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Our panel talks about how Philadelphia inspires them to build companies that last.

Innovation Rising
Rittenhouse Square
April 2, 2015
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Episode #1 | Featuring:

Produced by Joe Taylor Jr.

A 2820 Press production for Benjamin’s Desk


Shelton Mercer:            There’s something about Philadelphia, that when it’s in you, it never leaves you. You always want to stay connected to your roots. I think it’s the special nature–I mean, this is the birthplace of the nation, so think that there’s an intrinsic desire to come back to home. For me, it’s very important. My children here, and I’ve got family and lots of friends and colleagues. So it’s very important for me to stay connected to my hometown, and do whatever I can to help Philly grow as it becomes a global leader.

David Alberico:            I’m kind of married to Philadelphia. I grew up in Bucks County, and so personally, I love the city.

Dennis Egen:            Well, I’ve been in Philadelphia for the last 15 years. I consider it my adoptive hometown. I actually came to Philadelphia to row down on Boathouse Row.

Jeff Danziger:            My father grew up in Cranbury across the bridge. So, he raised me a Philly boy, despite growing up in New York territory. I came down all the time as a child to watch sporting events, zoo, you know, all the touristy things I can do coming for a weekend. So when it was time to leave mom in New Jersey and go to college, naturally, Philly was my first choice.

Kelly Straka:            Philadelphia is just becoming an area where people want to live, just to be able to connect with people.

Adam Glaser:            When I first moved to Philadelphia in the 80’s, it was sort of a, “Are you really going to stay? Because we’ve been here forever.” I think

now what you see in Philadelphia is this sort of healthy mix of people who have lived here forever and people who are coming in new. Fresh ideas. And I think the openness to those ideas has really made this a much, much better city. I think we’re just positioned amazingly in the nation to be a leader in kind of great growth, great dividends, and you know, the cost of living too is a great thing for entrepreneurs as well.

Mike Maher:            When you look at the trajectory, and the growth curve for Philadelphia from an entrepreneurial standpoint, and from an innovation standpoint, we think we’re in year 1 of a 15 year amazing period of renaissance where entrepreneurship will just continue to flourish.

M. Korolishin:            It’s an innovative city. More so than I think a lot of people give it credit for. Especially when you’re looking out toward University City, West Philly, to Temple area. There’s a lot of young people up there looking to do great things. And so I think in the next 20-30 years, we’re going to see

a lot of innovation coming out of Philadelphia. It’s a great place to be now, and get ahead of that curve.

Adam Glaser:            It’s a great city. I mean, think about it. Somebody planned this city 350 years ago. We now have skyscrapers, we’ve got trains, cars, you name it. And it all works.

Shelton Mercer:            Philly is a very small big city. And most of the people who are doing quote-unquote, “major” things either know each other directly or have a very close proximity. So there’s only, you know Kevin Bacon’s six degrees of separation, there’s probably 2 or 3 in Philadelphia for most folks on every level. You can go to, for instance, around the corner from where we are: Rittenhouse Square, and have lunch or cocktail hour with the publisher of the paper, or one of the major magazines. You may be sitting next to the president of city counsel, the mayor himself. And then next to them may be somebody who’s running a really dynamic creative agency. You have a close proximity. The community is tight-knit, but there’s a lot of diversity. So you want to be able to make relationships across those sectors.

Mike Maher:            So why Philly to do that, of all places? Well, I can tell you there’s great opportunity, there’s an amazing quality of life, the cost of living compared to most cities, access to major eastern hubs by way of where Philadelphia is located. To D.C., to New York, to Boston, you can be in any of those cities in hours.

David Alberico:            In New York, I feel like the opportunity has already kind of come and gone for certain types of businesses. Whereas in Philadelphia, it’s a little slower to take notice to that. So I think there’s more opportunity, and there’s more ways to get in front of the market or to bring new product to market.

Shelton Mercer:            I’ve got a real desire to see Philadelphia stand up as a global giant. I know it is. There’s just too much talent, and too much energy in this city.

1701 Walnut St, 7th Floor, Philadelphia PA 19103 Rittenhouse Square

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