Microsoft Technical Evangelist, Dave Voyles on the State of Startups in Philadelphia

Dave VoylesYesterday, the Entrepreneurship Practicum hosted Dave Voyles as a guest speaker. Dave is a technical evangelist for Microsoft, a coordinator for the Xbox Live Indie Games Uprising events as well as managing editor for the indie game blog, Armless Octopus. The class began with students delivering pitches to Dave and got his initial feedback. Following that exercise, Dave shared his professional history with the class as well as his knowledge on the entrepreneurial scene in Philadelphia. In addition, he also gave advice on what he thinks are critical things that students, particularly those interested in entrepreneurship, should learn.

While there were plenty of great insights to be gained from Dave’s presentation, the key takeaway focused on self-education.  Dave recommended that even after a student’s formal schooling ends,one’s education should always continue. Youtube and books were great resources for Dave in his pursuit of a technological background that was not provided during his studies at SUNY Oneonta. Furthermore, Dave suggested that students should always be looking to immerse themselves in the entrepreneurship community either through meet-ups or events so that they can learn from their colleagues as well as share their experiences. Lastly, Dave strongly advised students and entrepreneurs to become familiar with coding HTML, Javascript, and CSS as a fundamental basis for web development and being able to talk technically.

During our discussions, Dave also touched on a number of resources available to people in the Philadelphia area. The websites MeetUp and Nextplex provide online methods to meet with people of similar interests in the area. Both are powerful tools for becoming involved in the community and building a professional network. In addition, Dave highlighted CityCoHo, Benjamin’s Desk, Seed Philly, and Indy Hall as co-working spaces in Philadelphia that serve as a hub for entrepreneurship and related events. Furthermore, Girl Develop It (GDI), is a strong entrepreneurial organization that welcomes both men and women to become more involved in the entrepreneurship community. Other ways to become involved include attending Philly Tech Week or Philly Dev Night or any of the number of entrepreneurial events hosted at the co-working spaces listed above and Philadelphia’s universities.

For more information about Dave or to contact him with questions, visit his personal website.