Why I’m Not Attending the Philly Geek Awards

Although I love the idea of highlighting geeky leaders and businesses that make a difference in this city, I’m disappointed that the mobile community has been undeserved for two years running.

Last year there was a category to recognize the best iOS app of the year. I found out about the event rather late and mounted an unsuccessful campaign to get an Android category on the roster. Although defeated, I was encouraged about the future, because the organizers promised to have a category the following year to highlight all platforms.

Fast forward to this year. I was super excited when I saw that the category list contained Mobile Developer of the Year. I ran out and bought tickets immediately for the event. Apparently submissions were low for this particular category and without warning the category was cut. I found out on the day that the nominations were announced and immediately emailed organizers to find out what had happened. They were unmoveable about giving even a short of period of time to reach out to the community to garner more nominations to reinstate the category. I spent several months debating my next move, but eventually gave up and sold my tickets for lack of enthusiasm about the event.

Last year the awards favored iOS over Android and this year both were left out in the cold. The argument has been made that it’s the community’s fault for not stepping up. However, I think the marketing message didn’t reach these communities effectively. For example, I wrote an email to the women in tech scene here to encourage them to submit nominations for various categories (a population that may have completely overlooked this award ceremony in the past). Reaching out to this community had a strong mobilizing affect – you can see this reflected in the number of women nominated for awards.

For whatever reason, I didn’t send the same email to my community – the Android Alliance. They had no idea that the event was happening or how to submit nominations. Several later expressed disappointment that they missed their chance to participate. If the organizers had mentioned that submissions were low, I would have gone out of my way to garner more. I never had an inkling that there was trouble brewing for this category.

In short, I’m very disappointed that mobile is not being highlighted at all this year. I wish organizers had reached out the mobile communities – either when selecting a category or when submissions were low. This could have been avoided if we worked together.

Full disclosure: I nominated myself for this award (as did a few others). Would I like to have been recognized, sure. But that’s not my motivation for writing this blog. My motivation is to have the Android, iOS, and Windows mobile communities recognized for its role in this city’s economy and technological innovation. I don’t want the mobile community to be overlooked a third time.

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