People who aren’t from Pittsburgh often ask me why I feel the way I do about the city. They want to know why a young (at least youngish) single guy who’s lived in many of the countries “hot spots” keeps coming back here. Why a technologist who loves the thrill of startups doesn’t move to the Valley. Why an avid runner doesn’t move to a better climate. The thing all of those questions fail to see (and something only a Burgher could understand) is that I was and am a Pittsburgher before a runner or a technologist.
It’s simply a complete falsehood that there aren’t fun things to do as a young(ish) Pittsburgher. My weekends end up filled as full as I can fill them with sporting events, south side bars, great authentic restaurants, and pick-up sports through PSL or on my own. I have as many friends as I can handle and I’m always meeting new ones. I like to say that Pittsburgh has many of the features of an Eastern city (art scene, sports teams, music scene) but the charm and down to earth prices of a mid-western town. By charm I mean that if I’m a buck short on the Trolley, someone’s got it for me and there’s never a shortage of stranger high-fives at a Steeler game. By prices I mean that the down payment on my south side row house wouldn’t have covered a few months rent on a comparable place in NYC. It’s not just the young people either. Pittsburgh has a couple other generations of leaders and interesting people that are easy to get to know. On most weeks I eat dinner and smoke cigars with local restaurant owners and attorneys on Monday down at Bloom’s and then play handball with executives and doctors over at the PAA on Tuesday.
Pittsburgh is also exciting professionally. We may not have the community of entrepreneurship or technology of a silicon valley, but that makes it a fun place to start. The small community is a tight one, allowing you to make friends at open coffee club or one of the other countless functions put on within the community. People are a little more open minded; no one is laughing at first-time entrepreneurs here. The size of the community also gives you a chance to make a meaningful impact with a blog like mine or a small fund or a reasonable sized startup or in your own way. Make no mistake, this community and the number of dollars that pass through it, will grow… I think it’s a great career investment to be involved in Pittsburgh’s startup scene.
You may have noticed that I didn’t mention Pittsburgh’s weather, it’s because I have little good to say about it. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter and pleasant for far too short in the fall and spring. But hey, you can’t have everything right?