Month: June 2008

Why Portland? After trying LA, a native returns home to the northwest

[Editor: And the “Why Portland?” series—which began with Intrigo and continued with Tim Kadlec—continues with Heather N of Strands. What’s Strands? Well, if you’d like to find out, something tells me that “Portland” may also help you get into their private BETA. Now, on with the story…]

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and Los Angeles was the last place I imagined living.

But about a year after graduating college, I was working in Santa Monica at a new social network called TagWorld, focusing on online marketing, business development and project management. And, after becoming immersed in Los Angeles tech and social media, Portland seemed even further away.

But, as TagWorld evolved into Flux (Viacom as a minority investor), I became more aware of a growing tech scene in Portland and the temptation to return grew.

Eventually, I decided my relationship with LA was coming to an end, and Portland called. Soon enough, I found myself at Strands as the new Community Manager. Strands is headquartered in Corvallis, but I have been given the opportunity to work remotely and evangelize to the Portland community, which I am very excited about.

For the past four years, Strands has been working to develop social recommender systems that can be applied to numerous verticals. After a very active 2007 ($55M raised in VC funding; $12M in sales), 2008 is the year we will be presenting this technology to the world. We are applying our recommendation technologies to three areas: personal finance, social media, and business solutions.

Though I have only begun my journey into the tech sphere of Portland, I have already noticed an interesting dichotomy with that of Los Angeles.

LA is all about competition, competition, competition

I won’t go as far to say that the tech community in Los Angeles is as cut throat as their entertainment industry, but in some cases it’s a close second. With a new NDA being drawn up every minute, companies offering the world to a person to join them and leave their current position and enemy lines being drawn between social media companies, there is a definite switch in the overall feeling of community in LA.

Of course there are some amazing start-ups and tech companies that don’t employ as aggressive tactics, but they’re a bit harder to find in LA than here in Portland.

It’s only been a few weeks and I already feel happily welcomed into the Portland tech community. Not only do people from different companies and verticals work together, but also everyone I have met has been very willing to help in whatever capacity that may be. This makes me realize that the overall sense of the Portland tech industry is much like that of the people of this city.

Portland is free of over-saturation

To me Portland is the perfect size. Not only in terms of a city but also that of tech. I am shocked to see just how much is going on in tech and social media in this town, but doubt it will ever become too much.

In LA, I worked in a three-block radius of some of the biggest tech companies in the world and that was just in Santa Monica. Though you do run into a lot of the same people and I did make some amazing relationships, it was never possible to get a stronghold on the entire tech community.

In Portland it seems everyone is connected and the close-knit environment is not only inviting, but extremely helpful in my job objective for Strands.

Portland excels at “Keeping it Real”

Los Angeles is a city full of archetypal sorts that exist nowhere else—other than our minds. Though the tech world of LA is separate from this, these models of perfection that only LA possesses occasionally bleed over.

I don’t feel that the Portland is trying to be something its not. The unrealistic idealism that floats through Los Angeles has not made its way to Portland, and I love that.

Looking forward

As much as I am now at the point of critique, I would never trade a second of my time in Los Angeles. I became immersed in a world I never would have dreamed of being a part of and now can take the experience with me.

I am very ready to submerge myself in the Portland tech community and get people as interested and excited in Strands as I am.

Have you got a “Why Portland?” story to tell? I’d love to hear it. Feel free to drop me note at siliconflorist at gmail.

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for June 09

The real business model for Web 2.0: corporate clients

From the Forrester Groundswell blog “Support forums work — they please customers and they reduce costs. Lithium has an impressive client list including Dell, AT&T, Comcast, and Sprint. The community space is crowded, but other companies with growing client lists include Jive Software, Awareness, and Mzinga/Prospero.”

Go west, young company

Mike Rogoway writes “Vidoop says it’s pulling up stakes and moving its HQs from Tulsa to Portland. Scott Kveton has the news on the company’s blog.”

Beer and Blog – Make your blog load fast and save the environment

Bram Pitoyo writes “Jason Grigsby from CloudFour talks about optimizing website, then shows you how to do it. Unfortunately, I am not technical enough to fully comprehend the latter part of the presentation, but any web developer and geek worth her salt should know these. Anyway, on to the notes.”

“No Pitch” Coffee at Boyd’s Coffee (Wednesday, June 11, 2008)

RSVP here for “No Pitch” Coffee. What’s “No Pitch” Coffee? “One of the worst parts about networking are the individuals that use the events to pitch their products and services. We all know that is part of the deal when networking but it can be highly annoying. Because the focus of this site is on peer advice between small business owners, PortlandSmallBusiness.com is starting a series of weekly ‘No Pitch’ coffee networking events around town.”

Vidoop hitting the Oregon Trail

Scott Kveton writes “Over the next three weeks, we’ll be flying groups of Vidoopers out to Portland to see the city. If you’re in Portland, you’ll get a chance to meet the team at the Beer & Blog events we’ll be sponsoring on 6/13, 6/20 and 6/27. We’d love to have you come out, have a drink with the crew and hopefully help pave the way for a soft landing for the folks moving out from Tulsa.”

Portland Lunch 2.0 SP4: Code name “Wieden + Kennedy”

Update (June 10, 2008): The format for Portland Lunch 2.0 SP4 has been revised.

Details have just been released for Portland Lunch 2.0 SP4 and it’s going to be a little different than the “come one, come all” format that’s governed your attendance—or possible attendance—at the first three.

Hosted by Portland’s favorite advertising juggernaut—Wieden + Kennedy—on June 30, Portland Lunch 2.0 SP4 will come with a catch: It’s going to be a more exclusive gig, with a limited number of tickets available to those hoping to attend.

On Monday June 30th, 50-100 people are cordially invited to join 50-100 W+K employees for a “blind date meets grade school birthday party” ad/tech extravaganza. It’s going to be a fun, it’s going to be quirky, and it’s going to rock RockBand style (literally).

So how do you get behind the velvet rope? Don’t worry, gentle reader. We’ll make sure your name is on the list.

Well, if you show up on June 16, that is.

In order to get the most out of this event, we ask that you swing by the W+K lobby on June 16th (next Monday) between 6-9pm to pick up a ticket package. This package will contain information about your Lunch 2.0v4 “date”, directions/instructions, and a ticket to the event.

On June 16, I’ll hope to see you at the doors of the W+K home base in the Pearl, clamoring with the throngs hoping to get a ticket. And I swear, if you elbow me in the chops the way you did to get into the first Ignite Portland at W+K, I’m not going to be happy.

Interested in attending Portland Lunch 2.0 SP4? Well, you can RSVP on Upcoming. But as I’ve said, that’s not going to do you much good. It will, however, give you an idea of the competition against which you’ll be struggling for that coveted golden ticket to Portland Lunch 2.0 SP4.

Update: This format for Portland Lunch 2.0 has sparked some interesting discussion, starting with Aaron Hockley and continuing with Bram Pitoyo.

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for June 08

Oregon Finds a Counterweight in Software

The Wall Street Journal writes “In contrast, smaller software and Internet companies are hiring. Kryptiq, for example, has gone from 41 employees in 2004 to more than 100 now; Jive Software, which moved from New York to Portland in 2004, has 155 employees and expects to be at 200 next year; and Vidoop LLC, which develops Internet-security software, has gone from four employees in 2006 to 45 now. Vidoop Vice President Scott Kveton expects to exceed 100 employees next year.”

Three Rules for Startup Success

Micah Baldwin writes “I have been asked if Techstars is different than the natural process of other startups. Does the cauldron that all Techstars teams are thrown in, accelerate the success or failure of the startup? The short answer is no; all startups have a natural life. Some live forever and some are killed in their cribs.”

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for June 06

Web Application Developer Job, eROI

eROI is seeking a dedicated and experienced developer to lead the web application development of a suite of software products. Do you have the personality and passion to join an agile team creating modern web applications?

Demystifying social networking

Julie Yamamoto writes “Last night, about 20 web developers, journalists, bloggers, marketers and assorted PR people working in PDX gathered for a discussion hosted by Dawn Foster, a community manager at Jive Software downtown. Here are a few insights from Dawn that really hit home for me. It’s a bit of Web 101, but Dawn laid it out so simply and so well.”

Scott Kveton: I’m for the Open Web

Scott Kveton writes “Instead of just complaining, I’m going to continue focusing my efforts where I think I can make the most impact. I’m going to continue working hard to promote and enable the OpenID community, I’m going to continue to encourage and engage in discussions with projects like OAuth, microformats, DiSo and others and I encourage everyone to join me in doing the same.”

Make OpenID go away

Nathan Bell writes “There seems to be broad consensus among both OpenID supporters and detractors: OpenID is confusing to use and that for it to have any hope of success OpenID needs to find ways to fade to the background.”

Attensa at Enterprise 2.0

From the Attensa blog “With the new attensa.com site launched today and a new version of the Attensa Managed RSS platform in the bag, we’re heading to Boston for the Enterprise 2.0 conference.”

Enterprise 2.0 Conference community runs on Jive Clearspace

Jive intimates “The Enterprise 2.0 Conference community site is running on Jive Clearspace 2.0. Wait until you see what’s coming in 2.1 in a few weeks.”

Netsquared Conference was Awesome!

Isaac Holeman writes “Squarepeg was one of 21 featured projects competing for the hearts and the votes of all the attendees. We didn’t end up taking home one of the top cash prizes (all the big winners have public beta or full release sites up, and we think they earned their rewards). We were able to bring home a few grand, receive some wonderful feedback, and meet a lot of really great people who are now interested in Squarepeg.”

PortlandOnline.com. We can rebuild it. We have the technology.

Pete Forsyth writes “PortlandOnline.com is the City of Portland’s official government web site. It is, largely, a broken web site. Information that should be accessible on a web page is typically hidden inside a PDF file. Resource allocations of amounts like $84 million cannot be found without first tracking down the relevant ordinance number, and even then there is precious little information available. (Ten points for whoever can find the $84 million item on this page!)”

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for June 05

Strange love tech: treasurelicious

For those of you interested in Treasurelicious (and truly, who isn’t?), here’s a great interview from @camikaos’ and @drnormal’s Strange Love podcast featuring Treasurelicious’ @missburrows and @martinwehner.

The “No Pitch” coffee networking

Kevin Spence writes “PortlandSmallBusiness.com is starting a series of weekly ‘No Pitch’ coffee networking events around town. These are intended to be very informal meetings. You show up, order your coffee and you talk with other small business owners…Tentatively, I plan to start the events next week.”

SlideShare: Mobile Portland presentations

All of the slides for previous meetings of Mobile Portland have been posted on a Slideshare Mobile Portland group.

Make Your Blog Faster & Help Save the Environment : Cloud Four

Jason Grigsby writes “A couple of weeks ago, I finally watched An Inconvenient Truth. At the conclusion of the film I started thinking about what more I could do. I’m getting a bike ready to use for my commute to work. I’m reducing the energy I use. I’m contemplating a vegetarian diet. And I’ve redoubled my commitment to getting web developers to take site performance seriously. It saves money, improves the experience for your customers, and it’s easy to do. Most importantly, if you care about global warming, optimizing your site is a moral imperative.”

Golife Mobile: Beer and Pizza

James Whitley writes “What I enjoyed the most was the interaction between individuals who had just met one another and their positively brilliant ideas for linking their, previously disparate, products / projects together. There are a number of people who are actively building some very cool things on our platform which get even better when they interact with applications being made by others within the community.”

Startup Tips: How I grew a waiting list of 20,000+ at Mint.com

Found this via Marshall Kirkpatrick’s shared links. “I think for many new startups the largest challenge is distribution (outside of fb apps) to get people to use their service. Many rely on a Techcrunch post or the hope of a Digg article, Mint was rewarded with those but I think it’s even more valuable to have the right audience checking out your site from the beginning.”

Portland Web Innovators (pdxwi): Andy Baio

Bram Pitoyo writes “The elusive Andy Baio talks about three lessons that he learned from building, in order of appearance, Meaty.org, Waxy.org and Upcoming.org.”

When do you know you have a community?

When you’re a startup, I know it’s easy to get a video-game mentality, tracking stats and high scores. I thought this reminder for Gary Vaynerchuk might be worthwhile. It also serves as a segue to remind you that Gary will be in town July 2.

Ignite Portland 3: And the burning ideas are…

Ignite Portland 3Who could top the presentations of Ignite Portland and Ignite Portland 2?

Well, if anyone has a chance, it’s these fine folks who’ve been selected to present at Ignite Portland 3.

That’s right. The Ignite Portland 3 presentations have been announced.

Drum roll please. And the lucky 13 are (in order of appearance):

And, while the free “guaranteed entrance” tickets sold out in a little over 24 hours, there’s still room for you to attend Ignite Portland 3. Get there early and I’m sure you’ll get into the venue.

If you’re even considering attending, please take a second to RSVP for Ignite Portland 3 on Upcoming so the organizers have an accurate count of how many people they’ll have to turn away will be showing up.

I’m looking forward to seeing you there.

Why Portland? Tim Kadlec provides a view from outside the bubble

[Editor: Happy to be continuing the “Why Portland?” series…

I had the pleasure of meeting Tim Kadlec at SXSW 2008. Just one of those random connections that really made the whole event worthwhile. At SXSW, the Portland crowd took Tim under our collective wing and worked hard to woo him from the Midwest to the West coast. We’re still working on it, but it’s clear we’re having an effect.

And with that, here’s an outsider’s view on “Why Portland?”]

I was recently asked by Rick if I would like to write a guest post for Silicon Florist about why I “find Portland tech appealing.” I think that was his nice way of saying, “Why are you so obsessed with Portland tech?” Can you be a fanboi of a community? If so, then I guess I’m a bit of a Portland fanboi.

It all started innocently enough….

I’ve visited Oregon many times and always loved how beautiful a state it was. With the ocean nearby and gorgeous mountains a short drive away, Portland offers no shortage of beautiful scenery.

Then I started to look into what was going on in the Portland web community, liked the activity I was seeing, and my interest in the area started to slowly develop beyond sightseeing.

In March, I had the opportunity to attend SXSW in Austin, TX where I got the opportunity to meet and talk with Rick Turoczy, Toby Lucich, Dawn Foster, Scott Kveton, and a whole flood of Portlanders. After hearing each of them rave about Portland and the work that was being done by their peers there, I was hooked.

The tech community in Portland is a great example of what other communities should strive for. They are consistently innovative, develop quality solutions and genuinely get excited about seeing progress.

Portland’s web community is thriving. No doubt about it. With high-quality companies such as Vidoop, Jive, SplashCast, JanRain and so many more, you could easily imagine a situation where communication between developers is minimal….that’s an awful lot of competition in one area!

The exact opposite happens though…there is a surplus of support and communication taking place. There is no shortage of sites whose primary goal is to sing the praises of Portland. PDX Web Innovators, Portland Is Awesome, Portland on Fire, and of course, Silicon Florist, all try to bring attention to Portland and the wonderful quality of work being produced there.

I can honestly say that I haven’t seen another community where so many people are so excited about what they do and where they do it.

That general excitement is why I believe Portland’s tech community continues to grow. They say enthusiasm is contagious, and it looks like Portland is severely infected.

In the end, it’s this enthusiasm, excitement and sense of community that makes Portland so appealing to me. I believe when you surround yourself with people who have similar interests and are willing to share their experiences and knowledge, great things happen. Portland offers that environment and the ideas being developed there echo it.

Tim Kadlec is a web developer from Wisconsin who specializes in Javascript and CSS development. For more, check out Tim’s blog or follow tkadlec on Twitter. You are also highly encouraged to join the campaign to woo Kadlec to Portland.

Want some time with Forrester’s Charlene Li? Internet Strategy Forum, Jive give you two opp’s

Internet Strategy Forum Summit 2008When it comes to A-listers in social media, Charlene Li of Forrester Research is right up there. So I can totally understand why you’d jump at the chance to spend some time with her.

Well, the good news is that she’ll be coming to Portland. The better news is that you’ll get the chance to spend some time with her—in person and in hardback—but you have to act quickly.

Charlene is going to be speaking on “creating social strategies that work” at the Internet Strategy Forum Summit in Portland on July 17. (So that’s your in-person time.) And, now, Jive Software has offered a free copy of Charlene’s new book, Groundswell, (that’s your hardback time) to the first 250 people to register and attend the event. (You have to be there to get the book.)

Groundswell provides Charlene’s analysis of some of the top corporate uses of social media strategies within and without the “enterprise.”

And for that ever-popular “local flavor”? Groundswell also features Portland’s own Josh Bancroft and his social-media work at Intel.

Who knows? Maybe you could get Charlene and Josh to autograph it for you?

But wait, there’s more

So, you get time with Charlene Li and you get her book for free. What could be better?

How about a discount on your registration fee? Yes? Yes!

Silicon Florist readers are entitled to a 10% discount on their Internet Strategy Forum Summit registration. Simply enter the discount code FLORIST.

That’s a lot of good news for one post. But quite frankly, gentle reader, you deserve it.

The Internet Strategy Forum is a professional association and peer networking group for management with responsibility for driving Internet strategy and implementation from within medium to large client-side organizations across multiple industries. For more on the organization and the summit, visit the Internet Strategy Forum.

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for June 04

Thanks for your love Oregon!

Gabriel Aldamiz-echevarria writes “As with any new beta site we needed your feedback, and yes we got it! And we thank you for that. Now it is our turn not only to improve in those areas where you all told us to do a better job, but also to work hard to bring new features to the service.”

myVidoop Improvements

From the Vidoop blog “We have released new improvements on myVidoop today. Here are a few features that we’ve added…”

Beer & Blog: Make your blog load fast and help the environment at the same time

There is yet another reason to make sure you site loads as fast as possible. It is one of the easiest things you can do to reduce the energy your site uses. Unfortunately, most web sites don’t do the basic things that would make them run faster and use fewer resources.

Tickets for Ignite Portland 3 (Probably Not) Available (Anymore)

Free tickets to Ignite Portland 3 were flying off the shelves after being released today. I seriously doubt there are any left, but I’d suggest heading over here to check. From Todd Kenefsky “You wanted shorter lines and the ability to reserve seats in advance, and we listened. You can now get your ticket to Ignite Portland 3. Here’s how…”

Demolicious! – Portland Web Innovators Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Come see the great stuff your fellow Portlanders have been working on. Several ten minute demos of new products and side projects.

Ten Technology Companies to Watch 2008

Bank Technology writes “There aren’t a lot of niche players left in the online anti-fraud market—or at least not compared to two years ago, before the FFIEC frenzy. [Silicon Florist: Oh man! Don’t get me started on that crazy FFIEC frenzy. Man, I remember this one time…] One of the coolest still standing is Portland, OR-based iovation, which conducts warp speed device recognition during online transactions and compares the device ID to the iovation reputation database in order to block transactions originating from devices with histories of fraud.”

Wanna change the world? Start at home.

Eva Schweber writes “Today I went to the Greenlight Greater Portland kick-off event and heard Richard Florida, author of Who’s Your City talk about what a great city Portland is. Given the livability factors (greatest number of microbreweries, library with the largest circulation per capita, greatest number of bookstores, forest, mountains, coast and desert within easy driving distance) that should be no surprise to anyone. But, he went on to talk about how important involvement in community is to people’s sense of well-being and how the high rate of community involvement in Portland is a huge factor in what makes Portland livable.”