Category: Portland

Interesting gigs on the Silicon Florist Gig board

Looking for a new gig? You might want to take a look at the Silicon Florist Gig board to see what’s what. Web startup looking to hire? Use the discount code freebie to post your open gigs for free.

Or maybe you’re a Portvangelist-to-be looking to move to the Rose City? Or someone who already lives here who’s looking for something new to do or a side project?

Well, don’t be shy. Feel free to use the gig board to pitch you skills. Just make sure you use a subject that makes it obvious like “inbound” or “looking” or “I am really cool” or something. Again, freebie at checkout and it’s, well, free.

As far as gigs, here are some of the newest ones:

  • Flex programmer at toonlet
    “toonlet is looking for a skilled contract Flex programmer to help us build out our online comic-creation tools on a short-term, per-project basis. If you’ve got the skill-set, we could really use your help.” [Editor: Personally? I’d jump at the chance to work with these guys. Not only are they exceedingly pleasant, they’ve got some really cool ideas going with toonlet. And obviously, much more to come.]
  • Django developer at Extreme Arts & Sciences
    “Extreme Arts & Sciences, a change management and business consulting firm, is looking for an established freelancer to tweak our django CMS to better conform to our needs. We also anticipate a revamp of our site architecture and look-and-feel update coming soon, and will need to meld the new graphics and whatnot with the django CMS.”

BarCamp Portland: The Weekend that was

BarCampPortland 2008Another (dare I say “wildly successful”?) BarCamp Portland is in the books, thanks to the efforts of the Legion of Tech, the hosts, the sponsors, and—of course—the attendees and session leaders.

I could easily prattle on for pages about the wide range of interesting topics, the community building and strengthening, the learning opportunities both inside sessions and out, and the general just, well, geeky fun of the whole thing.

But, I always find roundups to be the best way to provide the most coherent and well-rounded picture of these kinds of events. There’s no possible way of covering the entire thing from one perspective, so only many perspectives will do.

That’s what I’ve seen so far.

No doubt, many people are still recovering and gathering their thoughts.

If I’ve missed you or if you’ve just posted your thoughts, please by all means, comment below with a link to your post or resource, and I’ll be happy to add it to the list.

What does the Portland tech community look like?

While a good number of us here in Portland tend to interact on Twitter or via blog comments or at events, it’s rare that we’re all in the same place at the same time. So getting a comprehensive picture of the “Portland tech community” has been difficult, at best.

So what do geeks do to solve that problem? We employ technology.

Audrey Eschright has put together a Legion of Tech survey that will give us a view into the Portland tech community, in terms of the demographics and general foci of the folks living and working here in the Portland community.

It’s goals, according to Audrey, are pretty straightforward: get some semblance of an idea about who we are and what it is we do.

If you’re in Portland, and involved with any kind of technology activities for work or fun, please go to http://moourl.com/lotsurvey. The more responses, the better, since we want to see the breadth of our community, and whether Legion of Tech events are on your calendar. Tell your friends, coworkers, and neighbors.

If you consider yourself part of the Portland tech community—or if you’d like to be part of the Portland tech community—please take a few moments to walk through the Portland tech community survey.

I’ll make sure to highlight the results in a future post.

One OpenID gets you 30+ different Silicon Forest sites

Last week, after reading Aaron Hockley’s call to implement OpenID, it got me to thinking: How many sites in Portland—arguably the de facto leader in OpenID development—and the Silicon Forest have actually implemented OpenID?

Well, thanks to Kevin Fox at Vidoop/ConfIdent and a number of other folks chiming in, we were able to gather the following list of 23 30+ velvet ropes behind which your OpenID will let you.

(NOTE: The list is by no means exhaustive. So if your site is missing, please comment, and I’ll add it.)

AboutUs
“We connect businesses and websites with each other and their customers using a wiki-based resource of millions of editable pages of information.”

GreenRenter
“Find a green place to live or work. Discover green buildings in your neighborhood. Get recognized for your sustainability efforts.”

ICANNWiki
“ICANNWiki is a wiki whose goal is to create a free, valuable and ‘community’ neutral, global Internet resource containing information for all aspects of the ICANN ‘community.'”

Jyte
“Claim anything! Yes, anything. If you have something to say, then make a claim and let the community vote on it. Make claims about yourself, friends, and family. Put your stake in the ground and see where the votes go.”

Kumquat
“It’s your career. You need to take responsibility for it. That’s why we built Kumquat. To help make it easier to get the feedback you deserve. Whenever and however often you want it.”

Pibb
“Pibb combines the best features of instant messenger, chat, email, and bulletin boards.”

Portland Small Business
“PortlandSmallBusiness.com is a collaborative website, where members of the Portland small business community can go for peer advice and networking.”

Portland Web Innovators
“Portland Web Innovators is a technology-agnostic group where you can meet like-minded web people without the excuse of a networking-only event.”

Treasurelicious
“WTF is Treasurelicious? It’s a widget to show off what you treasure.”

Tweetpeek
“Using Twitter followers, Tweetpeek is designed to help anyone build a pulse-of-anything widget in a few easy steps.”

twurl
“So what is twurl designed to do? Well, at the very most basic level, twurl is a URL shortener that allows you to track clicks.”

Velog
“Velog is a simple place to log your bicycle rides and connect with others in the cycling community.”

Blogs supporting OpenID for comments

Need an OpenID?

If you haven’t had a chance to use your OpenID (it’s highly likely that you already have one) or aren’t quite sure how to get started, you might want to visit Portland’s own myVidoop or MyOpenID to get going. A few short steps and you’ll have access to all of the sites above.

Just like that.

Let’s start finding the right VCs for Portland and the Silicon Forest

Talk to enough startups and the conversation eventually turns to that of funding. And the search for that seemingly elusive operating capital.

Ultimately, this discussion devolves into a lament about the frustrations of the VC dance, the cross-purposes, the potential loss of control of which entrepreneurs live in fear, and, ultimately, some inherent evil in the whole process.

We live with this folklore. And we continually repeat it. And reinforce it.

A series of horror stories about what could happen. Stories that we continue to spin, time and time again, until we begin to see them as universal truths.

And then we begin to believe that the concept of VC investment and the culture of the Silicon Forest are at odds with one another.

That we can’t get there from here.

And that’s why I’m glad to see posts like this one from early stage investor Jeff Pulver.

Because these types of stories counteract the folklore. Because the kinds of things he’s seeking don’t seem to be cold-blooded or mercenary. Because Pulver seems to be the type of investor who is right in line with Portland’s startup culture.

When meeting with an early-stage startup looking for funding, if I am interested in the company, I look to connect with the founders and find out the inspiration behind the company they are creating. I try to understand the problem they are solving and the opportunity they are seeing. I also look to see how as a team they get along, work off each other and I try to get a feel of their creative energies. I look for teams where each member is watching each other’s back and a core team whom I feel will be together for the long term. I look for people who are both smart and creative who can be focused when necessary and whose personality allow themselves to be open to change directions and re-map themselves when needed.

If there’s one thing of which we have loads in Portland, it’s creativity. Whether that creativity manifests itself in traditional ways like art and music, or in less traditional ways like crafts, cooking, brewing, vintner-ing, designing… or coding interesting Web apps.

We tend to wield technology like a brush or a pen. Using it as an outlet for our creativity. And then, we tend to relish partaking in others’ creativity, be it culinary or brewery.

And there are VCs out there who get that. Who aren’t big scary monsters. Who are interested in the same types of things you are interested in doing.

We need to remember that. We need to start wooing the right kind of VCs. For you. And for the Silicon Forest.

Investors who, like Jeff Pulver, “invest in people first and ideas second.”

Let’s get started with that, shall we?

YottaByte Group: The future for Oregon tech education

When I first sat down with Derek Brandow and Jason Gallic of Eugene-based (but hopefully making the move to Portland) YottaByte Group, I didn’t know quite what to expect. And by the time we said our good-byes, I was shaking my head in disbelief.

And since that time I’ve been struggling to get this post written. Struggling because of that—literally jaw-dropping—disbelief.

Disbelief that something so obviously right, necessary, and critical for our community—and the future of our communities—hasn’t already been done. Disbelief that these guys would have any difficulty finding funding for something that promises to change the future of technology in Oregon and, likely, the rest of the world. Disbelief that educators everywhere wouldn’t be clamoring for this model to help students.

To put it bluntly, the conversation was quite the “Well… duh!” moment for me. Why wouldn’t everyone be behind this thing? Why aren’t we doing this already?

So what’s this exceedingly obvious—yet heretofore untapped—idea that makes YotttaByte such a winner in my book?

Well, to put it simply, they’re rethinking the educational system—especially as it relates to innovation and technology—in today’s K-12 environment:

The current model for both public and private schools has not changed significantly in the last 100 years. The longevity of that model is a testament to the greatness of its 20th century design. However, the design is beginning to crumble….

The time is now to create the schools we are going to need for our children to thrive (not merely survive) in the 21st century.

And the YottaByte team has a compelling vision for how this might occur.

From my admittedly ignorant standpoint, I see it falling somewhere between the concept of alternative schools and the traditional gifted and talented programs.

Like an art student focusing on painting or a musical student focusing on an instrument, YottaByte students would work in an environment that allows them to focus on technology and innovation.

Once up and running, YottaByte promises to create intensive and collaborative schools that help these students exercise their artistic talent—in this case an artistic talent that manifests itself as problem solving and technical discovery—with students around the world.

In their own words, YottaByte will be:

Preparing children for collaboration, innovation, and contribution in a global marketplace.

Hearing them tell it, it’s a compelling vision for how technology could—and arguably should—be approached if today’s students are to get the kind of technical grounding they’re going to need to manage the sheer bulk of digital information and power at their feet. And to wring every last ounce of potential out of the collaborative technologies we have at our disposal. To get the right people fixing the problems. Not just the people who happen to be there.

It’s a pretty powerful concept, and one in whose Kool-Aid I have deeply imbibed. Because what YottaByte is proposing is not only a brilliant idea, it’s just the right thing to do.

I’m looking forward to continuing my coverage of YottaByte’s progress as they continue pitching this story and building out their proof-of-concept schools.

It’s going to be an interesting ride.

For more information on the YottaByte Group and their vision for technology education, visit YottaByte Group.

GreenRenter: Put your green where your home (or office) is

Green RenterIf there are two things that have a firm foothold in Portland, they’re technology and sustainability. Well, and a crazy housing market.

Okay, so that’s three things.

So what happens when you combine tech, green living, and housing? You get GreenRenter, a new resource that helps you search for your own green living (or office) space in the Portland area.

Currently serving Portland, Oregon, GreenRenter aims to show total inventory – all green rental property, regardless of whether it is currently available. So even though a property is listed here, it may not have space available right now.

What do they mean by green?

GreenRenter is very inclusive when it comes to “greenness.” We want to showcase the efforts of all owners who are trying to improve the sustainability of their properties, regardless of whether they’ve sought out certification or awards.

As long as the building includes at least one feature in any of the seven “green” areas (energy, water, building materials, operations, building surroundings, certifications and awards, other innovative green features) it can be listed with GreenRenter.

So, the next time you’re seeking a new humble abode or some new digs for your new gig, you might want to saunter over to GreenRenter to do the proper Portland thing by going green.

Use the mobile Web? Cloud Four needs your help

Cloud FourPortland-based Cloud Four, a burgeoning startup that has found more and more of its time dedicated to mobile development, could use some of your help.

We need your help for a research project. If you have a phone that have web access, please go to http://cloudfour.com/mobile/ to test the number of concurrent connections your phone makes. Your phone’s browser will need to display images for the test to work.

We’ve also set up a SMS keyword to make it easier to get to the test url. You can simply text MOBILETEST to 41411 on your phone, and you will receive back instructions on how to test your phone.

For those of you who haven’t dabbled in mobile Web development, it’s very much akin to Web development in mid to late ’90s. Lots of desire to develop, but not much in the way of data to guide that development.

With mobile devices, the speed of web pages is even more important given bandwidth, processor and memory constraints. Yet, for those trying to take advantage of the techniques promoted by Yahoo’s Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Web Site, it is nearly impossible to find how mobile browsers differ from desktop browsers.

For more information on the test and the thinking behind it, visit Cloud Four.

Portland and Boise startups: A lot more in common than I-84

Editor: I grew up near a town that was the big city for a fairly rural state. It was the home to many traditional high-tech companies. It had great skiing nearby. And it had a river running right through the middle of it.

Thing is, it wasn’t Portland. It was Boise, Idaho.

And, I had a strange feeling that those aren’t the only similarities between our two towns.

So, when Chris Blanchard offered to write a guest column on the state of the Boise tech environment, a bit of my former Idahoan homesickness came into play. And I jumped at the chance.

The biggest surprise for me? How closely connected the two communities are. And how they, in Boise, are struggling with some of the exact same issues we, here in the Silicon Forest, find ourselves struggling.

Boise, ID: Not ready for prime time? Don’t tell us that.

I feel like the Apostle Paul writing a letter…

Greetings to you Silicon Florists, Portvangelists, Portvangelistas, members of the Twitterverse and others of the technology startup brother/sisterhood from your Brother here in Boise, ID.

Anyway, our friend Rick was kind enough to let me guest post from over here in the Silicon Sandbox, Boise, Idaho.

Why? I’m getting to that.

Last year me and a few friends started a company called Pronetos, the first social network for scholars.

The idea is to give scholars a place to network and collaborate, and ultimately give them a platform to publish their work. We’re still testing the publication tools—a combination of open source software and print-on-demand components—but they are pretty slick and pretty cutting edge, especially when you’re from Boise and resources are limited.

Thanks for your help, Portland

We spent a lot of time last year in Portland, and have a lot of props to dish out to the PDX community for helping us with technology, marketing, business planning, etc. We couldn’t have come this far without you, PDX!

  • Brian Jamison and the guys at OpenSourcery built the Pronetos site in rapid fashion.
  • Nate Angell (raised by wolves; cloned daughters) led us through the academic community over there (and to a great restaurant in McMinnville)
  • Mark Gregory at pdx.edu was a great help in our development (and encouraged us to move to PDX)
  • We met with the entire crew at Engine Works—very sophisticated and smart guys
  • Scott Kveton has helped us with contacts, business advice, and bacon addiction
  • @wendemm, @Turoczy, and the guys at Box Populi have been good friends to us as well

So thanks PDXers for helping grow Boise’s start-ups in addition to your own.

The state of technology in Boise

Boise is doing OK as a region. You might have seen that Forbes named us the 7th most promising new tech region or something or other. We get lots of awards like that.

Quality of life is GREAT! Still, the tech community is young. There are very few contract developers here. There are lots of software gigs open here all the time. Boise State graduates about 25 CS engineers every year and 100% have jobs when they graduate. Still, we do have a MySQL office here!

As far as financing goes, a couple months ago at a Kickstand meeting (this is the local tech start-up group) we heard from an angel investor that the local angel group had reviewed 100 business plans in the span of 90 days or so, and funded exactly zero.

We’ve got only one VC here in town and they don’t fund seed deals (and not often true early stage deals). So we have an angel group that wants to fund companies with 3 years of operating history and a VC that wants to fund mezzanine deals (oh, I can hear them racing to the comment link below).

So, if you’re interested, here are some cool things about Boise that may heighten its appeal—and your perception of our town:

  • If you are developer—Boise could be a place you want to pay attention to (especially if you are an open source guy—we have lots of MS devs here). We had exactly one Ruby dev in this town as of very recently, and all the PHP guys are employed by the man (not too many solo operators or small shops).
  • If you are a VC or angel that is looking for early stage deals—those are here too—in spades.
  • If you are a guy (or gal) that understands anything about long tail b-plans, web 2.0, user generated content, new media—and you’ve had a successful company in those areas—we (Boise) could use your help too. Just last night it was interesting to note that a group of cowboys got stares in downtown Boise (boy times they are a changin’), but we still don’t have a good base of people who have been successful in this new landscape. We do have a fair amount of successful folks from the widget economy and a few good software entrepreneurs. But we can use more.

We’ve got a good night life scene, beer and blog group, the Tech Boise Blog, 180 Twitterers, and we ran a great Code Camp a couple weeks ago. We’ve also got good institutional support from places like Idaho TechConnect, and the Boise State TECenter.

So it’s coming together—but is Boise “not ready for prime time?” Well don’t tell us that, but I’m still glad for all of you over there in PDX that act as out adjunct tech community.

If you want to keep up on what’s going on over here (like we do with PDX) find me on Twitter—@LGM1—and I’ll point you in the right direction.

Peace to you, PDX. Now a letter to our friends in Corinth.

Portland Octopus launches with new skin

Portland OctopusLooking for more news on what’s happening on the Portland scene? Who isn’t?

Luckily Portland Octopus—now with a brand new look and feel—is hoping to help.

No, not that Portland Octopus.

Unlike the more well-known octopus that tends to hang atop Greek restaurants, this Portland Octopus serves as a group blog focused on Portland cultural happenings:

We absolutely love Portland but have never quite been satisfied with the community networking websites available. We thought we could do a better job of providing this service ourselves. And so, Portland Octopus was born. Music, food, art, architecture, hiking, biking, sports, festivals, local beer, wine and spirits—we are here to celebrate all that Portland has to offer!

Originally launched in December 2007, Portland Octopus is a side project of Selliken Systems, LLC. (Yet another Portland-based mapping application I need to add to my next Portland map app round up.)

(Hat tip Nino Marchetti)

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