Why you need to be at Twestival Philly

This is Red Stapler’s second year as a sponsor and co-organizer of Twestival Philly and we could not be prouder or more humbled to be a part of this amazing event.

Twestival is a global charity event.  200+ cities all holding unique events in the same 24 hour period raising money for the same charity, Concern Worldwide.  From Philly’s Search for Concern – a bar crawl and scavenger hunt through historic Old City to the black tie affairs happening in other cities, everyone is gathering to take our online connections into offline meetings to make a difference in the world.   Every penny raised goes directly to the charity, every event is run by volunteers, every prize, venue or item needed to run the event is donated.   City organizers are charged with one mission and a few rules – Raise as much money as possible for the charity while spending no money and using only volunteers.   As you can imagine that is not as easy.  What it is, however, is fun and rewarding.

2009’s Twestival event raised $250,000 for charity:water.  We are trying to raise that much or more for Concern Worldwide.  We want to support them in their efforts to educate and improve the lives of the world’s most impoverished and disadvantaged children.

So why do you need to be there?

  • Because you have been blessed to live in this country and to have received an education.
  • Because you know that every little bit makes a difference in the life of a child.
  • Because you believe that we can make a better world one small step at a time.
  • Because the $20 ticket price is probably less than you spend on beer at a normal happy hour.
  • Because you like getting to see all your online peeps face to face.
  • Because you like to have fun and win prizes.
  • Because you are just a good person and like to do fun things that help others.

So get your tickets now!

Why I am thinking about leaving Philly

There are so many things I love about this city.  The history, the culture, the food, the fun and most of all the people.  I have made some wonderful life long friends, fallen in and out of love, smiled, cheered, laughed and cried with some of the most fantastic people I have ever met.  I love the busy streets of downtown, the quiet countryside of the suburbs and that within a short time I can be listening to the waves of the ocean.

So, why am I considering leaving?   Because as much as I love this city, as much as I want to do for the community here, I am starting to feel that I can no longer make a difference.

Most of you know that  I am actively involved in the tech/creative/social media/entrepreneurial communities here in Philly.   I give of my heart, soul, energy and a tremendous part of my time to building and promoting the community.  I support multiple organizations in this community.  I freely and willingly give this time and effort.  I do it because I believe in this city and the community we are building here.  I believe in some simple ideals –

  • That we can and must build a unified tech/creative/social media/entrepreneurial community
  • That the community working together is infinitely stronger than the divided silos that we are currently allowing to emerge
  • That the community is capable of doing great things and making great strides in all sectors of the city, including the government.
  • That if you are going to proclaim to lead under a banner of building community, that you must work all inclusively  to build that community for the benefit of all of its members

To others, these may seem to be optimistic and possibly naive ideals, but I firmly believe in them. I believe in the power that actions taken to further these ideals have to truly make a difference for this community and the city as a whole.  Which brings us to one of the reasons why I am thinking about leaving Philly …

There are others in this community who believe in the same ideals.  Who truly believe that being a leader in this community must be a selfless endeavor.  While we all have motivations that involve building our businesses and our personal and professional reputations, the overriding motivation as a leader must be the growth and progression of the community and its members.  It can not be about only promoting and working for a clique.   Unfortunately, in my opinion, there are too many leaders in this community who have not embraced these ideals.  Too many individuals who are vocal about promoting these ideals, but whose overall actions are contradictory to their alleged aims. Those who are looked up to as leaders when they fail to lead by walking their talk.  It saddens me deeply that the obstacles of ego, infighting, immaturity, and elitist behavior are standing in the way of the miraculous things we, as a unified community, can do in this city and this region.   It also bothers me that the efforts of many good people, who put tremendous effort into trying to make good things happen in this city are overshadowed by the loud voices of a few who have repeatedly demonstrated that they are more likely to talk than to truly act.   When the acknowledged (and vocal) leaders of the community work more to promote division than coordination and cooperation, we can not achieve the things we are possible of achieving.  Because I am seeing an acceleration in these types of instances and a growth in the “us versus them” mentality, I am losing faith that any of my efforts are capable of making the differences that I and others are committed to.  When the visible leaders of the community are not the ones working the hardest to improve the quality of the entire community and seem to be actively working on dividing the community for their own aims, the hardest efforts of those behind the scenes become more difficult.

Which then leads me to another of the reasons, I am considering leaving Philly…

I entered this community and started my business here based on one primary ideal

That you must always do the right things for the right reasons

So that is what I have done.   I have worked hard to build my business, but in hindsight, nowhere near as hard as I have, and continue to, work for the good of this community.  I have given a significantly disproportionate amount of time, energy and money into work, events and support of this community and its organizations when compared with the time I have spent on business development.  I will be the first to admit that my motives while primarily altruistic were not 100% so.  A lot of the things I have done have given me access and exposure to the people who were my target market and who could help me grow my business.  But I always came back to the same over-riding principle – do the right things for the right reasons – and for me that meant using the time and resources at my disposal to do the best and most I could for the community.   I would love to be saying that karma has paid me back and things are booming in my business, but that is not the reality.  I am paying for having spent more time on the community than I have on building my business.   The saddest part of all of this is that the very community that I have worked so hard to help is the community that is my target market.  They are the ones who could have most benefited from my services.  Instead, I chose to give away much of my time and energy.   I made my choices based on a love for and a deep belief in this community.  I will live with the fact they were not wise choices.  Will live with the knowledge that had I been more selfish and worked a bit harder on directly building my business rather than putting so much time and energy into supporting and building the community, my business would be in a much different position than it is currently.  I comfort myself knowing in my heart and soul I was living by my creedo – do the right things for the right reasons.  I will never regret any of the actions I took and given the choice, would probably take them again because they were the right things to do. For now, I must live with knowing that making those choices have put me into a financially precarious position and that I may not be able to continue the efforts that mean so much to me. That is heartbreaking. Maybe it is the military upbringing, but for me having to chose between doing what is right for myself over what is right for the many (the community), I will always choose what is right for the many.  So unless someone steps up and is willing to start subsidizing all of my community building efforts, I may have no choice but to step away.  Unfortunately stepping away means giving up my business, leaving this city and community that I love so much.

Add both of the things I have talked about and some pretty tumultuous personal events and I am left with a very heavy heart.  Left wondering if my time in Philly is due to come to an end.  Wondering if it is time to say enough – that I have put myself in a position where I can no longer financially, physically and emotionally afford  to make the difference I truly want to make.   Wondering if the obstacles standing in the way of the progress of this community can be worn down sufficiently to allow this city to become the world class tech/creative/entrepreneurial hub that it should be.   And wondering have I been wrong all along?

I am not a quitter.  I believe in this community.  I love this city.   In my heart of hearts I do not want to leave.  But all of these things certainly make me wonder if it is time.  So, my dear readers, I ask you.  Has it all been worth it?  Is it achievable?  Have my and others personal sacrifices been worth it?  How can I continue to do what I know in my heart is right? More importantly, should I?

Your invitation to Twestival

I know most of you have probably seen me tweeting about @phltwestival or may have received a Facebook invitation about the event, but I wanted to extend a personal invitation to all of you to join us on March 25 for Twestival Philly’s Search for ConcernSearch for Concern is a Bar Crawl / Scavenger Hunt through Old City.  100% of the proceeds raised from ticket and raffle sales go directly to Twestival Global’s chosen charity Concern Worldwide.

Concern Worldwide
is a global humanitarian organization that works to transform the world’s poorest children lives through education.   Twestival is a global movement that raises money to help global charities continue their work.  Last year’s Twestival Global raised over $250,000 for charity:water.  We hope to reach or exceed that amount this year.

So for the small price of $20 (in advance or $25 at the door) you get to have fun on an exciting scavenger hunt, take advantage of some great drink specials provided by our participating bars – National Mechanics, Sugar Mom’s  & Triumph, maybe win a great prize and help raise money that will be used to make a real difference in the world.  So please, buy your tickets now, encourage your friends and family to get theirs and help us spread the word!  Thank you in advance for your generosity!  Looking forward to seeing you all there.

Feel free to send on this email, retweet our tweets (@phltwestival) or shout the news from the mountaintops.  Here are all the links.  Please share them!