Steven Wells on the Geekdom in Philadelphia – Quoted

Steven Wells gets the cover of Philadelphia Weekly with Scene But Not Nerd. For anyone curious about the tech sector and a city with a thriving and rapidly growing geek community, it’s a must read. I’m honored to be quoted, especially amongst some of the most innovative and sharp geeks in Philly.

The article covers a wide swath of the Philadelphia Geekdom as Steven describes how and why the Philadelphia geek scene is emerging as a mecca for the tech elite (and every area of geekiness). He conducted many interviews and clearly has come to understand the community, both in a historical context and how the present day networks of geeks are interacting and building a movement.

“If you know your Philly geek history, the city’s reemergence as a major geek hub isn’t that surprising. Benjamin Franklin, the city’s favorite son and top tourist-dollar whore, was the prototype tech-geek.”  -Steven Wells

Check it out and look forward to what the drive and attitude of this city bring. It’s about time for another Geek Dinner, too… Details coming.

Privé – Philly Geek Dinner – The Guest

Privé LobsterPrivé Dessert

The September 3rd, 2008, Geek Dinner at Privé was an interesting and good time. We had a smaller crowd but were treated like kings (I botched the geek dinner invite by sending the venue announcement only a few days in advance, so it was low turnout – that’s what going on vacation and unplugging from geekdom gets me!)

The folks at Privé set us up in our own room. It was unintentional, but to me it was amusingly appropriate – privé translates to private.

The chefs are budding, potential future superstars. Table Talk describes prior Buddakan and Brasserie Perrier experience. While dining we learned of Le Bec-Fin experience as well. The foods here are exotic and fun just to hear described – influenced by countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, with inspiration from chef Peter Karapanagiotis.

Steven Wells of Philadelphia Weekly accompanied us, camera in tow, and geeked right in. While we typically geek out on the latest technology and Internet trends, Steven added new topics everyone ate up. Some of the things I remember Steven bringing up: geneology, HD video, security and anonymity (on the Internet), the value of Twitter, and implants (not those kind) for human enhancement (not that kind)… Honestly, it was us who brought up Twitter – Steven raised the question of it having any value. Good challenge!

Breakdown of what we consumed, mostly on recommendation from Mr. Edwards, our water – everything was fantastic…

  • Karpouzi
  • Shrimp Orzo
  • Lollipop Lamb Chop
  • Rabbit Risotto
  • Exotic Mushrooms
  • Cheese Boureki
  • Lobster Makaronia (pictured)
  • Beet Salata
  • Walnut Puff (pictured)
  • Octopus Duet
  • Potelle (wine) – Kevin selected a couple wines that went along nicely with the menu.
  • Fiano (wine) – same as above.
Mark your calendar and join us October 1st, 7pm. Venue to be announced early ;)
UPDATE: Next Geek Dinner is November 5th, 7pm.

Philly Geek Dinner is Wednesday Night (September 3rd, 7pm)

Useful links:

I finally went for a bike ride to see Privé in person. What I found was better than imagined, even after reading Michael Klein’s enticing description and having high expectations.

During my drop-in visit I met Kevin Landon, who abandoned a staff meeting to give me a tour (the video below doesn’t do the restaurant any justice, the place is fabulous). From talking with Kevin I learned Privé opened only two weeks ago and has been doing wonderful.

We’ll be one of the first groups there, and probably the first blog-heavy group. He showed me around and I got to see the impeccable cut white stone walls, attractive furniture, sleek lines and spotlit mural. He promises the food to be as good or better than the looks.

And he’s probably right. They’ve hired the young Peter Karapanagiotis, 23, who performed as saute-saucier at Buddakan as well as Brasserie Perrier. It’s going to be a real treat to experience his work while he’s fresh and the restaurant is brand-spankin’-new.

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Great 1st Philly Geek Dinner

Last night was the first Philadelphia Geek Dinner. I went in with no expectations and would have labeled it a success if two people joined for a good meal and intelligent conversation.

But there were ten of us at our table. We shared in good drink, good food, intellectually stimulating conversation, and all of us were given the chance to make friends with new people in the industry. That’s what meetups are about.

The night’s crowd was diverse. Ten people. Four Philadelphians. Four imports (to Philadelphia). Two in-for-a-short-while-and-leaving-within-hours. A comp-sci teacher. Wireless expert. A few company owners. Developers (.NET, Mac, Linux). Project managers. Videographer. Pilots (four out of ten!?). Photographers. Security experts… In just ten people.

Favorite topics from the evening: Introductions, aviation (being pilots), the story of National Mechanics, wireless (T-Mobile 3G), blogging and video blogging, drive and aspirations between small and large companies.

By the way – National Mechanics feels like the quintessential starting point for intelligent people in Philadelphia to meet up. I’ve only been here twice, but I keep hearing that this is where those of us in the tech field (and beyond) can find smart people. When I was listening in on other conversations around us I overheard lots of great stuff. Bottom line, this is a must-visit-repeatedly location in Philadelphia (if you’re smart).

Anyway, couldn’t ask for anything more. So glad to have everyone in the mix.