Editor: I grew up near a town that was the big city for a fairly rural state. It was the home to many traditional high-tech companies. It had great skiing nearby. And it had a river running right through the middle of it.
Thing is, it wasn’t Portland. It was Boise, Idaho.
And, I had a strange feeling that those aren’t the only similarities between our two towns.
So, when Chris Blanchard offered to write a guest column on the state of the Boise tech environment, a bit of my former Idahoan homesickness came into play. And I jumped at the chance.
The biggest surprise for me? How closely connected the two communities are. And how they, in Boise, are struggling with some of the exact same issues we, here in the Silicon Forest, find ourselves struggling.
Boise, ID: Not ready for prime time? Don’t tell us that.I feel like the Apostle Paul writing a letter…
Anyway, our friend Rick was kind enough to let me guest post from over here in the Silicon Sandbox, Boise, Idaho.
Why? I’m getting to that.
The idea is to give scholars a place to network and collaborate, and ultimately give them a platform to publish their work. We’re still testing the publication tools—a combination of open source software and print-on-demand components—but they are pretty slick and pretty cutting edge, especially when you’re from Boise and resources are limited.
Thanks for your help, Portland
We spent a lot of time last year in Portland, and have a lot of props to dish out to the PDX community for helping us with technology, marketing, business planning, etc. We couldn’t have come this far without you, PDX!
- Brian Jamison and the guys at OpenSourcery built the Pronetos site in rapid fashion.
- Nate Angell (raised by wolves; cloned daughters) led us through the academic community over there (and to a great restaurant in McMinnville)
- Mark Gregory at pdx.edu was a great help in our development (and encouraged us to move to PDX)
- We met with the entire crew at Engine Works—very sophisticated and smart guys
- Scott Kveton has helped us with contacts, business advice, and bacon addiction
- @wendemm, @Turoczy, and the guys at Box Populi have been good friends to us as well
So thanks PDXers for helping grow Boise’s start-ups in addition to your own.
The state of technology in Boise
Boise is doing OK as a region. You might have seen that Forbes named us the 7th most promising new tech region or something or other. We get lots of awards like that.
Quality of life is GREAT! Still, the tech community is young. There are very few contract developers here. There are lots of software gigs open here all the time. Boise State graduates about 25 CS engineers every year and 100% have jobs when they graduate. Still, we do have a MySQL office here!
As far as financing goes, a couple months ago at a Kickstand meeting (this is the local tech start-up group) we heard from an angel investor that the local angel group had reviewed 100 business plans in the span of 90 days or so, and funded exactly zero.
We’ve got only one VC here in town and they don’t fund seed deals (and not often true early stage deals). So we have an angel group that wants to fund companies with 3 years of operating history and a VC that wants to fund mezzanine deals (oh, I can hear them racing to the comment link below).
So, if you’re interested, here are some cool things about Boise that may heighten its appeal—and your perception of our town:
- If you are developer—Boise could be a place you want to pay attention to (especially if you are an open source guy—we have lots of MS devs here). We had exactly one Ruby dev in this town as of very recently, and all the PHP guys are employed by the man (not too many solo operators or small shops).
- If you are a VC or angel that is looking for early stage deals—those are here too—in spades.
- If you are a guy (or gal) that understands anything about long tail b-plans, web 2.0, user generated content, new media—and you’ve had a successful company in those areas—we (Boise) could use your help too. Just last night it was interesting to note that a group of cowboys got stares in downtown Boise (boy times they are a changin’), but we still don’t have a good base of people who have been successful in this new landscape. We do have a fair amount of successful folks from the widget economy and a few good software entrepreneurs. But we can use more.
We’ve got a good night life scene, beer and blog group, the Tech Boise Blog, 180 Twitterers, and we ran a great Code Camp a couple weeks ago. We’ve also got good institutional support from places like Idaho TechConnect, and the Boise State TECenter.
So it’s coming together—but is Boise “not ready for prime time?” Well don’t tell us that, but I’m still glad for all of you over there in PDX that act as out adjunct tech community.
If you want to keep up on what’s going on over here (like we do with PDX) find me on Twitter—@LGM1—and I’ll point you in the right direction.
Peace to you, PDX. Now a letter to our friends in Corinth.
It’s Friday, so why don’t we take a little trip through the Gig board? Here are some of the recent posts:
- Unix Rockstar at CD baby
“Small department specializing in digital distribution for independent musicians seeks one laid-back, self-motivated geek to join our growing content delivery team.”
- Experienced graphics designer / web developer at GoLife Mobile
“GoLife Mobile is a rapidly growing startup in the global wireless marketplace. We are seeking a talented and experienced graphics designer / web developer with 5 plus years experience. Working with the team, this person will help us define and execute on our strategic branding initiatives.”
- Contract Flash Programmer at OHSU
“I’m looking to hire a contract flash programmer who can put in full time work between now and the end of our fiscal year (about $15,000 worth)June 30th. You must be thoroughly familiar with flash and how to build learning applications that interface with video, audio, animation, and provide some interactive branching. I will provide all the content and the direction in terms of design.”
Remember, if you’re a Silicon Forest startup, someone seeking a gig, or posting an internship, you can always use the discount code freebie to post your gig for free.
I’m going to take a bit of a stand. Effective immediately, I will no longer comment on tech blogs that don’t support OpenID for comment authentication.
And I, for one, really respect his taking this stance. I think it’s these small, self-admittedly “mostly insignificant” kinds of actions that make things happen. The journey of 1000 miles and whatnot.
Aaron makes a strong argument for every blog pursuing its own OpenID login for comments:
OpenID is a win-win for blog comments. It’s a win for the comment author, since it means less info to type. It’s a win for the blog owner, since it means the comments have a “real” identity behind them.
I mean, if you really want to be part of the conversation, shouldn’t you make it as easy as possible for others to join in the conversation?
Of course you should. And OpenID can help you do that.
And you—as a Portlander or Silicon Forester—should be more than embracing OpenID. You should be singing its praises from the rooftops, if only to support great companies like Vidoop, ConfIdent, and JanRain who are the forefront of OpenID development.
OpenID is like the Portland Trail Blazers of technology around here. Only better. Like the ’76-’77 Blazers. That’s right. You know what I’m talking about. The plucky young upstarts who win despite all odds.
And OpenID has more than a fighting chance. But it still needs the support of each and every one of us.
But what if it’s a technical issue that’s preventing your adoption? (Like me, for instance. I wrangled my OpenID WordPress implementation for hours before Chris O’Rourke was able to pinpoint the issue and help me resolve the problem.)
Well, you don’t have that excuse anymore. Because Aaron has offered to help:
And I’ll put my time where my mouth is: I’ll help you. If you follow those links above, and can’t figure it out, or you try it and it doesn’t work. I’ll help. Send me an e-mail. I want you to have OpenID.
I’m looking forward to using my OpenID to comment on your blog the next time I swing by.
So where’s that benefit for you? Right here, tiger
In fact, how about this? Let’s round up a list of all the Silicon Forest based blogs and services that support OpenID.
If you’re one of them, use your OpenID to comment below.
I’ll work on gathering a comprehensive list for posting. And then we’ll work on promoting your blog or service for being one of the ones who’s supporting OpenID.
Just as a way—albeit minor—of saying “Thank you for using OpenID.”
Between the combination of slightly slow news days and slightly overwhelming client commitments, Silicon Florist has been a tad quiet, lately.
Decisions can be difficult, and sometimes you might be arguing with somebody over the internets and wish you could just flip a coin. Cheating is always a possibility, however, since they could always lie about it.
Next time you need to make a decision—or you have to settle a score with your sworn enemy—give FlipFor.Us a try.
Our favorite Corvallis-based recommender solution, MyStrands, is now know as, simply, Strands. And the change carries with it a whole new look and feel.
The word “strands” has a particular meaning for us: it represents the sequences of digital events that connect our lives. Strands’ mission is to help people discover new things. We do this by analyzing and understanding people’s tastes based on strands of sequences (links between digital items such as the songs found in a playlist, events in an activity stream or transactional data such as monthly purchases).
No, not that Portland Octopus.
Unlike the more well-known octopus that tends to hang atop Greek restaurants, this Portland Octopus serves as a group blog focused on Portland cultural happenings:
We absolutely love Portland but have never quite been satisfied with the community networking websites available. We thought we could do a better job of providing this service ourselves. And so, Portland Octopus was born. Music, food, art, architecture, hiking, biking, sports, festivals, local beer, wine and spirits—we are here to celebrate all that Portland has to offer!
(Hat tip Nino Marchetti)