Going into the long weekend, I thought you could use some longer form stuff to read. And clearly, I’m never going to find the time to write it. So I’m going to give you someone else’s content. Like Willamette Week which just published a cover story on the current state of Oregon startups and the infrastructure that seeks to support them.
Now in its third year, the PDX Women In Tech State of the Community survey continues to provide much needed insights into the dynamics of both the Portland startup community and the broader Portland tech community. But illuminating those insights is only possible if you take a few moments to participate.
In my mind. I have an excuse. I spent my formative years in the shadow of Evel Knievel’s ramp. You know, the one he used when he tried to jump the Snake River Canyon strapped to a rocket? Yeah. Not exactly the most sane — or, honestly, successful — pursuit. So, I’m going to ask you to forgive me if I try some crazy stuff from time to time. But I really want to try this.
It’s a little weird when you meet someone who shares your birthday. It gets even weirder when that birthday is the exact same day. Like day, month, year. Same, same, same. And then, what if you were both working a similar sort of job? Now imagine putting those two — Libras, mind you — together on a podcast. And that’s pretty much what you get with Saul Colt’s “We now join the program already in progress” podcast — with me as a guest.
Truth be told, it’s always entertaining to tune in to Stephen Green’s Twitter feed. You wouldn’t expect any less from the unofficial mayor of Portland. And for the past few years, it’s also been incredibly educational and inspiring to keep track of his tweets during February. Because that’s Black History Month. Which Stephen uses as an opportunity to highlight a number of black entrepreneurs and black owned businesses in our region.
You’ve heard me talk about the growing prevalence of regional offices as a compelling and growing part of the Portland startup community. To date, many of these offices — which often rival or fully eclipse (Intel) full fledged Portland companies in size — have played the role of employers, event hosts, and sponsors for the community, as a whole. And that’s a trend that I hope to see continue.
It happens to the best of them. We start a Slack instance. And then it grows. And folks add channels with the best of intentions. And then some of those channels flourish. While others wither away in anonymity. Creating clutter. And impacting discovery. But worst of all, increasing frustration and a feeling of disconnectedness. Which is entirely counterproductive.
On any given day, there are a bunch of hardworking entrepreneurial folks doing their best to build a new life. Only they’re not in offices or coworking spaces. They’re not building storefronts or crafting products. They’re Street Roots vendors. And they’re braving the elements to bring you journalism that addresses poverty and houselessness.
For all of the fanfare and hype, the Portland startup community — and tech community at large — is still full of problems and faults. A lot of them. And those are issues that we’ll never begin to correct without a stark and objective assessment of the current state of the community. And that’s why I’m so thankful for organizations like PDX Women in Tech who take the opportunity to assess our progress as a community.