September 26, 2007
I know we usually stay local, but my trip to Philly this week was primarily to spread the Pegasus gospel. And I ran across some things that I'm still mulling through a Dallascentric prism...
And even though this was only my second visit to Philadelphia, the city holds a dear place in my heart. I was in Philadelphia the night we launched Pegasus News , shilling for investors at a conference. I spent launch night eating Chinese food in my room and Gtalking bug fixes. Turns out that Houston (who moved there several months after) lives in a building across the street from the very restaurant I from which I got the takeout -- the view from his roof is at right.
Playing tourista, we visited the scien-creepy Mutter Museum . Despite seeing innumerable dead bodies and parts thereof suspended in gelatin, I was most creeped out by Benjamin Franklin's early attempt at a catheter. Literally almost passed out when I realized what it was.
Of course I had to have me some Cheesesteak. All apologies to Tom Landis, but while Texadelphia is wonderful -- It ain't quite Philly. My first was with provolone at a hole-in-the-wall called Pastramis. Amazingly good.
Slightly less good, but more interesting, was at Geno's in South Philly. Following the lead of my hosts, I had a "Whiz wit." Cheese Whiz was better than expected, but I'd probably go provolone next time. Beef was sliced and I prefer chopped, which they apparently serve at bitter arch-rival Pat's across the street.
My business reason for being in Philly was to speak at the InfoCommerce 2007 conference. It was a really well-done gathering of publishers of data-driven products (lots of directories, b-to-b and niche players). My talk went over really well, but I had the unfair advantages of being the only one speaking about news as opposed to bits, bytes, and directories and of being the only one using Keynote instead of PowerPoint. (Seriously-- I'm never going back to PowerPoint again.)
Dunno how much sense it will make without my narration, but gluttons and completists can watch the preso here . (QuickTime required. Once it loads completely, you can arrow through.) The general gist is about how we think about news in terms of how it can be databased and made more interactive.
I've done a lot of talks and presentations over the last couple years, but this was the first one that didn't ultimately involve me begging for capital. That let me loosen up and have more fun with it.
I really enjoyed speaking there -- The room (at right) was gorgeous. It was the ballroom of the Park Hyatt, which was once the Bellevue. And, as I learned at the Mutter Museum, that's the hotel o' Legionnare's disease. Nice.
One of the things that I found coolest about that great old room -- The lighting system was rigged by Thomas Edison himself and is still in use. Here's the control box:
Anyway, it was a great time and I made some new friends. Had a nice chat with Oodle founder Craig Donato who was there to collect an award. Check out their site. Not only are they the only other media company I know besides us that has the huevos to turn their entire site into Pirate-ese , they'll soon be powering our classifieds section. Also had the unexpected treat of getting to catch up with my old boss Bill Pollak .
What's been rattling around my head since I got back on the plane this morning is just how different a pedestrian city is compared to a sprawl city like Dallas. And how cities over time preserve a sense of their history. That's always more acute in an older city, but something I hope we always do here.