The team from GeekWire HQ2 seems to like it here. In a long and friendly post that appeared over the weekend, we heard praise for the kindness and approachability of Pittsburghers.
“This is actually one of the warmest places on Earth,” wrote GeekWire’s co-founder John Cook. “We’ve encountered an unending stream of Midwestern hospitality and kindness ever since touching down in the Steel City a week ago.”
He was, understandably, thankful for unexpected growlers of beer, Terrible Towels and Penguins tickets. He loved that one of his co-workers was told to grab a beer from the fridge at a local barber shop, as if he were an old friend. Cook was even down with being told by a Pittsburgh Uber driver that he sounded like “a real jagoff.”
But amid all the happy anecdotes, he was also quite blunt about the experience Pittsburghers may have if thousands of Amazon employees arrive from Seattle.
“It’s called the Seattle Freeze,” Cook explained. “A coldness pervades the city, an iciness that manifests itself in unusual ways and is oftentimes hidden by the striking beauty of the place. If you move to Seattle, bring your own friends because it can be hard to make your own.”
And it’s not just long-time residents, he says. In his opinion, “the tech economy — and particularly the rise of Amazon and its 40,000 employee strong workforce — has exacerbated the freeze. Seattleites (old-timers and newcomers alike) are even less likely to talk to one another, let alone connect with a stranger over a beer, a sporting event or just a quick moment of shared togetherness.”
Pittsburghers, never strangers to blunt conversation, are likely to appreciate the warning. But they may also notice that Cook’s words stand in contrast to the rosy prediction of a Pittsburgh-Seattle bond that appeared recently on GeekWire in an interview with Pioneer Square Labs Director Geoff Entress, a Pittsburgh native.
“What I love best about Pittsburgh is also what I love best about Seattle — the people,” Entress told GeekWire. “Pittsburgh is full of wonderful people. Pittsburghers are incredibly hard-working and diligent. My favorite Andrew Carnegie quote, and Carnegie Mellon University motto, is “My heart is in the work,” and I often think of that quote when I reflect on how fortunate I am to be doing work that I love doing, working with great entrepreneurs to help them be successful.”