Category: Editorial

Portland Startup Weekend: Could it be what the Rose City needs?

One of the best things about writing this blog is getting the opportunity to chat with a wide variety of folks. I mean, sure, a lot of us are geeky. And that’s pretty much where I focus the coverage. But I think you would be pleasantly surprised at the wide range of folks who are interested in Silicon Forest startups.

And in the conversations I’ve been having, there’s one consistent theme that comes through time and time again: For all the activity in Portland—all the cool startup energy and amazing tools being built—people feel pretty darn isolated in our relatively small town.

I think that’s part of the reason why Portland’s Twitter community is so active and responsive. It’s why there’s a ever-growing number of us who are really getting excited for Ignite Portland 2. It’s why things like the PDX Tech Calendar project are taking off.

But there’s still more to do. There’s still more crossover needed.

I mean, let’s be honest: This needs to be more than just techie-types leading the charge. It needs to be a group effort. And a diverse effort.

And that’s what appeals to me about Startup Weekend.

“What’s Startup Weekend?” you say? I’m glad you asked.

Startup Weekend is very much like the Ignite concept. Only it’s for a company.

I know. I hear you. “I’ve been to weekend codefests before.”

But, see, here’s where this one is a little different: It’s not a product. It’s a company.

One weekend to create one company.

That means design, development, marketing, public relations, business development, user experience, legal, and project management. All of those disciplines. In one room. Working to create a company under the gun.

What’s more, this isn’t some “Oh wasn’t that fun. Now let’s throw away all that work and go back to our lives.” This becomes a real company.

Startup Weekend recruits a highly motivated group of small business entrepreneurs to build a community and company in a weekend. The founders decide what to make as a team, and earn an equal share of stock in the developed business. Attendees are responsible for bringing the desire and passion to the project and walk out of the room with a brand new business, in a short 54 hours. Sound intense? It is.

So why all the hoopla from me? Well, there’s a little voting platform for deciding who gets to host Startup Weekends. And Portland is already on the list. So, we’re already part of the way there. All we need is to provide a little more oompf and we could have our very own Portland Startup Weekend.

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? And I’m confident that with the brilliant folks in this town—and the great organizations that are working to bring us together *cough* Legion of Tech *cough*—we could turn it into quite an interesting event. A spectacle, if you will. In a good way. And an example of how we, as Portlanders and Silicon Forest… um “creatures” can come together to build something great.

And to start to eliminate some of those feelings of isolation.

If you’re even partially convinced that this might, just might, be a good idea. And that it might be good for our community. I highly encourage you to take two seconds to vote for Portland Startup weekend.

For more, visit Startup Weekend.

Portland a-Twitter, an editorial opinion

While I’m not one of the old guard in terms of Twitter usage (I’m somewhere around user 1,340,521), I am a big fan of the service.

Twitter, in fact, was one of the motivating factors for starting the Silicon Florist in the first place. Because, via Twitter, I was hearing about a bunch of cool things happening in the Silicon Forest. But I wasn’t seeing anyone covering them for a wider audience.

And, hence, the seed was planted.

So, why do you care? Well, turns out that there is a very vibrant Twitter community here in Portland. I’m following more than 500 folks in the Silicon Forest on Twitter, as we speak. And it’s a great resource for staying in tune with what’s happening around here.

Now, that type of following isn’t for everyone. That’s for sure. But, nonetheless, I would encourage you to give Twitter a shot, if only to pitch me story ideas.

Getting started is easy.

  1. Register for an account at Twitter
  2. Type something in the “What are you doing?” box

Congrats! You’re on Twitter!

Now, let’s move on to some “advanced use.” Start following some people and getting into the conversation. Right off the bat, I would recommend a few of my Portland favorites Marshall Kirkpatrick, Josh Bancroft, Scott Kveton, Jason Grigsby, Raven Zachary, Aaron Hockley, Betsy Richter, Peat Bakke, Jake Kuramoto, Jason Harris, Katherine Gray, Josh Pyles, Audrey Eschright, Ignite Portland, Portland on Fire, and… honestly I could go on and on. (“And I love each and every single one of the folks I follow equally, for they are all special in their own right,” he said, hoping to deflect complaints for those he might have inadvertently missed.)

How do you follow people?

  1. Log into your shiny new Twitter account
  2. Click on the folks’ links above
  3. Click the big “Follow” button underneath each person’s picture

Voila!

You can even follow me and the Silicon Florist, if you like.

I know, I hear you. “How do I find more Portland people?” You are on the fast track, my friend. Bravo! (Or Brava! as the case may be.) There are a number of ways to find more Portland folks:

Oh, and last, but certainly not least: It’s polite etiquette to follow those who are following you on Twitter. So, if you follow me, I’ll follow you. And I encourage you to follow suit. One-way conversations are no fun.

So why the big Twitter push from the Silicon Florist?

It’s purely mercenary, I assure you.

I’m convinced that, for all the cool stuff I hear about from my current Twitter brood, there are ten times more Silicon Forest startup stories happening. I want to hear about them. And Twitter is a good way for me to stay in touch. Nuff said.

I’m looking forward to seeing you on Twitter.

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