Month: October 2008

Venture Northwest 2008: AboutUs, Collaborative Software Initiative, Revelation, SplashCast make the cut

Venture NorthwestMy favorite thing about entrepreneurs? They’re scrappy.

So today, it came as a pleasant surprise that—even in light of the not-so-hot economic environment—our plucky local organization of entrepreneurs, the Oregon Entrepreneur Network (OEN), has chosen to unveil the presenters for the upcoming Venture Northwest 2008.

“The companies presenting at the conference represent some of the most innovative and creative companies from across the Northwest,” said John Hull, chair of the OEN Venture Northwest 2008 and managing director at OVP Venture Partners. “Some of these companies are seeking their first institutional venture financing while others have already received first rounds of capital from top-tier venture firms. In total, this list of companies represents well the broad spectrum of investment opportunities that flourish in our region”

Not only that, but I’m happy to report that there are some Web startups—and at least one open-source-focused company—on the list.

And four out of 14 isn’t bad.

So which of the Silicon Florist crowd got a nod to present?

Interested in who else is presenting? The Oregonian‘s Mike Rogoway has a complete list of the 14 Venture Northwest presenters with links.

OEN’s Venture Northwest is the premier forum for new and emerging investment opportunities in exciting companies from Oregon, Washington, and throughout the Pacific Northwest. This annual conference draws institutional investors and investment bankers from across the western US who are interested in the emerging companies that the Northwest has to offer. Companies that have presented at Venture Oregon have raised over $1.3 billion in venture capital since 1996 and over $68 million in angel investment.

For more information, visit OEN’s Venture Northwest.

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for October 08

Tell a Story in Five Minutes or Less… | Our PDX Network

Betsy Richter reminds us “You have less than a week to submit your presentation idea for Ignite Portland 4! (Submissions are closing at midnight on 10/14; presenters will be announced on 10/20.)”

The Stumptown Redesign, Part One

Via Needmore “This is the first of several posts, in which we’re writing about our experiences redesigning the Stumptown Coffee Roasters website. This is an overview of the project as a whole, and some ideas we had and things we learned along the way.”

The Stumptown Redesign, Part Two

Via Needmore “This is day two of four, in which we’re writing about our experiences redesigning the Stumptown Coffee Roasters website. This is a description of ’round one’ of our site mockups, and some of the thought process behind them.”

It’s Here! Revelation Project Version 2 launches | Revelation

Via the Revelation blog “Revelation will always need to be able to adapt to respond to wherever our customers would take us. V1 had served us well, but we realized the imperative for this V2 release was to create a foundation that would let Revelation scale, adapt and grow.”

Breakfast Tweetup/Shizzup at Fuller’s Restaurant

Via Upcoming “The Portland community is one of the highest-ranked communities on Twitter. Those of us who’ve used the service have vastly expanded our connections, friendships, and experiences. However a lot of Portland Tech events happen in the evening.”

Three Billion Steps

Via the Walker Tracker blog “October 3rd marked crossing 3 billion collective steps. Now, that’s a long way from the 700 billion needed for the bailout – but were steps = dollars, we’d all be doing rather nicely! And indeed, I would claim that we’re all a bit better off for it.”

GoLife Mobile adapts to changing conditions

GoLife MobileAs is evidenced by the time I’ve spent chatting with James Whitley time and again, it’s safe to say that I’m impressed with the leadership at Hillsboro-based GoLife Mobile.

And their latest move only further solidifies that opinion.

In an impressively transparent admission, GoLife Mobile proposes a change in their business pan—right on the home page of the GoLife Mobile site.

GoLife points to a number of changing market conditions that have had a decided effect on the company:

Industry Growth: Consolidations and mergers such as the acquisition of Symbian by Nokia are changing the mobile landscape. The carriers are rapidly opening their frameworks, recognizing both the inevitability and the value of community-driven mobile application development.

Locative Services: Location-based services are taking off like wildfire (who would like to write the location-based service to monitor wildfire growths, we’d sure like to see that before next summer in the West!) Locative services and mobile devices are such a natural fit that we are strong supporters of WhereCamp PDX.

The iPhone Appstore: The release of the iPhone and its AppStore has fundamentally changed the perception of mobile devices. The iPhone has precipitated the revolution that we knew was coming: people are beginning to realize the potential of mobile for more than just voice and text communications. We can’t tell you how exciting this is for us!

Technology Evolutions: Mobile technology is rapidly changing, growing, evolving, new capabilities are being added daily. For instance, near-field ID chips are being integrated into mobile devices already. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to poll your mobile phone and ask it where you left your glasses? Or your keys?

Economic Devolutions: There’s been another change that we’ve been tracking, like everyone else, we’ve been watching the state of financial markets. Sad to say, but the credit crisis has taken its toll on small businesses like GoLife Mobile, and has affected our ability to grow out our framework as rapidly as we’d anticipated.

But, GoLife isn’t crying in their microbrewed beer. They have a new plan.

GoLife is retrenching. And moving forward to take advantage of the obvious opportunities in the mobile market:

Given these changes, we’re changing our business too, to make sure that we stay on the cutting edge of the market and the technologies, and that our framework gives our customers, users, and developer partners what they need. After looking at the state of the art in mobile and what’s coming down the pike as far as technologies and services, we are taking our mobile client apart for some major revisions.

It will be truly interesting to see what emerges from this change in direction.

One thing is for sure. This is yet another reason I point to GoLife Mobile as one of the leading local mobile talents.

If anyone can make it, they will.

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for October 07

Discovering Portland’s Tech Community by Analog and by Twitter | Hazelnut Tech Talk

Amber Case writes “Thankfully, I’m going to have a greater ability to show the world how amazing Portland is. Beginning November 1st, I’ll be blogging for the Discovery Channel –> on Portland. Hopefully I can do it justice. Please don’t hesitate to point out my inefficiencies, writing incapabilities, and lack of refined blogging skills along the way. The Silicon Forest has amazing voices already, I only hope to approximate a percentage of their awesomeness.”

More Portland love: Oregon Startup Blog and ReadWriteWeb

There are a couple of things that have come up recently that I wanted to share with you. I think they’re good, but I’m always open to your opinions.

Oregon Startup Blog

First and foremost, thank you. Truly. Thank you.

I had any number of Portland blogging and Twitter folks—Betsy Richter, Dawn Foster, Todd Kenefsky, and Paul Bingman, to name a few—questioning what was going on with the Oregon Startup Blog.

Thank you for watching out for me. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

But it’s all good.

Many months ago, I spoke with the folks who run a bunch of regional startup blogs. And they were thinking about expanding their reach to create a national network of startup blogs.

As you well know, the whole reason I started writing Silicon Florist was to raise the visibility of all of the cool stuff you’ve been doing in Portland and the Silicon Forest. And I thought that this new offering would be a great opportunity to get more national exposure for the cool companies here in our neck of the woods.

So I threw my hat in the ring.

Recently, Oregon Startup Blog started syndicating Silicon Florist content and broadcasting it through Twitter. And while the implementation still has a few flaws, rest assured that we’re working through the kinks.

And it’s all on the up and up.

Hopefully, this will provide another venue to highlight all of the cool stuff you folks are accomplishing.

If you’re writing about startups in the Silicon Forest and would like to be added to the mix, I’d be more than happy to put you in contact with the folks running the show.

And again, thanks to all of you who pinged me with “Did you know about this?” I can’t tell you how much that meant to me.

ReadWriteWeb

It’s no secret that I’ve joked about ReadWriteWebone of the leading blogs in the world—being a “Portland blog.”

And with good reason.

I mean, while ReadWriteWeb’s founder, Richard MacManus, lives in New Zealand, there are two primary contributors—Marshall Kirkpatrick and Frederic Lardinois—here in the Rose City.

And that gave us more ReadWriteWeb contributors per capita than any city in the world.

Well—as luck would have it—they’ve just added one more writer from the Silicon Forest. So we now have a commanding lead.

This all happened fairly suddenly. And I must admit that I’m both humbled and honored to be asked to write for an accomplished publication like ReadWriteWeb.

I’ll do my best to do you proud, Portland.

And rest assured, I’ll continue doing my best to cover all of the cool stuff happening here in the Silicon Forest. And highlighting all of the amazing things that you’re doing.

Look at it this way: You haven’t lost a blogger, you’ve gained another blog.

And again, thank you ever so much, to all of the Portland folks who have already swung by RWW to comment.

I’m looking forward to see where this goes.

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for October 06

Don’t Make Your Blog an OpenID Provider

Aaron Hockley writes “One of the new features in Will’s plugin is the ability for a WordPress blog to act as an OpenID provider. I know there’s some logic behind this feature, but it’s not for Joe Blow with a Blog to take over the word as yet another provider. My buddy Adam wrote a piece at Webmonkey titled Make Your Blog an OpenID Provider, but I respectfully disagree with that proposition.”

Reflections: Notes from Running WordCamp Portland

And Aaron Hockley writes this as well “Last Saturday was WordCamp Portland the first WordPress blogging conference in Oregon. I led a team of volunteers to produce and manage the event, based somewhat on other WordCamps I’ve read about along with other tech events in our area. This is a writeup on some things to consider for other similar events.”

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for October 05

WhereCampPDX: Location, location, location

Dawn Foster writes “The first ever WhereCampPDX event is coming up in just 2 weeks on October 17th-19th where local geo-geeks of all stripes will be gathering for a weekend of location based fun.”

Oct 1st 2008 stats for myOpenID.com

Via the JanRain blog “The number of unique relying parties continues to grow at a very good pace. We ended September just shy of 25k.”

Wi-Fi antennas will winter in Oregon – Silicon Forest

Mike Rogoway writes “MetroFi’s 600 abandoned Wi-Fi antennas will stay up at least through April 2009, as the city waits for the gear to be legally forfeit.”

WordPress OpenID v3.0

Will Norris writes “I’m happy to announce that version 3.0 of the WordPress OpenID plugin is now available. As previously mentioned, there are a lot of new features in this release.”

Obama ’08 iPhone App Launch Party and Presidential Debate Party

Via Upcoming “Bring friends and join us to celebrate the launch of the official Obama ’08 iPhone application. We’ll screen the presidential debate and then show highlights of the Obama ’08 app and meet the Portland members of the development team.”

Six Portland-area mobile app developers and consultants to watch

I keep an eye on a bunch of people who work on mobile apps. Most recently with the Obama for iPhone app. I thought it might be helpful to give you a glimpse of some of the Portland Oregon mobile app scene.

[HTML1]Yesterday, it dawned on me that I keep an eye on a bunch of people who work on mobile apps. I’ve covered them from time to time—most recently with the Obama for iPhone app—but I thought it might be helpful to give you a glimpse of some of the folks who are making things happen in the mobile app scene.

And lo and behold they just happen to be from the Silicon Forest. Go figure.

Avatron Software (Vancouver, WA)

Talk about starting off on the right foot. Avatron’s first commercial application for the iPhone, Air Sharing (NOTE: iTunes app store link), is well on its way toward becoming the most popular iPhone application, ever.

“Founded in April 2008 by Dave Howell, a six-year veteran Apple engineering manager, Avatron is a leading developer of popular applications for the iPhone and iPod touch. Avatron’s Air Sharing application, downloaded by nearly one million users in its first week, has raised the bar for iPhone application design and software quality.”

For more information, visit Avatron.

Cloud Four (Portland, OR)

The folks at Cloud Four have really come into their own in the world of consulting on mobile apps—especially when it comes to things like usability. (What? You actually want people to be able to use the app?) They’ve put in some impressive (volunteer) work on the Obama for iPhone app and equally impressive (paid) work on the interface design for the Mobile Wall Street Journal app.

“But what’s remarkable about Cloud Four is not our individual talents, as extensive as they may be. It’s where we overlap that we really shine. Instead of working separately in our spheres of aesthetics and engineering, we look at the building of Web sites and applications as a cohesive process, not just a series of database views or mockups. Cloud Four is proudly based in Portland, Ore., but we serve customers worldwide.”

For more information, visit Cloud Four.

FreeRange (Portland, OR)

If any company is the “founding father” of the burgeoning Portland mobile scene, FreeRange is it. With customers like the Wall Street Journal and the Portland Trail Blazers—and one of the most impressive mobile feed readers on the market—FreeRange is sure to keep Portland associated with mobile apps for a long time to come.

FreeRange Communications was created in 2004 because using the browser to get information on a mobile phone didn’t work so well. It still doesn’t work well enough (no offense to the wizardy of Apple’s iPhone), and it’s not likely to become really great for a very long time.

For more information, visit FreeRange.

GoLife Mobile (Hillsboro, OR)

The folks at GoLife Mobile are working to make mobile application development and adoption easier for both developers and consumers. And by building a Java-based framework that runs on practically any handset—and in so doing allowing practically any application to run on any handset—they’re moving down the right path.

“GoLife Mobile Corporation was founded by industry veterans with the desire to create a mobile lifestyle environment that enhances how people interact with technology, each other, and the physical world around them. This is the true birth of ubiquitous computing. We foresee information flowing smoothly between ubiquitous, integrated devices and networks, seamlessly converging to provide useful, personal, context sensitive services.”

For more information, visit GoLife Mobile.

Don Park (Portland, OR)

The owner of the first—and only—Openmoko open-source phone I’ve ever seen, Don is always working to make things as open as possible. His latest project? Developing a mobile social location application for the soon-to-be-released open-source mobile platform, Android.

In his own words (via the Los Angeles Times):

“But Don Park, an independent developer in Portland, Ore., said he would focus on Android phones for his location-tracking software because he likes that openness.

“‘Phones weren’t interesting a few years ago,’ he said. ‘Now cellphones have become the new personal computer.'”

For more information, visit Don Park’s personal site.

Raven Zachary (Portland, OR)

Ever since the iPhone was introduced, Raven Zachary has been leading the thought on developing for the platform. As the creator of iPhoneDevCamp, chair of the upcoming iPhoneLive conference, and consultant to a number of iPhone developers in town and around the nation, Raven knows everything happening in the world of iPhone development—and he’s influencing a great deal of it, as well. Not only that, he served as the project manager on the Obama iPhone app, one of the most popular iPhone apps in history.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Raven has to say.

“I love the iPhone. But that shouldn’t surprise you, because 90% of people who own iPhones love theirs too. But if you look into that 90%, I’m in the .1% of those people who don’t think of it just as a lovely phone, but as some agent of change that impacts us on a deep level – makes us more connected, more informed, more a part of the global network. And, hell, it’s wicked cool.”

For more information, visit raven.me. [UPDATE] Raven Zachary has co-founded an iPhone agency called Small Society. For more, see the Silicon Florist coverage on Small Society efforts.

BONUS! Mobile Portland (Portland, OR)

If you really want to stay in tune with what’s happening in the Portland mobile development scene, there’s no better place than the Mobile Portland group. The fledgling organization also holds regular meetings to discuss topics affecting the mobile scene.

“Mobile Portland is local user group focused on mobile development. We gather on the fourth Monday of every month for presentations, discussion and networking.”

For more information, visit Mobile Portland.

Who else?

As I mentioned, these are the folks I’m tracking. No doubt there are countless others I’m missing.

Has someone impressed you with their mobile development fu? Or maybe you’re a mobile developer who needs to toot his/her own horn a bit more?

Please, by all means, link it up below.

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for October 02

Zappos.com exec to speak at OSU

Via OregonLive “In fewer than 10 years, Zappos.com has gone from an upstart company to the top internet shoe seller and is forecast to generate $1 billion in sales in 2008. The Zappos.com stocks 3 million pairs of shoes, handbags, apparel and accessories, specializing in more than 1,000 brands that are difficult to find in mainstream shopping malls.”

Obama for iPhone: Portland plays a huge role in mobile app development

Obama iPhone appMcCain may have invented the Blackberry, but today, Obama owns the iPhone. Thanks to a team of talented developers—half of whom are here in Portland.

Obama ’08 is your official, comprehensive connection to the heart of Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s campaign, giving you the tools you need to make an impact and stay in the know.

Making a difference takes only moments using the Call a Friend feature. Want to do more? Find your local Obama for America HQ or look up local campaign events.

Creating this politically savvy iPhone app was a wholly volunteer effort. An effort that featured five Portland folks on the team: Raven Zachary, Jason Grigsby, Lyza Danger Gardner, John Keith, and Aileen Jeffries.

Aside from being beautiful, it’s a feature rich application designed to get individuals more involved in the political process. (In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the opponents of the Obama campaign rival the proponents in downloads.)

The application has a “Call Your Friends” tool that helps you organize your contacts by key battleground states — a feature we’re hoping will generate thousands of additional personal contacts. You can also easily mark reminder notes to yourself on which friends you have called, who they are supporting and who wants a reminder call on Election Day. The information does not leave your phone (so your friends’ and your own privacy are protected) but the total amount of calls the application makes are tallied, so you can keep track of your progress as we close in on November 4th.

As Grigsby says on the Cloud Four blog:

Leaving politics aside for the moment, it’s a pretty impressive display of what is possible using the iPhone and iPod Touch platform.

[UPDATE] I just heard that the Obama ’08 for iPhone folks will be holding a launch party for the app during the next presidential debates. Head on over to the Mission Theater on Tuesday, October 7 to congratulate the team and watch some politicking. To RSVP, see the Obama ’08 iPhone App Launch Party and Presidential Debate Party on Upcoming.

Is Portland beginning to take center stage in mobile app development?

So yes, the app is super cool. (And if you agree, you may want to digg it.) But, I think—in my Silicon-Forest-centric frame of mind—that’s not the only cool thing happening in this story.

There’s something else that’s going on here. And when I say “here,” I literally mean here.

While the application is an impressive feat for a volunteer effort (or any effort for that matter) what I think may be even more interesting—and Zachary, arguably the premiere consultant for all things iPhone, agrees—is the underlying story about mobile app development in general—a development effort that, more and more, seems to be centered around talent right here in the Silicon Forest.

“This speaks to a growing trend in Portland toward mobile app development,” said Zachary. “We’ve really got something starting here.”

Grigsby echoes a similar sentiment about the creation of the Obama iPhone app:

I’m terribly proud of this application. I’m also honored to have been part of making it happen. It’s not simply that we built something that we believe will empower people to bring change to Washington, but it is also the fact that we assembled an exceptional team.

As does, Gardner:

The amount of energy that went into this was fun to be around. Raven Zachary and Jason Grigsby’s strategy genius, Jonathan Wight’s very powerful development fu, Mike Lee and Tristan O’Tierney’s hacking support, Louie Manta’s visual-zing-wow aesthetics, Aileen Jeffries and John Keith’s many-faceted support, and Dom Sagolla’s tireless testing work. Phew. That’s the lot of us.

We all hear, time and time again, how mobile is the next big thing. Wouldn’t it be nice if that big thing were happening right here in Portland?

I think it would. And I think it has the potential to happen.

And with efforts like this—and the growing ranks of mobile developers here in town—I’d say we’re well on our way.

Congratulations to the whole team—but especially the Portland folks—on launching an amazing app that’s sure to step on to a national, if not worldwide, stage.

For more, visit the Obama iPhone app page or to download it for yourself, head over to the App Store.

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