Startup Bikes, Bad Nicknames, & a Post-Apocalyptic Gem

Plus, the elusive white squirrel, craft beer, book reviews, yinzer holiday gifts, a story of gaslighting, and more!

Startup Bikes, Bad Nicknames, & a Post-Apocalyptic Gem

I made a big move this week.

I booked my first vacation since the pandemic kicked off. Before that, my last vacation (by myself, sad) was to Brevard, NC in February of 2020. I went on a mission to see a white squirrel – because I'm obsessed with squirrels.

Note: I did not see a white squirrel. Huge disappointment.

Do I really want to go to Miami?

Nope. In fact, this is me when I get close to the ocean.

But, the flights were cheap and the kid demanded a beach, so that's where we're headed. This also means that it's not exactly a vacation, since I'll be with a six-year-old, but unplugging sure sounds great.

Happy Friday, friends!
Stay weird.

Quick request before we move on. If you've read This Better Work (and liked it), but haven't popped over to Amazon to hit 5 stars, I'd be grateful for the click. And thank you to everyone who took the time to drop a review. It means more than you can imagine! #alwaysmarketing

Places I Actually Want To Visit

So, Florida isn't exactly my dream vacation, but while we're talking about getting out of the house, here are a few spots I'd love to visit sometime soon. Who's in???

Dancing Gnome founder Andrew Witchey on new, expanded taproom (Pittsburgh City Paper)

Five years after launching, Pittsburgh craft beer darling, Dancing Gnome, has opened the doors to its new, giant space down the road from its original spot on Main Street in Sharpsburg. An old steel warehouse has been repurposed, with more room for customers, as well as more capacity to make beer.

Dancing Gnome is known for its IPAs. I'm known for loving IPAs. Sounds like a great night out.

Lights Out: 5 New ‘Dark-Sky Places’ for Top-Shelf Stargazing (New York Times)

And one of them is only a four and a half-hour drive away from Pittsburgh.

In October, Watoga State Park in West Virginia received its dark-sky status, along with nearby Calvin Price State Forest and Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park. Heck yeah to mountains and stars and fires and a lake. I'm in.

The other four NEW dark-sky places are located in Kentucky, Maine, Arizona, and Texas. Here's a complete list of dark-sky parks across the United States.

The Yinzer Holiday Gift Guide from @JanePitt

And lastly, I'd like to visit ALL OF THE SMALL BUSINESSES in this Yinzer Holiday Gift Guide, brought to us by Virginia Montanez (aka @JanePitt on Twitter)!

Somebody, PLEASE buy me a Pittsburgh Left sticker from 1flychicken! My birthday is coming up, FYI.

PGH Startup Bikes

Last Saturday, after a very animated lunch with Chris "Sidecar" Millard, I dropped down Commercial Street, cut through Duck Hollow, and met my pals Brian Gaudio and Drew Brisley from Module at The Woods House in Hazelwood. We grabbed a quick beer before logging some miles. #greatday

During the ride, we decided that it was time to launch a new venture together. That venture: PGH Startup Bikes! Yes, I know the timing on this sucks, considering the weather is turning, but who knows, maybe we'll get a few awesome days before it gets super shitty. If not, we'll launch in Spring 2022.

We want to invite anyone and everyone from the startup community to join us on this monthly ride. We'll introduce you to the best bike routes, show off Pittsburgh's bike infrastructure, teach you how to get around certain neighborhoods, and convene at the end for a beer at a local brewery. And yes, this was inspired by Detroit Slow Roll👇

If you're into this idea, visit this page and drop your name and email.

No need to own lycra, know what clipless pedals are, or even own a bike. We want this to be a ride for EVERYONE – just like Detroit Slow Roll. Partnerships coming soon.

We're also seeking additional founding members. Kelly Collier (below) already said yes! Same with my pals, Bobby Zappala, Annia Aleman, and Nick Merich. #solidcrew

And if you're down to sponsor, let me know. As you know, I LOVE making shirts!

Good Media

Finch (Apple TV+)

If there's any story I love more than a heist story, it's a post-apocalyptic story.

This original from Apple TV+ features Tom Hanks, Tom Hanks, and Tom Hanks. It's like Castaway, but replace the volleyball with a dog. Hanks plays a man who embarks on an emotional journey to find a new home for his unlikely family – his beloved dog and newly created robot – in a dangerous and ravaged world. So damn good. I may have sobbed uncontrollably several times.

Work 2.0: Game on! (Hidden Brain)

In this podcast episode: The world of play and the world of work are often seen as opposites. But they may have more in common than we think. Ethan Mollick makes the case that we can make our jobs more engaging by incorporating elements of games. Listening to this made me think of my friend, Shimira Williams. She knows how to play!

And Now, Back To ME

I know. I'm everywhere and it's getting annoying.

To pile it on, I'll be appearing on Our Region's Business this Sunday on WPXI-TV at 11 am. Tune in to listen to me talk startups with host Bill Flanagan and my friends, Alison Alvarez (Blastpoint) and Sean Luther (InnovatePGH).

After this, I'll get out of your faces for a few. Maybe 😆 #nopromises

ShowClix founder Lynsie Campbell dishes about world of Pittsburgh startups in new "refreshing" book (PGH City Paper)

The most quoted part of the article on Twitter:

“I'm sick of Pittsburgh sugarcoating. I'm tired of the city telling a startup story that isn't necessarily true. ShowClix may have been a success story in regards to acquisition. For me, the founder, it wasn't."

Big THANK YOU to Kim Lyons and the Pittsburgh City Paper for giving me an opportunity to share my story.

Using Strategic Partnerships to Massively Scale Your Startup with Lynsie Campbell, General Partner of the Fund Midwest (Startup Renegades with Shauna Armitage)

In this podcast episode, I discuss the trials and tribulations I've endured throughout my career, how my move to SF saved me, my love of generating dumb business ideas, and the importance of segmentation.

Listen on Shauna's website or on Apple Podcasts. Big thanks to my friend, and fellow female founder, Allison Braund-Harris for helping me land this!

While I didn't produce the two above, I did write a few things this week, including...

The "Bob" in my book is not Bob Starzynski. But here's a story of gaslighting. (Chirps The Blog)

Trust me, I didn't want to write this, but here we are. Give it a read. I can't make this shit up.

Maximum Velocity: The Origin of My Self-Given Nickname & Advice To Get What You Want (Chirps The Blog)

It all started over a game of bowling. ShowClix vs Deeplocal. And then an outing to the 2009 Tech 50 Awards.

Speaking of, the 2021 winners were announced this week. Check out the list!

Until next time,

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