Month: November 2008

Thank you

I try to say it as often as I can, but I still don’t think that I say it often enough.

So, thank you.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting. Thank you for being part of the community. Thank you for being in the Silicon Forest—or interested in the Silicon Forest.

Today is a day for many of the readers to give thanks. And I’m reminded, yet again, how thankful I am for you.

Thank you. And the happiest of holidays to you and yours.

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for November 26

Looking Forward: WebTrends, Integra, Twitter & more – Silicon Forest

Mike Rogoway writes “Here’s the first entry in my new Looking Forward series, with a rundown on developments across the Silicon Forest….”

What Motivates Participants to Engage in Online Communities at Fast Wonder Blog: Consulting, Online Communities, and Social Media

Dawn Foster writes “Many of my past posts have talked about the benefits of having a community for a company or organization. However, I have not spent enough time talking about the benefit to the participants in the community. It has to go both ways. A community will only be successful if the participants and the sponsoring organization both find value in participating regularly in the community.”

ThrivePDX at Blitz bar in the Pearl District (Wednesday December 10, 2008) – Upcoming

Blitz bar in the Pearl District
110 NW 10th Ave
Portland, Oregon 97209

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for November 25

New blog feature: Looking Forward – Silicon Forest

Mike Rogoway writes “I was thinking about this last month when I started tallying up all the recent job cuts across the Silicon Forest. There should be some way to recap some of the less discrete — and often more positive — news. So I’m launching a new feature, which I hope to run weekly. I’ll call it ‘Looking Forward.’ The first edition appears tomorrow.”

Beer and Blog Pre-Turkey Day at the Green Dragon

Via Beer and Blog “Since this Friday is one that most will be spending with family, we’re going to make this week’s Beer and Blog a Wednesday affair.”

Portland Tech Event Cornucopia for Nov. 26 through Dec. 11, 2008 | Hazelnut Tech Talk

Amber Case writes “Here are a lot of events. I’ll be at most of them this time, as I will not be in Boston. Be sure to check out DorkBot, Beer and Blog, Web Innovators and CyborgCamp. Happy event going!”

Another Portland startup closes down

SandyUsually, when I have to mention a company going through layoffs or—worse yet—shutting down, it’s a fairly grim and unwelcome affair.

This is a welcome change.

I’m happy to report that Portland-based Values of n is being shutdown—because it has been acquired by Twitter, the popular microblogging service that powers the conversations of the Portland Web startup scene.

Why the shutdown? I mean, Values of n has some amazing technology and thinking in its products: my favorite anthropomorphic digital assistant, Sandy, and Stikkit, little yellow online notes that think. Which I guess makes them somewhat anthropomorphic in their own right.

Yes, the technology is amazing. And Sandy has quite an impressive relationship with Twitter. But quite frankly Twitter doesn’t know quite what to do with those assets at this point. So they’re going into the mothballs.

Which brings us to the reason they actually did acquire Values of n: one substantial piece of intellectual property by the name of Rael Dornfest.

Ev Williams of Twitter couldn’t have put it any better when he said:

Rael Dornfest is a famously talented engineer, author, and entrepreneur. Before founding Values of n, Rael served as Chief Technology Officer at O’Reilly Media and is known for his pioneering work on RSS as well being the series editor of O’Reilly’s celebrated Hacks books…. [I] have always thought he was one of the smartest guys I know.

Smart, indeed. Incredibly talented, yes. And in possession of an insane amount of energy.

It’s a little known fact that the amazing—and highly lauded—services of Values of n were single-handedly conceived and managed by Rael with some help here and there. (But he did the bulk of the work.) Even with all the stress of running those services in parallel with a consulting business, he remains one of the most delightful and intelligent people in the Portland tech scene.

And the good news is, Portland is exactly where he’ll remain. Twitter can have his intelligence and guidance, but we get to keep him here. Which means Twitter wins, Rael wins, and we win. Win, win, um, win.

But don’t just take my word for it

This news was all over the tech scene on Monday. Here’s a quick smattering of posts that provide more details on the acquisition:

  • A fork in the road
    “I have taken an engineering position in the User Experience group at Twitter. I started consulting there a few months ago, and fell in love with the team, their way of thinking about things, and of course the product (my Twitter user id is in the low 100s). It turns out we worked incredibly well together, the feeling was mutual, and they pulled me in as a permanent member of the team.”
  • Twitter Hires Rael Dornfest, Shutters Values of n
    “Twitter just announced on the company blog that the company has acquired the assets of Portland, Oregon based Values of n and brought its well-known engineer founder Rael Dornfest on to the Twitter staff. Dornfest’s latest project at Values of n was an anthropomorphized personal assistant service called Sandy.”
  • Twitter Acquires ‘Values of n’, Adds Rael Dornfest To The Team
    “The primary goal of the acquisition appears to have been to bring Rael Dornfest to the Twitter team. Dornfest is the founder of Values of n and former CTO at O’Reilly Media, whose responsibilities also included editing the O’Reilly Hacks series. He was also the head of the RSS-DEV group, which created the RSS 1.0 standard.”
  • Twitter buys a company, closes it, keeps its founder/engineer
    “The micro-messaging service Twitter, fresh off its rejection of an offer to be acquired by Facebook, has turned around and made a purchase itself: A personal productivity and information management solutions company called Values of n, Twitter reports on its blog.”
  • Twitter Buys Start-up’s Assets; Hires Founder Rael Dornfest
    “Twitter grabbed headlines today after reports surfaced saying it declined a $500 million buyout offer from Facebook. Now, Twitter is making more news today by saying it has acquired the assets of Values of n, a company that developed a sticky-note application as well as a personal productivity app that works over e-mail, SMS, and the Web.”
  • Twitter Acquires Values of n (Makers of Sandy)
    “Judging by the lack of updates to Twitter I highly doubt that we’ll see any of the Values of n’s features integrated. I am devastated to hear they will be shutting down all their services as well.”
  • Rael Dornfest joins twitter; now this gets interesting
    “Now the man’s going to join forces with Ev Williams, Biz Stone and other smart people at twitter; my product development head is bursting with speculation about the cool direction twitter could go in (and thinking multiple products people, one at a time…). And of course the dude’s an engineer….”
  • Twitter says I want Sandy
    “These are two pretty cool products and I have been a fan of I want Sandy for a long time and it usually runs most of my calendering.”

While I’m sad to see Sandy go, I’ll eagerly await her return. And in the meantime, I’m looking forward to Rael lending his intelligence, wit, and inimitable energy to Twitter.

Congratulations to Rael. This couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

And Sandy…? Call me.

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for November 24

Corvallis here we come! at Beer and Blog

Sniff sniff. Our little Beer and Blog is all growed up. “After a successful BeaverBarCamp, Dawn Foster made the recommendation to me that Lance Albertson would make a great host for Corvallis Beer and Blog. Then Kelly (@verso) emailed me with an introduction and high recommendation as well. And, so Corvallis becomes the first expansion chapter of Beer and Blog!”

Yahoo Pipes Training: A 2 Minute Yahoo Pipes Demo at Fast Wonder Blog: Consulting, Online Communities, and Social Media

Dawn Foster writes “If you have been wanting to create Yahoo Pipes, but weren’t quite sure where to start when faced with the blank page on a new Yahoo Pipe, I created a very simple demo to get you started. This Yahoo Pipes demo will help you get started with Yahoo Pipes and show you what you need to know to create a basic Pipe.”

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for November 21

Turning Ideas Into iPhone Applications – Inside iPhone Blog

Raven Zachary writes “I love talking with entrepreneurs and people passionate about their ideas. It’s one of the things I look forward to most in my week. Unfortunately, we are at a phase in the growth of the iPhone ecosystem where there is a significant gap between individuals with the ideas and those who are actually capable of turning the ideas into iPhone applications.”

Open Source Bridge: Let’s get talking

Via Open Source Bridge “We’ve made some great progress. Our Town Halls have been well attended. And things are starting to fall into place. Now, we want to make sure that we keep the conversation going with you. (Plus, we want to give you the opportunity to volunteer—if you’d be in to that.) So how do you get started? By joining our online discussion groups.”

One night only: ReadWriteWeb’s Marshall Kirkpatrick on Strange Love Live

It’s Friday. It’s kind of chilly outside. You’re looking for something to do. Why not spend some time by the warm glow of your monitor learning some interesting stuff from some interesting people?

That’s why there’s Strange Love Live, the weekly podcast hosted by Cami Kaos and Dr. Normal. Dare I say, “the best podcast in Portland”? Indeed, I dare.

What’s that? You haven’t seen Strange Love Live? Are you kidding me?

They’ve got a guest list that boasts a veritable who’s who of the Portland tech scene—Nate Angell, Josh Bancroft, Bram Pitoyo & Amber Case, Aaron Hockley, Scott Kveton, Don Park, Chris O’Rourke, Craig Schwartz, the Shizzow team, and many, many more. And while the podcast is always well worth the listen, there’s nothing quite like watching the show live.

And tonight would be a great night to tune in, because the special guest is none other than Marshall Kirkpatrick, the Emperor of RSS, VP of Content Development at ReadWriteWeb, and just all around nice guy.

The show starts at 10-ish on Friday nights.

And I’ll look forward to seeing you in the chat room, tonight.

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for November 20

Layoffs leave Silicon Forest less populated

Mike Rogoway writes “This time out, Turoczy said, startups are cutting jobs in advance of business trouble in hopes that proactive steps will stave off catastrophe. And he said many Portland startups are small by design, and collaborative by nature. That makes them less vulnerable to the economic slowdown than entrepreneurs elsewhere who need frequent infusions of outside capital to keep their business ambitions afloat.”

Inventor of the Wiki Responds to Google Search Wiki

Marshall Kirkpatrick writes “We asked Ward Cunningham [of Portland-based AboutUs], inventor of the wiki, what he thought about Google Search Wiki. This was his first reaction….”

Rogue Now Owns Green Dragon

Via Brewpublic “Something like 30 people employed by this place. Rogue offered people to move to places like Eugene…made them offers they have to refuse. Many of these people have families and can’t just move to places like Newport and San Francisco. They’re not seventeen years old.”

Seattle: The Expansion Continues

Via the Shizzow blog “As I mentioned yesterday, the California expansion went so well that we have decided to open it up to Seattle, too. We’re getting a bunch of invite requests, but the servers have been rock solid, so we wanted to continue our plans for world domination (or at least the west coast of the U.S.)”

Cooking Up A Story Survey

Via Cooking Up A Story “As many of you may know, this is a unusual post from us, as it does not involve any of our Shows directly. Instead, this post is a call for your active participation to help us better understand you, and how we can continue to provide unique and valuable content worthy of your attention. Please take a couple minutes of time to answer this brief survey (only 3 questions)”

Hillsboro/Beaverton TweetUp at Mc Menamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse (Monday December 1, 2008) – Upcoming

Do you live in Washington County, Oregon, use Twitter and want to meet your Twitter friends IRL? If so, come join us for lunch at the McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse. Learn more about the peeps you follow, check out @jaboncroft’s cool gadgets, find a biz partner for your new project, and/or just plain have fun!

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for November 19

Qik And Strands Each Trim 10 Percent Of Staff

It’s unfortunate to hear that Strands has had to make some cuts. Via TechCrunch “The cutbacks continue, even at seemingly healthy startups. Social recommendation engine Strands let exactly 10 percent, or 14 people go (7 in the U.S. and 7 in Spain), the company confirms.”

Tweetup Breakfast at Fuller’s Restaurant (Thursday November 20, 2008) – Upcoming

Upcoming Tweetup Breakfast at Fuller’s Restaurant (Thursday November 20, 2008)

Vote AboutUs in the Mashable Open Web Awards

Via the AboutUs blog “It’s tough to say vote for us, when we are with so many great sites. But that is what we say! Vote for AboutUs! because we are doing something groundbreaking and different than all the other fabulous sites in the category.”

Iovation gears down for ’09 w/job cuts – Silicon Forest

Mike Rogoway writes “Downtown Portland tech startup Iovation laid off a dozen employees last week, the latest in a series of Oregon companies making tough decisions as the recession deepens.”

How To Get People To Link To and Talk About Stuff You Write Without Being a Jerk at Josh Bancroft’s TinyScreenfuls.com

Josh Bancroft writes “I’m writing this up to help bloggers and other people who create stuff online (videos, etc.) get their ‘stuff’ more visibility, by getting more sites to link to it and talk about it. Specifically, I’m trying to help people in my group at work, Intel Software Network, by sharing some of my experience and ideas, since I’ve been blogging for over 5 years. I’m by no means an expert, just sharing what I know. I hope you’ll post a comment or otherwise jump into the conversation if you have ideas of your own on how to get more ‘outside’ links and conversation around the things that you write.”

The Great Portland Interview Project: Dawn Foster Edition at Fast Wonder Blog: Consulting, Online Communities, and Social Media

Dawn Foster writes “I’m participating in the Great Portland Interview Project, and I was recently interviewed by Grant Kruger. According to the rules of the project, I’m posting the results of the interview here for your reading pleasure. Grant even slipped in a few extra questions, including an obscure question about Sausage the goat. The questions came from Grant, but the answers are mine.”

State of Portland Tech – Portland Web Innovators (Wednesday December 3, 2008) – Upcoming

A discussion about the Portland tech scene heading into 2009. Where are we now, how did we get here and where do we want to go?