I'm a native who moved away for a while (I lived in Los Angeles for 11 years), then moved back to the 'Burgh in early '91. After getting settled, I met up with John Hemington, and we decided to start a business. We recognized a real need in the area for comprehensive computer support of small businesses. I served as the business/software consultant, while John was the networking/hardware expert.
While I lived in L.A., I was constantly exposed to new businesses and ideas in both my business and private lives. The prevailing belief in L.A. is, "You started a new business, great! Come on over and let's see if we can work together." Although I didn't expect this same type of response from Pittsburgh, having lived here most of my life, I did anticipate that attitudes had changed during my absence. I couldn't have been more wrong.
Even though the collapse of the steel industry had wiped out tens of thousands of jobs, hundreds of businesses and just about destroyed a number of small towns, the mentality here was still stuck in the old corporate ways of the 'Good Old Days.' Over and over again, we ran into some version of my opening statements. We struggled for four years and finally had to give up. We just couldn't overcome the obstacle of being a start-up in a community that values longevity over everything else.
Many talented people have left this area because it is immensely easier to start a new business in, not only L.A., but many other forward-looking metropolitan areas. Having met a large number of these people, I absolutely know that most of them would have loved to stay here, but I realized that the 'Old Guard' mentality of Pittsburgh would completely stifle their efforts. I certainly don't want Pittsburgh to become L.A., but realizing that new businesses are good and not something to avoid, would be a major step in the right direction.
From under the new stadium...
I've been reading your SBN for some time and greatly appreciate your concern for small stores!
Not only am I forgotten, I am under the brand new Pirate stadium and can't wait for the [Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh] to drop the other shoe to tell me I've got to move somewhere else.
Exercise Equipment Inc.
Simple message: 'Pittsburgh Cares'
I read with interest Fred Koury's editorial entitled "The purpose of our success" (SBN, August 1998). I thought you might be interested in learning more about Pittsburgh Cares, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating flexible, rewarding and meaningful volunteer opportunities in the Greater Pittsburgh community.
In relation to the editorial, I thought your readers might be interested in an organization that would enable them to "try an alternative path." Pittsburgh Cares offers between 20 and 30 volunteer projects a month, all scheduled after typical working hours. The projects range from cleaning the riverfronts to escorting the elderly on field trips to walking dogs at an animal shelter. I encourage you to check out our Web site at www.pgh.cares.org for a sampling of our projects.
Carolyn Falk, executive director
September column kudos
Great column, as always! Draw the line in the sand, baby.
The best article in SBN is always the editorial. I enjoy how you integrate your youth with today's "goings on." Keep up the good work.
Safeguard Interactive Inc.