Is this really a tech ‘tahn’? Pittsburghers talk Seattle, Amazon HQ2, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos

PITTSBURGH — Longtime residents of this city like the idea of Amazon HQ2 in their city, have strong impressions of Seattle, and have a clear preference between Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.

As part of our month-long GeekWire HQ2 project, we spent a few hours this weekend in Pittsburgh’s historic Strip District, a one-time business hub that is now a bustling weekend destination filled with local shops, street musicians, and some of the city’s best food.

In addition to some lighthearted questions, we asked Pittsburgh residents — many wearing their Steelers gear — about the possibility of Amazon placing its second headquarters here.

The city is one of the 20 finalists for the Seattle-based company’s second headquarters, and while it’s considered a long-shot, the reactions and preparations here are a window into the company’s impact and reputation across the country. Most of the people we spoke with this time expressed an openness to the potential economic boost, although others have expressed concern about the impact on housing affordability, transportation, and other potential problems.

A few of the characters we met this weekend in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. (Watch video above.)

When we asked whether they’d rather spend time with Microsoft co-founder Gates or Amazon CEO Bezos, some of the answers surprised us. As with Amazon’s reputation, impressions of tech moguls from afar are often different from the realities we see at home.

And what do Yinzers think of us Seattleites? Turns out the Emerald City’s reputation in the Steel City is all about rain, coffee — and a different kind of green.

Watch the video at top for the highlights.