Five years ago today. I sat up in bed with a crazy—but seemingly reasonable—URL stuck in my head. “If our region is the ‘Silicon Forest’ and we live in the ‘Rose City,’ then why wouldn’t a blog about tech startups in Portland be called ‘Silicon Florist’?” Strangely enough, no one had snagged that URL yet. So I did.
And so it began.
I had been blogging since 1999. And no one ever really read anything I had written. I mean, with good reason. You’ve read my writing, right?
So it was strange that folks starting taking notice of my random observations of interesting stuff happening in the Portland tech scene.
Especially given that it was a much different time.
Building a startup in Portland was insanity five years ago. Something for which you generally got more grief than encouragement.
And I wanted to change that.
The big tech blogs weren’t paying attention. The local publications weren’t covering the stories. So I thought I could do something to help. I saw it as my contribution to the community. It was me open-sourcing my marketing communications and promotional skills.
And honestly? That was as crazy as trying to build a startup in Portland. But it seemed to work.
Thank you, Portland
When I look over the past five years, two words keep resonating in my head: Thank you. Thank you for swinging by this little corner of the Web. Thank you for supporting Portland startups. Thank you for putting up with my overly hyperbolic cheerleading.
Silicon Florist was pure dumb luck. A matter of being in the right place and the right time. Nothing more. There isn’t anything terribly special here. Except the fact that I keep coming back, day after day, to post. Slow and steady.
WTF? I had no idea
Having had Silicon Florist as a vantage point for the past five years has truly been a blessing and an honor. And it’s presented more opportunities than I could have ever imagined.
Personally, I’ve had the chance to participate in innumerable events, to spend time with a never-ending stream of incredible entrepreneurs, to help start and champion things like Ignite Portland, Beer and Blog, Portland Lunch 2.0, Open Source Bridge, PIE, Meet the Startup, PDX, and a bunch of unconference-y goodness, and to write for one of the leading tech blogs in the world.
But perhaps most importantly, I’ve had the opportunity to share your stories. To make sure your efforts are getting at least a little more recognition.
Who knew that a young startup in town would one day IPO the same year as Facebook—and would outperform most of the other big names that also hit the Street? Who knew that a startup implosion would lead to a startup that sold bacon online which in turn would lead to one of the most successful startups in town?
Okay. You’re right. You probably saw that one coming.
But, who knew we’d start seeing consistent investment in Portland companies? And successes like we did today when a Portland company would report 345% year over year growth?
Who knew? I didn’t. I just thought you were awesome. And I thought Portland was awesome. And I had hope. And I still do. Every day.
Happy Birthday, Silicon Florist!
I’ve said it time and time again: I don’t really do anything. But I do my damnedest to celebrate people who are actually doing things around here. And I’m really thankful to all of you who have put up with me. And who have let me join along for the ride.
Thank you, Portland. Thank you, entrepreneurs. Thank you, startups.
Happy Birthday, Silicon Florist! You’ve now become my longest job streak. And you’re still only a side project.
Maybe it’s time I start taking this whole blogging thing seriously.
Go get ’em, Portland. I can’t wait to see where you go from here.