Friday, April 11, 2014

Ending The Work Week With A Trip To Philly

The work week came to an end this evening after another slow slog into the city for a final cocktail reception at the Comcast Center to wrap up Philly Tech Week. It was a warm night with a breeze that offered a cool respite from the heat generated by the tech savvy crowd filling the tent just outside the main lobby. I arrived early in the evening with sore feet and heavy eyes. Upon looking around, I was not the only one in this state as the mass of people seemed ready to put an end to the week with one final evening of demonstrating, promoting, and relaxing a little around the open bar.

With name tag hanging around my neck I began walking around the room to see what interesting companies, programs, and people were lined up at tables on the perimeter. It really was an interesting mix ranging from Neat scanners to AutismExpressed, mobile marketing technology and warehouse management solutions to foreign governments (got a really nice bag from the UK Tech Council). The companies were as diverse as the swag that lined their tables and it was a fascinating journey from one company to the next.

While many people might not see Philadelphia as a hotbed for innovation, the products and services that filled the reception area and some of the idea being pitched and discussed throughout the evening put that misconception to rest. It really was one of those evenings when you knew that you weren’t the smartest person in the room but, at the same time, everyone was walking around with that same sense which opened up the conversation and allowed for interactions that are pretty unique and very much embodied the Philly mentality. It was an experience watching this dynamic in the room as you could tell that many were not used to being in that position but embraced it nevertheless.

For me, this was also an evening to enjoy the people I work with. After making the rounds and learning as much as I could about the tech scene represented this evening, I joined up with my colleagues as we continued to meander around the reception area both in the lobby and in the tent. As the evening wound down, we all began to relax more and more spending many of the last moments catching up with (and in my case being introduced to) some former coworkers. Before long, exhausted from both the week and the evening we slowly made our way toward the exit stopping along the way for some final chats and a final Shake Shack burger.

As is the case with all receptions and events, it only took us about 3 minutes before we were able to finally exit the tent. The night had cooled significantly but the open space of the city sidewalk was welcomed even with a slight chill in the air. It was finally time to head home and get some overdue rest before rolling out of bed tomorrow morning at 6. The work week was finally over but my week still had another day to go.