For some reason, as I write this, my mind drifts to Horton Hears a Who! You know, where Horton the elephant finds an entire city of people who are invisible to the naked eye? And he knows that they are there—and will do anything to protect them—but no one else believes that they are there?
[HTML3]When you’ve built a gathering of interesting people that is consistently lauded as the best spot to meet and greet folks in the Portland tech and startup scene, people start to take notice. And that’s exactly what’s happening to Beer and Blog, the weekly happy hour for the Portland tech scene started by Justin Kistner.
What kind of people are noticing Beer and Blog now? Well, Portland Mayor Sam Adams for one. Yep, that’s right. The Mayor will be showing up tonight to hang out with the Beer and Blog crowd. Read More
Well, as much as I love the blog comments, I’m hoping that a fruitful conversation can occur in person, as well. That’s why I’m encouraging you to attend the talk tonight, regardless of your stance on the subject. Read More
I think it’s important to realize that we’ll be electing a new governor for the state of Oregon in 2010. And it’s highly likely that whomever wins that seat will be having a significant impact on the startups you’re creating.
[HTML1]While it’s still early in the race, I think it’s important to realize that we’ll be electing a new governor for the state of Oregon in 2010. And it’s highly likely that whomever wins that seat will be having a significant impact on the startups you’re creating.
Given that you’re building the business you always wanted to build, we want to make sure you’ve got the best environment for doing that. So we should make sure that you’re getting the kind of information you need to make the right voting decision, right? Right.
If you’ve ever spent any time in the startup scene in the Silicon Forest, you’ve likely heard that there are two major hurdles for entrepreneurs around here: 1) that the State of Oregon—and sometimes the City of Portland—aren’t terribly friendly to startups and 2) that it’s really difficult to attract capital from investors.
“Bottom line: the city government has unnecessarily been closed in proprietary software and has been a a laggard in using open source software,” said Adams. And he wants to see Portland change that. Read More
Last Sunday, a group of folks representing the Portland open source, mobile, and coworking community got the chance to sit down and chat with Portland Mayor Sam Adams. Among those in attendance were Rubyist and Calagator lead Audrey Eschright, CubeSpace’s David Komisky, Software Association of Oregon Interim President Scott Kveton, the Mayor’s Economic Development Policy Advisor Skip Newberry, CubeSpace’s Eva Schweber, General Counsel at Extreme Arts & Sciences J-P Voilleque, and Small Society’s Raven Zachary.
Aside from being beautiful, it’s a feature rich application designed to get individuals more involved in the political process. (In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the opponents of the Obama campaign rival the proponents in downloads.)
The application has a “Call Your Friends” tool that helps you organize your contacts by key battleground states — a feature we’re hoping will generate thousands of additional personal contacts. You can also easily mark reminder notes to yourself on which friends you have called, who they are supporting and who wants a reminder call on Election Day. The information does not leave your phone (so your friends’ and your own privacy are protected) but the total amount of calls the application makes are tallied, so you can keep track of your progress as we close in on November 4th.
Leaving politics aside for the moment, it’s a pretty impressive display of what is possible using the iPhone and iPod Touch platform.
[UPDATE] I just heard that the Obama ’08 for iPhone folks will be holding a launch party for the app during the next presidential debates. Head on over to the Mission Theater on Tuesday, October 7 to congratulate the team and watch some politicking. To RSVP, see the Obama ’08 iPhone App Launch Party and Presidential Debate Party on Upcoming.
Is Portland beginning to take center stage in mobile app development?
So yes, the app is super cool. (And if you agree, you may want to digg it.) But, I think—in my Silicon-Forest-centric frame of mind—that’s not the only cool thing happening in this story.
There’s something else that’s going on here. And when I say “here,” I literally mean here.
While the application is an impressive feat for a volunteer effort (or any effort for that matter) what I think may be even more interesting—and Zachary, arguably the premiere consultant for all things iPhone, agrees—is the underlying story about mobile app development in general—a development effort that, more and more, seems to be centered around talent right here in the Silicon Forest.
“This speaks to a growing trend in Portland toward mobile app development,” said Zachary. “We’ve really got something starting here.”
I’m terribly proud of this application. I’m also honored to have been part of making it happen. It’s not simply that we built something that we believe will empower people to bring change to Washington, but it is also the fact that we assembled an exceptional team.
The amount of energy that went into this was fun to be around. Raven Zachary and Jason Grigsby’s strategy genius, Jonathan Wight’s very powerful development fu, Mike Lee and Tristan O’Tierney’s hacking support, Louie Manta’s visual-zing-wow aesthetics, Aileen Jeffries and John Keith’s many-faceted support, and Dom Sagolla’s tireless testing work. Phew. That’s the lot of us.
We all hear, time and time again, how mobile is the next big thing. Wouldn’t it be nice if that big thing were happening right here in Portland?
I think it would. And I think it has the potential to happen.
And with efforts like this—and the growing ranks of mobile developers here in town—I’d say we’re well on our way.
Congratulations to the whole team—but especially the Portland folks—on launching an amazing app that’s sure to step on to a national, if not worldwide, stage.