SXSW Day 1: Philadelphia Doesn’t Want to Be the Silicon Valley of Anything
Philadelphia wants the world to know that it’s not the Silicon Valley of anything, and down in Austin, Philly entrepreneurs are practically screaming this out on every busy downtown block at South by Southwest this year.
The “not Silicon Valley” attitude is also how Philadelphians welcomed the rest of the world to its first ever Amplify Philly house.
I got to the house about a half hour after it opened its doors at 10 a.m. on Sunday, its first day open to SXSW attendees. Things were calm this early on, but the house was loud with its explosive purple, pink and blue “Amplify Philly” branding. Members of Witty Gritty, REC Philly and volunteers were in place on the first and second level of the converted Pour Choices restaurant as they had been since 5 a.m. that morning. At every moment they made sure the house was stocked with La Colombe Draft Lattes and GoPuff treats. By lunch, they would add mini Tony Luke sandwiches and TastyKake sweets, and in the evening, Visit Philadelphia would scatter hoagies and Philadelphia postcards across tables and the bar.
But food, drinks and free stuff weren’t the only things they disseminated. The “not Silicon Valley” message was on the Amplify Philly programming stage that morning as five panelists (Chris Wink of Technically, Bret Perkins of Comcast NBCUniversal Brigitte Daniel of Wilco Electronic System, Francisco Garcia of Philly’s Department of Commerce, Rick Nucci of Guru, Maria Ploessl of Minnestar) gave their hot takes on why cities shouldn’t frame their startup communities as the “Silicon Valley of X.”
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