Category: Opinion

Breaking down bias: Pregame’s Ciara Pressler helps Systemically Over-Privileged folks recognize the signs

When it comes to doing the work around diversity, equity, and inclusion, the Portland startup community has a lot of work to do. A lot. Even so, there are any number of folks in the community stepping up and committing to do that work. But no matter the intent, it’s highly likely that we will all come face-to-face with a number of challenges — some conscious, some unconscious — in doing the work. Primarily in the form of biases.

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I didn’t write anything worthwhile this week… but these awesome folks did

You know how it is. Sometimes the week just gets away from you. And those things you were meaning to do just simply don’t get done. And nowhere is that more often true than with writing on the internet. You always mean to. But sometimes you don’t.

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Thinking "Beyond the Valley"

When I first started this blog—way back in the dark ages of this current generation of Portland startups—it seemed that time and time again the prevailing wisdom was “move to the Valley.” And that left a bit of a mark on me. So I can’t help but be lifted every time someone provides a counter argument to that thinking, especially when it has an eye toward the future. Like this TechCrunch piece by Eugene’s Pat McCarthy. Read More

Opinion: TAO urges Portland City Council to proceed with caution on short-term rental regulations

[Editor: The following is an opinion from the Technology Association of Oregon. Full disclosure, I am on the board of the TAO.]

This Wednesday, the Portland City Council will consider new proposals to enforce short-term rental regulations. It is critical that Commissioners take the time to carefully weigh and address legitimate individual privacy interests involved with the City’s desire to expand its enforcement authority. Read More

What entrepreneurs and startups can learn from the whole Conan O’Brien debacle

Conan O’Brien was recently told that his show was going to follow Jay Leno at 12:05. His response? “No, it’s not.” And in those actions are valuable lessons for startups and entrepreneurs everywhere.

[HTML1]Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days… What’s that? Oh. No, nothing against that. I mean, it’s a nice rock. I like that one part over there. I wasn’t being serious. It’s just a turn of phrase, you know?

Ahem. Anyway.

Conan O’Brien, the host of The Tonight Show—a dynasty of late night television—was recently told that his show was going to be bumped back to follow Jay Leno at 12:05. His response? “No, it’s not.” Read More

Mike Berkley on ‘Preparing for the Next Web Boom’

[HTML2][Editor: The following is a guest post by Mike Berkley, who served as the CEO of Portland-based SplashCast until its recent demise. Mike and I have had any number of conversations about the startup scene here in town. And I asked him if we wouldn’t mind putting his thoughts into a post. The first post—of hopefully many—follows.]

Preparing for the Next Web Boom

Since putting SplashCast to rest a few months ago, I’ve finally had time to reconnect with the entrepreneur community here in Portland, as well as in the Bay Area and NYC.  I’ve packed my days full of coffee, apricot scones, phone calls, and meetings… lots of meetings.  I’ve talked to dozens of entrepreneurs and investors.

Two themes have surfaced in this process. Read More

Portland, Oregon, is the most entrepreneurial town in the world

It seems there’s a bit of contention and kerfuffle about a recent Entrepreneur piece on the most “startup friendly cities in the US.” Why? Because Portland—and a number of other “not seen as startup hub” towns—made it to the list while traditional metropolitan juggernauts—like Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle—were left by the wayside.

I didn’t think much of it when I mentioned the Entrepreneur article—Portland is one of the best entrepreneurial cities—the other day.

But a post by John Cook on the TechFlash blog got me doing some heavy thinking about the list—and Portland in general. Read More

Health Information Technology: Why is it important to Portland?

I have long taken an outward-looking view and advocated that Portland could become a hub for health IT at the intersection of industry, academia, and its health care systems.

[Editor: Health Information Technology has always had a interesting spot in the Portland startup scene. And I say that, most likely, because I’ve been part of it from time to time. But I’m probably not the best person to write about it. Enter Bill Hersh, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology (DMICE) in the School of Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon. Here’s his perspective on HIT, its role, and its potential for the Portland tech scene.]

I appreciate the opportunity to contribute a piece to this blog about a topic of great interest to myself and many others, which is health information technology, also called health IT or HIT. Read More

Oregon startups and venture capital: It’s complicated

For every Oregon company that has had success attracting capital for their pursuits—Jive and AboutUs come to mind—there are hundreds who struggle with where to begin and how to engage the Angel or VC community.

It’s a difficult issue. And no one seems to put his or her finger exactly on the problems or how to solve them. Some say buck up and play the game. Others say the game needs to change. People talk about staying in Portland and figuring out how to bootstrap. People talk about leaving Portland in order to get funding.

Start talking to entrepreneurs and side project startups in Portland—or throughout the Silicon Forest in Oregon—and the conversation will inevitably turn to one topic: venture capital or the lack thereof.

For every Oregon company that has had success attracting capital for their pursuits—Jive and AboutUs come to mind—there are hundreds who struggle with where to begin and how to engage the Angel or VC community.

It’s a difficult issue. And no one seems to put his or her finger exactly on the problems or how to solve them. Some say “buck up and play the game.” Others say “the game needs to change.” People talk about staying in Portland and figuring out how to bootstrap. People talk about leaving Portland in order to get funding.

What’s the answer? Read More

Why Portland? Tim Kadlec provides a view from outside the bubble

[Editor: Happy to be continuing the “Why Portland?” series…

I had the pleasure of meeting Tim Kadlec at SXSW 2008. Just one of those random connections that really made the whole event worthwhile. At SXSW, the Portland crowd took Tim under our collective wing and worked hard to woo him from the Midwest to the West coast. We’re still working on it, but it’s clear we’re having an effect.

And with that, here’s an outsider’s view on “Why Portland?”]

I was recently asked by Rick if I would like to write a guest post for Silicon Florist about why I “find Portland tech appealing.” I think that was his nice way of saying, “Why are you so obsessed with Portland tech?” Can you be a fanboi of a community? If so, then I guess I’m a bit of a Portland fanboi.

It all started innocently enough….

I’ve visited Oregon many times and always loved how beautiful a state it was. With the ocean nearby and gorgeous mountains a short drive away, Portland offers no shortage of beautiful scenery.

Then I started to look into what was going on in the Portland web community, liked the activity I was seeing, and my interest in the area started to slowly develop beyond sightseeing.

In March, I had the opportunity to attend SXSW in Austin, TX where I got the opportunity to meet and talk with Rick Turoczy, Toby Lucich, Dawn Foster, Scott Kveton, and a whole flood of Portlanders. After hearing each of them rave about Portland and the work that was being done by their peers there, I was hooked.

The tech community in Portland is a great example of what other communities should strive for. They are consistently innovative, develop quality solutions and genuinely get excited about seeing progress.

Portland’s web community is thriving. No doubt about it. With high-quality companies such as Vidoop, Jive, SplashCast, JanRain and so many more, you could easily imagine a situation where communication between developers is minimal….that’s an awful lot of competition in one area!

The exact opposite happens though…there is a surplus of support and communication taking place. There is no shortage of sites whose primary goal is to sing the praises of Portland. PDX Web Innovators, Portland Is Awesome, Portland on Fire, and of course, Silicon Florist, all try to bring attention to Portland and the wonderful quality of work being produced there.

I can honestly say that I haven’t seen another community where so many people are so excited about what they do and where they do it.

That general excitement is why I believe Portland’s tech community continues to grow. They say enthusiasm is contagious, and it looks like Portland is severely infected.

In the end, it’s this enthusiasm, excitement and sense of community that makes Portland so appealing to me. I believe when you surround yourself with people who have similar interests and are willing to share their experiences and knowledge, great things happen. Portland offers that environment and the ideas being developed there echo it.

Tim Kadlec is a web developer from Wisconsin who specializes in Javascript and CSS development. For more, check out Tim’s blog or follow tkadlec on Twitter. You are also highly encouraged to join the campaign to woo Kadlec to Portland.

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