I’m Not One for Long Goodbyes. No, Wait. I Lied, I Am. To Geekadelphia with Love, Mikey Ilagan

Change is inevitable. Change is constant. The only constant you can rely on is the fact that everything keeps changing. From within our molecules to the greatest reaches of the galaxy, we can be certain that change has existed and change will continue.

That’s true even here.

Eric Smith, co-founder and owner of this site announced his departure in 2016. Co-founder Tim Quirino departed nearly four years ago at the end of 2013.

Ten years and a day ago, Tim and Eric published their first blog post. Eight years and a few months ago, I discovered Geekadelphia and met the people behind the blog. Seven years and a few months ago, I started writing for said blog and it changed my life. Nearly four years ago, I became Editor-in-Chief. Less than a month ago, I announced that we’d be shutting down.

Where will we be four, seven, eight and ten years from now? Not a clue. As much as I would love to see in to the future, I cannot. So allow me to share highlights from the past.


The Ford Fiesta Movement

I joined Geekadelphia and the Ford Fiesta Movement: Chapter 2 with blog co-founder Tim Quirino in early 2010. It was the very first and one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever had. We were given free cars to drive around in. In addition, were given all the hardware, software and budget to execute creative projects in which we competed with teams of social media influencers and bloggers from across the country.

We hosted an art show at Brave New Worlds. We commissioned the painting of a [short-lived] mural and had a launch party at North Bowl which Eric couldn’t attend so we printed out his face and glued them onto sticks. We produced a short film (ad) with our BFFs Johnny Zito and Tony Trov (South Fellini) with a screening (before Prince of Persia lol) at The Riverview. And we hosted an outdoor, live concert in The Piazza in which we gave away a brand new first-gen iPad.


Nintendo Brand Ambassadorship

Hanging out with Melissa Morris Ivone at a Wii U event in Chicago.

Within a year, I’d become a Nintendo Brand Ambassador. I was given free consoles and games. I went on sponsored trips to Chicago and Seattle. I made newfound social media influencer/blogger friends near and far that I still talk to six years later. I got to tour Nintendo America HQ, meet Reggie Fils-Aime, President and COO of NoA. (I still regret not having a photo with the guy.)

None of that would’ve been possible hadn’t it been for the clout I’d accrued through being a part of Geekadelphia and Katie Sweeney who recommended me as an Ambassador. It was a great fit. I love video games, talking about them and sharing the fun with my friends.

My official status as an Ambassador has been over for years but anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m still committed to the cause and am a Nintendo fan for life.




The Philly Geek Awards

The Philly Geek Awards will live on and will continue to be one of my biggest sources of stress and pride every single year as they’ve been for seven years. Much like Geekadelphia, it was somebody else’s idea that I’ve been completely humbled to work on. The team has changed over the years. In fact, I’m the only one who’s been with it every year since its inception in 2011. Nevertheless, I’m very proud and honored to work with the team to honor and recognize every variety of Philly Geek out there. We’ve donned fancy outfits, admired amazing trophies made by NextFab and danced the night away at after parties.

Every year for the past seven-plus years we’ve seen award winners take the stage and show us the very best that this city has to offer through their inspiring, thought-provoking and profound acceptance speeches. We won a Best of Philly award for “best party” from Philadelphia Magazine in 2015, but I’m proud to say that we’re so much more than a party. We seek to recognize and perpetually celebrate the people of this city.

We’ve pushed the definition of what it means to be a geek and recognizing the outstanding achievements of people’s passionate pursuits. Thank you to our venues past and present. Thank you to all the past sponsors, presenters, nominees, organizers/producers and judges. I’m looking forward to continuing the good work we’ve been doing on the Philly Geek Awards.


+1 Silliness

Whether it was April Fools’ Day posts or trolling Technically Philly people in-person or via Twitter, being silly is integral to the Geekadelphia brand. Thank you Eric for encouraging that. You’ve turned me into an even bigger monster than I would’ve been alone.

Some highlights include “BREAKING: SEPTA Key🔑System Launches Today with Help from DJ Khaled“, “GTA V on the Cira Centre for Philly Tech Week“, “EIC of Geekadelphia Opens Black Cat Sanctuary in South Philly Home” (Which Chris Urie totally got me since he managed to publish this on April Fools Day of that year without my knowledge until it went live.), “Commenters Take Over Philly.com For The Day” and “Local Historian Discovers Center City Actually Part of Camden, NJ; Explains Facebook Geotag is Actually Correct.”


+5 Credibility

Especially in the days since becoming Editor-in-Chief, I’ve been pulled for audio quotes on WHYY and appeared live via Skype on CBS Philly. I was on NPR with Eric to talk about his Geek’s Guide to Dating and the Philly Geek Awards with Marty Moss-Coane. I’ve spoken on several discussion panels, even out of my lane. I mean, what business do I have speaking to PR students?

I’ve been on local podcasts like Your Weekly Top Six. I was a guest on Deep Cuts at Philly Improv Theater, I was asked to be a judge at Philly Dev Night (now known as Philly Game Mechanics). In addition to that, we’ve been invited to tons of press events, store and restaurant openings. Working on Geekadelphia opened up so many opportunities for so many of us. And really, this all started just because the co-founders wanted a place to post their geeky content and photos of Tim in Star Wars cosplay.


+10 Public Speaking

Geekadelphia gave me a place to write. Geekadelphia gave me a place to practice and pursue photography. But Geekadelphia also gave me a place to work on my public speaking. I participated in a bizarre Broetry Slam at National Mechanics. I MC’d a Philadelphia Science Festival event. I was at a judge at the Philadelphia Rube Goldberg Machine Contest (now known as the Philly Contraption Contest). I’ve hosted a live discussion panel series for AIGA.

I’ve never really been a shy person but Geekadelphia helped gain new confidence to get in front of a crowd. I feel good talking to people or managing a discussion as the MC. It just makes my heart swell to engage in or help along great conversations with spectacular people.


Meeting Every Single One of You

Philly is a small city and I’m sure I would’ve met many of you all the same but being behind Geekadelphia and the Philly Geek Awards really enhanced it. Some of you I didn’t meet through Geekadelphia, but without Geekadelphia our relationship wouldn’t be the same. Some of you I still haven’t met in person but you’ve already made an impression on me and my life all the same.

Whether IRL or virtually, I’m so happy, humbled and thankful for having had the privilege of meeting and being acquainted with so many artists, makers, writers, designers, developers, activists, bloggers, technologists, publicists, journalists and more. The photos in the collage above are just a small sampling of some of the folks I’ve met or gotten to know better thanks to having this website in my life. Truthfully, I could spend hours and hours creating a collage of unrecognizable pixel-sized avatars. And behind each of those avatars are people I look up to, am inspired by and genuinely admire.

I’ve met a few famous people but I definitely met Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (who played The Mountain on HBO’s Game of Thrones) thanks to Geekadelphia. I asked him to squeeze my head. Speaking of Game of Thrones, I didn’t get to meet him, but Allie did interview Kit Harrington on the phone and I heard his voice echo via speakerphone in our old loft apartment.

Game of Thrones actors aside, it’s really all the Philadelphians I’ve met over the years that have made Geekadelphia and running this website an amazingly enjoyable experience. Geekadelphia in itself is a community of communities and it’s been an honor to have been able to interact with so many absolutely amazing people. There’s still so many more of you that I wanted to feature as Geeks of the Week. I have few Geekadelphia regrets and unwritten articles. For Geek of the “Week”, there was just never ever going to be enough weeks in the year.


And More

I could go on forever.

I could’ve just plagiarized Eric’s entire goodbye and called it a day. I concur with everything said. It’s been a joy to watch writers/friends/colleagues—family, grow from small beginnings to where they are now. I’ve been lucky to work with so many Geekadelphia writers, many of whom could write circles around me. I wish you all the very best.

I concur about Tattooed Mom (Robert Perry you are the kindest, raddest, hippest and humblest barkeep), thank you for hosting so many of our events, the Halloween parties with Indy Hall especially. Thank you to all the other great venues that have hosted small and large Geekadelphia or Geek Awards events, National Mechanics, Lucha Cartel, North Bowl and even the late PYT.

Thank you to all the other great publications past and present that have featured us and the Philly Geek Awards, helped us or promoted us in any way—Phillyist, Philebrity, Technically Philly, Generocity, WHYY, Billy Penn, Philly Voice, Philly Mag (who even gave me and Allie a chance to tell our love story).

Your mom and dad at the 2017 Philly Geek Awards.

Speaking of Allie—my partner in all things—thank you for supporting all this madness for the past several years. Thank you for inspiring me to keep creative, be good and do good for others. You’re family in the traditional, ceremonial sense but you’ve been my willing (and at times, unwilling) partner in Geekadelphia. Our relationship grew up as my relationship with Geekadelphia and its community grew up. Thank you for always being there and seeing this journey through. You had to have known what you were getting into though. One of the things we did in the first year of our relationship was appearing in the NYTimes over our Foursquare mayorship battles.

So…everything changes but everything stays the same when you think about it.

Change is constant, as I mentioned earlier. Geekadelphia may be done but the strong will and the creative spirit of the people and things we’ve written about and brought together for the past ten years will forever endure. It was here before Geekadelphia. It’ll be here long after. Much of the reason behind that is the undeniable, incomparable, remarkable uniqueness that makes Philadelphia and its people what it is. Geeks, as I’ve learned, are a peculiar, particular, scrappy (as Eric would say) and passionate force to be reckoned with. Philly Geeks are at that perfect intersection. It’s been a joy all these years proudly being part of their unofficial online home and community hub.

I’ll miss Geekadelphia for sure, but all the reasons of what made it great aren’t going anywhere. Thank you Eric and Tim for starting this project. You really, really, really had no idea what you were doing in all the best ways. Speaking for change, you changed my life in ways that even these two thousand-plus words can only scratch the surface of. Thank you for giving me all of what’s written here and so much more. I love you guys.

This is your Editor-in-Chief signing off.

Thank you,
Mikey Ilagan

PS. I didn’t even mention my love of Totino’s once.


Author Description

Mikey (Michaelangelo Ilagan) is an interactive designer and lifelong Philadelphian. He enjoys fast cars, fatty food but generally has an appetite for all things creative and tech. He’s got a love of all-things-new and an inclination toward spontaneity. His humor is as often inappropriate as his attempts at maintaining social media omnipresence is vain. Somehow, he managed to become Editor-in-Chief of this website and co-organizes the annual Philly Geek Awards as well.

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