Category: Technology

Interested in interns? Portland’s Planet Argon has a toolkit to help

For many organizations, the idea of taking on interns is equal parts compelling and frightening. Mentoring the next generation of employees has a ton of benefit, but managing that mentorship and people can be a challenge for many organizations. That’s why guides like the Planet Argon Tech Internship Toolkit are so valuable.

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Which companies have tech jobs open in Portland?

In addition to the awesome companies who regularly post to the Silicon Florist job board, there have been a few new names posting interesting gigs as of late—and a couple of particularly high profile roles. So I wanted to be sure that you and/or your friends who are searching for new gigs didn’t miss them.

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Dear Portland startups: You’re a rising star and you’re cool. Why not prove it at the Oregon Technology Awards?

Trust me on this one. It will only help you. And here’s on opportunity to do just that: the Oregon Technology Awards.

No doubt, running a startup and being an entrepreneur is all about hard work. Heads down, rolled up sleeves, “eyes on the prize” hard work. It’s why you do what you do.

But I’ve got to tell you, people. Every once in awhile, you need to stop, poke your head up, and let people know how incredibly cool your pursuits are. Trust me on this one. It will only help you. And here’s on opportunity to do just that: the Oregon Technology Awards. Read More

Ada Lovelace Day: Celebrating Portland women in technology

Ada LovelaceToday is Ada Lovelace Day, a day to celebrate women who are excelling in the world of technology.

Who was Ada Lovelace, you ask?

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace was born on 10th December 1815, the only child of Lord Byron and his wife, Annabella. Born Augusta Ada Byron, but now known simply as Ada Lovelace, she wrote the world’s first computer programmes for the Analytical Engine, a general-purpose machine that Charles Babbage had invented.

That got me to thinking. I’m incredibly lucky to get the chance to work with a number of extremely talented and technically adept women. And I get the chance to work with many of them on a weekly basis, which is awesome. Many of you are just as lucky as me.

So I thought I’d list some of the cool female geeks in Portland whom I am proud to know:

Selena Deckelmann

She’s the co-founder of Open Source Bridge, has had code committed to PostgreSQL, attends and speaks at any number of conferences, served as one of the original board members for Legion of Tech, and provides some exemplary guidance on killing chickens.

Audrey Eschright

She’s the other co-founder of Open Source Bridge, a founding member of Legion of Tech, a celebrated Rubyist, the driving force behind Calagator, and one of the most creative thinkers in the Northwest.

Dawn Foster

She’s a wizard with Yahoo! Pipes, a sage with community development, a hardworking startup type with Shizzow, one of the founders of Legion of Tech, and from what I understand, one mean werewolf player.

All of these women have been an absolute inspiration for me. And I’m truly honored that I get the chance to work with them on a regular basis.

And just as I’m in the midst of writing this post, I see a tweet come across from Steven Walling, validating my choices—and adding Amber Case, who is amazing in her own right.

Steven Walling Ada Lovelace Day recommendations

But for as much as I love the local scene, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention two other incredibly inspiring women in the tech scene who have gained—and will continue to have—my utmost admiration.

Kathy Sierra

She’s an incredible speaker and thought-provoking writer whose Creating Passionate Users completely changed the way I thought about marketing and writing—and was a direct inspiration for Silicon Florist.

Beth Kanter

She’s taught me how to think about the power and the promise technology holds for doing good. And her Gnomedex performance, last year, remains one of the coolest technological experiments I’ve ever seen—even though it had very little to do with technology and everything to do with people.

Which women are excelling in technology in your world?

If there are women in technology who inspire you, I’d love to hear about—and I’m sure they would, too. Who are the other women in Portland technology or Silicon Forest technology who deserve some recognition? Why not take a few minutes to write something up? There’s still time.

(Image courtesy Anyaka. Used under Creative Commons)

A few Portland techie podcasts for your Sunday afternoon or your Monday morning commute

Last Friday was podcast day for me. And for as nervous as I was, I think they turned out pretty well. No doubt thanks to the talented people actually managing the whole podcast thing and me just having to spout off every now and again.

So, I thought I’d share the links, in case you were interested in listening.

OPB Think Out Loud on open source

Jim Zemlin, Raven Zachary, Audrey Eschright, and I had the opportunity to chat about open source and the open source scene in Portland. Topics include OSCON, how we all use open source software and may not even know it, corporate adoption of open source, Portland’s culture as a complement to the open source community, open-source rockets, and NTEN.

Download the mp3 of OPB Think Out Loud: Open-source City

Strange Love Live Tech Edition with Rick Turoczy

Cami Kaos and Dr. Normal invited me over for a tech edition of Strange Love Live (if you’re not watching/listening, you should be). And we were lucky enough to command a live studio audience as well, featuring Michelle Anderson (mediachick), Amber Case (caseorganic), Bram Pitoyo, and Kelly Guimont (verso). Topics included the reasoning behind Silicon Florist, the Portland tech scene, Vidoop, Intrigo, OSCON, the Open Web Foundation, and more.

Download the mp3 of Strange Love Live Tech Edition with Rick Turoczy

[Update] If you’re interested in streaming the podcasts—instead of downloading them—Cami Kaos has posted the streaming audio files to her blog.

Strange Love Live #afterhours with Rick Turoczy

Once the serious Strange Love stuff is done, the cameras keep rolling for the #afterhours discussion. We continued talking about some of the tech topics, discussed my sleeping habits (or lack thereof), talked about and lightsaber-ed with the iPhone, made some tech predictions including hinting at Marshall Kirkpatrick‘s upcoming internet brain implant venture, thanked our luck stars for OurPDX, introduced folks to Planet PDX, talked about upcoming guest Melissa Lion, and got into a pretty serious bidding war for sponsoring Strange Love Live.

Download the mp3 of Strange Love Live #afterhours with Rick Turoczy

So… what do you think?

Suffice it to say, this was a trial by fire for me and audio. So I’d love to hear feedback as to a) whether I was intelligible at all and b) if I was intelligible, if you’d be interested in more podcasts from yours truly.

Looking forward to your feedback.

Oregon technology startups and education: Being part of the solution

A few weeks back, I wrote a rant about the abysmal state of Oregon’s tech education in which I encouraged anyone in tech—but especially those folks at startups—to consider his/her potential role in helping to resolve the issues currently plaguing our educational system.

Talk, as they say, is cheap.

So how can we act?

Well, admittedly, this is an awfully big problem, but to wax—and perhaps unintentionally slaughter—more platitudes, the journey of 1000 miles begins with one step.

And, I’m proud to say that we, as a burgeoning collective, have already taken two:

  1. Oregon Tech & Education is an online discussion group designed to gather interested parties, encourage discussion, and facilitate action. If you are at all interested in helping, participating, or just watching what’s happening. I encourage you to join. Even if you just lurk. And I encourage you to invite the teachers and administrators in your life to join, as well.
  2. Silicon Florist internship/mentorship challenge is a call to all Silicon-Forest-based startups to consider offering a summer internship for high school or college students in your area. No one knows more about what you do than you. And teaching someone who knows nothing about what you do could be one of the most rewarding things you ever accomplish as an entrepreneur. If you’re interested—not even yet to the “willing to participate” phase, just interested—please throw your hat into the ring as one of the participating startups.

From time to time, I’ll keep you posted on these steps, and other steps that the resourceful folks of the Silicon Forest are taking to resolve this issue.

I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish.

Oregon’s K-12 tech education sucks: A geek call to action

When I began the conversation about making Silicon Florist a self-sustaining entity, it was because I had—and continue to have—a number of ideas for trying to help startups in our area. And for helping Portland reach its potential.

And I’d like to spend more time doing that sort of thing. Because it’s important to me.

But there was another area I was thinking about helping, as well.

It’s a startup, of sorts. Full of creative entrepreneurial types. People who generally have more passion than you and I. People who really want to make a difference. People who, like many of the startups around here, don’t get nearly the recognition or support they deserve.

Students. The people who are going to inherit all of this crazy stuff we’re trying to accomplish. And people who are likely experimenting with technology and building some equally cool Web products in their free time.

We have a great deal in common, actually.

And so I’d been toying with some ideas. And thinking about some things. That might be able to help those people. Where I might be able to share some expertise or some time.

Because, quite honestly, not a day goes by writing this blog that I don’t draw on something I learned in my high-school journalism class. Not one day.

And so, I was plodding along slowly. Thinking about what we might be able to do.

Then, today, some news hit me right between the eyes: Oregon schools get a D for technology.

The 11th annual report of “Technology Counts,” produced by the specialty newspaper Education Week and the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, gives Oregon schools an overall D grade on technology. Only Rhode Island, Nevada and Washington, D.C., scored fewer points than Oregon’s 66 out of 100.

A D? Are you kidding me?

And just like that, it dawned on me: this is the opportunity.

This is one of those special times when an idea meets an action. When the time to act is coupled with the ability to act intelligently. This is the tipping point. Or spark. Or whatever you want to call it. This is the call to arms. The call to action. For all of us geeks and geek-o-philes.

This is an opportunity for you, me, and every other startup. It’s an opportunity to help. It’s an opportunity to give something back to this community. And an opportunity to improve the technology base in Portland for the future.

How? There are literally tons of ways we could do it. Tons!

From interships to class visits to scholarships to events to competitions to apprenticeships to… well, as I said, “Tons.”

I don’t think this is a question of “if?” I think this is a question of “how?”

And I think this news only highlights how much these things need to happen. And how quickly.

Maybe I’m the only one. Or part of a small group. But I think this is our chance to really do something valuable for Portland. And for Oregon. As a group.

Who’s with me?

Portland’s top 30 tech Twitter-ers (#1 may surprise you)

Before you scroll down. Before you read any further. Just guess.

Who do you think it is? Who is Portland’s top tech Twitter type?

I’ll tell you what I thought. I thought it was probably Marshall Kirkpatrick. Or Josh Bancroft. Or maybe even Scott Kveton.

But I was wrong…

Let’s start from the beginning

You see, I get a great deal of Silicon Florist fodder from Twitter. Interesting tidbits. Snippets of conversations. Clues about what’s happening where. And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

And while I don’t think there is ever one single good way to rank things, I do have to admit that I find the Portland Start-up Index to be an interesting way of looking at things.

And then there was Aaron Hockley crossing the 5000 tweet mark last night.

And that got me thinking. I began to wonder: Who is at the top of the Twitter heap when it comes to Portland startup and tech types? Who has the most “influence”? Who is the holder of the mythical “Twitter juice”?

I had a fitful sleep of metric-ridden dreams, last night.

So, this morning, I—very unscientifically—started combing through the Portland metropolitan area Twitter types. Trying to figure it out.

After some fits and starts, I had gathered a number of folks from the area. I had their number of followers, the number of people they were following, and the number of updates they had.

Some of the more prolific people weren’t exactly “tech” or “startup” types, so they were the first ones I cut them from the list.

Then, I looked at the number of updates that these folks had. And I cut some of the people with lower numbers of updates.

Then, I looked at the number of followers each of these people had. And the number of people they were following.

To me, it seemed that influence has something to do with the number of people who listened each time a person updated. But, logically, not all of these people were listening from day one, and because of that, a direct multiplication would be inaccurate and misleading.

So, I massaged those numbers a little. And mucked with some of the weighting. Then I took all of that unscientific research and ran it through the Silicon Florist 5000.

And guess what it spit out? I was surprised. And I was wrong with my #1 guess. I’m willing to bet you were, too.

And the #1 isn’t the only surprise.

So here’s what I came up with:

Portland’s top tech Twitter-ers

  1. Hajime Kobayashi
  2. Marshall Kirkpatrick
  3. Josh Bancroft
  4. Rick Turoczy
  1. Aaron Hockley
  2. Scott Hanselman
  3. Alex Williams
  4. Scott Kveton
  5. Tim Lauer (Okay, maybe not exactly a “tech” Twitter type, but given his use I’m throwing him in here.)
  6. Verso
  7. Matt Haughey
  8. Raven Zachary
  9. Paul Colligan
  10. Sarah Gilbert
  11. Audrey Eschright
  12. Jason Grigsby
  13. Steven Frank
  14. Dawn Foster
  15. Josh Pyles
  16. Betsy Richter
  17. Sam Lawrence
  18. Jason Harris
  19. Simeon Bateman
  20. Jake Kuramoto
  21. Michael Buffington
  22. Holly Ross
  23. Jessica Beck
  24. James Keller
  25. Rael Dornfest
  26. Chris Brentano
  27. Justin Palmer
  28. Greg
  29. Peat Bakke*

* Within a hair of the 30th 31st 32nd 33rd spot were Eddie Awad, Justin Kistner, and Chris Griffin.

Now, again, fairly unscientific. But interesting nonetheless. (I had a number of other models for ranking, but this one seemed to do the most justice for the larger group.)

No matter what the case, there is one thing for sure: this is a great group of people to follow if you’re interested in keep track of Portland tech.

Did I miss you? Think I’m off? I’d love to have your input. And I’ll be happy to adjust the list, as needed.

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