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.
I know it’s more difficult than it should be. I know you have to hustle harder than most. But you can do it. And I believe in you. So this weekend, I stumbled into a bit of a pep talk. So I wanted to capture it for you here.
In what now seems like ancient history, the Portland startup community used to have a gathering called Beer and Blog. Back when the community was smaller. And when people actually used to blog more regularly. Back then, it was the way to meet folks from our online community, offline.