We Want Answers: How Rebecca Rhynhart Pulled Off the Political Upset of the Year

Rebecca Rhynhart. Photograph by Gene Smirnov

When Philadelphians went to the polls during last spring’s primary, most eyes were on the city’s highly competitive DA’s race, in which ultra-progressive Larry Krasner ultimately beat out six other candidates for the Democratic nomination to replace disgraced, convicted (and now jailed) Seth Williams. But Krasner’s win wasn’t the only big news on election night; maybe even more significant was Rebecca Rhynhart’s unexpected drubbing of three-term city controller Alan Butkovitz. The victory by Rhynhart, who worked on Wall Street before spending nine years in the Nutter and Kenney administrations, seemed to represent the kind of shift in citywide politics many people had been waiting a long time for — a quintessential “New Philadelphian” taking on, and defeating, the Democratic Party machine. The 42-year-old — who, like all Philly Dems, is favored to defeat her Republican opponent, Mike Tomlinson, in next month’s general election — sat down in her Market Street campaign office in late summer to talk about her primary win, the way government runs, and how big a change the local Democratic Party is in store for. Read more »

We Want Answers: Josh Kopelman on Technology’s Next Wave of Disruption

Photograph by Adam Jones

For much of the past 15 years, venture capitalist Josh Kopelman has lived his life in 15-minute increments, dashing from one phone call or meeting with a prospective entrepreneur to another. It’s paid off handsomely: Among the start-ups that Kopelman’s First Round Capital has backed are Uber, Refinery29 and Warby Parker. Meanwhile, Kopelman himself — a 46-year-old Penn grad whose second company, Half.com, was sold to eBay for more than $300 million in 2000 — has become one of the most influential people in Philadelphia, not only as the tech scene’s biggest player but also, more recently, as the chairman of Philadelphia Media Network (PMN), the company that operates the Inquirer, the Daily News and Philly.com. On a warm day in late June, Kopelman offered up a few of those coveted 15-minute slots and sat down in his University City office to chat about tech, Philly, and the next wave of disruption that’s headed our way. Read more »

Philly Mag’s Best Teacher Award: Meet the Finalists

Back in April, Philly Mag asked for nominations in our first-ever Best Teacher Award, dedicated to recognizing the most outstanding K-8 educators in the Philadelphia region. After being inundated with nominations, we’ve narrowed down the field to five finalists.

You can vote now for the teacher you think is most deserving. The winner will receive a $5,000 gift for their school, along with a book donation, both courtesy of Subaru. Read more »

Behind the Stunning Fountain Makeover at Longwood Gardens

Photo by Jess Fusco.

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Pierre du pont had a thing for water. And gardens. The former kicked in when he was only six and found himself mesmerized by the fountains at the Centennial Exhibition in Fairmount Park; as he got older, the successful industrialist was enthralled by the gorgeous gardens of Italy and France. Eventually, du Pont did what any über-rich dude with an obsession might: He made his own magical place, establishing Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square and creating what has long been one of the Philadelphia region’s aesthetic jewels.

In May, du Pont’s masterpiece caps off a three-year-long face-lift with the unveiling of a completely redone Main Fountain Garden. The project, with a price tag of $90 million, was all about finding balance — between physics and aesthetics, between the gardens’ European influences and their American ones, between what du Pont built in the 1920s and ’30s and what he might have conjured up if he were alive today. (Turns out Pierre was an innovation sort of guy, so Longwood’s current leaders felt free to embrace the future.) Read more »

We Want Answers: Jake Tapper

Photo by Adam Jones.

Photo by Adam Jones.

“You’ll be sure to note that the Eagles mascot is by my side,” Jake Tapper says as we grab seats in his cluttered office inside CNN’s D.C. bureau, just down the street from the Capitol. Tapper, wearing blue dress pants and an open-collar pale blue shirt, holds up a small plush stuffed bird, decked out in Eagles gear, that normally sits off to one side of his desk. Right next to it: a spot-on replica of the Six Million Dollar Man lunch box Tapper had as a kid growing up in Philly. “Some Twitter follower of mine sent it to me,” he explains. “It’s not my original one. But it is what I had when I went to the Philadelphia School at 25th and Lombard.”

CNN’s 48-year-old chief Washington correspondent is having something of a pop-culture moment these days thanks to his aggressive coverage of the Trump administration. He found himself a guest on Bill Maher’s HBO show (Maher lauded him for “speaking truth to crazy”); has turned up as a character on Saturday Night Live; and saw his face — with the incredulous expression he wore while interviewing Kellyanne Conway in February — become an Internet meme. Read more »

The Biggest Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Airbnb’s Success

Leigh Gallagher photo by Christos Karantzolas

Leigh Gallagher photo by Christos Karantzolas

How did three young guys disrupt the hotel industry and create a company that’s now worth $30 billion?

That’s the question at the heart of Leigh Gallagher just-released book, The Airbnb Story. Gallagher, a Media native and editor at Fortune (she’s appeared twice at Philly Mag’s ThinkFest), tells the behind-the-scenes story of how the company’s founders, Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk, took the germ of an idea and, in less than a decade, built a corporation that has millions of passionate fans and a valuation that’s now larger than that of Hilton and close to that of Marriott. Gallagher, whose first book was 2013’s The End of the Suburbs, chatted with me about the Airbnb phenomenon – and what entrepreneurs and business execs can learn from their success. Read more »

Squires: The Last Boys’ Club

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He never said it in so many words, but here’s something I learned from my dad when I was a kid: Act like you own the joint and everything will be fine. Exhibit A from my childhood was our annual excursion to West Point to see a college football game. My father — being my father; it would take days to explain — had absolutely zero interest in parking on a giant field among the masses, preferring a more secluded spot he’d discovered on one of our previous trips. But how to get past the MPs who generally blocked the entrance? No worries: My dad would simply speed our Ford LTD past the men in uniform, offering a crisp salute and channeling his inner three-star general. We never got stopped. Not even once. Read more »

How Oblivious Elites Missed the Trump Revolution

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If you’re a longtime print subscriber to Philadelphia magazine, I can probably make some assumptions about you.

These aren’t just guesses. They’re based on subscriber surveys we’ve done. I know, for instance, that many of you are in your late 40s or early 50s (hey, just like me!) and that you’re more likely than not to live in the suburbs (also just like me). Odds are, you’re well educated, possessing not only a bachelor’s degree but potentially a graduate degree, too. (You have me there; I ditched grad school after a semester). And you’re most likely affluent, with a household income many times the median Philadelphia income. (No, I’m not telling you how much I make.) Read more »

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