June 30th, 2009
They’re in Oregon? 17+ projects that don’t get the Silicon Forest cred they deserve
While a number of the folks in the Portland tech community spend time getting together on a regular basis at things like Beer and Blog and Ignite Portland, there are still any number of wildly successful startups, blogs, and companies here in town that rarely get the Oregon cred they so richly deserve.
They’re doing good work. They’re garnering national—and sometimes international—recognition. And they deserve all the Silicon Forest love we can dish out.
So who are they? Let’s take a look. (Listed by the number of times people looked at me with incredulity when I told them they were headquartered in Oregon.)
Metafilter is a weblog that anyone can contribute a link or a comment to. A typical weblog is one person posting their thoughts on the unique things they find on the web. This website exists to break down the barriers between people, to extend a weblog beyond just one person, and to foster discussion among its members.
Arguably, the premier survey tool on the Web. I’m always amazed at how many people know about SurveyMonkey—and how few of them know that it’s headquartered in Portland, Oregon.
Started in 1999, SurveyMonkey is an online survey tool that enables people of all experience levels to create their own surveys quickly and easily. Every day, SurveyMonkey gives thousands of people the feedback they need to make more informed decisions, including more than 80% of the Fortune 100. SurveyMonkey’s offices are located in Portland, Oregon USA.
Eleven Wireless has been providing high quality software and services to leading hotel properties in the United States and around the world for more than seven years.
People talk about Portland being a Mac town. But it’s surprising how few folks know that Panic—makers of some of the most beautiful and useful products for the Mac—are right here in town.
When you’re a small software house, you pretty much work in vacuum. So, when Apple chooses your software out of an avalanche of entries to receive not one, but two Apple Design Awards, there’s not much you can do besides pretty much totally freak out. And boy, did we ever.
5) Parent hacks
Who knew that one of the best parenting sites around was here in Portland? Well not enough of you, clearly. So Parent hacks made the list.
Parent Hacks is a collaborative website that collects and publishes parents’ tips, recommendations, workarounds, and bits of wisdom – their hacks – in a single pot so we can all partake. Here’s the stuff that would have been left out of the instruction manual…if there were one.
Digital Trends helps people make the most of the hi-tech lifestyle by providing sneak peeks, one-of-a-kind reviews, editorials and news about trendsetting consumer technology products and services. By focusing on products that incorporate style along with cutting edge functionality, Digital Trends has become an indispensable resource for people who embrace the best of what technology can offer.
Did you know that one of the most popular content management systems around is out of Bend, Oregon? That’s right. EllisLab brings us on ExpressionEngine, a flexible and customizable CMS designed to help folks make the most out of their Web presence with the least amount of effort.
ExpressionEngine is a flexible, feature-rich content management system that empowers thousands of individuals, organizations, and companies around the world to easily manage their website.
ExpressionEngine is followed immediately by CodeIgniter, another project out of EllisLab in Bend. What’s CodeIgniter? Well, if you’re a PHP coder, it’s a framework that—in EllisLab’s words—is going to help you “kick ass.” Need something more than that. Oh okay. How about this?
CodeIgniter is a powerful PHP framework with a very small footprint, built for PHP coders who need a simple and elegant toolkit to create full-featured web applications. If you’re a developer who lives in the real world of shared hosting accounts and clients with deadlines, and if you’re tired of ponderously large and thoroughly undocumented frameworks
FMYI [For MY Innovation] is an online workspace you can use to bring your team together to store and share information securely with each other. Each person gets their own social networking-style profile page, and each team can have a page too. Then, anyone can create a workspace page to post messages, share files, add links, set tasks, and more.
If you’re ever looking for information on random music—or mainstream music for that matter—look no further than Portland. Discogs has got a huge reference library of practically any album you can recall.
Discogs, short for discographies, is a website and database of information about music recordings, including commercial releases, promotional releases, and bootleg or off-label releases. The Discogs servers, currently hosted under the domain name discogs.com, are owned by Zink Media, Inc., and are located in Portland, Oregon, USA. Discogs is one of the largest online databases of electronic music releases and is believed to be the largest online database of releases on vinyl media. Across all genres and formats, 1.5 million releases are catalogued, featuring listings for nearly 1.25 million artists and over 125,000 labels. The site has around 200,000 visitors a day.
11) Get Rich Slowly
This may just be me, but I have to imagine that I’m not the only one of the 65,000 subscribers who didn’t realize that Get Rich Slowly was a Portland blog.
Get Rich Slowly — recently named most inspiring money blog by Money magazine — is devoted to sensible personal finance. You will not find any get-rich-quick schemes here. Nor will you find multi-level marketing fads or hot stock tips. I am not pitching any product or book. Instead, you’ll find daily information about personal finance and related topics.
Now, I’ve managed to cover COLOURlovers a few times, but there are still those instances where I mention them as a “Portland company” in passing and get quizzical looks.
Does it come as any surprise that a design community focused on color theory would be from Portland?
COLOURlovers is a resource that monitors and influences color trends. COLOURlovers gives the people who use color – whether for ad campaigns, product design, or in architectural specification – a place to check out a world of color, compare color palettes, submit news and comments, and read color related articles and interviews.
Portland is a Web analytics town (see below), so it should come as no surprise that we’ve got a number of analytics tools here. But did you know that super simple yet super powerful Clicky was an Oregon company?
Real time data lets you react to changes in your traffic as they occur. For example, if you had an article that hit the front page of a popular site like digg.com, you would see the traffic spike in Clicky immediately, along with links back to the sources sending you the traffic. Knowing this, you could make changes to your site or to the article itself to take advantage of the situation.
14) One Inch Round
While they’re not a tech company per se, One Inch Round plays an important role in the tech community: giving us cool buttons that we can use as tchotchkes. Plus, if you’re in Portland, you can always save on shipping costs by picking up your pins at their shop. Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about these folks.
Since 2000, One Inch Round has been “sending buttons ’round the planet” providing superior quality custom button manufacturing services to the masses. From the expert designer to the pixel impaired, our intuitive website lets every customer enjoy the most convenient online customized buttons ordering experience. We back that with good old fashioned customer service. If you call, you’ll get a human on the other end, and a friendly one at that.
15) Second Story
This one is an oldie but a goodie. Regardless of your opinions of Flash, one of the most successful and humane implementers of Flash is right here in Portland: Second Story.
Since 1994, Second Story has conceptualized, designed, and developed interactive media experiences in diverse formats that enchant, inform, and entertain—pioneering ever more effective ways to inspire wonder and connect audiences to ideas and information.
I’ve heard that one of Portland’s per-capita claims is more recreational league sports teams per capita than anywhere in the US. If that’s true, it makes sense that TeamSnap, a service that helps you manage your rec league teams is from Portland.
The idea for TeamSnap began in 2002 when Sparkplug Creative Director Matt Triplett agreed (or was it condemned?) to be the manager of his soccer team. Quickly, the problems with keeping his team on track became apparent — too many emails back and forth, too many Excel spreadsheets, and too much frustration. It was at that point that Matt decided that there had to be a better way. So he spent several weeks putting together a very rough version of what is now TeamSnap. It was so successful with his team that he realized the TeamSnap concept could really take off.
Up until a few months ago, Webtrends was much higher on the list. But thanks to their re-engaging with the Portland tech community, more and more folks recognize them as an awesome Portland company.
But our love of numbers hasn’t blinded us to their limitations, their ability to sometimes obscure the truth when viewed in isolation or used incorrectly. That’s why we founded the web analytics industry in 1993: To help organizations like yours uncover the truth within the numbers generated by your web site and other business systems.
Bonus: Companies with an Oregon footprint
And then there are those companies who have a substantial footprint in Portland—or whom we adopt as our own regardless of how many employees they have in town.
- ReadWriteWeb has a bunch of Rose City contributors, including VP Marshall Kirkpatrick and writers Doug Coleman, Frederic Lardinois, and Steven Walling.
- Kongregate strives to be the YouTube of online games. They have a development office in Portland.
- Pheedo is one of the leading resources for RSS-based advertising. They have an office in Portland.
- CoolerEmail is the leading provider of HTML-based email. The CoolerEmail Northwest offices are located in Beaverton.
- Vimeo is one of the best sites on the Web for sharing HD footage. Their community director, Dalas Verdugo, lives here in Portland.
- Twitter, one of the Portland tech scene’s favorite ways of staying in touch, has a Portland connection, as well. By way of acquisition, Twitter’s UX engineer, Rael Dornfest is in Portland. And for some additional trivia: he’s married to Asha Dornfest, the founder of Parenthacks.
And I’m sure I’ve missed some
I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to recognizing famous Oregon companies out in the wild. So if I’ve missed any obvious ones, please let me know.
(Image courtesy Modified Enzyme. Used under Creative Commons.)