January 10th, 2012

Robert Wagner: “I was a Silicon Lumberjack.” The WordPress one. Not the Tumblr one.


Robert Wagner: “I was a Silicon Lumberjack.” The WordPress one. Not the Tumblr one.

One of the biggest backchannel conversations of 2011 was the drama around Silicon Lumberjack, a blog designed to cover the Portland tech scene without pulling punches. First it was on Tumblr. And then it was on WordPress. But it was always anonymous. Until now.

Robert Wagner, creator of the popular Portland Sucks podcast and founder of pdx.fm and cascadia.fm, has revealed that he was the blogger behind the Silicon Lumberjack (WordPress version).

Why did he do it? Well, it seems to be a story of keeping your enemies closer:

I registered the domain siliconlumberjack.com, I set up a website and Gmail address, and I created a Twitter account. Within about 48 hours anyone who was following the anonymous Tumblr account pretty much figured “oh look, those idiots got a website” – I even pulled in their RSS feed in hopes that it would get someone, anyone to come forward using a real name and complain about it. Despite the fact that a large percentage of the tech community here had already dismissed the Tumblr account due to its anonymous nature, I wanted to push it even further into the abyss of worthlessness. And I wanted the people behind it to lose their voice completely if they weren’t willing to stand behind the things they had to say.

Why the New Year admission? Well, Robert has something else to start up.

I’m looking to begin again and I didn’t want to do so without fessing up. I admire the spirit of the community here but more importantly I admire many, many of the people. Portland tech is at a crossroads regardless of whatever you might have read recently. We are struggling to find our identity at a time when we have a finite opportunity to put the community on the map, and I can’t stomach too many more suggestions that we “need to be more like Silicon Valley” or “we need to export our talent” because I don’t believe those things.

We have everything we need for success right here; it’s just a matter of putting Portland’s long standing ego problem aside long enough to cultivate it into something truly remarkable. We’re not lacking in funding, we’re lacking the skills necessary to make the best out of the funding we already have. We’re certainly not lacking in talent so why are we cheering on every gifted developer that leaves our region for a greener pasture?

So now you know.

For the full reveal, visit Robert Wagner’s personal blog.

(Hat tip @kwestin)

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