I ended up in a lively conversation this morning on Twitter about why tech companies are leaving Philly. It started with my comment to Technically Philly about their new feature “Exit Interview“. I applauded their efforts to look at why companies were leaving the city but also inquired whether they were going to look at how to get them to stay.
Someone I respect responded that the way to get them to stay was more tech companies, that there was not enough in Philly. As a member of the Philly StartUp Leaders Leadership team, I know better. There are plenty of tech companies in Philly. They just do not get the attention they deserve. The counter was that because there was no Google, Amazon or HP in Philly that we will never be a good tech city. There will never be a large pool of talent or the competition to keep salaries high.
I disagree. There is a tremendous pool of talent in Philadelphia. I also do not think we have to have one of the “big” companies in the area to become a world class tech community. There are plenty of companies across the spectrum – startup to big – in Philly. We just have not done the best job getting them the attention they deserve. Which in turn means they do not get as many resources, support or funding.
So how do we fix that? I have some ideas, but I would really love to hear your recommendations.
My #1 – Start supporting this city and this community in what we say. The more we continue to talk about what is wrong instead of how to fix it, the more everyone else (meaning the world at large) will believe it. Until we quit being our own worst enemy and looking down on ourselves. Until we quit talking about how much better New York, the Silicon Valley or other places are than Philly. We will never be anything more than we are right now.
To make others believe we are better, faster, stronger, smarter, we have to believe it first ourselves. And we have to start telling everyone else, all the time.
So what is your #1 solution on how we get Philadelphia’s tech community to be more than it is right now?