Tell the Software Association of Oregon (SAO) where to go. Please.

[HTML2]Usually when you get the infamous “customer satisfaction” survey asking for your input, it’s abundantly clear that what the survey is really designed to do is cover someone’s ass. They don’t want your feedback. They want you to give them five stars across the board and tell them you wouldn’t change a thing.

But this latest survey from the Software Association of Oregon is different. I think—nay I believe—they truly want to hear your feedback. Not just the feedback of existing members. They want feedback from everyone in the Silicon Forest tech scene. Long story short, they want your feedback.

And I believe they want you to be blunt.

Why do I believe this? Any number of reasons.

First, Scott Kveton, the acting president of the SAO, is one of the startup tech scene types. He gets it. He’s worked at any number of startups in town and he continues to work on Bacn and other pursuits. Nuff said.

Second, Kveton has absolutely nothing to lose. He’s not pulling a CYA maneuver because his A is going to be out of there and back on the board of advisors once his interim president stint is over. Any feedback the SAO gets will help inform the new president of his or her charge.

Third, I think the SAO is sensing its own mortality. It’s a rapidly realizing that it’s… Oopie, I almost used an Alec Baldwin line from Glengarry Glenn Ross, there. Ahem. They’re rapidly realizing that they must adapt or die:

The SAO is working to develop a clearer strategic vision of where the organization should go. This process involves thinking about the role of the organization in a new ways, using new organizational tools.

I’ve had my problems with the SAO in the past. But I remain supportive of their recent attempts to change. First with Harvey Mathews and now with Kveton.

I think they have a very good chance of seeing the SAO rebuilt into something that could be incredibly important to the startups of the Silicon Forest. And I’d like to give them a fighting chance to do that. Because we could use the help.

But they won’t be able to do it without you. They’ll need your feedback to ensure that they’re moving in the direction you’d like to see them going. Because otherwise, they’ll simply guess and they’ll get it wrong. Or they’ll be influenced by the same organizations that have held influence over them in the past.

And that would be too bad.

Besides that, guess what? If the startup tech scene in Portland, Eugene, Corvallis, Bend, Medford, Ashland, and every other corner of Oregon is louder then the entrenched software industry of Oregon, you know what that means? It means we have the opportunity to influence an established organization. To give them an understanding what we’ve got going here. It means we could have a strong advocate. It means we could have an organization that helps ensure that we succeed. And one that marshals the resources we need to survive.

That seems like a big opportunity to me. I hope you see it as one, as well. And I sincerely hope you take a few minutes to provide your feedback on where the SAO should go.


  1. Filled out the survey. The thing that would motivate me to get truly involved with the SAO is if they were able to negotiate a group health care plan for the self-employed and small businesses.

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