Having taken a closer look and meeting a couple of times with the founders of ECC, I have become a big fan.
As you probably know first hand, when someone from the east coast (or from anywhere) has “moved away”, it is virtually impossible to have any meaningful connection with the business community back home.
One can read the local paper on line, visit various web sites which are typically static, chat with friends and family every week or so, but the result of this scenario is that expatriates lose and or are unable to develop business connections back home.
This lessens the likely hood of them reintegrating in the future, and does it allow the local business community to tap the collective wisdom and connections of these folks.
The impasse to a productive relationship between a region and its expatriates is on the hometown side of the equation. Human capital is lost and Pittsburgh suffers. The kind of networking that ECC is encouraging will surely benefit Atlantic Canada. But what's in it for the diaspora?
Pittsburgh 2.0 is much more than a regional economic development initiative. The Burgh Diaspora is a resource for Pittsburgh, but Pittsburgh is also a resource for the Burgh Diaspora. Once again, I raise the Alan Paul example. His Pittsburgh Post-Gazette connection (strangely located in Colorado) helps his column. Through his column, American expatriates learn how to stay politically active in the affairs of the United States (see the comments published below the column). Thus, Pittsburgh jingoism helps to serve the Overseas Vote Foundation.
Pittsburgh 2.0 is a network economy, not a regional economy.