After moving into my appartment building that was probably built in the 1800’s when (used to house Bethlehem Steel engineers) I found myself reflecting on the benefits of living in the Lehigh Valley while driving an online startup:

  1. Think outside the box – No buying the hoopla around Silicon
    Valley chatter and slip into groupthink. You truly think like an outsider and question UI/functionality/application development. It’s great benchmarking trends and common themes but there is something to be said about being different.
  2. Focus On Yourself – Worry about your own goals/objectives instead of staying tuned into rumors and “what if’s” about other companies. This may be my football background stepping in as nothinig proved more valuable then worrying about your own game before others.
  3. Big Fish in Little Pond – Viddler.com (our startup) has received funding and support from the Ben Franklin Technology Partners and the State of Pennsylvania.
  4. Your forced to live online – everything you do is focused at the core of where you work. Your habits form in online behaviors and save time networking and get straight to the core of problems. Also, you focus on talent and developers and designers that deliver on time.
  5. Inexpensive! – They have $5 pies (an entire large pizza) and $1 beer specials at my favorite joint Casa Mia. Boooya!
  6. More Talent Available – WHAT!? Why else would Google be building a campus out of Detroit? Silicon Valley resources are tapped. There are many talented engineers out here coming from enterprise corporations. Darron Schall, rockstar actionscripter and author of O’Reilly’s Essential ActionScript 3, is an hour outside of Bethlehem. Robert Hall, award winning flash designer, is frequently available to come on board for projects and once again only an hour away as well!
  7. Stay Hungry – I always worked out best in old rusty gyms with just the essentials. In my opinion, the same should goes for a startup. No climate controlled facilities, raised desks and bouncy balls here.

Here’s my toast to Bootstrappin’ Bethlehem…

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