I had a lot of conversations like these last year in San Francisco:
Me: "I'm going to move back to Pittsburgh."
Friend: "Why??! That is right next to Philly, right? I have a cousin there. You must know her."
Me: "Pittsburgh has improved a lot in the last 2 years since I've been gone. Now that I'm a developer, there is even more opportunity for me there. Also, Philly is a 5 hour car ride away, you goof."
Friend: "Oh OK. Have fun in the City of Brotherly Love!"
Me: t(- n -)t
Abstractions, a polyglot production of Code & Supply, wrapped up on Saturday and it was a whirlwind. It was incredible how much thought, care and kindness must have gone into producing such an inspiring event. From tech leaders flying in from around the world to gentle therapy dogs to raise our spirits during the homestretch, it was my favorite conference this year. It certainly helped that it was located at the end of the Cultural District, the arts and entertainment section of town I'm proud to work in. I had the honor of introducing a few of my programming heroes like Aaron Patterson and Saron Yitbarek.
I particularly enjoyed meeting developers that had never considered visiting Pittsburgh and were delighted by our neighborhoods, dining and culture. Tweets like these brought a smile to my face.
My good friend, Jackie Vesci, made an excellent point after it was announced that the Uber CEO and the Pittsburgh Mayor took the first inaugural ride in an autonomous car in Pittsburgh in the same week.
Unfortunately, we need to address why so many visitors were surprised by how strong our community is. I (happily) attended Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally's Summer of 69 tour on Sunday night. During the show, Nick yelled to the crowd, "What's the slogan of your city?". He got a resounding reply of "STEELERS". I felt a bit nauseous. We're better than this, Pittsburgh.
As the thousand visiting attendees from Abstractions journeyed home, I held some hope that they will spread the word about how far our city has come. This is a call to action to the Pittsburgh community to be more vocal about why Pittsburgh is the perfect place for technology, innovation and culture to flourish.
A very special thanks for Code & Supply and the Abstractions organizing team. You created something very special and I suspect it will be the forward momentum we need.