ThinkFest Video: Leigh Gallagher


Philadelphia native, journalist, and self proclaimed suburbologist, Leigh Gallagher, gives an informative talk about the major changes happening to the suburbs.

The American dream is at a pivotal point of change, as families abandon long commutes from their white picket fence suburban communities to move closer to the city. Thoughts from the public on suburban living from the public such as “dying slowly, one day at a time”, do seem a little dramatic—but it’s not all bad. “It’s not really the end of the suburbs, it’s really the beginning of something new, and there are more options.”

Big names in construction are beginning to notice this changing trend, and are now trying to deliver the best of both city and suburban living.

ThinkFest Video: R. Eric Thomas


Playwright and stand-up dramedian, R. Eric Thomas, shares a life-changing moment of creative enlightenment through meeting his personal idol, Patti LaBelle.

Living in Baltimore and considering himself “creatively bankrupt,” he went against his better judgement and moved to Philadelphia, even though his preconceived notions of Philadelphia were entirely based off of the opening rap montage of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as well as the positively apocalyptic Avenue of the Arts shown in the movie Philadelphia. The city he now calls home is responsible for “waking him up” to a creative side he considered long gone until he found the innovative community he longed for through the nonprofit organization, First Person Arts.

ThinkFest Video: Pig Iron Theatre Company, Pt. 2


“What kind of world would you like to live in, in 200 years?” Benjamin Franklin asks the big questions, but would you expect anything less from one of our Founding Fathers? Using audience suggestions, the Pig Iron Theatre Company embraces the challenge of making a thought provoking play in only two and a half hours.

See how addiction to mobile devices, Ben Franklin and public transportation weaved their way into a pop-up play that will make you question everything from cyber-dating to the possibilities the future holds, all while encouraging you to “Think-Festively”.

ThinkFest Video: Pig Iron Theatre Company, Pt. 1


“As actors, this is our job to say today I’m going to be somebody else, I’m going to see the world from a different perspective, I’m going to (hopefully) learn to widen my view and maybe make some innovations.”

In their 18th year making all-original plays, the Pig Iron Theatre Company is working to redefine the theater experience by challenging the audience’s expectations. Taking typical expectations of the average play-going experience, Pig Iron actors challenge those assumptions by asking questions, changing perspectives and, of course, breaking some rules here and there.

Co-founder Quinn Bauriedel, enlightens us to how we can adopt the innovative Pig Iron way of “challenging the ordinary” in our own lives.

Meet ThinkFest’s Start-Up Winner: Relay Network

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One of Philadelphia magazine’s choices for coolest start-ups, Relay Network, won the popular vote at this year’s ThinkFest, earning them the coveted title of start-up of the year. As a mobile technology company founded in 2010, Relay aims to close the gap between businesses and consumers by providing one-on-one direct communication, all via cell phone.

Relay has put customers in touch with companies in health insurance, retail, financial services and more. Eliminating pesky customer service hold times and granting immediate service on secure networks, this sounds like the ultimate consumers dream.

We spoke to Relay Network CEO Matt Gillin about his company’s recent ThinkFest success.

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ThinkFest Snapshot: Wayne Kimmel

We’re rounding up the reasons Philly Mag readers should not miss ThinkFest, our week-long event connecting the brightest minds and most innovative ideas in Philadelphia. 

Wayne KimmelWayne Kimmel‘s title is founder and managing partner of SeventySix Capital, but that only scratches the surface. Entrepreneur, venture capitalist and volunteer, Kimmel has titles and awards from multiple boards and organizations, including being named one of Philadelphia magazine’s “Smartest People in Philadelphia” in 2012. Wayne’s latest fund, Bread, was acquired by Yahoo in October, which marks the company’s third “exit” in 2013.

With fellow business tycoons at coworking space Benjamin’s Desk—otherwise known as start-up central and a hub for like-minded professionals to collaborate in Philadelphia—Kimmel will be sharing tales from his experiences on the start-up scene. The panelists will  discuss the art of creative collaboration and what we can expect from Philadelphia’s greatest innovators in the future.

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ThinkFest Snapshot: Helen Gym

We’re rounding up the reasons Philly Mag readers should not miss ThinkFest, our week-long event connecting the brightest minds and most innovative ideas in Philadelphia. 

HelenGym-AAU-400Helen Gym, a prominent advocate for the Philadelphia public school system, teams up with other Philadelphia education activists to discuss the topic: “Is the Philadelphia School District Worth Saving? Innovating Outside of the System.”

As co-founder of Parents United for Public Education, Helen fights alongside other parents pushing for a greater investment in schools and classrooms. As an advocate of quality public education, Helen is also the co-founder at the Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School which supports community-based arts programs for immigrants living in the city.

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ThinkFest Snapshot: Leigh Gallagher

We’re rounding up the reasons Philly Mag readers should not miss ThinkFest, our week-long event connecting the brightest minds and most innovative ideas in Philadelphia. 

Leigh GallagherLeigh Gallagher, assistant managing editor at Fortune and regular American Public Media Marketplace commentator on NPR, is one of the great speakers at ThinkFest’s main event this year.

Author of the recently released book The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream is Moving, this Media native is no stranger to suburban life.

She’d originally set out to write about the Great Recession; stumbling upon city and suburban living data was a happy coincidence that led to her discovery of a major shift in the housing market.

Is the idealized vision we once had of the American dream crumbling, or just relocating?

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ThinkFest Snapshot: Chris Matthews

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We’re rounding up the reasons Philly Mag readers should not miss ThinkFest, our week-long event connecting the brightest minds and most innovative ideas in Philadelphia. 

Chris Matthews, Philadelphia native, best-selling author, host of MSNBC’s Hardball and this year’s ThinkFest keynoter, joins Philadelphia magazine Editor in Chief, Tom McGrath, for Q&A, cocktails and conversation.

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