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Alex Hillman

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What Turned Us On – A 2007 Retrospective

2 minute read
by Alex Hillman

In the summer of 2007, before Indy Hall was a place but was undeniably on the path of becoming a thing, we had a group of people who met on a semi-regular basis for a Junto, an event modeled on Ben Franklin’s “gatherings of mutual self-improvement”. P’unk Ave still holds them periodically and on various topics, but in that summer, we all had the same things on our mind: “What’s Next for Philadelphia”.

We’d just come out of BlogPhiladelphia, one of the first large scale events by and for the Philadelphia creative tech community. In a Junto held specifically to discuss the “What’s Next” question, some ideas crystallized that are still a huge part of the visions for Philadelphia today and in the future.

Long time Indy Hall member Dave Speers presented on behalf of his brainstorm group in an oration he should be proud of. He touched on 3 key components:

  • Identity
  • Communication
  • Purpose

Identity

In the summer of 2007, our shared identity was broadly defined, but unity was found in a notion of “making a living doing what we love“.

Over the last 4 years, we’ve continued the path of mutual discovery of the people in our own backyards making a living doing what they love. We’ve folded this language into Indy Hall’s core mission, too, and it’s become an important part of who we are and how we operate.

Communication

Dave called Twitter, “Tweeter”, which had me giggling as I reviewed the footage, but his point was that persistant communication mechanisms were uniting us in unprecedented ways. While Twitter continues to be a large presence, there’s also increased visibility into the interactions of the industries being represented in Philadelphia, online and off. More importantly than loose connections are the strong relationships that can emerge from these communications. True communication – not just talking – opens the doors for emotional influence of the individuals in those industries in extraordinary ways.

Purpose

Purpose was still left open for discovery in that summer of 2007, but there was a clear hunger for momentum. If we’ve successfully achieved anything in the last 4 years, it’s a momentum that not only has citizens of Philadelphia excited, but has citizens of other cities inspired. That’s an accomplishment in itself.


I think it’s important for us to periodically look back to where we were in order to get a clearer picture of where we’re headed, and how. It’s remarkable to me how much of this language still persists our daily dialogues about Indy Hall, Philadelphia, and the evolution and growth of the creative technology community here.

Source: these ideas were summarized and paraphrased by me, but sourced from this video.

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Alex Hillman I am always thinking about the intersection of people, relationships, trust and business. I founded Indy Hall in 2006, making us one of oldest fully independent coworking communities in the world. This site is packed with the lessons and examples I’ve learned along the way. You can find me on Twitter, too! 🐦 Say hi.