This Week In Pittsburgh (Jan 28 – Feb 3)

After a week off, here’s your list of things to do this week. My calendar is a little thin at the moment, but feel free to post a comment and I’ll update the post!


Shift Change
Wednesday 6p, Free
Big Idea Bookstore, Bloomfield

This 2012 documentary film tells the little known stories of employee-owned businesses that compete successfully in today’s economy while providing secure, dignified jobs in democratic workplaces. After the movie, there will be informal discussion about the movie and cooperative owned businesses.
More information: (412) 687-4323


Pitts-burrrrgh Drowned Hog Swim
Saturday 11a, Charity Event
South Side Trail

Join the Pitts-burrrrrgh Drowned Hogs at the 18th Street Boat Ramp for a dip in the river to celebrate Groundhog Day — when, according to folklore, a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil determines whether we will enjoy an early spring. Begun in 2006, the Pitts-burrrrrgh Drowned Hogs is an informal group of adventurous people who plunge into the chilly Monongahela River on Groundhog Day. Challenge co-workers and other teams to see who can raise the most money or wear the goofiest outfits. Proceeds benefit Circle C, a private, nonprofit agency serving troubled and disadvantaged youth throughout the greater Pittsburgh area since 1967.
More information: (412) 937-1605 ext 227

Some content provided by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pitt-Starter: FLIPSTAND for iPad

Occasionally we like to feature some Pittsburgh related Kickstarter projects here on the blog.  This one caught our eye because it was designed by the folks who own 21st Street Coffee and created the FLIPSTAND for use in their shops.  We know a few others local businesses that use an Ipad to process credit cards and could use something like the FLIPSTAND to keep their iPads from walking out the door.

There are 4 days left to support this project – so if you think this is a nifty idea – make sure to contribute ASAP.

Our New Yinz Resolutions – Better Late Than Never

an old post card

an old post card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A belated happy new year!  I know – I am a little late with the new years resolution post.  Better late than never.  Back in November – I started making a list of all sorts of things that IheartPGH could be covering.  I have used the first few weeks of the year to refine this list and to plan out a few things for the coming year.  I started writing this post the first week of January – but it seems even more important to share this list now that the excitement of the holidays is starting to wear off.

Here a few of the things I hope this little blog will cover in 2013:

More posts about Pittsburgh Non-Profits

One of the best things that happened in 2012 was rallying the readers of this blog to support some local non-profits that really needed some help.  When Light of Life Ministries ran out of clean underwear – the bloggers and blog readers of Pittsburgh raised money and donated new clean underwear to meet the need.  In 2013 – I hope we can profile more Pittsburgh non-profits and continue to work together to raise money to support Pittsburgh organizations.

Some of the non-profits we want to feature in 2013 include:

What Pittsurgh non-profit organizations would you like to learn more about in 2013?

Profile 100 Local Blogs

My other blogging project is BlogLocal – which is a map of local blogs all across the US.  Some of the most popular posts on the BlogLocal blog have been the interviews with local bloggers – the goal for 2013 is to profile 100 local bloggers on the BlogLocal Blog.

Voting & Civic Engagement

English: Mayor of Pittsburgh, Luke Ravenstahl ...
In just 4 months – Pittsburghers will have a chance to vote in the primary election for Mayor, City Council and a bunch of other elected offices.  Elections are not just about electing a leader – but the election process is an opportunity to have a conversation about what is working and what can be improved in our communities.

Community Spaces & Church Re-Use

Over the past year – I keep finding myself in having conversations about

  1. Public Spaces – where to have a meeting/party/event wedding
  2. Old Churches – what is happening to them and how to preserve them

There is a need for space and at the same time there are lots of amazing spaces – some in excellent condition  some that need some work (and some that need alot of work) – but I hope to explore and highlight public spaces  here in Pittsburgh and examples from other cities.

A Pittsburgh Book Club

Cover of "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh"

One of my personal new years resolutions is to read more books.  I spend lots of time reading blog posts but not a ton of time reading things offline.  I started chatting with our friends at East End Book Exchange and we’re working on a year long book club of Pittsburgh related book.  A book-of-the month, a monthly meet-up and even some guest appearances by authors.

What Pittsburgh books would you like to see on the reading list for 2013?

Do you have any New Yinz resolutions? What would you like to see more of on IheartPGH in 2013?

WebKite’s Founder Takes A Look at the State of StartUps in Pittsburgh

The following is a guest post from Eric Silver who is the founder of the Pittsburgh based company WebKite.  I have crossed paths with Eric a few times over the past couple of years – coincidentally I think I may have first been introduced to him at Bacon Night at the Harris Grill (All good things on this blog related back to bacon night).  Over the past few months I have been learning more about WebKite and how to use their tools to build some more great and Pittsburghy features for IheartPGH.  You can learn more about WebKite and sign up to create your own kite at

Image representing Thinktiv as depicted in Cru...

Today is also a good day to share this post from Eric because the Post-Gazette published a great article checking in on some of the companies that got their start at the last Pittsburgh StartUp Weekend in October – #ixzz2I9s8WmIu " target="_blank">Less than a year after the first Pittsburgh Startup Weekend, firms make strides.  Keep an eye on ThinkTiv, a Pittbsurgh and Austin based venture accelerator, and some of the companies that they are working with.  Paul Burke who heads ThinkTiv’s Pittsburgh based office is working hard to help launch more successful companies in the Pittsburgh area.

Startup Weekend Pittsburgh Panorama

Startup Weekend Pittsburgh Panorama (Photo credit: jonny goldstein)

I have participated in both of the Pittsburgh StartUp weekends and it has been an incredible experience to meet a whole new group of Pittsburghers.  I am so happy to see that the folks from Thoughtful Husband are still working on their business idea.  Another one of the teams from the last Pittsburgh StartUp weekend is MegaBits App – you can learn more about their business idea and support their Kickstarter project here.

Eric Silver speaking at StartUp Weekend Pittsburgh

Eric Silver was the keynote speaker at the October 2012 Startup weekend – check out some of his thoughts on the state of the Pittsburgh startup scene:

I was fortunate to have the chance to take the stage at Pittsburgh Startup Weekend this year – front and center in front of 140 Pittsburgh entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs had paid to trade their weekend for a chance to work to build something meaningful.  To put this in perspective, this was the second Pittsburgh Startup Weekend and attendance nearly doubled from last year’s 80. While it’s a small sample size, it’s a good indication of the startup culture in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh, which has done wonders to break free of its rust belt heritage, has reinvented itself to become a livable city, facilitate a biking infrastructure, and most recently a center of innovation.  Growing up in Sunnyvale, California, I watched cherry orchards slowly replaced by Apple. I saw technology come to fruition and exceed my wildest expectations.  And yet, I chose to grow my startup in Pittsburgh – a city that reminds me of what my hometown looked like as a kid; full of promise, technology, and people ready to take a chance.

Why the shift? To start, the Internet has broken down all geographical barriers, but it’s much more than that. Pittsburgh was a city founded on a series of rivers and mountains of coal. The wrinkle of rivers in Pittsburgh created micro-cultures and a city with multiple identities. Because of these resources and opportunities many entrepreneurial folks scattered to these regions creating a rich legacy. From that, Pittsburgh is home to magnificent museums and an eclectic culture.  More obvious, Pittsburgh hosts a set of Universities, yielding generations of thinkers.

The challenge that Pittsburgh faces is that the selfsame legacy created a mental model of how business works.  That mental model expects capital-intensive businesses with a quick path to profitability, while the web presents us with lean startups, quick iterations, and a series of opportunities to learn.  Too many early entrepreneurs, after having their learnings dubbed “failures”, leave for greener pastures and build their networks in California or New York.  Without local leadership, recent graduates follow, leaving the local startup scene fallow.  For a long time Pittsburgh couldn’t figure out how to enable successful local businesses to attract capital, mentor new companies, and for entrepreneurs with experience under their belts (but no success) to continue to grow their local networks.

We’re currently at a tipping point. Startups are sticking around Pittsburgh instead of exiting for the coast. Some entrepreneurs are starting their second company in Pittsburgh while several notable examples bridge the local market for talent to remote markets for talent.  Our startup community is fragmented with pieces near the Universities, others near AlphaLab, and yet others distributed through sparsely populated areas created by well-meaning government incentives.  And yet, these pieces do compose a thriving whole.  Pittsburgh, an early home to the AlphaLab incubator, is expecting a number of new hardware incubators, has seen new co-working spaces springing up, and is starting to retain a caste of experienced entrepreneurs.

Much like how Pittsburgh once attracted the cream of the crop with its natural resources, we’re seeing a renaissance in technology and investments. The climate is right for Pittsburgh to propagate a series of successfully funded startups. What is apparent is a sudden explosion of new incubators, spaces, and entrepreneurs, the change has been gradual and the opportunity remains vast.