13 February 2009

The Story is Where It's @: Wharton Entrepreneurship Conference 2009

Every time I get out into the Philadelphia entrepreneur and start-up scene, I marvel at the amount of great ideas, people, and companies there are here.

(Photo: The Green Skeptic--in StockTwits cap--with Donny Deutsch at Wharton Entrepreneurship Conference, Philadelphia.)

It really does feel like a groundswell forming beneath our feet -- or between the Delaware and the Schuylkill rivers.

The Wharton Entrepreneurship Conference, sponsored by Morgan Lewis, has been running for the past twelve years to become one of the country's most widely attended entrepreneurship gatherings.

This year, the conference was all about stories.

And what better way to open than to hear from Julian Brodsky, founder, director and chairman of Comcast Corporation and the brain behind Comcast's venture arm.

Brodsky, who helped found Comcast back in 1963, told the story of the company's rise from a Philly-based owner of a few TV licenses in Tupelo, MS, to the powerhouse it is today.

Along the way, Brodsky revealed the intricate web of Philly connections to just about every major technological/media innovation over the past 46 years, from QVC to half.com, from Safeguard Scientifics to Internet Capital Group. (Hint: the common denominator is, once again, Pete Musser.)

I've heard another veteran of the Delaware Valley, Steven Goodman from Morgan Lewis, tell another piece of the story and I'm more convinced than ever that someone needs to chronicle this history. A phascinating story.

Panels on Clean Tech, Monetizing Web 2.0 and Mobile communications, and a couple of real-world case studies were also served up during the course of the day. (You can check out my live Tweeting from those sessions and the entire conference here.)

Twenty-five of the region's most promising start-ups were also featured in WEC25 expo, running during the conference, including three green companies: eco, green.konnect.me, and American Resource Conservation.

In the closing keynote, Donny Deutsch, Chairman of Deutsch, Inc. and host of CNBC's The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch shared his story and insights to encourage the entrepreneurs in the room to stay focused on their ideas and do what they love.

My three take-aways from the conference today:

1) There's so much great stuff happening in Philly;
2) We need 10-15 year horizon for real clean tech advances to be made; and
3) "Why NOT me?" (Donny Deutsch)

Read more about the Wharton Entrepreneurship Conference
and @ Phillypreneurs

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