Sunday, October 21, 2007

New Calendar of Events for Philadelphia Networking

People seem to like the directory of Philadelphia networking groups I've put together, but I always felt that it was missing something -- a calendar. I'm pleased to say that my calendar of events for Philadelphia networking has gone "live." Please use it, enjoy it, and let me know how it can be improved.

The calendar items are pulled from the web sites of the groups listed in the directory of Philadelphia networking groups. I have tried to limit the list to those events that are meant for a general audience, where guests were welcome to attend.

I was fascinated by the range of opportunities that I found. The Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs has a whole range of events, seminars, and continuing education classes on taxes, HR, and even forensic accounting. The Baiada Center at Drexel has whole series of workshop breakfasts over the next few months that detail every aspect of creating a business plan.

The winter holiday season is also approaching, so there are a whole range of bowling parties, charity auctions, casino nights, and holiday get-togethers.

Doing the search for the calendar items was a labor of love. I was always going to the web sites of the groups in the directory of Philadelphia networking events, only to find that I had missed out on a great event that had happened only the day before. So, I just buckled down and spent an evening or two going through the groups to come up with a usable list of events. I thought if I put it up on the web that others might find it useful, too.

Like the directory of Philadelphia networking groups, I view the calendar of events for Philadelphia networking as a work in progress. I welcome your feedback and advice. Please let your friends know about it, too.


Karen said...

This list is fantastic! I was just beginning my own list of networking events in Philadelphia, and was thrilled to find your comprehensive listing. There's even a few I hadn't heard about! Thanks for thinking of this!

Oliver Picher said...

My pleasure, Karen. If you run across any groups or events that aren't in this list but you think should be, drop me a note at "picher[this year] AT comcast DOT net"

Chris Cera said...

Thanks, this is a fantastic resource! Now I find myself manually inserting many of these events into my Google Calendar. I imagine many others are doing the same ... there must be a way to keep the spirit of a user contributed calendar (i.e. wiki) while exporting in ical. Any thoughts? I'm interested. :)

Oliver Picher said...

Chris, thanks for the comments, and I hear you on iCal. It was definitely my vision to put this in an iCal-compatible format. I spent a couple of weeks looking for a suitable way to do it, but nothing seemed quite right. Most of the web-based calendar tools allowed only the most basic of information, and I wanted to capture things like speaker, location, description, cost, etc. Finally, I decided to move ahead with putting up a basic calendar and evolve it as the market demanded.

Ultimately, I'd like something that allows people to filter the calendar for different criteria, subscribe via RSS, and put things in their calendar via iCal. Anybody have suggestions for the right platform for this?

Chris Cera said...

I just did some snooping around which was a startup yahoo acquired several years ago at a very early-stage.

It has a way to add individual events to ical, yahoo, google, outlook, and 30boxes. It has RSS and iCal feeds for all events listed under a group. I believe you can set it up such that anyone can add an event as well.

The Independents Hall group is here:

While satisfies the RSS, iCal, and user-generated content requirements, it misses the mark on the ability to list speaker, cost, etc. in an actual field (this would need to be piled into the "description" field), and the filtering requirement. Filtering can be achieved in the sense that a user can add specific events to their calendar instead of subscribing to the entire feed. I'm also not sure how the 'venue' field would be dealt with. I imagine you can have several venues fall under the same group, but I haven't tried it.

I believe this is a viable option, but there are likely other services that could satisfy the requirements better. I personally put a higher utility on the ical/rss integration than the additional fields. Thanks for listening, and again, thanks for providing such a useful service. -Chris