Tech News of Note

Technology and entrepreneurship gems from this morning's P-G:

In this report on technology jobs:
Dr. [Jerry] Paytas [director of the Carnegie Mellon University Center for Economic Development] and the tech council cited Pittsburgh's history as a "company town," where throngs of residents worked in large companies built by innovators such as Henry Clay Frick and Andrew Carnegie, as the reason that entrepreneurism lags locally.

For generations, it was easier to work for someone else than to strike out on one's own, particularly given the comparatively high wages and broad employment offered by the big corporate titans before their downsizing in the 1970s and 1980s.

"People who might be quite capable of starting a company just didn't have the legacy of doing that," said tech council spokesman Kevin Lane. "But I think we are turning a corner."

Mr. Lane cited an increase in the number of federal grants awarded to local small businesses seeking to commercialize promising technology. The total amount of these so-called Small Business Research Innovation grants hit $13 million in 2004, up 17 percent from 2003.

Ben Chinitz said it before; I repeat it from time to time. Will it make a difference now that the local MSM is picking up on the message? I hope so.

From Cori Shropshire's column today:
David Jaffe, the attorney who used to co-chair the emerging business practice at Downtown law firm Schnader Harrison, Segal & Lewis, has jumped to another law firm, FoxRothschild, to beef up its technology practice. The firm, which already has a tech practice in New Jersey and Delaware, has created an angel investor network and a nonprofit organization providing expertise to pre-seed and early-stage life sciences companies. Mr. Jaffe is expected to build that network locally.

This is good news. Local lawyers need to take a leading role if the tech community is going to get moving. The Pittsburgh business community hasn't pressed its lawyers hard enough to do this..


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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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