Category: Beaverton

Lunch 2.0 Returns to the OTBC for Drinks on February 23

On the heels of a wildly successful event on Wednesday, get ready for a Portland Lunch 2.0 first and second.

First, the second. You may recall the OTBC (@otbc) and Steve Morris (@stevemorris) hosted Lunch 2.0 back in early 2009 to open their offices in the Beaverton Round.

Well, they’ve recently moved again, not very far, and Steve has more he wants to tell you about what the OTBC has been doing, including at least a couple juicy announcements.

Now, for the first.

Because heading out to Beaverton for lunch isn’t spectacularly convenient for people who work in Portland and with a hat tip to those of you who rarely or never make it to Beer and Blog (@beerandblog) on Fridays due to westerly commute, we’re trying something new, a happy hour.

So, if you’re driving near Beaverton on February 23 in the evening, between say 4:30 and 7:30-ish, why not stop by and take the edge off with some networking?

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Looking for that early stage investment? OTBC offers 11 steps for getting investor ready

Yes, I know. 11 steps. Yes, most of these things are supposed to be 12 step programs, but this one—11 Steps for Getting Investor Ready—goes to 11. Besides, we’re looking to feed your addiction to startups. Not curtail it. Oh wait. I think step 12 may be “Profit!”

In any case, our friends over at OTBC in Beaverton are offering to coach entrepreneurs on pitching their ideas and companies to would be investors. All it takes is an hour, beginning at 4:30 PM on November 16. Read More

Want to read this blog post faster? There’s an iPhone/iPad app for that called QuickReader.

Let’s be honest. There are only so many hours in the day. And if you’re on the Internets, a lot of those hours are spent reading. And reading. And reading. So much content. So little time.

But what if you could ingest that content faster? And get through more reading in less time? Well, it’s possible that you could, if you take a spin with Beaverton-based QuickReader, an iPhone and iPad app that helps you improve your reading speed and comprehension. Read More

REMINDER: Find the cofounder of your dreams with OTBC startup speed dating

This Saturday the folks at the OTBC will be hosting another round of cofounder speed dating. Starting at 1:00 PM, the session is designed to help like minded startup types find one another in hopes of making their startup dreams a reality.

Are you looking for that special someone? Someone to help fill those lonely hours? Someone who complements your personality and skills? Someone who can help you get that startup from vision to reality?

Well, get ready to meet Mr. and/or Mrs. Right Entrepreneur, my friend. OTBC startup speed dating is back. Read More

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.

Survey: OTBC needs your feedback

OTBCOur friends over at the Beaverton-based OTBC are always trying to help startups and entrepreneurs in the Portland area—like by hosting entrepreneurial speed dating sessions and sponsoring events like Portland Lunch 2.0 and Open Source Bridge.

Now, the OTBC could use a little bit of our help. In the form of feedback:

We get input at our lunches, and through our Meetup.com site, but we’d like to round that out with input from a larger sample of the Portland area tech entrepreneur community. So please take three minutes to let us know what kinds of programs you’d like to attend. These are mostly ratings of 1-to-5 to show interest level in a topic. Lots of ideas are listed, but it goes fast. Really! Three minutes. (OK, maybe four minutes at the outside.) Thanks!

I know you can help, because everyone has an opinion. They’re like… well, everyone has one.

So take a few minutes out of your busy schedule and click some buttons. The OTBC—and our entire startup community—will be better for it.

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TechShop Portland Lunch 2.0 is Wednesday

On Wednesday, April 22, we’re headed back to the ‘burbs, Beaverton to be exact, for a lunch hosted by Denney Cole and TechShop Portland.

What is TechShop? Glad you asked because it may not be what you’re expecting.

TechShop is a 33,000 square foot membership based workshop that provides members with any skill level to  have access to tools and equipment, instruction, and a creative and supportive community of like minded people so you can build the things you have always wanted to make.

TechShop is perfect for inventors, “makers”, hackers, tinkerers, artists, roboteers, families, entrepreneurs, youth groups, FIRST robotic teams, crackpots, arts and crafts enthusiasts, and anyone else who wants to be able to make things that they dream up but don’t have the tools, space or skills.

In short, TechShop is DIY paradise.

I took a brief tour last week, and if you ever had an itch to build something, you should know about TechShop. Amenities include: every metal and wood-working tool you can imagine, kilns and furnaces, a CNC router, a painting space, a tech hardware tinkering space, a robotics course, a textiles area, and more that I can’t recall right now.

If the tool you need isn’t on the list, they might get one, just ask. Don’t know how to use any tools safely? No worries, there’s a safety class.

TechShop is also home to OpenTechSpace, an open lab space for electronics and computer projects that you can use for free. There are also offices for rent and a computer lab, so it’s an incubator of sorts, with a shop attached.

Denney mentioned he might start a wiki for projects completed at the TechShop, which sounds like a fun time.

img_0373.JPGMy personal favorite project is the urban logging one member is doing.

Ever had a tree toppled by a windstorm? Maybe the city comes to cut and chip it or maybe you pay some company to do that. What a giant waste of perfectly good timber.

Urban logging consists of a guy with a tractor and a big log cutting machine who removes these trees, transports them to TechShop, cuts them down, dries them out in a kiln, and leaves them there, much to the delight of the wood-working members.

So. Very. Portland.

Anyway, Denney is giving us a sneak-peak at the TechShop. He’s been taking members for a while, but the official opening isn’t until April 25. You can get a deal on membership until it opens.

So, head out to the ‘burbs if you’re in Portland, or if you’re in the ‘burbs already, swing by TechShop and say hello. If you’re driving, there’s parking in the front, and if that’s full, you can park in the loading dock area.

As always, please make sure you RSVP over on Upcoming so they know how much food to get and drop a comment there if you’re a vegan or vegetarian.

Hope to see you there.

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.

What’s it like to submit an application to the iPhone App Store?

FastFiguresEver wondered what it’s like to submit an iPhone application to the Apple App Store? Now, Beaverton-based FastFigures provides some much needed insight into the whole process with the lessons they learned after one month in the iPhone App Store.

The post provides a fascinating look into the planning of the launch, including struggling with issues like pricing:

The price sensitivity data showed a starting price of $9.99 maximized revenue but I was concerned that these customers were too familiar with our products and wouldn’t represent the broader world of iPhone users. After agonizing over this for over a week, I decided to adjust the pricing based on some additional factors and settled on $5.99. This decision is proving to be both a good one and a bad one, and I struggle with selling our applications so inexpensively to this day.

Mistakes made:

And this is where not understanding the process hurt us. First, I didn’t realize that there was some additional paperwork that needed to be completed. That was completed on the 23rd. Then, once everything is signed off, it takes 24 hours to show up in the AppStore. Finally on the 24th, I’m looking for the application in What’s New and can’t find it!

And valuable lessons learned:
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Two things happened around March 19th that changed our fortunes. For one, we hit that magical 20 review level I’ve talked about before. Second, one of the products in the Finance category most similar to ours went free. There has been a lot of discussion on the web about free applications versus paid applications and that the two customers aren’t the same. And this competitive application proved that.

Plus, some insightful suggestions:

Can you make money in the AppStore? Yes. But the competition is fierce and it’s very hard to differentiate your product from others. My suggestion: Spend plenty of time up-front figuring out how to get above the noise with factors you can control.

Long story short, if you’ve even remotely entertained the idea of building an iPhone app, this post is a must read.

Thanks to the folks at FastFigures for opening up and providing this valuable insight into the process.

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Startup stimulus: EasyStreet offers free services for Oregon entrepreneurs

EasyStreetWe all know that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. But what may not be as obvious is that when the going gets tough, the really super awesome tough realize that other folks need some help. And entrepreneurs reach out to help their would-be peers—especially here in the Silicon Forest.

That’s exactly what’s happening with Beaverton-based EasyStreet, one of the original Internet providers here in town. Today, they announced that they’re stepping up to help other startups during these less than satisfactory economic times with their “EasyStreet Stimulus Package for Entrepreneurs.”

Are you an innovator? Entrepreneur? Head of a skunkworks project inside an established enterprise? Let EasyStreet giving innovation a jump-start with free data center and Internet services for qualified Oregon startups through September 30, 2009.

What’s that? Free hosting and email accounts?

EasyStreet Stimulus Program

But wait. There’s more. Entrepreneurs can also qualify for a free Clear Wireless modem thingamajig if they sign a two year Wi-MAX aggreement.

Best of all? No binding contracts. Well, from EasyStreet, anyway.

“Tough times are great times for entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs are great for the Oregon economy,” said EasyStreet President & CEO, Rich Bader in announcing the stimulus program. “As the economic downturn was being felt here earlier this year, we asked, ‘What can EasyStreet do to best help boost innovation here in Oregon?’”

How does an entrepreneur qualify? All you have to do is apply through one of the partnering organizations that are helping EasyStreet promote the stimulus package.

And they’re names we all know. Well mostly anyway. I mean, one organization just changed its name, so you might not know them. But you know them. If you know what I mean.

What’s that? Oh sorry. Where are my manners?

The partnering organizations include Oregon Entrepreneurs Network OEN, Oregon Technology Business Center (OTBC), Portland State Business Accelerator (PSBA), Software Association of Oregon (SAO), andTechAmerica Oregon Council (formerly AeA).

So maybe you’re a startup looking to save a little cash. Or maybe you’ve been forced to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams a little more quickly than you expected. Or maybe you simply just need that little push to get your project rolling. Whatever the case, EasyStreet is waiting to help.

Now, you have absolutely no excuse to avoid starting that project. You know the one. The timing is right. And as our old Portland friend Tom Peterson used to say “Free is a very good price.”

For more information, see the EasyStreet Stimulus Package for Entrepreneurs.

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OTBC: So, you start up here often?

OTBCFor many “side project” entrepreneurs, the most difficult part of getting an idea off the ground—and out of the garage or basement—is finding that business partner that complements their skillset.

Business people with good ideas can write all the business plans they want, but they’ll eventually need a developer. And developers can crank all the code they want, but eventually they’ll need some way of approaching the market or getting more funding. But how are they supposed to find one another?

Enter OTBC startup speed dating.

After some networking time, we’ll have each idea person looking for a team give 2 or 3 minute elevator pitch, have each of them head to their own corner of the room, and let people circulate around to check out the startups that sound interesting to them.

The first speed dating event will be held Saturday, February 28 from 1 – 4PM at the OTBC (located in The Round in Beaverton, right on the MAX line). Best of all? It’s all free.

If you’d like to give folks a little pre-briefing on your startup turn-ons and turn-offs, give them some more details your idea. Word around the campfire is that at least 10 startups will be participating. Details on those startups will be listed this week.

For more information, see the OTBC post, Upcoming, or Meetup. And of course, I will mention that OTBC speed dating is on Calagator, too. (Because I heart Calagator.)

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