Hello, Portland startup community! I’m Ben Parzybok


Ben Parzybok was the CTO and founder of Walker Tracker, a revenue-funded corporate wellness and step tracking application. Walker Tracker was acquired by Terryberry in 2022.

He has also been a co-creator in a number of art- or activist-related projects, such as Gumball Poetry (a literary journal which published into capsule machines) and Project Hamad (an effort to free a Guantanamo inmate and draw attention to Guantanamo through narrative and a web campaign). In addition, he’s a writer with two novels published.

Currently he’s working on combining literary interests with programming, by creating journal of interactive fiction that publishes to multiple chat platforms, such as Telegram, Slack, etc.

What are you up to…?

As my term of advising comes to end for Terryberry, I am working to kick off a literary journal that publishes interactive fiction to chat platforms. I realize that doesn’t sound very ‘Portland Startup’ — another way of phrasing it might be: We publish games that can be played via chat, with an emphasis on well-written narrative. It’s at its very beginning, but you can follow along here https://plotopolis.com as we acquire our first titles and figure out how to put together a business model.

I am usually a heads-down working type and haven’t been as active of a participant in the PDX startup community as I should, but having recently been through the acquisition experience, I’d be happy to chat about my experiences with others. Hit me up!

Why Portland?

I have lived in PDX since 1998, when my partner and I moved here from Taiwan. We saw it as the rougher, weirder, unpolished west coast city that best fit with our personalities. A place where you can dare to be inventive, and failure is cheaper. It’s changed a lot in that time, and my love for it has evolved, but I still find it a hopeful, scrappy, creative city with a lot of potential, and I’m always tremendously psyched to hear about other startups (& writers & artists & musicians) hitting the big time.

I also think Portland is one of the best eating cities in the world. Tiny, out-of-the-way places like Cully Central, Dove Vivi, or Loncheria Los Mayas, or (take your pick) of ramen or taco joints.

But mostly, I love where PDX is located — between two of the most beautiful spots on the planet, the Columbia Gorge (and Oregon desert) and the Oregon coast, with many gorgeous rivers in between.


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