September 16th, 2008

Portland startups—and other Silicon Forest startups—defy the Oregon tech slump


I was just going to link to this. And then I thought better of it.

“A link?” I thought. “This is traditional media taking notice and giving credit where credit is due. This needs more than a link.”

So, I give you this piece from my former college classmate, Mike Rogoway over at The Oregonian entitled “Oregon losing high-tech jobs—with more bad news to come.”

A steady drumbeat of cutbacks in Oregon’s high-tech sector has reduced the number of technology jobs in the state to its lowest point in nearly three years.

Wait a second. Where’s the positivity? Where’s the “credit where credit is due”?

Well, that comes at the end of the article. From which I’ll judiciously quote (passage emphasis is mine, not Mike’s):

Oregon’s tech industry has one distinct bright spot: software.

Long the weakest link in Oregon’s technology economy, software has emerged strongly over the past few years—spurred by a vibrant community of open source software developers and Web services companies that require little investment capital to get started.

Software jobs are up 12 percent during the past two years, and now number 9,500. Although still a relatively tiny part of the overall state economy—which numbers more than 1.7 million jobs altogether—software is the fastest growing part of the high-tech sector and one of a small number of industries that is defying the broader economic slowdown.

Much of the activity is concentrated in Portland’s Old Town, home to a cluster of companies that develop software for the Internet. Examples include password-protection technology from Oklahoma transplant Vidoop, and collaboration tools from Jive Software.

“We’re just this wonderful hotbed of open source, brew-your-own-softwareville,” said Harvey Mathews of the Software Association of Oregon. “It’s a tight community, so we all help each other out. Which isn’t the case in lots of other industries.”

Can I get a “w00t!!!1!”? This is exactly the kind of thing we want to see. The kind of recognition you deserve. And the reason I continue to relentlessly document all the cool things you’re doing.

You’re making it happen. And you’re blowing the curve.

And for that, you need to congratulate yourselves, Portland and Silicon Forest startups. You deserve it.

Keep up the good work. Stay focused. And keep working to on that code.

I’ll be sure to let everyone else know: they ain’t seen nothing yet.

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4 Responses to “Portland startups—and other Silicon Forest startups—defy the Oregon tech slump”

  1. w00t! :)

    And thank you, Rick, for being the ever enthusiastic evangelist for Portland’s tech community. You’re a big part of why The O and others know about all the exciting growth in software here in PDX.

  2. Ryan Lewis says:

    I love the enthusiasm Rick! Great article and keep’em coming!

  3. Metroknow says:

    I really appreciate it as well – And it’s nice to have “good” news about jobs once in a while. . . :)

  4. Adron says:

    Software is definitely still growing. In the open source, closed source, enterprise, and especially in the startup arena the jobs increase.

    I think were I have seen some cutbacks is in the sys admin, network admin, and those types of positions. Which is troublesome, but kind of the purpose of self maintaining hardware and software.

    I’m betting we’ll see creation, i.e. software development, continue to increase while other jobs in the tech sector will slowly continue to decrease.


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