Techburgh: Show and Tell with Code & Supply

This Monday, local Pittsburgh software community, Code & Supply gathered some of their best and brightest in the old Paramount Film Exchange (now a co-working space) to show off what they’re working on.

Matthew Beatty (@beattyml1) gave the developers a tour of his code generation suite called “Codgen“. This little library lets programmers speed up ShowAndTell211their development by helping them generate the same basic code architectures in a way that works on Android, iOS, the web, and anywhere else a developer wants to target, without forcing them to rewrite the same code again and again.

On the softer skills side, Marie Markwell (@duckinator) shared her new blog project, Inatri. Businesses gather personal inforShowAndTell212mation and interact with the public in ways that can rapidly become problematic. After a personal disaster involving her private information being abused to harass her, and interactions with businesses which misgendered her, Marie decided enough was enough. She assembled Inatri as a place where businesses could received guidance on how to gather personal information and use it in a way that respects and protects their users.

Her key point is that the personal biases and assumptions of developers can and does “leak” into the software they develop.

Matthew Elper (@kinographCC discovered a very different problem. While traveling in Jordan, he discovered thousands of film canisters of Jordanian cultural history- and no one knew what was on them or what how to preserve them. He put together his own home-made film digitizer, using off-the-shelf parts, and discovered lost footage of the previous king of Jordan- an act that drew the attention of the current king.

ShowAndTell213Digitizing film is expensive- it’s roughly $1,000 per reel, and standalone machines cost upwards of $250K. Small archives, universities, and libraries simply can’t do that, and so Matthew started the Kinograph project, an open-source platform that uses cutting edge computer-vision software, mixed with off the shelf (and sometimes 3D-printed) hardware. You can follow the instructable for the hardware (although Matt recommends holding off- he has a cheaper, easier to build version in the works), and the get the software from GitHub

His project’s been featured in Make Magazine, and he’s looking for collaborators who are passionate about saving cultural history before it’s forever lost.

Finally, Jackie Vesci (@JVesci) came with her startup project, Tagalong Tour. This project is a passion project among friends that offers walking tours of Pittsburgh, with audio guidance. They’re still experimenting with ShowAndTell214what makes a great tour, but they’ll help you “Meet the Neighbors” in East Liberty, find the highlights of public art in Downtown, or play the best pinball in Lawrenceville.

iPhone Screenshot 2They’re looking to expand their tours, and grow their user base- which is growing at roughly 10% a week. You can check them out at the next OpenStreets, where they’ll have a Karaoke booth, and you can download the app and try it out yourself.

It was a great night to see what’s going on in the Pittsburgh tech scene. If you want to get involved, join Code & Supply on Meetup to learn about these events. Their monthly Build Night is a great place to meet and network with technical folks, and if you’re not a technical person, don’t worry! They have a #StarterSeries event every month, which will get you started. The next one is July 25th, and will cover a key design pattern for building software.

Please vote for Srvd as Pittsburgh’s Hottest Startup by 6pm today!

You can skip the mumbo jumbo if you want and just vote for Srvd, an app that makes it easier to order and pay for drinks at the bar, by 6pm today.

Pittsburgh river

One of the things we love about Pittsburgh (and one of the things that actually brought some of the I heart PGH team together) is the growing, vibrant startup community. Lindsay and I actually met and worked out at Thrill Mill, one the the local incubators, and you can usually find one or both of us at a startup or entrepreneur-related networking event each week.

Tonight, Pittsburgh is hosting its regional Tech Cocktail Mixer and Startup Showcase (tickets are still available), where startups from around the city will be demoing and pitching their ideas for the chance to go to the national showcase in Las Vegas.

The startup I’m a part of, Srvd, formed over a Startup Weekend in March 2014 hoping to ease the frustration of trying to get a drink from a crowded bar, while giving real value back to bars and alcohol brands. It seems we hit a chord, because we won second place and are kicking things back into high gear again to make this a reality. You can help by voting for Srvd at Tech Cocktail’s showcase now.

I truly feel fortunate to be part of such an enthusiastic and wickedly smart team that’s always believing in and striving to achieve our vision. Plus, it’s a super fun project and it allows us to connect with incredible local businesses to help them be even more successful.

Srvd logo

I say this often, but it’s hard for me to put into words just how life-changing the startup community has been for me, both professionally and personally. In just a short time, I’ve gained not only valuable experience, an incredibly supportive network, and multiple job opportunities, but genuine friends and even family.

If you’re looking to get more involved in entrepreneurship and startups, there’s a few places to start: attend events hosted by AlphaLab and Thrill Mill, join Meetup groups, or, if you really want to dive in (and I suggest you do) attend a Startup Weekend. Or you can always shoot me an email or tweet at me.

Please vote for Srvd!

Who Should Attend Startup Weekend Pittsburgh?

Startup Weekend Pittsburgh

The next Startup Weekend Pittsburgh, aka Startup Weekend Pittsburgh 6,  starts this Friday, November 21, 2014.  Startup Weekend is a weekend long event where folks will come together to build a business in 2 days and it isn’t just for entrepreneurs.

This is one of my MOST favorite events in Pittsburgh.  I have attended twice and it has been an incredible way to work on some business ideas and make new friends.  Startup Weekend Pittsburgh isn’t just for entrepreneurs.  Here are some other reasons to sign up to spend this weekend at Startup Weekend.

Who should attend Startup Weekend Pittsburgh?

  • Aspiring entrepreneurs who want test out a business idea.
  • An entrepreneur who is looking for a cofounder.
  • If you are new to Pittsburgh, Startup Weekend is a great way meet other Pittsburghers.
  • Anyone who is serious about networking – it is one thing to go to a happy hour and hand out business cards, but Startup Weekend gives you a chance to get to know the people on your team, and other teams.  You will make new friends.
  • Job seekers – if you are looking for a job, attending Startup Weekend is a great way to show employers what you are made of.  I know of a few local companies who attend Startup Weekend as a way to find new talent.

Have you attended Startup Weekend before?  Why would you recommend attending?

Win A Ticket to Startup Weekend Pittsburgh

Tickets for Startup Weekend are $99 and can be purchased online here. If you are feeling a little sticker shock from the $99 price tag – you can enter to win a ticket to attend.  C-leveled is one of the sponsors of Startup Weekend Pittsburgh and they are giving away two tickets to attend.  If you like to enter to win a ticket to Startup Weekend 6, sign up for the C-leveled newsletter and/or post a tweet about the giveaway and you will be entered to win – click here for entry details.

Tweet All About It

Keep tabs on Startup Weekend 6 by following #SWPGH6 (also I usually use the #startupgh hashtag when I tweet information about Pittsburgh startups).

48 Hours Left to Apply to Thrill Mill StartUp Incubator

thrill-mill-logo

Have you always wanted to start a business or do you have an idea that you think might make a great business, but you aren’t sure where to start?  Then you should apply to Thrill Mill for the 2015 class.  Thrill Mill is an incubator located on Broad St. in East Liberty.  They are now accepting applications for their third class of companies.

I was part of the first Thrill Mill class and the Thrill Mill incubator has only improved.  Even though I am still not as far as I would like to be with my business, it was a great experience to learn about the startup ecosystem in Pittsburgh. The most valuable part of the Thrill Mill program for me was getting to know some of the other entrepreneurs, many who have become close friends.  If you are interested in starting a business, or think you want to start a business – I can’t say enough about how important it is to be a part of a “tribe” of like minded people.  Also, it was through Thrill Mill that I was introduced to C-leveled, a business consulting firm in Bloomfield, where I currently work helping C-leveled’s clients with social media. (If you need help with social media, marketing or a website for your business – I’d be happy to buy you a cup of coffee and chat – drop me an email lpatross-at-c-leveled.com).

Up to 20 startups will be accepted for a full year of first-class office space, funding, a depth of hands-on programming, mentorship, investors, and growth-focused partnerships.

The application is simple – just two questions – describe your idea and introduce your team.  Click here to apply.  Applications must be submitted by October 29, 2014 at 11:59pm.

You can read more about the Thrill Mill application process and some of the current companies here.  Babs Carryer @BabsCarryer who writes the blog The New Venturist is also a teacher/mentor at Thrill Mill wrote a post about her work at Thrill Mill which you can read here.

Thrill Mill Companies You Should Know About

Here are some of the companies that have been a part of the Thrill Mill incubator.  Keep an eye out for these businesses around town.

The Best View of Pittsburgh featured on Steve Case’s RiseoftheRest.com

This morning I clicked on the link in a recent tweet from Steve Case

… and I spotted a familiar site on the Rise of the Rest website.

Rise of the Rest Website - Pittsburgh skyline

Take a look at the video that is on the front page of RiseoftheRest.com – while everyone talks about the view from Mt. Washington, I never get tired of the view of Pittsburgh as you come through the tunnels.

The Rise of the Rest tour, which is organized by AOL co-founder Steve Case stopped in Pittsburgh earlier this summer.  Pittsburgh startup SolePower was the winner of the $100,000 prize.

Click here to see just the video that is being shown on the Rise of the Rest homepage.