Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Can The G20 Help Pittsburgh? Great Op Ed In Post Gazette

OK, this guy pretty much nails it. I wanted to cut and paste every word and came pretty close.

We need to see the Pittsburgh story for what it really is. It's not about how, poor exploited steel town made a comeback, as much as how a small city loaded with deluxe, universities, corporate headquarters, great location, wonderful architecture and piles of old cash managed to do so poorly for so long. And it still ain't doin that well.

Yes, I think something is starting to click here. But, to make it work we need to know why and be honest idea of what is and what is not working.

Pittsburgh is coming back not because of it's top down, political power structure but very much in spite of it. The article, doesn't IMHO, give enough credit some of the recent changes, most especially in the foundation community's efforts to put cash closer to the street level.

"Compared to Silicon Valley; Research Triangle Park in North Carolina; Austin, Texas, and international tech corridors in Korea, India and China, Pittsburgh is still "old school." Those of us who want to achieve change are working through layers of resistance, both imposed and self-imposed. The talk about a future that openly embraces new ideas, entrepreneurship and growth cannot be just talk. It must be activated.

First, local governments, foundations and policy makers need to embrace new democratized channels of open discourse. Today's social media technologies offer great opportunities for sharing ideas, vetting issues and creating open dialog. There are good ideas out there that should be heard and put into action. Let's use the technology available to us to empower citizen voices and build community participation.

Second, innovative ideas need to be funded. Some of the oldest money in Pittsburgh helped West Coast pioneers like Sun Microsystems, Google and Amazon.com rise to fame and fortune. (Had it not been for Pittsburgh's Henry Hillman, the Kleiner Perkins investment firm of Silicon Valley might never have gotten off the ground. Just read "Valley Boy: The Education of Tom Perkins.") It's time to keep more of that old money in the city where it was created. It's time to give back, not just to social-service organizations and cultural foundations -- many of which are generously funded -- but to the entrepreneurs who, with new ways of thinking and new techniques, are able to create companies that inspire, motivate and have the potential to bring real growth to the region."

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09249/995683-109.stm#ixzz0RDQmesQr

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