All posts by Rick Turoczy

More than mildly obsessed with the Portland startup community. Founder and editor at Silicon Florist. Cofounder and general manager at PIE. Follow me on Twitter: @turoczy

Portland tech startup co-op, concept proposed

As any small company or individual developer discovers, there are a number of requirements to “running a business” that often detract or steal time from your “building cool and useful stuff” time. And while many developers currently outsource these tasks to business-service professionals, the cost and time to manage those services and contractors can be equally draining.

Peat Bakke of Blue Hill Solutions and Adam DuVander may have a solution: a co-op that supports the business-services needs of small and independent technology developers in the Portland area.

There are lots of independent software developers and consultants in the Portland area, and while the technologies and applications vary wildly, there are probably some very common frustrations that could be aided under a co-op structure.

Sounds like an idea whose time has come. A sort of “Really Small Business Administration” to fill the gap for the market that the local SBA isn’t really designed to serve.

The concept is interesting—and appealing—to say the least. If you agree, read Peat’s post on the topic and then head over to Portland Web Innovators to join the discussion.

Reminder: Portland Open Coffee, September 19

Just a reminder that the Portland Open Coffee meetup will be held, bright and early, at 10 AM on September 19. The meeting spot will be the Stumptown on Division.

According to Upcoming, there are currently a bevy of watchers and only a few attendees.

The OpenCoffee Club was started to encourage entrepreneurs, developers and investors to organise real-world informal meetups to chat, network and grow.

Platial uses new API for latest build, new look

Portland-based Platial, one of the original social-mapping and map-mashup sites, has announced that the latest build of their mapping tool has completed BETA testing and is now available to the general public.

While the most obvious changes are to the Platial interface, the most interesting part of the release—at least from my perspective—is that it marks the first build on the new Platial API.

It’s also the first major release on our new code framework Chris and Jake developed using our new api which Chris pretty much single handedly created

Some stability issues have been addressed under the hood, as well:

The reason we’re all so excited is that both the code base and the UI are more solid than ever (also lots of back-end tweaking and turning are targeting content eve[n] more effectively!). This was a methodical build and is just the first on the new solid framework which is going to allow us to be even faster and even more responsive to our amazing users!! Now that the Platial platform is for a good part established we can finally obsess over the details.

Platial enables anyone to find, create and use meaningful maps of Places that matter to them. The goal of the site is to connect people, neighborhoods, cities and countries through a citizen-driven common context that goes beyond geopolitical boundaries.

Local Signal: Portland-focused start page

Portland-based application developer Ryan Williams’ formerly-yet-to-be-named news tool now has both a name, Local Signal, and some publicly available functionality.

Even in its rough form, you’ll get the gist.

The Pageflakes-esque and Netvibes-y tool takes the “personalized start page” concept to a regional level, providing a wealth of Portland-oriented content, right out of the proverbial box.

It’s a resource Williams has been seeking. When he was unable to find one that met his needs, he decided to build one. And he’s being very open about the development process.

The UI/Design is still in progress, but you can get a good idea of the purpose and the content. I’d love to hear what you guys think. Is it interesting? Worthless? Is there some content this is missing?

For more information on the project, see the Portland Web Innovators discussion or Williams’ blog, Web Things Considered.

LUNARR landing

After operating for two years in stealth mode, LUNARR stepped into the light, last night, unveiling its collaboration-oriented product offering to a crowd of bloggers and other interested parties in its hometown, Portland, Oregon.

For a week where all tech eyes seem to be on the little Arrington-Calacanis get-together down south, LUNARR is pulling down some pretty impressive coverage.

As always, I’ll work to roundup all of the posts that I can. Here’s what I’ve found, so far:

If you’ve written about LUNARR, and I’ve (inadvertently) missed your post, link it up in the comments below. I’ll make sure to add it to this list.For more on LUNARR, see the product descriptions on the LUNARR site.

Jive announces Clearspace 1.6, refreshes site

Portland-based Jive Software officially announced the release of Clearspace 1.6, today.

The most-notable feature in the new release? Customizable spaces.

This allows space owners to decide what’s important in their space and customize the layout of the “Overview” section. We’ve found that a lot of our customers are using the main space page as their department’s front door and they wanted a lot of flexibility around the content and layout.

In related news, Jive appears to have pushed some Web site updates that both refresh the look and feel of the Jive site and give Clearspace a bit more prominence.

Clearspace 1.6 was introduced to the Portland blogging community on September 11. Video highlights of that blogger-focused show-and-tell are available below.http://blip.tv/scripts/pokkariPlayer.js?ver=2007082501http://blip.tv/syndication/write_player?skin=js&posts_id=381434&source=3&autoplay=true&file_type=flv&player_width=&player_height=

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DevGroup NW: Optimizing Web site performance

Building cool Web tools is one thing. Optimizing Web sites so that your potential users can get to them is another—entirely.

To shed some light on the subject of optimizing Web site performance, DevGroup NW has invited Jason Grigsby of User First Web to present “Speed Matters: Simple steps to make your site faster” on September 19.

Optimizing a site can also have major business implications. ESPN’s optimization efforts saved 2 terabytes per day in bandwidth and thousands of dollars in network costs.

Since 1994, the DevGroup has provided a forum for developers to network, share knowledge and find out what’s happening in the Web, Multimedia and Interactive worlds.

For more information, see User First Web. To RSVP, visit DevGroup NW.

Reminder: LUNARR preview tonight

Bringing two years of stealth to a close, LUNARR, the Portland-based company founded on the premise that every knowledge worker in an organization has the potential to be a creative contributor, will unveil its Web-based collaboration product, this evening, at CubeSpace. The event starts at 6:00 PM.

What should you expect to see?

LUNARR is a service that allows people to create and share documents in an efficient and convenient way. As a member, once you login you can create or access a document, and then revise or simply share the document with whomever you like. Share a report with a colleague. Change a contract with your attorney. LUNARR makes it fast and simple.

LUNARR was founded by wildly successful Japanese entrepreneur Toru Takasuka of Cybozu fame. Takasuka is scheduled to present, as is LUNARR Chief Operating Officer, Hideshi Hamaguchi.

For more information on the event or to RSVP, please visit the Upcoming page.

Portland at TechCrunch40: Not according to the leaked list

With high hopes, I had posted earlier this weekend, asking if anyone had a line on any Portland companies that might be participating in the much-anticipated TechCrunch40.

Well, a blog post surfaced this evening, claiming to be the actual list of TechCrunch40 presenters. And after a bit of due diligence, I am completely saddened and a bit dismayed to report that I can’t find a single Portland company on that list.

(And no, I’m not going to post or link to the rumored list, as I can neither confirm nor deny that it is truly the list. In fact, this is the only company on the list I can even remotely confirm. Maybe the leaked list is a fake and in reality there are only Portland companies on the real list. Then how would I feel?)

Why am I telling you this? Because I know you have better things to do than sitting around, hitting refresh on the Silicon Florist site, waiting to see the Portland companies that made the list.

I mean, you were planning on doing that, right?

That’s what I thought.

There still may be Portland companies exhibiting down there. And, who knows? A Portland company may wind up being the crowd favorite that gets the #40 slot. And if that’s the case, when I know, you’ll know.

But I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Oregon Startups sees 37, raises 13

Oregon Startups, an information site for Oregon-based entrepreneurs, has been working to capture a list of all the Web 2.0 startups that call Oregon home.

And that list continues to grow.

What started as an original list of 37 companies at the beginning of September is now sitting at 50 Oregon-based Web 2.0 companies.

Don’t think you’re a “Web 2.0” startup? Don’t think you’re a “startup”? If I were you, I’d submit your company to the list, anyway.

I did err on the side of being inclusive rather than exclusive, so you might debate how good a Web 2.0 fit some members of the list are — and certainly not all are startups. But nonetheless, the list is a good indication that there is quite a lot of web activity in Oregon.

Whatever your professional disposition, I’d encourage you to spend some time reviewing—and improving—the list. Let’s get a little wisdom of the crowd going to help Oregon Startups develop a comprehensive list.

For more information, see the Oregon Startups list of Oregon Web 2.0 companies.

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