There are tons of great blogs around the Silicon Forest. And, by extension, that means we have a bunch of great bloggers. So it stands to reason that, every once in a while, one of those bloggers makes the leap from the farm leagues to the big show.
Every once in a while, I get something stuck in my craw that causes me to get up on my high horse. Sometimes I then convince that high horse to climb up on a soapbox. And then I take on a holier-than-thou stance and pontificate on something which has been irking me.
This would be one such occasion. (And, fair warning, there’s another one coming soon. [UPDATE] And here that rant is.)
Something has been bugging me. And if you’ve got a sec, I’d like to lay it all out there.
And to be candid, remember I’m only taking the time to bitch about it because I think we could be fixing something that would help the Web and mobile startups in the Silicon Forest get the recognition they so richly deserve.
And it’s really easy to fix. Read More
No, it’s something deeper than that. Twitter works for Portland’s dynamic. It meshes with our culture and our geekiness and our whatever.
And so it should come as absolutely no surprise that, when it comes to understanding Twitter, Silicon Forest startups come up with some interesting solutions. Like Portland-based Twitalyzer. And like the latest feature from Clicky, the lightweight yet extremely feature-heavy Web analytics tool. The new feature with which I’m so impressed? It’s called Twitter brand monitor. (Calm down, Dawn.) Read More
Well we had a little bit of a mystery going on ourselves tonight in the world of the Portland, Oregon, social media scene that needed some solving:
Hang in there, you entrepreneurial type you. You’re making progress. I know it. You know it. And now, other folks are starting to take notice. Like The Oregonian.
In a recent article entitled “Oregon’s high-tech better off now than in dot-com bust” business and tech reporter Mike Rogoway—one of the mainstream media folks in Portland who clearly “gets it”—had the following to offer about the under the radar startup scene: Read More
Yes, yes. I’ve been helping with the Open Source Bridge stuff as much as I can. I mean, I’m not an open source guy, per se, apart from my ever deepening appreciation for the talented people who make the world of open source what it is.
When it comes right down to it, I’m an observer. And, from time to time, an extremely lucky participant. A respectful tourist in the world of open source citizens.
But every once in awhile, I get to contribute. Today was one of those days. Read More
Yesterday, about 40 or so people gathered at TechShop Portland in Beaverton for our second venture into the wild and wooly suburbs.
Unfortunately, we conflicted with the opening day of InnoTech so many of the usual suspects weren’t able to make it.
I did see a lot of new faces, just like at Lunch 2.0 at the OTBC in January, which is a good thing. It’s always nice to meet new people or people you follow on Twitter but never see IRL because they live way far off in the ‘burbs.
TechShop is almost complete and ready for its official opening this coming Saturday, April 25. The warehouse area seems to be done, with only a few finishing touches and furniture remaining in the front office area.
To get us started, Denney Cole, our host, gave a quick intro about what is TechShop. The short version is it’s like a health club, for DIY people. You sign up to be a member, then you bring your projects.
What projects you ask?
Pretty much anything from soft goods (sewing, embroidery, upholstery) to wood-working (cutting, gluing, planing, sanding) to metal-working (melting, welding, grinding, cutting) to painting to robotics and electronics in any combination.
You could conceivably construct a couch from scratch, including the woodwork and finishing work at TechShop, or as Denney says, cut up the aluminum wheels on a junker, melt them down, and resurrect them as door handles and cabinet knobs.
Did I mention they have a laser etching machine too? That, apparently is the crown jewel of the original TechShop, in Menlo Park. I saw one of those in action at Web 2.0 Expo 2008, and that’s a fun toy to have at your disposal. The urge to etch can be strong.
Beyond providing tools and space to store your stuff, TechShop has classes. So you don’t kill, maim or embarrass yourself.
Wm Leler also talked about Open Tech Space, which is housed within TechShop.
Open Tech Space is a freely available gathering place for anyone interesting in creating prototypes, sharing and mentoring, and promoting business development in the technology and art communities. Even if you’re not a TechShop member, you can go to Open Tech Space and hang out with like-minded people. The goal is to put people with ideas together and encourage them to grow those ideas.
That’s really TechShop’s goal too.
After the talking, came the tour.
It’s probably best that we didn’t get a full crowd, since even with 40 people, it was a bit tough to hear Denney in the warehouse.
As we walked around, you could see the wheels turning in people’s heads. We like to build things, take them apart, improve them, and TechShop is full of the tools you need for that kind of learning. I overhead a few ideas flying around, and that’s the great thing about TechShop. It removes the sunk cost of buying and storing tools.
It also removes the spousal reminders to clean up your mess and finish the project already.
When we went outside to check out the furnaces, we got a sweet demonstration. One of the furnaces got a bit cranky and decided to shoot flames about ten feet in the air. Not as dangerous as it sounds and very cool. Don Park took some video of a different furnace that gives you an idea.
As the tour wrapped up at the laser etcher, Amye pointed out this friendly reminder on one of the large cutting devices, a Pexto Jump Shear, used to cut large pieces of sheet metal.
After the tour ended, the lunch wound down as people wandered around more to soak in the awesome collection of toys, erm tools.
Thanks to Denney for having us. TechShop Portland officially opens on Saturday, April 25, and there will be an open house at 3 PM complete with demonstrations and ideally, fewer geysers of fire. Although, I enjoyed that.
Don’t forget these Lunch 2.0s, coming soon:
If you’re wondering about the WebVisions’ lunch, it will be open to anyone, attending the conference or not. There’s also a rumor that Open Source Bridge may be hosting a lunch before the conference (June 17-19) sometime. Any ideas on venue? Drop a comment.
- Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier, openSUSE community manager, Novell
- Bdale Garbee, open source & Linux chief technologist at Hewlett Packard, and well-known kernel developer
- Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the Ubuntu distribution and Canonical
- Bob Sutor, vice president of Standards and Open Source at IBM
LinuxCon combines the developer and end user communities to produce more than 75 sessions that address “all matters Linux.” The event takes place September 21 – 23, 2009 in Portland, Oregon at the Marriott Downtown Waterfront.
Speaking of announcing, um, speakers. Word around the campfire is that another open source conference in town, Open Source Bridge, will be announcing its final list of selected speakers Thursday at noon.
Well, okay, yes. I’m privy to that list. No, I won’t let you sneak a peek. More news on that as it becomes available.
(Hat tip to Mike Rogoway)
To blog or not to blog? It’s a question with which any number of corporations wrestle. And today at the InnoTech eMarketing Summit, Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb and Josh Bancroft of Intel will answer that question—and likely many more about corporate communications, blogging, and microblogging sites like Twitter. (I’ll be on the panel as well, doing a lot of smiling and nodding.)
Here’s the basis of the discussion:
Whether out of curiosity or under pressure, you’ve likely started a company blog. Maybe you’re even letting employees blog. But making blogging a successful component of your organization’s communications and support programs? That’s another thing, entirely. Join this panel of panel of elite bloggers and microbloggers to learn how you can use blogs to increase transparency with your target market, create deeper and lasting relationships with your existing customers, and improve your company’s visibility on the Web. Attendees are sure to leave with both a renewed motivation to blog and specific steps for improving their organizations’ use of traditional blogs and new microblogging platforms.
The three of us will be providing our insight at 2 PM, today, in Portland Ballroom 256 at the Oregon Convention Center. So if you’re at InnoTech, we’d love to see you. For you Twitter types, the hashtag for the event is #emspdx.
Can’t come see us today? Well we can’t save you any… oh wait. That’s okay, but we’ll miss you. And I’d highly encourage to register to attend InnoTech on Thursday so that you can see Rahaf Harfoush talk about the Obama social media campaign.
Our friends over at the Beaverton-based OTBC are always trying to help startups and entrepreneurs in the Portland area—like by hosting entrepreneurial speed dating sessions and sponsoring events like Portland Lunch 2.0 and Open Source Bridge.
Now, the OTBC could use a little bit of our help. In the form of feedback:
We get input at our lunches, and through our Meetup.com site, but we’d like to round that out with input from a larger sample of the Portland area tech entrepreneur community. So please take three minutes to let us know what kinds of programs you’d like to attend. These are mostly ratings of 1-to-5 to show interest level in a topic. Lots of ideas are listed, but it goes fast. Really! Three minutes. (OK, maybe four minutes at the outside.) Thanks!
I know you can help, because everyone has an opinion. They’re like… well, everyone has one.
So take a few minutes out of your busy schedule and click some buttons. The OTBC—and our entire startup community—will be better for it.