Like many small companies, my firm was upended by the pandemic. My New York Metropolis workplace now not made sense, as most of my shoppers had been working remotely. I discovered that I might run my design agency from my basement in New Jersey, connecting by video conferences that proved to be simply as efficient as in-person conferences.

Impulsively, ZIP codes meant zero. Anyone might work wherever. With that in thoughts, my spouse and I undertook a life experiment. We packed our automobiles, rented momentary housing and workplace area, and returned to my hometown for a month to see what would occur.

I referred to as it The Pittsburgh Test.

We had left Pittsburgh 29 years in the past when a newspaper strike put our jobs in danger. We had been anticipating our first baby and wanted job safety that our employer could not assure. We each ended up with positions on the Detroit Free Press, after which The New York Occasions. I went on to work at Time journal after which began my very own firm, serving to corporations like AT&T, Chase, Google and Amazon inform higher tales.

I wished to verify my very own story resonated, so I created a website. I positioned advertisements in native media, wrote newspaper columns, did a radio interview, and plastered cartoon variations of my face throughout city. My caricature appeared in workplace home windows, on cardboard masks and colourful socks handed out to finish strangers, and on a billboard alongside one of many metropolis’s busiest thoroughfares.

I had no thought what to anticipate from The Pittsburgh Check. Through the years I had returned for brief visits to see family and friends, lengthy sufficient to soak up a Steelers recreation or take down a Primanti’s sandwich however not sufficient to actually expertise what it will be prefer to go dwelling once more.

The outcomes stunned even me.

My spouse and I instantly fell again in love with Pittsburgh. Its three rivers body a vibrant metropolis the place corporations like Google and Fb have opened giant places of work. Innovation abounds, with dozens of robotics corporations reinventing the best way individuals transfer from place to put, assemble buildings, and carry out surgical procedures. Residence-grown corporations like Duolingo and Aurora have made their presence identified on Wall Avenue by IPOs and SPACs.

High quality of life was one other issue. Bike paths have made it potential to pedal wherever — I lined 100 miles my first weekend and even rode to a Pirates recreation. (They received!) When touring by automobile, it appeared that no vacation spot was ever greater than 10 minutes away. We loved unbelievable meals with family and friends, typically at considerably higher costs than what we had been used to paying in New York Metropolis.

Two weeks into The Pittsburgh Check we had been bought. We purchased the sixth home we visited, a townhouse on the South Facet inside strolling distance of dozens of eating places and a five-minute commute from my new workplace at One PPG Place. For a similar value as an inside WeWork area in Occasions Sq., I used to be in a position to hire a 31st flooring downtown workplace with floor-to-ceiling home windows overlooking Pittsburgh’s Golden Triangle.

My advertising and marketing marketing campaign helped me to attach with many Pittsburghers — entrepreneurs, inventors, traders, educators, former colleagues and classmates, and various strangers. Their tales impressed me to promote my home and transfer to Pittsburgh, to be a part of an ecosystem powered by main universities, a number of the world’s most recognizable corporations, and a whole lot of corporations that you have not but heard of however most definitely will.

I even had the prospect to satisfy with Pittsburgh Mayor Invoice Peduto, who responded to an invite to satisfy underneath my billboard for a photograph shoot. Simply because the message on the billboard reverberated with Pittsburghers, it calls out to any small enterprise proprietor wherever contemplating a dramatic change of surroundings.

Go Huge AND Go Residence, it mentioned. As I’ve realized from The Pittsburgh Check, it’s actually potential

The opinions expressed right here by Inc.com columnists are their very own, not these of Inc.com.



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