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City Was Right To Go Overboard for Pope Visit

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(This post originally appeared on PhillyMag)

Can we all agree that the City went completely overboard for the Pope visit?

Here’s what I saw in Center City Saturday and Sunday:

-Locust, Spruce, Pine and Lombard Streets were vacant — literally a mile from where the Pope or any of the crowds. Was it really necessary to extend the zone that far?

-A more than quiet Rittenhouse Square, save for a lonely band of military guys sitting on their Humvee and a medical tent armed with emergency personnel looking for someone with a mosquito bite to treat. Read More…

9 Great Employee Perks Every Philly Business Owner Should Know

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(This post originally appeared on PhillyMag)

Recently, Netflix announced that it was providing up to a year of unlimited paid time off for new parents. Unlimited! This, of course raises two issues:

  1. We are all streaming way too many movies if Netflix can afford to do this.
  2. How in the hell can my business compete with companies offering these kinds of perks?

There are many benefits of working for a smaller company. OK, so you’re not able to pay $25 an hour for employees to do volunteer work (Apple), you can’t offer onsite kindergarten (Campbell Soup) and there’s just no extra room in your office for an indoor rock-climbing wall (Chesapeake Energy). Your company doesn’t have its own private busses to take employees back and forth to work (Google) and you can’t afford to pay your employees $5,000 just to…now get this…quit (Zappos). Pity. Read More…

9 Ways To Profit From The Pope Visit

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(This post originally appeared on PhillyMag)

To my Catholic friends in the city, Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia is a chance to witness a great leader in person. And to my business owner friends in the city, it’s a chance to witness a great thing too: A rise in your bank account. Are you ready? Here are just a few ways to profit from the upcoming papal visit.

 

1. For starters, stop you’re whining. There are 1.5 million people expected to visit the city during the World Meeting of Families. And that’s not including those of us trapped inside of the city during the weekend. What an opportunity for your business to introduce your offerings to a ton of new customers! Sure, there will be some challenges. But you’re a business owner. You’re used to challenges. So, for God’s sake (and this time He really may be listening) put on a smile and look at this as a great opportunity to rake in the bucks. Profit is all about attitude. Read More…

10 Philadelphia Airport Secrets Every Traveler Should Know

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(This post originally appeared on The Philly Post)

Because of my job as a business owner, speaker and author, I fly into the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) about five to 10 times every month. Here are a few things I’ve learned.

1. Fly American: I know, you’ve probably got your gripes about American Airlines (which recently merged with US Airways). And I hear you. But they own PHL. And let’s face — with all our complaining, do they or do they not get us to our destination safely? Eventually. But, if you’re trying to get anywhere from here and (even more importantly) find your way back, you’re just going to have more options if you use them. I’ve learned that if you’re having issues, their social media team at @AmericanAir can be responsive, or at least sympathetic. Otherwise, just do what I do and drink heavily. Read More…

Why Does Going To The Supermarket Still Suck?

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(This post originally appeared on The Philly Post)

The announced bankruptcy of A&P doesn’t surprise me. I’ve watched the supermarket chain decline over the years and I’m sorry for the 28,000 employees who are the victims of its poor management in the face of much better run stores like Wegmans. But, as great as Wegmans is, it still sucks doing the food shopping, doesn’t it? As a business owner, I can’t help but see many inefficiencies and places for improvement. Every time I shop, the same questions keep popping up in my mind. For example… Read More…

What’s Missing from the Gay Teacher Firing Debate

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(This post originally appeared on The Philly Post)

Waldron Mercy Academy in Merion, Pa., has come under fire this week for its decision to fire Margie Winters, one of its long-time teachers — allegedly because she’s a lesbian and married to another lesbian.

“Many of us accept life choices that contradict current church teachings, but to continue as a Catholic school, Waldron Mercy must comply with those teachings,” the school said in a letter to parents.

Firing a competent, well-like teacher just because she’s gay seems like pretty despicable stuff. So was the school right to do this? Angela Giampolo, a Philadelphia-based attorney that specializes in LGBT law, weighs in:

Read More…

Hey Philly, Stop Your Silicon Valley Penis Envy

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(This post originally appeared on The Philly Post)

Marvin Weinberger, who faces a funding shortfall at his Philly co-working space Venturef0rth, blasted the local tech community last week. He said he’s “continuing to lose a few thousand dollars a month” and has “quietly turned to some pillars of the community for assistance, but have been rebuffed (often rudely).”

There are two sides to every story but Weinberger’s struggle to find tenants at his startup space raises a more important issue about Philadelphia’s tech community. Is it for real? And, more importantly, do we care?

The first question is easy to answer. The Philly tech family is very much for real, with many organizations in the area doing great things. Philadelphia is home to cool, growing companies like Curalate, RJMetrics, Aclaris Therapeutics and Zonoff. There are great startup accelerators and venture-capital firms like DreamIt Ventures, First Round Capital and NewSpring Capital. There are excellent incubators and communities for startups like Indy Hall and Philly Startup Leaders. These people, and others, are all doing great things and have grown a substantial tech industry out of nothing in a relatively short amount of time.

Unfortunately, the second question is not as easy. Read More…