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.
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!