April 15th, 2008
Scoble is right: Portland deserves more geek cred
Aaron Hockley shook me from my travel stupor, highlighting Scoble’s recent post “Israel: A country too far from Mike Arrington’s house” and advising me that the post was “perfect fodder for a Silicon Florist post. ”
He’s right. It is.
Scoble’s post is mostly about Israel. And, honestly, I have to agree with him. I had the opportunity to work with a Portland startup whose development team was in Israel. And I also got to work with some Israeli developers at another not-so-startup gig in Portland.
Scoble nails it. It’s an amazing tech scene over there.
But that’s not why I’m posting.
I’m posting because he also says this:
I’ve started noticing a trend: that the further away a tech area is from Silicon Valley the less respect that area will get…. Do you agree or disagree that people, companies, countries can get the respect and/or tech industry PR they deserve if they are far away from Silicon Valley?
And I can’t even begin to tell you how happy this makes me. How thrilled I am to hear this kind of thinking. You mean, there might actually be something interesting happening in technology outside of Silicon Valley? Do you think?
But, as to his question, that’s a bit more difficult. Because I honestly don’t know. It’s really, really hard to get folks in the Valley to pay attention to folks outside of the Valley.
There is a ton of noise down there. And what’s more, there’s always the potential for face-to-face meetings. There’s real, honest-to-goodness networking. Like the stuff we do around here with Portland Lunch 2.0, Ignite Portland, and BarCamp Portland.
But the access points are entirely different.
Down there, you have access to a bunch of people like Arrington, Scoble, Om Malik, Jerimiah Owyang, Jason Calacanis, Scott Beale… the list goes on and on. Up here? You can only bug Marshall Kirkpatrick for coverage about five to six times a week before he starts getting upset. (Trust me, I’ve tested this limit, time and time again.)
Now, Scoble’s been to Portland before, so I know he’s aware of some of the stuff happening up here. But he’s not here enough. We’re not connected enough.
Down there, there’s more potential:
I’ve noticed this when I visited MySpace: they were so excited when I visited because they say that tech bloggers never visit. I was thinking back to my own experiences. Yes, that’s true. Facebook employees regularly meet up with us at parties and dinners and conferences. We run into MySpace employees far less often. These personal connections turn into stories on blogs.
And yes, while it’s nice and quaint that I try to make sure your projects are getting coverage here on the little ol’ Silicon Florist blog, that’s only going to get us part of the way. And a small part of the way, at that.
Ideally, I’d really like to see Portland getting the credit it deserves—on a regular basis—in more well-read publications, like TechCrunch, Scobelizer, GigaOm, and ReadWriteWeb. And The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the San Jose Merc.
We’re on the right path. And the tide is starting to turn. But there’s still a long ways to go.
I’d be interested in your thoughts on how we can continue to grease the skids. What more can I be doing to help you? What more can we be doing as a community to get the startups here in Portland more of the attention they deserve?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.