Mt. Washington resident Josh Lucas runs Work Hard Pittsburgh (WHPGH), an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Allentown that is committed to giving more people—and different kinds of people—access to talent, capital and resources to scale their business. Josh’s favorite thing about running Work Hard? “The wild diversity of ideas and people I get to work with every day.”
Monday, December 7
It’s 5:30 a.m. and my wife’s alarm clock rang about an hour ago. I slept in so now I have to cram me time in before the meetings begin. Off to Big Dog Coffee where Nikolay and Jamie serve black coffee and the best damn everything bagel in the city. Thank you Mediterra.
I shovel food and commit to email for about an hour to try to get ahead of the never-ending wave. Then I hit the gym and catch up on some of Epicast’s podcasts.
I have a lunch date with a slew of University of Pittsburgh freshmen to discuss entrepreneurship as part of Pitt’s Discover U program, but first I catch up with PCRG’s (Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group) AmeriCorps VISTA. He’s managing @PGHTall for us, a grant program that delivers digital services sourced from our freelance community to brick-and-mortar businesses in our neighborhood.
Grind. Task this, do that. Beat back emails with an imaginary digital stick. Next, I meet Allentown resident Richard Behana and set up the green screen at WHPGH to capture some content for STEM Lunar Challenge. Richard tells some stories and makes some videos.
Go home to loving wife and dog, cook and slack for a couple hours.
Reddit. Nerdy science book. Sleep.
Tuesday, December 8
Bam! 6:30 a.m. off to Black Forge coffee. Headbang, answer emails, drink black coffee, eat tasty treats from ThreeFifty Bakery. Banter with Ashley about Allentown and present her with WHPGH’s contribution to the heavy metal Christmas tree. Then I’m off to my standing meeting with the Hilltop Alliance to catch up on projects we are collaborating on.
Back to office to work on big open projects and prepare myself for “celebrity” bartending at Startup Drinks in a vacant storefront in East Liberty.
I sling booze to the startup world’s movers and shakers, pour heavy, employ gamification strategies, and generally try to encourage everyone to relax, decompress, and have a good time. Home by 11.
Pull on things with dog (rags, balls, clothing, fingers, legs, whatever fits in his mouth). Reddit, book, sleep.
Wednesday, December 9
Black Forge. Coffee. Email.
9 a.m. scrum at Looking for Group, Brookline’s amazing coworking space with a focus on gaming and education. Southern neighborhoods got it all people: affordability, doers, and a burgeoning tech and entrepreneurial culture. I meet with John Lange our technical lead on @AcademyPGH. Then I’m off to Carlow University to continue the code academy conversation with their IT and Business departments. We discuss the open source curriculum we’re developing to create more junior level software developers with real-world skills to serve the region.
Next I’m off to Millvale to meet our mission-aligned partner New Sun Rising to discuss Launch Hilltop, a program delivering practical business incubation services to entrepreneurs in Allentown. Best friends Meta Mesh, pAge Drinking Paper and DECO Resources are in the first class, so we’re super pumped. WHPGH will be coming along in the spring with investment vehicles that will likely sync well with NSR’s current work.
Back to WHPGH to make sure that NeighborWorks has everything that they need for their Leadership Collaboratory Program that develops community leaders in the Hilltop. Finally, after running around all day, more running around ensues as I pop off to Trivia Night hosted by local podcaster Professor Buzzkill at Hambone’s. We have a team live streaming from the event, but I’m there to support his Kickstarter and to relax and have a good time.
Thursday, December 10
Big Dog. Gym. Emails.
I sprint up the hill to WHPGH for work for most of the day. About halfway through I pause to have lunch at Leon’s Caribbean Restaurant, an Allentown staple, then I’m off to a meeting with Allegheny Cleanways to show them how to access the pro bono services offered by WHPGH’s freelance community.
I spend more time in the afternoon grinding on project work and then I order a pizza from Paisano’s for tonight’s QuickBooks review with my business partner Jason. Cash goes in. Cash goes out. We remain.