Wednesday, December 19, 2007

IntoPittsburgh: Locating Pittsburgh 2.0

One of the goals of IntoPittsburgh is to improve the innovation infrastructure of the region. Taking a cue from Mike Madison, I'm calling this project Pittsburgh 2.0. Rust Belt cities such as Cleveland are asking Santa Claus to bring them venture capitalists for Christmas. The idea is that an economic revival for our shrinking cities is a bottom-up endeavor.

I hope I haven't bastardized Madison's more eloquent use of the sloppy and much maligned 2.0 concept. I'm beginning to better understand the theme expressed clearly in two Pittsblog posts tagged "if you don't like the news go out and make some of your own." For example, Madison notes the lack of coverage for entrepreneurship news. I'm also aware of local start-ups who are making news, just not in the local press. What we need is a blogger and blog dedicated to covering the innovation beat. I think Mike has enough blogs to manage and I'm a bit removed (by two time zones) from the doings about Pittsburgh. Someone should step up and start blogging.

I want to retract my Building Pittsburgh 2.0 post because of the top-down approach inherent in the narrative. We don't need government or other public institutions to connect the innovation dots. What we need are more Aldo Coffee houses:

Professor Mike Madison, Mt. Lebanon's most famous blogger (or infamous, depending on your POV), has some free time on his hands this Saturday and he wants to use it hearing from you.

As many of you know, Mike is the founder and author (with Joe Polk, who may also be on hand) of Blog-Lebo, which reports on everything that's too hot for The Almanac and too locally complicated for the P-G and Trib.

Blog-Lebo has never been shy about offering thoughtful opinions on local politics and issues affecting our town. Mike also authors Pittsblog, which covers the greater Allegheny area and a much broader range of issues, often centering on how to make the "Pittsburgh diaspora" an asset instead of a liability.

So stop by, grab a cup and give Mike an earful of whatever, whether it's about local stuff or blogging stuff or anything else.

Who knows, this may be the start of a "Voltaire for a Day" program or something.

I'm not making a shameless plug for Aldo Coffee Company or Mike Madison's appearance there. I'm remarking upon the kind of bottom-up innovation geography that would benefit Pittsburgh entrepreneurial culture. You needn't wait for the City, County or State to do something. Don't hold your breath for Pitt and CMU to save the day. As for the public-private partnerships dominating Pittsburgh's history of urban and economic development, don't be afraid to show them the way. That's the Pittsburgh 2.0 Promise, no funding necessary (but we always welcome venture capital).

1 comment:

Schultz said...

A while back Mike recommended to me that a few of us start our region's own version of a Tech Crunch blog to follow the startup scene, like you mentioned. I am willing to lend a hand with the blog but I need someone with a less hectic travel schedule to take the reigns.

I have already reached out to one young entrepreneur who I think is up to the task. If anyone else is interested please drop me a line at schultzchr at