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Downtown Reflections. Photograph by Brian Cohen.
Downtown Reflections. Photograph by Brian Cohen. | Show Photo

Talent : Buzz

106 Talent Articles | Page: | Show All

Casepops, a 2014 DATA Award finalist, makes national news

A local iPhone case company is making national headlines, particularly in the teen magazine market.

Casepops is a fashion iPhone case line that allows owners to customize their phone by choosing different charms, such as studs, skulls and gems that “pop” into and out of locks on the hard plastic case.

Seventeen magazine writes: “Changing your phone case as often as you change your outfit just got easier.”

Casepops is also a finalist for the 2014 DATA Awards.

Local startup Astrobotic earns mention in the New Yorker

Pittsburgh-based startup, Astrobotic got a big mention on NewYorker.com this week for their work on creating a lander for what will be the first lunar commercial delivery.

The lander, called Griffin, will hold the time capsule bearing Pocari Sweat, a Japanese beverage. Griffin is the same technology that Astrobotic is hoping will win them the Google Lunar X prize.

Astrobotics’ focus is on developing technology for commercial deliveries to the moon. Right now their prices exceed half a million a pound.

Pittsburgh artist creates 'Normal Barbie'

Pitt alum and Greenfield resident Nickolay Lamm has gotten a lot of press this week surrounding his creation of a 'normal Barbie.' That is to say, a Barbie-like doll that resembles the average proportions of a 19-year-old girl according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

He calls his dolls Lammily and you can order one of 5,000 dolls he's planning to manufacture on the crowd-funding site he created.

Not only is Lammily shorter than Barbie, she's also got flat feet and bendable joints. Refreshingly, she is much less made up than Barbie or a Bratz doll.

Lamm urges visitors to the Lammily site to "be the change" and not to wait for toy companies to change their outdated dolls that promote an unhealthy standard of beauty.

“If there’s even a 10% chance that those dolls affect [body image], let’s make it," he told Buzzfeed.

'Thanks Dan' is the new 'Better Call Saul'

Have you seen the "Thanks Dan!" video yet?

If not, you should watch it here.

Actual criminal defense attorney Daniel Buckley Muessig is using the power of satire to lure customers (i.e. criminals) to his firm. He suggests that if you've committed murder, arson, burglary or other "throwback crimes" like pick-pocketing, he's your man, because he "thinks like a criminal"...except he's got a degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

"Breaking Bad" fans will particularly enjoy Muessig's ad, which refers heavily to the show's character, Saul Goodman's "Better Call Saul" ads.

Muessig uploaded the ad he created with local branding firm, Covalent to Youtube on March 5, and less than 24 hours later it went viral. It currently has over 150,000 views.

Esquire.com asked Muessig, a former rapper and Pittsburgh native what kind of business he was hoping to acquire with the commercial.

"I want to let the people in Pittsburgh who do illegal things for a living know that I am here for them so long as they can pay me," Muessig replied.

Vote for a LEGO Cathedral of Learning

How cool would it be to be able to buy a Cathedral of Learning LEGO set? Josh Hall, a Pitt alum, is trying to make it happen.

Hall’s model of the Oakland landmark won the S.W. Randall LEGO Build Contest in 2012 and inspired him to enter the design on LEGO Cuusoo, a site on which LEGO enthusiasts can post their projects to be judged by the community. If supported by 10,000 people, the project will be reviewed by LEGO for a chance to become an official product.

Vote to support Hall’s project here.

ID8: Pittsburgh

Entrepreneurship.org started a web magazine called ID8 focusing on the entrepreneurial ecosystem in American cities. They’ve covered Seattle, San Diego, and the research triangle in North Carolina, but their inaugural issue was dedicated to Pittsburgh.

ID8 did their homework and got on the ground in the ‘Burgh, touring the city with William Generett Jr. of Urban Innovation21, making videos featuring the players behind Project Olympus, and creating a map of the city’s entrepreneurial hot spots. It’s definitely worth a look. Check it out here.

Found in Translation: Pittsburgh language tech companies rocking the region

Pop City innovation editor Deb Smit reports on language technology companies in Pittsburgh—13 of them including one snapped up this year by Facebook—that are attracting international attention and changing the way we learn and communicate.

Read the story in Pittsburgh Magazine.

Mod Cloth cites Pittsburgh as reason for growth

Mod Cloth may not be headquartered in Pittsburgh, but they are still very much in town. A large number of their employees continue to work at the Pittsburgh offices and Mod Cloth considers them absolutely essential.

"Citing the "Be the Buyer" program, which allows users to vote on garment samples to be produced; the "Make the Cut" program, which allows votes on winning designs; and the social outfit-sharing feature "Style Gallery" as keys to the company's success, Koger said those programs would likely never have come to being without direct customer engagement that is often routed directly through Pittsburgh."

To read more about Mod Cloth's healthy relationship with its mother city, click here.

Pittsburgh tops the list of smartest cities. But then you knew that, yes?

Pittsburgh not only made the list, we topped the list of smartest cities.

 Here’s the criteria:
  • Universities and colleges per person
  • Libraries per person
  • Education level
  • Media per person (newspapers, TV, radio, magazines)
  • Museums per person
  • Public school rank
Read the article here.

Mod Cloth founders on doubling down

The founders of Mod Cloth are looking to expand their business by providing a new line of plus-size clothing. "What started as an idea by high school juniors Susan Gregg Koger, 28, and her (now husband) Eric, 29, now brags more than 400 employees in three cities and is hell-bent on the expansion of both an in-house private label and a re-commitment to serving the plus-sized market."

To read more from Forbes.com, click here.

Vibrant Pittsburgh lauded for attracting immigrants

Worries over immigrants potentially taking jobs from native-born Americans run high in parts of the nation, but some U.S. cities are taking a different view: Wooing immigrants can reverse long-term declines in population, reports the Wall St. Journal.

"In Pittsburgh, local nonprofit Vibrant Pittsburgh recruits highly skilled foreigners at national conventions, sends frequent emails to immigrant-community groups about Pittsburgh job opportunities and, since June, has given out $100,000 in grants to 25 local community groups that focus on immigrants.

Teanna Medina, a 25-year-old Cuban American, had already bought a plane ticket to Brazil for a job last year after receiving a master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Then, Vibrant Pittsburgh helped her find a job in the area and she decided to stay. A few months later, her 41-year-old cousin, Lazaro Rodriguez, crossed the Mexican border as a Cuban refugee with about 20 others. "A lot went to New York and a lot went to Miami," Ms. Medina said. "But he was the only one that came to Pittsburgh."

We included the Pittsburgh part of the article in case you aren't a WSJ subscriber. If you're a subscriber you can read the article here.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds - the owner/player paradox

Pittsburgh Riverhounds right midfielder Jason Kutney leads a dual existence. Come gametime, he's just any other player - but after he steps off the field, he's part owner of the team. Thanks to his efforts and those of the other owners, Highmark Stadium is nearly complete. However, this duality comes at a cost to Kutney. The more he sweats the details of the stadium, team logistics, scheduling, and the like, the less time he has to commit to his team.

To read how Kutney makes it work, click here.

Startup Weekend in Pittsburgh

Get the lowdown on the Startup Weekend in Pittsburgh recently which attracted more than 100 pitches and ideas.

Read the full story here by Pop City's Marty Levine in our sister pub, Keystone Edge.

Bill Gates' investment in Acquion Energy

Using seawater, manganese oxide, and a healthy investment from Bill Gates, Aquion Energy of Pittsburgh is poised to take the battery market by storm, reports Silicon Republic.  By replacing all of the harmful chemicals and heavy metals in conventional batteries with more organic and inert materials, Aquion aims to create a more sustainable and environmentally friendly battery that won't leach harmful substances into the soil when they are discarded. The proprietary technology for the batteries is based on research conducted by CMU's Professor Jay Whitacre.

To read the full story, click here.

Pittsburgh architect's Vatican chapel will be used in an historical moment

Pittsburgh's own Lou Astorino is  the only American architect in history to design a chapel for The Vatican. When the Cardinals are sequestered to vote on the next pope, they'll attend mass in The Chapel of the Holy Spirit; a small, intimate chapel designed by the Pittsburgh native.

Though the construction of the chapel faced a few obstacles, the least of which was the plot of land Vatican officials selected for the chapel, it now stands pristine next to the hotel the sequestered Cardinals will be frequenting.

To read more, click here.
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