March 19th, 2008

Portland’s top 30 tech Twitter-ers (#1 may surprise you)


Before you scroll down. Before you read any further. Just guess.

Who do you think it is? Who is Portland’s top tech Twitter type?

I’ll tell you what I thought. I thought it was probably Marshall Kirkpatrick. Or Josh Bancroft. Or maybe even Scott Kveton.

But I was wrong…

Let’s start from the beginning

You see, I get a great deal of Silicon Florist fodder from Twitter. Interesting tidbits. Snippets of conversations. Clues about what’s happening where. And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

And while I don’t think there is ever one single good way to rank things, I do have to admit that I find the Portland Start-up Index to be an interesting way of looking at things.

And then there was Aaron Hockley crossing the 5000 tweet mark last night.

And that got me thinking. I began to wonder: Who is at the top of the Twitter heap when it comes to Portland startup and tech types? Who has the most “influence”? Who is the holder of the mythical “Twitter juice”?

I had a fitful sleep of metric-ridden dreams, last night.

So, this morning, I—very unscientifically—started combing through the Portland metropolitan area Twitter types. Trying to figure it out.

After some fits and starts, I had gathered a number of folks from the area. I had their number of followers, the number of people they were following, and the number of updates they had.

Some of the more prolific people weren’t exactly “tech” or “startup” types, so they were the first ones I cut them from the list.

Then, I looked at the number of updates that these folks had. And I cut some of the people with lower numbers of updates.

Then, I looked at the number of followers each of these people had. And the number of people they were following.

To me, it seemed that influence has something to do with the number of people who listened each time a person updated. But, logically, not all of these people were listening from day one, and because of that, a direct multiplication would be inaccurate and misleading.

So, I massaged those numbers a little. And mucked with some of the weighting. Then I took all of that unscientific research and ran it through the Silicon Florist 5000.

And guess what it spit out? I was surprised. And I was wrong with my #1 guess. I’m willing to bet you were, too.

And the #1 isn’t the only surprise.

So here’s what I came up with:

Portland’s top tech Twitter-ers

  1. Hajime Kobayashi
  2. Marshall Kirkpatrick
  3. Josh Bancroft
  4. Rick Turoczy
  1. Aaron Hockley
  2. Scott Hanselman
  3. Alex Williams
  4. Scott Kveton
  5. Tim Lauer (Okay, maybe not exactly a “tech” Twitter type, but given his use I’m throwing him in here.)
  6. Verso
  7. Matt Haughey
  8. Raven Zachary
  9. Paul Colligan
  10. Sarah Gilbert
  11. Audrey Eschright
  12. Jason Grigsby
  13. Steven Frank
  14. Dawn Foster
  15. Josh Pyles
  16. Betsy Richter
  17. Sam Lawrence
  18. Jason Harris
  19. Simeon Bateman
  20. Jake Kuramoto
  21. Michael Buffington
  22. Holly Ross
  23. Jessica Beck
  24. James Keller
  25. Rael Dornfest
  26. Chris Brentano
  27. Justin Palmer
  28. Greg
  29. Peat Bakke*

* Within a hair of the 30th 31st 32nd 33rd spot were Eddie Awad, Justin Kistner, and Chris Griffin.

Now, again, fairly unscientific. But interesting nonetheless. (I had a number of other models for ranking, but this one seemed to do the most justice for the larger group.)

No matter what the case, there is one thing for sure: this is a great group of people to follow if you’re interested in keep track of Portland tech.

Did I miss you? Think I’m off? I’d love to have your input. And I’ll be happy to adjust the list, as needed.

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Background that may help (or may not)

30 Responses to “Portland’s top 30 tech Twitter-ers (#1 may surprise you)”

  1. I love this type of stuff. Totally interesting, and totally pointless! the type of thing my wife makes fun of me for!

    I’d love to see the formula or at least the thresholds you used to include/exclude someone. One thing to consider is the time someone has been on Twitter. Both for the aspect of seniority and the number of tweets. A new user like myself only has 500 updates, but thats within the last 2 months.

    Seriously, I love this type of stuff! Keep it up!

  2. Wow, #3? How did that happen? Oh, yeah. The bribe. Check’s in the mail, Rick! ;-)

    Seriously, though, this is fascinating. Thanks for putting it up, and helping me find more cool Portland people to connect with!

  3. I have no idea what the “Silicon Florist 5000″ looks like, but for some reason I picture you driving something looking vaguely like a zamboni.

    Now that you’ve ranked me #5, I have a mission to overtake #4. Watch out. You’re a marked man…

  4. Dawn Foster says:

    Apparently, I need to work on my Twitter juice. Number 17 is perfectly respectable, but I know I can do better :-)

    This is really interesting, and thanks for pulling it all together!

  5. grigs says:

    Who is this Rick Turoczy guy?

  6. I think we need a Silicon Florist interview with Mr. Kobayashi!

  7. Oh wait a minute! Do I hear saber rattling coming from Dawn? I’m only 2 away from her and she apparently plans on taking my spot. :-)

  8. Rick Turoczy says:

    Wow. I feel as if I may have struck a chord. Maybe. ;)

    @Jeff I really like the idea of “time” as one of the metrics. I didn’t see an easy way to pull the “joined on” date, but I can go back to the first tweet to establish that date.

    @Aaron Do you have a camera over here? That’s exactly what the Silicon Florist 5000 looks like.

    @Dawn We’ll have to see if you can untangle the mystic algorithm. I wish you luck.

    @Grigs You should have seen all the ways I devised to put myself at #1, like “If name == ‘turoczy’ then rank == 1.” But I threw those out so as not make it completely obvious.

    @Marshall I think that’s a great idea. And it looks like he’s bilingual (at the very least), so maybe we could have a Japanese version of that interview, as well.

  9. Josh Pyles says:

    Very interesting article!

    I’m surprised I made it on the list, but that’s totally awesome!

  10. That’s awesome and a great introduction to few of those folks I don’t currently follow. I do see the oregonian as sort of the oddman out since they’re not literally part of the tech community but meh it’s all good.
    Nice to see @verso on there, the top ten is full of people I’d like to emulate and hopefully no one on the list minds being somewhat of a mentor as I transition from a wee acolyte I am in the community to the happy go lucky portvangelisticexpialidocious (oops that word got away from me)as I was saying happy go lucky free (as in beer (and/or bacon)) source community wonk I wish to be.

    Also upon reading what I just wrote I do believe that this comment should be taken out and shot.

  11. Rick Turoczy says:

    Update note: Sam Lawrence was inadvertently omitted. (I blame my search tools and myself.) So he’s been run through the Silicon Florist 5000 and has landed at #20.

    So now, it’s the top 31.

    In other news, word around the campfire is that Dawn Foster is working on a pipe to save me from my own ineptitude in the future. No, really. She is. Despite what she may tell you.

  12. Do Tweets in Japaneses count?

  13. Rick Turoczy says:

    Scott Hanselman didn’t have his location listed in his profile, so he didn’t show up on my searches. Nice try @shanselman! I still found you.

    Scott is now #6 on the Top 32 list.

  14. sharon says:

    Only 20,559 tweet for #1?

    Heh. Wow.

  15. Rick Turoczy says:

    Yeah. And in less than a year at that. Oy.

  16. Rick, I’m surprised nobody has said this, so I will don my flame-proof underwear and say:

    1. I love that you’re doing this. It’s important to know who to connect with locally.

    2. I would argue whether sheer _volume_ of updates is any indicator of whether a person is of influence or not. I could tweet every 10 minutes about the weather and any number of irrelevant things. Would my volume of updates make me more influential? Probably not.

    Less is more in today’s information economy.

    Relevance is what counts, although this is admittedly impossible to measure on twitter.

    The number of followers (listeners as you put it) is somewhat relevant, but that too can simply be an indicator of something other than influence. For example, there’s a guy I’ve seen who is literally “buying” friends by giving away a free MacBook Air when he reaches X level of followers. Is he influential? Some would say yes. Others would say he’s just full of himself.

    I’d be much happier doing 3-6 updates per day – relevant ones, than I would one every 10 minutes. And doing so doesn’t make me any less influential. In fact it probably makes me more influential because folks would actually _read_ them. In the same breath, I’d be much happier with 100 to 500 of the _right_ followers/relationships than I would with 10,000 to 15,000 unknowns.

    That’s my two cents on this Thursday morning as I type from the train on EVDO downtown Portland.

    Adam Boettiger
    http://twitter.com/AdamBoettiger

  17. you considering @ replies? that’s probably huge…interesting people like @shanselman and @Ahockley get lots of replies. Uninteresting people don’t.

  18. Rick Turoczy says:

    @Jeff That’s starting to get into what http://tweeterboard.com is trying to do. Again, a great idea. Thank you.

    Update note: The list is now the top #33. The Silicon Florist 5000 said Jason Harris should be in the list. Thanks to Jake Kuramoto for pointing out the oversight.

  19. Tom Turnbull says:

    Hey, I may not tweet a lot, but at least my tweets are low quality. Uh…

    http://twitter.com/tomturnbull

  20. [...] over at Silicon Florist did a recent post making a rough list of Portland’s top tech Twitter-ers (by the measure of followers * updates). By the same metrics, Vancouver’s top twitter users [...]

  21. Clearly I’m not tweeting enough. I’ll do my best to make a run for Top 1000.

  22. Anna says:

    Hajime Kobayashi sits in the desk right next to me everyday at the Lunarr office & I had no idea he was the #1 Portland Twitterer. It’s like sitting next to a celebrity!

  23. [...] Portland’s top 30 tech Twitter-ers “And that got me thinking. I began to wonder: Who is at the top of the Twitter heap when it comes to Portland startup and tech types? Who has the most ‘influence’? Who is the holder of the mythical ‘Twitter juice’?” [...]

  24. Curt Hopkins says:

    Ugh. Tech Twitterers. Yes, I use them, read them. But I want the people you cut out – who’s Portland’s top archaeology Twitterer? Top pancake house Twitter? Top celebrity fragrance Twitterer?

  25. Kevin Holmes says:

    Awesome list. I am in the tech field and love to network. 4 years at Apple, Inc. and 4.5 years at Dell, Inc. Glad to be home!

    Kevin Holmes
    Portland, OR
    http://www.thetechshack.com
    http://twitter.com/theTechShack

  26. At the possible risk of knocking myself off the list, I’m kind of amazed that Rick Olson (technoweenie) isn’t on here. He’s a Rails core committer and has a couple of thousand followers (and has been a local for awhile now). Also Chris Anderson (jchris) who’s now a Couch DB core committer is in a similar spot. For that matter, Matt Howie (mathowie), Andy Baio (waxpancake), and Cabel Sasser (cabel) are all locals with relatively huge followings.

    I wonder how many other widely known Portland tech types fly below the radar like this.

    If I (atduskgreg) do stay on the list, my last name is Borenstein.

  27. Rick Turoczy says:

    @Greg Sounds like it’s time to do a refresh on this list. I was surprised to see that it’s almost a year old.

  28. [...] from the list whom I would expect to be there—like Marshall Kirkpatrick and some of the Top 30 tech Twitter types from the Portland area from last year—this is still a great way to discover some local folks who you might want to [...]

  29. [...] from the list whom I would expect to be there—like Marshall Kirkpatrick and some of the Top 30 tech Twitter types from the Portland area from last year—this is still a great way to discover some local folks who you might want to [...]


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