Portland has always had an interesting geolocation contingent here in town—companies like Platial, gatherings like WhereCampPDX, and mobile apps like Ice Condor. So what better town to help with the OpenStreetMap project?
Portland has always had an interesting geolocation contingent here in town—with companies like Platial, gatherings like WhereCampPDX, and mobile apps like Ice Condor. So what better town to help with the OpenStreetMap project?
No better place, my friend.
That’s why the OpenStreetMap folks will be hosting two events this weekend. Read More
The space opened yesterday afternoon and as the evening wore on, a number of developers managed to work their way up to the top floor to hack on everything from Arduino projects to using YQL to manipulate government data.
Portland-based NEMO Design, in conjunction with Group y, brought a bunch of marketing folks together to listen to a panel of social media savvy folks, including Dave Allen, Lee Crane, Matt Savarino, James Todd, and Tony Welch all moderated by Marshall Kirkpatrick.
With a great group of opinionated speakers, the lively conversation jumped from topic to topic. And even though it got a little derailed by an SEO-focused comment and perhaps a little too much “Twine, drink!” it provided a great deal of insight for the “marketing savvy but potentially social media uninitiated” folks in attendance.
So, who killed social media? Like the seemingly unanswerable “how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?” the world may never know. But here’s what folks had to say. Read More
And no one knows the topic better than Tara “@missrogue” Hunt, who has written the definitive book on the topic, The Whuffie Factor. What’s more she’ll be speaking on the topic in Portland twice this week.
That’s right, Portland. I asked how your whuffie was doing. Your whuffie. Your… wait a second. Let me step back.
What’s whuffie, you ask? Well according to Wikipedia, “Whuffie is the ephemeral, reputation-based currency of Cory Doctorow‘s science fiction novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.”
So what’s that got to do with you? Well, whuffie has also become a way of describing your goodwill—your social media capital, as it were—online and elsewhere in your life. What you give and what you get from your interactions with others.
And no one knows the topic better than Tara “@missrogue” Hunt, who has written the definitive book on the topic, The Whuffie Factor. What’s more she’ll be speaking on the topic in Portland twice this week. So get ready to talk whuffie. Read More
I’m unofficially dubbing tonight “awards night” for the Pacific Northwest tech scene, given that we had two competing awards shows—Oregon Tech Awards and the Seattle 2.0 Awards—handing out statuettes to impressive tech companies all up and down the Pacific coast.
For the Oregon Tech Awards, two Silicon Florist regulars managed to walk away with top honors. Jive Software was named the Emerging Company of the Year and GadgetTrak was named Cool Product of the Year. The only downside was that Ontier—another one on whom I try to keep an eye—was also in the running for Cool Product. Read More
But for me, one of the most interesting aspects of their chosen location was their new proximity to a big Internet pipe running through the middle of Portland. Maybe, I mentioned to a few other folks, there was a reason they wanted to be sitting on that pipe. Maybe Jive is looking to deliver their product over the Web. The response? Maybe. Read More
Last October, Sequoia Capital‘s “RIP Good Times” was the bubble-bursting presentation heard around the startup world. And given that one of Sequoia’s portfolio companies happened to reside in our backyard—Portland-based Jive Software—we all knew full well that the bubble-bursting was going to be happening close to home.
It came in the form of layoffs for the young—and arguably successful—company.
In the piece, we finally get a glimpse into what happened last October. And how those changes impacted one of the most successful startups in the Silicon Forest.
The changes Jive has made since the Sequoia meeting illustrate the ways in which young technology companies have slashed costs and narrowed their focus in an effort to stay alive. “Jive is the poster child. They nailed it,” said Jim Goetz, the Sequoia partner who is on Jive’s board. In the quarter ending in March, Jive booked higher revenue than any quarter in its history and plans to start hiring again.
We also get some insight from CEO Dave Hersh about the actual numbers of employees who were let go and why.
Seven days after the Sequoia meeting, Mr. Hersh laid off 25 of Jive’s 150 full-time employees and several contractors. They included underperforming salespeople and three executives who lacked the skills to build a company past the start-up phase, Mr. Hersh said. He scrapped an instant-messaging project and let go of the engineers on the team.
That same afternoon, he called the remaining employees to the office’s open meeting space that Jive calls “Whoville.” Mr. Hersh first put up a slide with the names of the laid-off employees. He figured the remaining employees would not look around the room wondering who was missing and would thus concentrate on what he had to say. He detailed everything the company had done wrong. He borrowed from Sequoia’s presentation and told the staff that Jive needed to conserve cash, make swift and deep cuts and invest based on results instead of ahead of them, as they had when they overhired.
Finally, the Gray Lady looks into some of the changes the company made to bring in experienced talent to help the company improve its course.
In January, Mr. Zingale brought on John McCracken, who had been his vice president of sales at Mercury. Mr. McCracken, who is known inside Jive as Johnny Mac, went to work overhauling Jive’s haphazard sales process. Jive’s strategy had always been to try to sell software to anyone who called. Mr. McCracken considered it a waste of money to chase customers who did not really want Jive, especially as the recession made software a much harder sell.
Salespeople were instead trained to grill potential customers with questions about their budgets and goals and turn away customers that did not fit. “One of the best things you can do as a business is to learn to say no,” Mr. Hersh remembers Mr. McCracken telling him.
As painful as it may have been, cutting early and cutting deep seems to be having a positive return for Jive—and their investors.
Given that Jive had the ability to lead by example when it came to Sequoia’s advice, I sincerely hope the next “lead by example” moment for the company is continued success and a clear path to bigger and better things. Because that’s an example I’d love to see all of the other startups here in the Silicon Forest follow.