Thanks Pittsburgh!

Pittsburgh is having a steel hangover.

That’s what I kept hearing all day long. My life really is interesting because I’m now getting to a diverse enough group of cities in a short amount of time to get a feel for what’s happening in each city.

I didn’t expect what I found.

Why? Cause I, like many others even who live here, remember Pittsburgh’s past. It’s the city of steel.

I expected dirty, grimy, economic ruin, and all that.

But, I found a really pretty city that has great educational institutions and a vibrancy that many other cities wish they had.

But, there’s that steel hangover.

The city is still trying to figure out who it is. Is it a football town? A technology town (I met a couple of Apple employees tonight, for instance, who work here and Google is opening an office and Bill Gates donated a bunch of money to Carnegie Mellon where I’ll be getting a tour of the robotics lab tomorrow)? Or something else? A geek town?

Seems they have the past working against them. Some city elders want to move away from the Steel and industrial heritage the city has.

One thing that I learned is that a lot of people come here to get their computer science and technology degrees and then they promptly leave for either better weather or better economic conditions.

Anyway, back to tonight. The bloggers here gave me a tour of the town and really treated me like a star. Even bought me a birthday cake! I got my own Pittsburgh towel (football is HUGE here).

We ended up at Aldos for coffee. What’s the big deal about that? Well, it’s the best coffee in Pittsburgh. How do I know that? I don’t, but they have a blog and the coffee is just as good as anything I’ve had in Seattle. You gotta love a coffee place that has HDTV too!

Anyway, thanks PeterB and the approximately 40 others who came to the Pittsburgh blogger fest tonight for my birthday. Oh, and thanks to Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy of Pittsburgh Business Bloggers for inviting me out and driving me around town.

A funny thing is that Venky (as Venkatesh is known around town, here’s a picture of him drinking a coffee and another of him out in front of the hotel I’m staying at holding the OQO I was dragging around town) took me to the local Barnes and Noble where I offered to sign some books. So, out comes the Emergency Author Signing kit. No kidding. Eamon McNamee, community relations manager at Barnes and Noble comes out and greets me. What a trip!

Anyway, back to Pittsburgh. You gotta love a town that has a Cathederal of Learning. Seriously, that’s what they call this building and it’s the second tallest educational building in the world.

More photos coming tomorrow on my Flickr feed (I love showing off my new SmartPhone and how I can get photos up there within a few seconds). At about 2 p.m. Eastern tomorrow I’ll be visiting Carnegie Mellon’s robot laboratory. That should be fun!

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53 thoughts on “Thanks Pittsburgh!

  1. Well also don’t forget about PSC (Pittsburgh Super Computer) is near the CMU campus (see if someone can get you over there to show you around…) Meet my good friend Jim Miller he’ll show you around there, with permission of course.
    Thanks J.

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  2. Well also don’t forget about PSC (Pittsburgh Super Computer) is near the CMU campus (see if someone can get you over there to show you around…) Meet my good friend Jim Miller he’ll show you around there, with permission of course.
    Thanks J.

    Like

  3. Pittsburgh is a great city! I was there in November for the fourth time, and I enjoyed it. It’s totally not a steel town any more. The Carnegie Science Center is worth a good visit.

    They love their hockey too, by the way.

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  4. Pittsburgh is a great city! I was there in November for the fourth time, and I enjoyed it. It’s totally not a steel town any more. The Carnegie Science Center is worth a good visit.

    They love their hockey too, by the way.

    Like

  5. Go Steelers! My dad grew up in pittsburgh. Big Steelers fan here. I have been to Pittsbugh on many occasions and I must say I like the place better than any city in Ohio, Cincy being the nicest city here. I’ve never checked out all of the cool computer/learning stuff out there of course.

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  6. Go Steelers! My dad grew up in pittsburgh. Big Steelers fan here. I have been to Pittsbugh on many occasions and I must say I like the place better than any city in Ohio, Cincy being the nicest city here. I’ve never checked out all of the cool computer/learning stuff out there of course.

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  7. I wish I would have known you were going to be close to town Robert, I would have grabbed a coffee or two with ya.

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  8. I wish I would have known you were going to be close to town Robert, I would have grabbed a coffee or two with ya.

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  9. Robert – pleasure to finally meet you and have a chance to talk. I have no idea how Venky managed to shanghai you and the rest of the group to head down to our joint, but thanks for the kind words about the shop(although I thought you had a cocoa… or did we invent a latte with tiny marshmallows?). Therese thanks you for the photo. It was an interesting ‘after hours’ group and fascinating conversation… and loved hearing about Bill’s office. Hope you’ll come back soon and looking forward to tonight’s seminar.

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  10. Robert – pleasure to finally meet you and have a chance to talk. I have no idea how Venky managed to shanghai you and the rest of the group to head down to our joint, but thanks for the kind words about the shop(although I thought you had a cocoa… or did we invent a latte with tiny marshmallows?). Therese thanks you for the photo. It was an interesting ‘after hours’ group and fascinating conversation… and loved hearing about Bill’s office. Hope you’ll come back soon and looking forward to tonight’s seminar.

    Like

  11. The steel-grime storyline is for bobbing tourists that never lived there, overdone and way too pat. The largest inland port still commands power. And it’s huge in robotics, and you got 84 Lumber, Bayer, PPG, Heinz, Alco, NOVA and WESCO and more that I can’t recall, lottsa stuff beyond Steel, and lottsa reclamation of the industrial riverfront properties,

    And then seemingly a non-profit captial of the world, and artsy serious, given Carnegie, Heinz and Frick. And University town triple. And heck, they got the Pirates, Cubbie fan at heart (loyal to core), but Pirates slide into second, would do the Fest at Lawrence if was in town.

    I still have some of my Pittsburghese left, “filthadelfea” and “tree rivers” still rings out, Picksburg has that deep language formulation that sticks with you, much like Chicago. Tho my brief filthadelfea living in Old Town next to Indy Hall was a godsend. And “Height of Stupidity” is what I always called the Cathedral. Heh. And forget coffee, yah Starbucks junkie, Woolery’s is Pitts king. 😉

    Now the city that’s an industrial hellhole still is Detriot, but then it’s got a lot going on in the edges, Compuware and such.

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  12. The steel-grime storyline is for bobbing tourists that never lived there, overdone and way too pat. The largest inland port still commands power. And it’s huge in robotics, and you got 84 Lumber, Bayer, PPG, Heinz, Alco, NOVA and WESCO and more that I can’t recall, lottsa stuff beyond Steel, and lottsa reclamation of the industrial riverfront properties,

    And then seemingly a non-profit captial of the world, and artsy serious, given Carnegie, Heinz and Frick. And University town triple. And heck, they got the Pirates, Cubbie fan at heart (loyal to core), but Pirates slide into second, would do the Fest at Lawrence if was in town.

    I still have some of my Pittsburghese left, “filthadelfea” and “tree rivers” still rings out, Picksburg has that deep language formulation that sticks with you, much like Chicago. Tho my brief filthadelfea living in Old Town next to Indy Hall was a godsend. And “Height of Stupidity” is what I always called the Cathedral. Heh. And forget coffee, yah Starbucks junkie, Woolery’s is Pitts king. 😉

    Now the city that’s an industrial hellhole still is Detriot, but then it’s got a lot going on in the edges, Compuware and such.

    Like

  13. Now get the towel thing right, Robert, it is not a Pittsburgh Towel, it is the “Terrible Towel”. Glad you had a good ‘burgh experience!

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  14. Now get the towel thing right, Robert, it is not a Pittsburgh Towel, it is the “Terrible Towel”. Glad you had a good ‘burgh experience!

    Like

  15. I remember when I was in High School and the University of Pittsburgh sent me some material that talked about the building and I thought that it seemed real cool.

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  16. I remember when I was in High School and the University of Pittsburgh sent me some material that talked about the building and I thought that it seemed real cool.

    Like

  17. I went to high school and college (Pitt) in Pittsburgh. I miss the city and I would still live there, but for the market for developers. I still visit regularly, though. I don’t drink coffee, so no comment on whether Aldos is really the best, but I’m glad you enjoyed the Cathedral of Learning 🙂

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  18. I went to high school and college (Pitt) in Pittsburgh. I miss the city and I would still live there, but for the market for developers. I still visit regularly, though. I don’t drink coffee, so no comment on whether Aldos is really the best, but I’m glad you enjoyed the Cathedral of Learning 🙂

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  19. ‘yinz’ and ‘slippy’ Christopher, remember that? I worked at UPitt on 9/11 and they evacuated us for the final flight – the Cathedral of Learning was considered an obvious target. thank you for a nice overview of the city, Robert, it is indeed a pretty town.

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  20. ‘yinz’ and ‘slippy’ Christopher, remember that? I worked at UPitt on 9/11 and they evacuated us for the final flight – the Cathedral of Learning was considered an obvious target. thank you for a nice overview of the city, Robert, it is indeed a pretty town.

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  21. Yinz? I always spelled it yunz.

    Gumbands (rubberbands) and jumbo (bologna) also mark a person as someone who grew up in the ‘burg.

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  22. Yinz? I always spelled it yunz.

    Gumbands (rubberbands) and jumbo (bologna) also mark a person as someone who grew up in the ‘burg.

    Like

  23. Ahh didn’t grow up in ‘burg. Was a Wrigleyville Clark-Belmont “L” stop Punkin’ Donuts Chicago boy. But got enough Pitts in my blood to be half native. Still can’t stop saying “yabbut” and “umigna” and “geez-o-man” and “Tony’s Got It!” which is sorta the Pitts version of “5-8-8-2-3-hundred EMPIRE” in Chicago. Yeah, I spelled it, or rather pronounced it it “yinz”.

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  24. Ahh didn’t grow up in ‘burg. Was a Wrigleyville Clark-Belmont “L” stop Punkin’ Donuts Chicago boy. But got enough Pitts in my blood to be half native. Still can’t stop saying “yabbut” and “umigna” and “geez-o-man” and “Tony’s Got It!” which is sorta the Pitts version of “5-8-8-2-3-hundred EMPIRE” in Chicago. Yeah, I spelled it, or rather pronounced it it “yinz”.

    Like

  25. Rob, it was a pleasure meeting you. Thanks for the advice as we continue to persuade the “powers-that-be” to blog. Hope the Mahi Mahi treated you well, for I didn’t fare too well. ‘Til next time. Go Steelers!

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  26. Rob, it was a pleasure meeting you. Thanks for the advice as we continue to persuade the “powers-that-be” to blog. Hope the Mahi Mahi treated you well, for I didn’t fare too well. ‘Til next time. Go Steelers!

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  27. Don’t forget the other name for the cathedral of learning: The “Heinz Fire Escape” :).

    When you’re back at Microsoft, I’ll explain it to you.

    Did you get a chance to eat at the O’s or Primanti’s when you were there?

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  28. Don’t forget the other name for the cathedral of learning: The “Heinz Fire Escape” :).

    When you’re back at Microsoft, I’ll explain it to you.

    Did you get a chance to eat at the O’s or Primanti’s when you were there?

    Like

  29. At least there is something there with a doughnut. Having it in your blood, is not the same as living it. Your list of business happy talk sounds like a brouchure for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. If everthing is so peachy keen then why did Lycos leave Pittsburgh for Boston? Why are young people still, after 30 years of decline, leaving the city for good jobs?

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  30. At least there is something there with a doughnut. Having it in your blood, is not the same as living it. Your list of business happy talk sounds like a brouchure for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. If everthing is so peachy keen then why did Lycos leave Pittsburgh for Boston? Why are young people still, after 30 years of decline, leaving the city for good jobs?

    Like

  31. You know, many of us from Pittsburgh who are proud of our hometown absolutely LONG for the day when people stop being so damn surprised that it’s a really nice place. The last steel mill in the county closed like 20 years ago, for God’s sake.

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  32. You know, many of us from Pittsburgh who are proud of our hometown absolutely LONG for the day when people stop being so damn surprised that it’s a really nice place. The last steel mill in the county closed like 20 years ago, for God’s sake.

    Like

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  34. Robert

    I just launched a publication in Pittsburgh in partnership with a small media company called Issue Media Group … it’s called Pop City. You can see it at popcitymedia.com. We launched our first edition on March 1, and it’s a weekly e-publication, with a supporting website. The intent – to talk about the authentic Pittsburgh and organize it’s assets for visitors like you and transplants like me. One of your Pittsburgh fans sent me this link and I am enchanted. As a transplant to Pittsburgh I am as pleased as you with this lovely city and as puzzled that the locals don’t get it. No more rambling … what I’d like to do is publish this story (or something close to it), in Pop City. Will you let us do that? It rocks!

    Eve

    Like

  35. Robert

    I just launched a publication in Pittsburgh in partnership with a small media company called Issue Media Group … it’s called Pop City. You can see it at popcitymedia.com. We launched our first edition on March 1, and it’s a weekly e-publication, with a supporting website. The intent – to talk about the authentic Pittsburgh and organize it’s assets for visitors like you and transplants like me. One of your Pittsburgh fans sent me this link and I am enchanted. As a transplant to Pittsburgh I am as pleased as you with this lovely city and as puzzled that the locals don’t get it. No more rambling … what I’d like to do is publish this story (or something close to it), in Pop City. Will you let us do that? It rocks!

    Eve

    Like

  36. As far as I know, I *think* there’s only 1 steel plant producing anything in the ‘Burgh any more.

    I remember walking down the street and watching them pour molten iron at J&L years ago.

    Hoist a brew for me at your next blogfest.

    Oh and two other things…

    GO BUCS & Happy Birthday Pittsburgh !

    Falkie

    Like

  37. As far as I know, I *think* there’s only 1 steel plant producing anything in the ‘Burgh any more.

    I remember walking down the street and watching them pour molten iron at J&L years ago.

    Hoist a brew for me at your next blogfest.

    Oh and two other things…

    GO BUCS & Happy Birthday Pittsburgh !

    Falkie

    Like

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