Because much of the programming work in Portland is of the freelance or consulting nature, gatherings such as these are good for getting job leads or for simply taking a break from staring at a computer screen. But competitive Silicon Valley this isn’t. Here at CubeSpace, partygoers never get more aggressive than wearing shirts to advertise their preferred programming language — “Perl Mongers” or “Ruby Brigade.” And once the party ends at 10 p.m., plans are made to head up the street to Aztec Willies for another beer.
“The rate of change can drown you,” Eschright says. “You have to stay on top of things and get involved. Be a co-producer. Technology needs to represent who you are.”
As I’ve mentioned before, this is exactly the kind of coverage people have been asking me to pursue—shedding more light on the activities of the open source development community and user groups in the area. I’m glad to see The O beating me to the punch.
A steady drumbeat of cutbacks in Oregon’s high-tech sector has reduced the number of technology jobs in the state to its lowest point in nearly three years.
Wait a second. Where’s the positivity? Where’s the “credit where credit is due”?
Well, that comes at the end of the article. From which I’ll judiciously quote (passage emphasis is mine, not Mike’s):
Oregon’s tech industry has one distinct bright spot: software.
Long the weakest link in Oregon’s technology economy, software has emerged strongly over the past few years—spurred by a vibrant community of open source software developers and Web services companies that require little investment capital to get started.
Software jobs are up 12 percent during the past two years, and now number 9,500. Although still a relatively tiny part of the overall state economy—which numbers more than 1.7 million jobs altogether—software is the fastest growing part of the high-tech sector and one of a small number of industries that is defying the broader economic slowdown.
Much of the activity is concentrated in Portland’s Old Town, home to a cluster of companies that develop software for the Internet. Examples include password-protection technology from Oklahoma transplant Vidoop, and collaboration tools from Jive Software.
“We’re just this wonderful hotbed of open source, brew-your-own-softwareville,” said Harvey Mathews of the Software Association of Oregon. “It’s a tight community, so we all help each other out. Which isn’t the case in lots of other industries.”
Can I get a “w00t!!!1!”? This is exactly the kind of thing we want to see. The kind of recognition you deserve. And the reason I continue to relentlessly document all the cool things you’re doing.
You’re making it happen. And you’re blowing the curve.
And for that, you need to congratulate yourselves, Portland and Silicon Forest startups. You deserve it.
Keep up the good work. Stay focused. And keep working to on that code.
I’ll be sure to let everyone else know: they ain’t seen nothing yet.
Currently, the social feature has absolutely no bearing on what appears on the front page. It’s all chronological.
Kind of like, oh I don’t know, a printed newspaper?
I hear you, “Sounds like sour grapes to me, Turoczy. You’re just mad that you can’t keep content on the front page.”
You’re right. You’re absolutely right.
But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.
As I mentioned in my earlier editorial, I felt this service was one of the more promising avenues to give startups in town some of the much needed limelight they deserved from traditional media. And I find it unfortunate that that avenue—an avenue that I thought had so much potential—has taken a hit.
Here’s hoping they reconsider this move.
Until that point, I’ll continue my search for other resources that truly have the potential to highlight the great work many of you are doing here in the Silicon Forest.
Because the people around here need to see the amazing things you’re doing.
As is probably exceedingly obvious, there’s one thing I try to do everyday: Get Oregon’s Web-startup scene the recognition it deserves.
Granted, mine is a small voice, but I do what I can.
One of the ways I’ve found to help get some of this cool stuff out in front of a wider audience has been working with OregonLive Oregon Reddit, as both a submitter and an active participant.
To date, I’ve found the service a valuable means of helping put what you’re doing on the virtual front page of The Oregonian, if only for a brief time. And, undoubtedly, garner exposure from a much wider and diverse audience than the existing Silicon Florist reader base.
But, this morning, I noticed the image above. No stories. And it got me to thinking. Either the staff was working to tweak the algorithm or—worse yet—there were actually no stories submitted.
Which, as much as I like the potential of the service, brings me to the drawbacks to Oregon Reddit:
Participation is exceptionally low for a social media service
Due to low participation, political stumpers tend to downvote other stories in favor of getting the latest Merkley or Novick post on the front page
Even though it should be a vehicle to get other publications on the site, the stories that tend to get the most attention are stories that are from The Oregonian or OregonLive staff, already
That said, Oregon Reddit isn’t by any means broken. In fact, it’s working exactly as it should. The majority of the users vote down stories they don’t want to see and vote up stories that appeal to them.
The problem is that the user base of Oregon Reddit is too small, not very diverse, and generally working with an ulterior—if not paid—motive. And that makes those votes largely irrelevant.
So, here’s what I’m asking you to do: participate.
I would much rather receive 100 downvotes that help me understand what kind of content readers are seeking. Or split of 50 up and 50 down that help me determine when a story is appropriate to submit to Oregon Reddit.
Some may say that Oregon Reddit isn’t the answer at all. That another locally focused news service would help garner this kind of feedback. I’d love to come around to that argument—if the potential for Oregon startups getting the recognition they deserve from a wider audience is just as high as it is with Oregon Reddit.
Long story short, I’d rather get completely negative feedback, than little to no response on the stories I submit.
Maybe the stuff I write isn’t interesting at all. Maybe it’s only interesting to an incredibly small subset of the population.
But I would like to know that. I simply don’t have the data points to make that determination.
I mean, other than the fact that the Merkley and Novick folks hate my writing.
Ignite — a Seattle invention that spread worldwide — came to Portland last fall courtesy of several self-described geeks in their 20s and 30s. They knew each other through the social networking site Twitter and techie workshops called BarCamp. If they thought Ignite was cool, the group figured, so would some other Portlanders.
Boy, did they. Response was so overwhelming, the Ignite crew plans to host quarterly events — starting now.
w00t! We made the front page of the living section in the Oregonian with a really nice write-up about Ignite Portland. You have to buy the Saturday paper edition to get the full write-up. I’m curious what this will do for RSVPs?
[T]he print version is worth the trip to the store to buy a copy for $0.50. There are a few people whose names were not mentioned in The Oregonian article who have been a big help with Ignite Portland planning – Scott Kveton, Adam Duvander, Aaron Hockley, Ann Marcus, the rest of the board of Legion of Tech, Renny Gleeson, and a whole host of volunteers who help from crowd control to cleanup and everything else that needs to be done to make Ignite Portland operate smoothly. Thank you!
Specifically in Portland this event has a great story: Some geeks from here were in Seattle for a conference that happened to coincide with the Seattle Ignite event. They went and loved it. When they got home they thought, “Why don’t we do something like that here?” and they went out and did it. And it was good. And it is stuff like this that makes me love living here. “Hey that would be cool, let’s do that!” and then DOING IT. Not sitting around bitching that nobody else is doing it for them.