Three weeks ago, IheartPGH was featured in the Tribune Review’s article about the #MySummerin5words – Tweets connect Pittsburghers with the world, each other in 5 words (Tribune Review, May 27, 2015).  It took me a few tries but here is how I summarized my summer in 5 words:

I also posted a tweet that sums up a Pittsburgh summer with 5 Twitter accounts:


What 5 words and/or Twitter accounts would you use to summarize your Pittsburgh summer? Share your answers with the #PGHsummerin5words.

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!

Celebrate space with Yuri’s Night Pittsburgh tomorrow!

Yuri's Night Pittsburgh

Space is pretty awesome. Blockbuster hits like Gravity and Interstellar, privatized space exploration such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, and incentives like Google’s Lunar XPRIZE, which awards $30 million to the first private company to send a robot to the moon, have renewed our interest beyond our atmosphere.

And Pittsburgh has great representation with local NewSpace company Astrobotic leading the race to the moon, having won initial milestones of the Lunar XPRIZE and currently accepting payloads to be sent to space on their first launch.

And lucky you– you can get in on some space-related fun tomorrow evening with Yuri’s Night! From 4-7pm (don’t worry, plenty of time before the Game of Thrones season premiere) the Livermore will be hosting Pittsburgh’s celebration of mankind’s achievements in space, named after Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin who was the first human to journey into outer space.

The event is totally free to attend, and there will be space-related drinks, stellar beats, complimentary snacks, and tons of space talk, videos, and fun. The event will also serve as the afterparty for the NASA International Space Apps Challenge, brought to Pittsburgh by SpaceChallenges.org, a local non-profit aiming to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education through charitable competitions using space exploration as inspiration.

What: Yuri’s Night Pittsburgh
When: Sunday, April 12, 2015 from 4-7pm
Where: The Livermore, 124 S Highland Ave
Cost: Free, including light appetizers

7 Reasons Why I Am Supporting Pittsburgh Art Car 2015

mwfa-art-car-tourIt is an honor to support the IndieGoGo campaign for Pittsburgh Art Car 2015.  Jason and Nina Sauer are two incredible Pittsburghers who run the art gallery Most Wanted Fine Art in Garfield.  They have just launched an IndieGoGo campaign to raise $7000 to take a group of Pittsburgh artists on a tour of the US this spring.

Here are 7 reasons why I am happy to support the Pittsburgh Art Car project…

1. USA, Meet Seven Pittsburgh Artists

A Great Project that takes some of the best of Pittsburgh to the rest of the USA. You can watch the video to learn more about the details.

2. Most Wanted Fine Art Really Saved Christmas

Jason and Nina Sauer are AWESOME, inspiring Pittsburghers who make this city a better place.  Remember back in December how we helped with an emergency toy drive? All of that was started by Jason and Nina.  As soon as they heard about the toy shortage, they graciously offered up Most Wanted Fine Art as a spot to collect toys. What started as a small toy drive, snowballed into a massive effort that literally took over the gallery for four days before Christmas.  Prior to the #PghSavesXmas Toy Drive, I had only stopped into the gallery a few times during the monthly art walk.  The day we started the toy drive, I met Nina at the gallery and I was truely inspired by her spirit and willingness to do whatever it took to make sure every kid in Pittsburgh had a toy for Christmas.

3.  Mozelle Thompson, Shaft and Most Wanted Fine Art

Flyer for the Mozelle Thompson retrospective held at Most Wanted Fine Art in November 2014

Flyer for the Mozelle Thompson retrospective held at Most Wanted Fine Art in November 2014

Most Wanted Fine Art is a great gallery.  The last art show I saw there was The Album Art of Mozelle Thompson in November 2014.  This exhibit was curated by J. Malls who is an icredible Pittsburgh DJ and very knowledgeable about records.  Not only was this exhibit visually interesting, but a fascinating lesson in Pittsburgh history.  Mozelle Thompson was an illustrator who was born in Pittsburgh and designed over 100 album, magazine and book covers. Including the cover to the first edition of the detective novel Shaft, by Ernest Tidyman. Take a few moments to learn more about Mozelle Thompson here, here, here and here.

4. Help Put More Pittsburgh Stories on the Road

In 2013, thanks to the generosity of the readers of this blog, I was a “passenger” on the Millennial Trains Project.  MTP is a 10-day, cross country train trip of young leaders, movers, shakers and innovators.  One of my biggest takeaways from the experience is that Pittsburgh MUST do a better job of going out and taking the Pittsburgh story to the people.  I am happy to support projects like this that make it possible to take Pittsburgh to people outside of Pittsburgh.  Read more about what I brought back from my train trip here.

5. Travel Brings Inspiring Ideas Back to Pittsburgh

There are cities all across this country that are struggling with some of the same issues that Pittsburgh is trying to figure out…

  • How do we make better neighborhoods?
  • How do we make streets safer for pedestrians?
  • What does it take to make great street tacos?
  • What do protected bike lanes really look like?
  • Can we really have a great public market?
  • What makes a great local coffee shop?

From serious community issues, to not-so-serious-unless-you-are-a-foodie issues the more Pittsburghers that go out and see how other cities are tackling these problems, the more ideas for solutions we can bring to Pittsburgh.

Last week, the Atlantic published For a More Creative Brain, Travel.  While this article focuses on international travel, I think that many of these same ideas can apply to travel around the US.

6. More than Art, General Contracting & Job Training

Last spring, inspired by my participation in the Millennial Trains Project, I attended the StartingBloc fellowship in Los Angeles, CA.  One of the speakers during the 5 day program was Kabira Stokes, founder of Isidore Recycling.  Isidore is a business that recycles e-wastes and hires people who were previously incarcerated.  After the fellowship program, I went to take a tour of the Isidore Recycling warehouse.  Located just around the corned from Isisdore, is Homeboy Industries, another Los Angeles organization that works to help provide job training and opportunities to those who were previously incarcerated.  Visiting Isidore Recycling and Homeboy Industries was an eye opening experience for me into just how difficult it is to get a job if you have spent time in jail.

What does my trip to Los Angeles have to do with Most Wanted Fine Art? In addition to running an art gallery, Most Wanted Fine Art runs a contracting business that provides job training to young men who were previously incarcerated.  If you are in need of a general contractor, please consider Most Wanted Fine Art Contracting.

7. Art Cars & Demolition Derby

Last, but certainly not least on this list of reasons to support the MWFA IndieGoGo campaign… who doesn’t love a project that involves a demolition derby.  I think I first read about “art cars” many years ago in the Pittsburgh City Paper or Pittsburgh’s other alt-weekly at the time Pulp. I believe there was a woman in Pittsburgh who had glued objects all over her car.  A few years ago, Pittsburgh Art Car popped up and I have been following online and on the street.  Since 1995, Jason Sauer has been painting art on a car, takes the art car to the Great Stonesboro Fair and then creates art out of the demolished car.

Bonus: Super Cool Perks

From beer koozies & t-shirts to souvenirs from the road.  The MWFA crew has put together some impressive perks to say thank you for your contribution to their trip.

Check out Pittsburgh Blogger Sue Kerr’s Huffington Post article about MWFA’s IndieGoGo campaing, Community Art and Demolition Derby.

Follow: @PghArtCar and @MostWantedArt for updates

Pitt-Starter is our occasional series on local Kickstarter and Crowdfunding campaigns that support Pittsburgh organizations and businesses.  Check out our past Pitt-Starter posts here. Have a crowdfunding campaign that you would like to share?  Tell us about it on Twitter with the #Pittstarter