Category: 5reasons

Lunch 2.0 at TechShop Portland, DIY Heaven

img_0389.jpgYesterday, about 40 or so people gathered at TechShop Portland in Beaverton for our second venture into the wild and wooly suburbs.

Unfortunately, we conflicted with the opening day of InnoTech so many of the usual suspects weren’t able to make it.

I did see a lot of new faces, just like at Lunch 2.0 at the OTBC in January, which is a good thing. It’s always nice to meet new people or people you follow on Twitter but never see IRL because they live way far off in the ‘burbs.

TechShop is almost complete and ready for its official opening this coming Saturday, April 25. The warehouse area seems to be done, with only a few finishing touches and furniture remaining in the front office area.

To get us started, Denney Cole, our host, gave a quick intro about what is TechShop. The short version is it’s like a health club, for DIY people. You sign up to be a member, then you bring your projects.

What projects you ask?

Pretty much anything from soft goods (sewing, embroidery, upholstery) to wood-working (cutting, gluing, planing, sanding) to metal-working (melting, welding, grinding, cutting) to painting to robotics and electronics in any combination.

You could conceivably construct a couch from scratch, including the woodwork and finishing work at TechShop, or as Denney says, cut up the aluminum wheels on a junker, melt them down, and resurrect them as door handles and cabinet knobs.

Did I mention they have a laser etching machine too? That, apparently is the crown jewel of the original TechShop, in Menlo Park. I saw one of those in action at Web 2.0 Expo 2008, and that’s a fun toy to have at your disposal. The urge to etch can be strong.

Beyond providing tools and space to store your stuff, TechShop has classes. So you don’t kill, maim or embarrass yourself.

Wm Leler also talked about Open Tech Space, which is housed within TechShop.

Open Tech Space is a freely available gathering place for anyone interesting in creating prototypes, sharing and mentoring, and promoting business development in the technology and art communities. Even if you’re not a TechShop member, you can go to Open Tech Space and hang out with like-minded people. The goal is to put people with ideas together and encourage them to grow those ideas.

That’s really TechShop’s goal too.

After the talking, came the tour.

It’s probably best that we didn’t get a full crowd, since even with 40 people, it was a bit tough to hear Denney in the warehouse.

As we walked around, you could see the wheels turning in people’s heads. We like to build things, take them apart, improve them, and TechShop is full of the tools you need for that kind of learning. I overhead a few ideas flying around, and that’s the great thing about TechShop. It removes the sunk cost of buying and storing tools.

It also removes the spousal reminders to clean up your mess and finish the project already.

While in the wood shop, we saw this mold for a harp switch, which would have made Aaron very happy. Sadly, he didn’t make it.

When we went outside to check out the furnaces, we got a sweet demonstration. One of the furnaces got a bit cranky and decided to shoot flames about ten feet in the air. Not as dangerous as it sounds and very cool. Don Park took some video of a different furnace that gives you an idea.

As the tour wrapped up at the laser etcher, Amye pointed out this friendly reminder on one of the large cutting devices, a Pexto Jump Shear, used to cut large pieces of sheet metal.

ZOMG take the safety class!Did I mention the safety classes?

After the tour ended, the lunch wound down as people wandered around more to soak in the awesome collection of toys, erm tools.

Thanks to Denney for having us. TechShop Portland officially opens on Saturday, April 25, and there will be an open house at 3 PM complete with demonstrations and ideally, fewer geysers of fire. Although, I enjoyed that.

Don’t forget these Lunch 2.0s, coming soon:

If you’re wondering about the WebVisions’ lunch, it will be open to anyone, attending the conference or not. There’s also a rumor that Open Source Bridge may be hosting a lunch before the conference (June 17-19) sometime. Any ideas on venue? Drop a comment.

Big thanks to all the hosts who have hosted or plan to host Lunch 2.0. Drop a comment (or tweet @jkuramot) if you want information about hosting one. It’s easy.

BarCampPortland: Five reasons to attend

[Editor: Leave it to Dawn Foster—chair of Legion of Tech, publisher of Portland is Awesome, and blogger at Fast Wonder—to over deliver. I asked for five reasons to attend BarCampPortland, and she graciously composed an entire post. So, without further ado…]

BarCampPortland:
Portland Geek Culture: building an active tech community in Portland, Oregon

BarCamp PortlandBarCampPortland is an unconference for the Portland tech community, produced by the Portland tech community. It is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. BarCampPortland is also an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from participants. You never quite know what to expect at BarCamp.

The event will be held on May 2, 3, and 4th at CubeSpace. When you arrive on Friday, there will be an agenda framework (times / rooms), but the content for the sessions will be decided by the participants. You can expect interesting topics, cool people, wifi, fun activities, and more!

You can watch this BarCamp video if you want to learn more about the BarCamp format and concept.

5 reasons to attend

  1. The participants set the agenda. No big, corporate conference planners deciding what you want to hear; you get to decide what we talk about!
  2. Fun! We have plans for evening werewolf, other games, and maybe even a movie on Saturday night.
  3. You get to hang out with cool people. Last year about 250 of the coolest people in the Portland tech community attended.
  4. The format is highly interactive: you can ask questions, contribute, and participate. Keep in mind that roundtable discussions work better than presentations at BarCamp.
  5. All topics are welcome: open source, wiki, programming, knitting, online communities, science fiction, and much more. Get creative with your topics. Want more time on a topic or want to hold an adhoc discussion? We have plenty of flexibility built into the BarCamp format.
  6. Bonus: You can get a cool t-shirt if you donate to BarCampPortland by april 26th. Design by Brash Creative will be announced mid-week.

If you have not yet RSVPed on Upcoming, please do it now. Having an accurate count of attendees really helps us plan the event!

Holding events can be expensive, so we are still looking for sponsors. None of the organizers make any money on the event – all of the sponsorship money goes toward event costs. The more money we raise, the more we can do for the event. If your company is interested in sponsoring, please contact Selena Decklemann (selenamarie on gmail).

For more information, visit the BarCampPortland wiki.

Silicon Florist is a proud sponsor of BarCampPortland.

Portland Lunch 2.0: Five reasons to host

Well, the second Portland Lunch 2.0 at eROI sounds like it was a rousing success. And I know the inaugural Portland Lunch 2.0 at AboutUs was a great gathering, as well.

So where are we going next? Word is that we might be headed over to Wieden + Kennedy. But, who else is going to host Portland Lunch 2.0?

Will we stay in Old Town? Or go back to the East side of the river? Will it be one of the companies founded in Portland? Or will it be one of the interesting new transplants here in town? Maybe one of the organizations supporting entrepreneurs and Portland development will want to get in on the act? Or maybe one of the coworking spaces will want to show off their illustrious digs? Or maybe—just maybe—it’s time for Silicon Florist to step up to the (lunch) plate?

So many questions I have. And so few answers.

Personally, just between you and me, I’m thinking that your company should be one of the next ones to host. I mean, don’t tell anyone I told you, but honestly, your company is one of my favorites here in town. And if you want to keep it that way, then maybe you should consider hosting. If you catch my drift.

Not enough to convince you? Fine.

Here are some reasons from Jake Kuramoto, the driving force behind Portland Lunch 2.0, as to why you should think about hosting sign up to host Portland Lunch 2.0:

  1. You have a kickass company, tech or otherwise.
  2. You want to promote your company to potential customers, partners, and employees.
  3. You attended a Lunch 2.0 in Portland or elsewhere and thought “that would rock at my company.”
  4. You really want to re/introduce your kickass company to Portland’s geeks and others, maybe in a sweet new office space.
  5. You read all the reasons why you should attend Lunch 2.0 and want to, but you’re chained to your desk during working hours.
  6. Bonus, you’re into karma and want to reciprocate the free lunches you got from AboutUs and eROI.

Ah ha. See? That’s more like it. Now that you’re interested in hosting Portland Lunch 2.0, please comment below, letting us know when it would be convenient for a throng of creative, intelligent, interesting, and, well, hungry Portlanders to descend upon your workspace.

I’m looking forward to seeing your office and hearing your pitch.

Portland Lunch 2.0: Five reasons to attend

Jake Kuramoto gives us five reasons (well, six, really) we should all consider attending Portland Lunch 2.0:

  • You enjoy meeting new people in Portland, some geeks, others not, all Portlanders, all the time.
  • You like learning about cool companies doing cool stuff in the Rose City.
  • You can’t make the evening and weekend activities like Barcamp, Startup Weekend and Startupalooza, but you really want to do 1. and 2.
  • You like good conversation with smart people over tasty eats.
  • You really need to break up your day by getting out of the office/house, seeing the sky, and checking out a new locale with some new people.
  • And bonus, you can’t pass up a free lunch.

Sound interesting? Well, you’re in luck, my friend. The next Portland Lunch 2.0 will be held Wednesday, April 9, at eROI.

More than 70 people have RSVP’d already. So it promises to be quite a crowd. And, unfortunately, it looks like Jake has had to close the RSVP list due to space constraints.

But, I’m still going to encourage you to show up, anyway. Because that’s just how I am. And because some people will not be able to make it. And the way I figure it—worse comes to worst—we can always peel off and overwhelm Backspace.

I’m looking forward to seeing you there.

Portland Web Innovators: Five reason to attend

[Editor: Given the wealth of cool events happening in Portland on any given night, I thought it might be beneficial to have the people who drive these get-togethers give you their take on the events. “Why should you attend [whatever]?” So, with that, I introduce a new Silicon Florist series: Five Reasons]

Portland Web Innovators

Adam DuVander gives us five reasons we should all consider attending Portland Web Innovators.

  • You enjoy topics that are a mixture of tech, design, and business.
  • You like to learn about new projects and find collaborators
  • You love building on the web, no matter what your job title is or what technology you use.
  • You think about what can happen tomorrow, not what can’t happen today
  • You want to learn from a live collaborative discussion between passionate people.

Sound like you? Well you’re in luck. Because the next Portland Web Innovators get-together is this week, Tuesday (April Fools’!) Wednesday, April 2 at ISITE Design beginning at 7 PM. Entitled “Publishing Platform Wars!” the gathering will provide the opportunity to join the pdxwi types—the real users of these publishing systems—as they compare site publishing tools like Drupal, Bend-based ExpressionEngine, and WordPress.

To RSVP, visit Portland Web Innovators on Upcoming. For more information, visit (the spiffy new!) Portland Web Innovators.

%d bloggers like this: