Codifying and extending Portland startups' collaborative nature: Portland Startups Switchboard is a year old

I didn’t really know what to expect. I mean, I knew that Portland boasted an extremely tightly knit and collaborative community. I knew that I was—more often than not—creating bottlenecks and logjams than I was solving by inefficiently connecting people. And I knew that I had an amazing local startup that had a platform for solving these very issues. What the hell, I thought. It just might work.

And so, a year ago today, with the help of PIE alum Switchboard, I launched the Portland Startups Switchboard.

Granted, I had tried this sort of thing before. And it had never really worked. So I was trying to keep my optimism in check. Maybe it was the timing. Maybe it was the technology. Maybe it was just the population of startup types. Whatever the case, it was a series of mediocre efforts or outright failure. But I had to give it another shot. Everything just seemed right.

Now, a year later, it appears to be working. More than 1700 startup types are helping one another. Posting Asks for things they need. And Offers for things they have. The Portland Startups Switchboard has become a reliable resource for, well, resources, jobs, events, relocation, discounts, and a whole host of other things. It even has its own Twitter account.

More importantly, we’ve been helping one another—as a community. Everything from discounts on standing desks to helping a good cause find a house. And the list of successes? It’s growing every day.

This success from Darren Buckner captures what makes the Portland startup scene so special:

As usual, the Portland family came to my aide and I was able to make a connection I didn’t already have. Thank you everyone!

And all it took was this simple little phrase, “Have you tried posting that to the Portland Startups Switchboard?” It just keep working. Time and time again. All thanks to you.

But the Portland Startups Switchboard isn’t alone. Any number of awesome communities have sprung up on the platform. Like what? Well here are some examples of Oregon Switchboards—or Switchboards that have a strong local following:

This first year has been amazing. And I’m sure we’re in for many more.

If you’re not among the nearly 2000 Portland startup types helping one another, please come join us on the Portland Startups Switchboard. Or come join us in real life, as we celebrate with Switchboard on March 26.

[Full disclosure: Switchboard is a PIE alum. I am the cofounder of PIE.]

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