[Full disclosure: I am on the board of the SAO.] When it comes to professional organizations that touch the Portland startup scene, one of the more contentious entities has been the Software Association of Oregon (SAO). The organization has gone through a number of leaders in the past few years. This summer, the organization found itself with an open president seat, once again. And that led to a number of discussions about the SAO and its leadership, point and counterpoint.
[Full disclosure: I sit on the board of the Software Association of Oregon (SAO). In that role, I also serve as a member of the marketing committee. I don’t believe this role has jaundiced my coverage, but I wanted to be open about my involvement.]
And while it will come as little shock to anyone in the startup scene, the feedback says that SAO members would like… (drum roll please) exactly what the folks in the startup tech scene have been doing: smaller informal discussions at brew pubs.
You may remember the Software Association of Oregon survey I mentioned a few months back. You know the one. The one where the SAO was looking to get some feedback on what direction they should be pursuing? Remember? Well, you must. Because more than 40% of the respondents weren’t even SAO members—and I have to assume that means that you were likely one of those who responded.
Well in any case, the results are in. And they’ve been all munched and crunched and whatnot. And while it will come as little shock to anyone in the startup scene, the feedback says that SAO members would like… (drum roll please) exactly what the folks in the startup tech scene have been doing: smaller informal discussions at brew pubs. Read More
Why? First, it’s good news for the organization, itself, which has been hard at work to become more relevant for the changing Oregon tech industry. Second, it’s good news for Scott Kveton, who just received confirmation that his interim SAO presidency would indeed be as brief as promised. Third, I think it’s good news because this new president gets this whole Portland tech startup scene—and Twitter to boot.
[HTML2]Usually when you get the infamous “customer satisfaction” survey asking for your input, it’s abundantly clear that what the survey is really designed to do is cover someone’s ass. They don’t want your feedback. They want you to give them five stars across the board and tell them you wouldn’t change a thing.
But this latest survey from the Software Association of Oregon is different. I think—nay I believe—they truly want to hear your feedback. Not just the feedback of existing members. They want feedback from everyone in the Silicon Forest tech scene. Long story short, they want your feedback.
And I believe they want you to be blunt.
Why do I believe this? Any number of reasons. Read More
“After a careful search by a special committee comprising SAO Board members, it was clear the best possible candidate to guide the organization during our formal search for a president is Scott Kveton,” said Michael Phillips, chairman of the SAO board and a partner at David Wright Tremaine LLP, in the press release. “Scott is passionate about the mission of the organization and brings valuable local software industry experience to the post.”
Does that sound more believable? Because it’s true. Kveton will be serving as the interim president of the SAO. Cross my heart.
Okay, you’re right. It’s pretty crazy. But crazy good.
To make this happen, Kveton will temporarily step down from the SAO board seat while fulfilling his duties as president of the SAO. He will be reinstated as a board member once his role as president comes to an end—likely within 90 days—when the SAO names the next president of the organization.
So why is Kveton making the move?
“I’m excited about the possibilities of getting the current membership together with the independent developers and consultant crowd here in Portland and across Oregon,” said Kveton. “A lot of small software companies struggle with how to grow their business effectively and that’s a path a lot of the SAO membership has already gone down.”
With Harvey stepping down and me spinning up my own consulting business, the timing seemed right for me to interview for the interim President role and the search committee agreed. I firmly believe there is a great opportunity to link up the experience of current SAO members with that of the entrepreneurial spirit and drive of the independent developer community here in the Northwest.
I hear you, we’ve dabbled in this area before with the Thrive PDX stuff. But this seems different. This is someone who knows—all too well—the startup environment here in the Silicon Forest. Someone who might have the chance to make some connections over the next 90 days that could result in some interesting bonds and strange bedfellows.
I, for one, can’t wait to see where this goes.
Obviously, I wish Kveton the best of luck on this short stint as the president of the SAO (see above: fanboi). I’ve known this organization for a long, long time. And it will be interesting to see what he does during his tenure.
What do you think of this move? Does it have potential? And, if so, what would you like to see happen with the SAO, if anything?
I can guarantee that now is the best time to voice those opinions.
Update: Thomas collected some shots of the lunch. This one of Rick pointing, presumably at the bus as it bears down on him, is a hoot. Thanks Thomas.
OpenSourcey graciously opened the doors of its newish office yesterday to about 150 people for the 12th iteration of Portland Lunch 2.0.
Thomas King handled the hosting duties for OpenSourcery. Their open workspace was perfect for a large crowd, mingling and eating. I heard from several people that this was a really good event, and we’re on a roll because I heard the same thing after AboutUs last month. Large open spaces seem to be very conducive to fluid chatting.
Or maybe the format is evolving.
Nah, it was pretty much the same formula. Thomas did his welcome opening. I stumbled through the brief schedule of upcoming events; I’ve given up on explaining what Lunch 2.0 is, which is for the best. We are putting a Portland stamp on it after all.
Opensourcery (our excellent hosts for today’s event – a big thank you to them) told us about a new application they wrote called “CLOVE”. This application is planned to be made available under the GPL open source license. From the really short demo, it appears that the application helps you understand if you are giving your clients the love they deserve. (that was a paraphrase from the demo-dude) Although not ready just yet, Opensourcery will provide links to the application once it is out there for everyone to use. I’ll make an update when that information becomes available. It does however look like a rather interesting way to keep track of all that pesky email that it takes to keep a business relationship moving forward.
Finally, Bryce Yonker from the Software Association of Oregon (SAO) talked about the new healthcare program they are offering members for any size company, even single person shops.
A lot of good information, crammed into a short amount of time, and then, we were back to mixing and mingling. Everyone seemed to have a good time, at least, Twitter search for “lunch 2.0” said so. Apparently, the leftovers were donated to a soup kitchen too. Good on ya OpenSourcery!
Unfortunately, a large crowd is not so conducive to writing code; some of OpenSoucery’s developers bailed to find nearby wi-fi spots to GSD. Sorry to displace you all, and thanks for letting us take over your workspace.
Among those not in attendance was Amye Scavarda of OpenSourcery, who helped plan the event. She was home sick. Get better soon, and thanks for helping put on the lunch.
I’d love to share pictures of the gathering, and I know they’re out there. There were a bunch of people shooting stills and video, but alas, my tweet for help garnered nada. I think everyone is either off to SxSW or on some other mission. Twitter has been a bit quiet today.
My understanding then was that Mathews was looking for a more involved, engaged board — and that he got it. He’s since recruited new board members, boosted membership and sponsorship, started a health care plan for SAO member companies, and helped create interest groups and social networks within the organization.
I haven’t heard back from Mathews himself, so for the moment at least the reasons for his sudden departure will remain a little mysterious.
Harvey’s departure has been confirmed. Here’s the press release:
SOFTWARE ASSOCIATION OF OREGON PRESIDENT STEPS DOWN
Portland, Ore. – February 25, 2009 – The Software Association of Oregon (SAO), the primary trade organization for Oregon industry driven by software, announced today that its president, Harvey Mathews, has resigned. The organization’s board and Mathews are working together to identify potential candidates to fill the role.
Over the past decade, the software industry has evolved dramatically. Once a minor tool for many businesses and consumers, software now drives both much of our economy and personal lives from financial services and environmental sustainability to online social networking and mobile communications. Differing views of the SAO’s role in the continuing evolution of the software industry between Mr. Mathews and the Board have resulted in Mathews’ decision to step down.
“The SAO’s board is tremendously thankful for Harvey’s vision and leadership,” said Michael Phillips, chairman of the SAO board and partner of David Wright Tremaine LLP. “He has increased significantly membership and sponsors in the past year alone, created new special interest groups such as the Clean Tech Alliance, and developed a new health care program for members. His contributions have been invaluable.”
“I’ve really enjoyed my experience working with the Oregon technology community, from large software companies to impassioned entrepreneur-developers,” said Mathews. “It is my belief that the next great period of innovation and economic development will be powered by software, and the SAO is the organization to lead the effort in the Northwest.”