What Makes For a 'Day 1 City'?

Can we use Jeff Bezos's distinction between "Day 1" and "Day 2" companies to compare cities? If so, Pittsburgh may be a prime example of the former.

1 minute read

May 1, 2017, 5:00 AM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


Pittsburgh at Night

Nick Amoscato / Flickr

Cities are undoubtedly more complex than private corporations, but that doesn't mean analogies can't be drawn. Harry Alford sees Pittsburgh as a prime example of an innovative "Day 1 city."

"Cities, much like internet companies such as Amazon, can be susceptible to a state in which things do not change, move, or progress. This can often occur unknowingly by simply being dictated by the process instead of the outcomes."

It's hard to deny one aspect of the city's appeal: cost of living. "Pittsburgh is creating a welcoming atmosphere for entrepreneurs without negatively impacting them with the high cost of living like we're seeing in coastal cities."

Alford makes the case that being too concerned with established procedure can lead to inertia. "If the city/region you live and work in is slowing down and on the verge of irrelevance, then it's probably a Day 2 city [...] A Day 1 city, much like a startup, doesn't have to know all the answers in order to be successful. Sometimes it just has to decide and commit."

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