April 17th, 2012

We could use another tech event in Portland, right?


We could use another tech event in Portland, right?

First, I’ll start with an apology. I apologize because these posts always wind up way longer and more babble-y than they should be. No matter how I try to rein them in.

On second thought, I should probably apologize for every Silicon Florist post. Because they’re all rambling. And disjointed. So, I’m sorry. For everything.

But I digress.

I actually started typing because I have something I wanted to share with you. It’s not much yet. But it’s got a whole lot of potential.

You may be familiar with MusicFestNW, the annual music festival held in Portland in September. It’s grown to quite a gathering, drawing international acclaim.

Well, turns out that—despite how awesome the music events are in the evening—they don’t have any event programming during the days. So the folks at Willamette Week (who run the festival) approached a bunch of people in the tech community…

I think you see where I’m going here.

What’s that? Oh. Well, if you don’t, here’s the deal.

That bunch of smart people got together and discussed the potential for an event. A tech event. A tech event they would attend. And they got pretty excited about that potential. And about the power of the Portland community to do something amazing. And worthwhile. And different.

And once they all decided it was worth pursuing, they contacted me and asked if I would help. Or more accurately they said, “Would you finally get off your ass and get around to planning that tech conference we’ve asked you to plan for years?”

So I said I would. Because it’s time. And because they were offering to help my lazy ass get it done.

And so, the Portland Digital eXperience (PDX) conference was born.

So we’re doing this. Now what?

We’ve been thinking about this for a long time. Now, it’s time to do it.

I’ve been inspired by what my friends at Silicon Prairie News have done with Big Omaha and Thinc Iowa. And what Technically Philly has done with Philly Tech Week. And what Andrew Hyde did with boco. And, of course, what Hugh and crew have done with SXSW Interactive.

But inspiration is different than just borrowing what others are doing. It’s about putting a Portland spin on it. And showcasing what Portland is all about. And that’s why I’m hoping we can put together something that complements—rather than mimics—these other events and festivals.

Just as importantly, we’ll work to regain that intimacy and accessibility that seems to fade as tech events get bigger and bigger. All with the hopes of rekindling some of that serendipity that makes attending events worthwhile.

Like any startup endeavor this is both fun and intimidating. Exuberating and exasperating. But I’m really looking forward to working on this. (And I can’t help but be reminded of the first year of Open Source Bridge, when a bunch of us worked to create a new open source conference. (Speaking of which, registration for OSB is currently open for cheap.))

Exciting right? Yes. But there’s not much here yet. Other than an idea, a vision, a few folks, and some relatively quiet social accounts. But here’s what we do know:

Our city is filled with compelling builders and thinkers. With a sense of craftsmanship and pride. It’s a place where startups are creating new ways of engaging minds, exploring the world, and enthralling people with beauty and simplicity.

We need to showcase that. Why? Well, this is an opportunity for any number of reasons but specifically:

  1. It will help put the Portland tech and creative scene on the map in a big—and well deserved—way
  2. It will give us the opportunity to compare notes and share ideas with awesome folks from other towns
  3. It will help us grow and strengthen the Portland tech and creative community

So here we go. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be amazing. And we’d love to have you there.

If you’re even remotely interested in attending, speaking, sponsoring, or whatever, please feel free to join the Portland Digital eXperience discussion list so we can keep you up to date on the all the goings on. You can also follow @PDXconf, like PDX on Facebook, or add PDX to your Google+ Circles.

At the very least, here’s hoping we see you in September.

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11 Responses to “We could use another tech event in Portland, right?”

  1. Shashi Jain says:

    Great idea. I’d love to contribute in some way!

  2. yes! this is fantastic news. I’d love to help.

  3. Awesome to hear! So I should be planning a trip to Portland in September, eh? :) Would be great to be there for the first year.

  4. Rick Turoczy says:

    Danny, Turnabout is fair play right? I mean, the only Big Omaha I’ve managed to attend was the first ;)

  5. Matt Youell says:

    Hell. Yes.

    I love Open Source Bridge and I’ve participated every year, but it’s a niche event. I’d like something broader but still technical/creative. I want weirdos on tall bikes and interactive art and music and robots and people interacting and meeting and spinning off to do interesting things.

    Ok, maybe I’m projecting a little.

    In any case, I want to help if I can.

  6. [...] the Full Story. Posted in Events by Rich Brueckner 0 [...]

  7. I think this will be great for Portland. Since hearing about this, I’ve been looking forward to MFNW even more this year! Happy to help anyway I can as well.

  8. [...] few months back, I mentioned some folks had been discussing the potential for a tech event to be held in conjunction with MusicFestNW, the annual independent music festival that takes over [...]

  9. Really excited for the potential of this. Portland’s tech scene is booming and it would be great to showoff all our great city has to offer

  10. [...] take a risk. To extend it’s overwhelmingly popular music festival—MusicFestNW—by adding tech programming. And I was lucky enough to get the chance to work with them on it. We called it the Portland [...]

  11. [...] willing to take a risk. To extend it’s overwhelmingly popular music festival—MusicFestNW—by adding tech programming. And I was lucky enough to get the chance to work with them on it. We called it the Portland [...]


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