives, and better ways of doing things. Philly Tech Week covered topics like the black tech community, lean startups for people of color, and embracing women in tech. Philly Tech Week showed that the Philadelphia tech community is committed to making high-paying jobs, access to capital, and founding a startup a possible reality for everyone.
2. Technology is Becoming More Accessible
A number of events focused on developing technology that is accessible for people with disabilities. At a previous fintech company, we were pressed with the requirement to make all of our clients’ products ADA compliant. We wanted to make our software and our clients’ customer base accessible to everyone, and were happy to take that initiative. Despite our willingness, it was a difficult path to navigate. We had a brand new variable in the middle of our development cycle that we had to address. With multiple events centered around developing accessible technology, we think accessibility for people with disabilities will become a regular part of user stories and sprints.
3. Building a Customer Base is More Important than Making Money (at first)
When we talked to startup founders throughout the week, we asked: “Where are you at right now? What’s your next step forward?” The overwhelming responses were: 1) Getting more users on board, and 2) Raising capital. Interestingly enough, the two responses were mutually exclusive -- at least for now. Just like the many Silicon Valley Unicorns and Fortune 500 behemoths like Netflix, the story is about one thing: user growth, or in the case of SAAS companies, subscriber growth.
4. Capital Cures Many Problems
Going back to the above question, the second most popular response was, “Raising capital.” Capital is as necessary to the livelihood of a startup as food is to human beings. Capital is the fuel that makes startups’ innovative visions into realities. Pitching angel investors, venture capital firms, and investment funds is an art and science all to its own, and is something that every driven startup founder has to learn how to do effectively in order to succeed. Nevermind that they need to document and express their vision in a business plan, and calculate financial projections that demonstrate how investors receive a return.
5. We All Get by with Help from Our Friends
Competitiveness drives innovation. It drives startup founders and corporate executives alike to think the next big idea and launch a unique product. It drives prices down as companies seek to acquire customers and grow their user base. Despite the high level of competition in the tech market, we saw an overwhelming willingness of Philadelphia tech community members to help one another, collaborate, and share wisdom born from past experiences.
6. Philly's Future is Bright
The Philly Startup Leaders Entrepreneur Expo was a literal showcase of the best ideas coming out of Philadelphia. We met some bright -- and we mean blindingly bright -- founders, with companies seeking to change the status quo.
7. Students are Smart
Among the many impressive founders at the Entrepreneur Expo were student-run companies sponsored by Blackstone LaunchPad -- they’re raising millions of dollars in funding for their innovative companies before they even get a Bachelor’s Degree.
8. Human Capital is Crucial
In the tech industry, your company is only as good as your product, and your product is only as great as the team you have to build it. From hiring people with the right skills to finding the funds to hire the best talent, Philly Tech Week attendees showed us just how competitive the hiring market is.
9. Technology Makes a Difference While Making Profits
One of the most notable benefits of enterprise technology is the cost savings incurred when it makes employees more efficient or removes redundant processes. The nonprofit space -- and more notable the healthcare industry within it -- are slow-moving industries due to capital restraints suffered by nonprofits and the magnitude and vitality of data handled in healthcare. Philly Tech Week 2019 hosted multiple events focused on nonprofits and healthcare -- and the best part of these industries adopting technology is that, every dollar they save on operational costs means they have another dollar to put toward fulfilling their mission.
What did you take away from #PTW19? Comment us on social media, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org