I’ve worked on FOSCON (a free Ruby event that took place during OSCON in previous years), BarCamp Portland, Ignite Portland, WhereCamp Portland, and now Open Source Bridge. The camps (unconferences) were all quite similar to each other to organize, but Open Source Bridge is much bigger than anything else I’ve worked on. There’s a lot of extra planning involved in doing a 1,000-person conference compared to a 300 person BarCamp. You can pull off an unconference in a short period of time, with fairly limited resources, but a big conference requires more structure.
And then he found Open Source Bridge. And then he wrote a post called “An Alternate OSCON?” offering:
Then someone sent me a pointer to http://opensourcebridge.org/ which is in Portland on June 17-19. Now I have an incentive to see if people want to go there. San Jose is closer to Berkeley, so I’d rather go there, but a really open OSCON would be something that’s worth supporting. There are other new projects that don’t have space at OSCON, so maybe we could all get together in Portland and see what happens.
(If you’re not familiar with Dave Winer, you should be. According to Wikipedia, he is “generally credited with the exposition of RSS as ‘Really Simple Syndication,’ now a world-wide phenomenon, and the first to implement the feed ‘enclosure‘ feature, one of several necessary ingredients for podcasting at the time it first emerged.”)
Whoof. That’s a big unplanned day of serendipity.
It’s incredibly gratifying to see the momentum continue to build for this entirely volunteer run conference. It’s good for Portland. And it’s good for the open source community.
Via The Oregonian “To pay homage to their favorite pork product and win golden piggy trophies, 32 competitors showed up with tin-foiled pans of their beloved ‘meat candy’ dishes, ready to impress, boast and barter.”
Via the Linux Foundation “LinuxCon is a new annual technical conference that will provide an unmatched collaboration and education space for all matters Linux. LinuxCon will bring together the best and brightest that the Linux community has to offer, including core developers, administrators, end users, community managers and industry experts. In being the conference for ‘all matters Linux,’ LinuxCon will be informative and educational for a wide range of attendees. We will not only bring together all of the best technical talent but the decision makers and industry experts who are involved in the Linux community.”
John Metta writes “The line-up for Ignite Portland #5 is in, and yours truly is on the freight train headed straight for Public Humiliation, USA. I think this must be some kind of payback or revenge for laughing so hard when Cami Kaos went on about ‘her bluff being called.’ There I was, sitting with A.J. and Jon laughing it up. ‘Ha!’ I said, ‘She sent an idea as a joke and totally got called on it!’ Now here I am with waves of nausea spreading over me. Why? Because payback’s a bitch.”
Wende Morgaine writes “Are you worried about technology and information literacy in K12 and higher ed? If you are, I say, let’s get together. Let’s brainstorm. Let’s come up with one idea, or 100 ideas. And let’s implement something. Portland is a tech haven and heaven. Its an open source mecca. And we have the most engaged tech community (possibly in the world.) Let’s implement something great and create a model for school revitalization that will be copied in cities the nation over. We live in Portland. From our transportation to our city government to our tech community we create the kind of innovations that is studied and copied all the time. Yes we can. I am thinking we should meet each other at Ignite5 and plan our first brainstorming meeting in March 2009.”
Portland’s FiveEdge Media (John Weiss of Refresh Portland fame) gets adopted by innerecho “FiveEdge Media and Innerecho were both founded at about the same time with the same values: we believed in small teams, personal relationships, and the power of great experience design. This was not merely a coincidence. We the founders had actually begun a friendship five years prior.”
Amber Case writes “Are you into tech? Do you want to meet other tech types? Are you tired of eating lunch with the same people? Well you can meet a bevy of interesting people just like you if you attend a Lunch 2.0 event. Here in Portland, 100-150 Nerds flock to a local tech company to eat, greet, get clients, get hired, find employees, and exchange memes. Basically, it rocks—-nerd-style.”
Tim Sears writes “Our personal web footprint really is no longer just what we blog about, but is really a collection of our interactions across various social media. I can see this being the future of blogs, in that they are no longer blogs at all, but rather centralized portals to the content that person contributes across the web. The first natural question to this is how do you manage the firehose of content that we each contribute to social media every day? If people wanted to read every tweet you make, wouldn’t they just follow you on Twitter? This is where tags and hashtags come into play, in that we find meaning and value in content we contribute through the metadata we and others provide with it. It’s machine-readable, so it’s easy to process.”
Via Strands “We are happy to announce that Strands is partnering with the Spanish start-up 11870.com to offer the best personalized recommendations of services and places to their users. 11870.com, the European equivalent to Yelp, is used for people to save, share and keep track of the places and services they like around the world through reviews, pictures and videos.”
Aaron Hockley writes “With the fifth incarnation of Ignite Portland coming up in a few weeks, one issue surrounded in a bit of mystery is the process used to select the presenters. With far more entries than speakers (Ignite Portland 5 had over 80 submissions with less than 20 chosen to speak), many people wonder why they weren’t chosen or how the field is narrowed.”
Abraham Hyatt writes “Late last month, when the whole Gov. Blagojevich indictment situation was threatening to taint Barack Obama’s transition, two writers at the Politico put together a list of “five rules of scandal response” that the president-to-be had intentionally, or unintentionally, imposed on his staff. Rule No. 1 was simple: ‘Be transparent, to an extent.’ Sam Adams didn’t get that memo. As the opening days of the Breedlove scandal unfolded, Adams hid. He hid from the press, from his critics and from his city. And it’s too bad, because whether you support the mayor or not, he had an incredible communications tool at his fingertips: his Twitter account.”
It’s always impressive when a Portland company lands funding, but given the current economic conditions, this is especially welcome news.
Quoting heavily from my post on ReadWriteWeb:
How does a small startup secure capital in such turbulent economic times? Being profitable helps – something AboutUs achieved by mid-year 2008. The company is forecasting continued growth, this year. Ray King, CEO, said the company is targeting $5 million in revenue for 2009. The primary source remains advertising, but the online marketing services AboutUs sells – including content creation and custom page development – continue to gain traction.
Another reason for investor confidence? The staff. AboutUs holds a special place in the world of wiki as the employer of Ward Cunningham, the inventor of the wiki, and they continue to attract new talent. They recently hired a number of new employees, including CFO Jack Williamson. King hopes to use the new funding to increase the size of the company to around 50 employees by the end of 2009, up from its current staff of 32.
At a time when the news is all-too-full of layoffs and dire economic forecasts, it’s incredibly uplifting to see an open source company looking to expand its staff—especially a company that so quintessentially reflects the ideals of the Portland community.
This evening, I had the honor to take a little walk down memory lane with the folks at Portland Web Innovators as we took a little time to reflect of the cool accomplishments of the Portland Web and Open Source startup community over the last 12 months.
It was kind of like signing yearbooks. A lot of nostalgia and a lot of kind words. And—of course—a lot of tweets.
I wanted to thank everyone who took time out of their schedules to come hang out and chat about our past and our future. And to those who took the opportunity to hang out online.
Here’s a quick round-up of what I’ve got at this point. I’ll add more as it rolls in, and as always, your comments are welcome.
Thanks so much to Bram Pitoyo for streaming this video and moderating the chat room. (NOTE: There’s a bit of a hiccup at about 90 seconds into the presentation. If you wait, it comes back. Or you can click into the timeline to kickstart the video again.)
I’m holding a contest. Count how many times I say “amazing” during this presentation and post it in the comments. You could win… um… I don’t know. Something.
We managed to accumulate quite a few tweets. You’ll be happy to hear that I managed to resist the urge to tweet during the presentation.
Portland Tech Community
“Over the last year, I’ve written several emails to people moving here describing different events to attend and at those events introduced people new to the area to others in the Portland Tech Community. Despite the fact that I had found myself doing that multiple times, I never really thought about it as a need. I just considered it some ways part of being a good host for the town I grew up in…. But there is a clear need. If someone doesn’t know to ask or whom to ask, they may never find their connection.”
The Year in Retrospect, the Year to Come
“One of the things Rick declined to do was talk much about the ‘why’ – what’s the secret sauce that makes the Portland tech community a community and not some loose aggregation of companies and coders? Why is there such a drive to connect here, while other communities with equal opportunities just don’t work as hard? And most importantly, why is community so important to Portlanders, and what are local companies of all types and from all industries doing to connect and generate a sustainable economics through close attention to community members, the locality, the exigent needs of the people? What does innovation look like in tough circumstances?”
I’m going to explore how the local blog scene and other social media have brought folks together. Over the next couple of months, I’ll be talking to all sorts of Portlandy-types about their thoughts on our social media usage. Yes, that includes the Portland Twitter scene and of course #bacon. A big focus of my talk will be about how online activities have led to offline gatherings including group events like Ignite Portland, Side Project to Startup, and the Portland edition of Lunch 2.0. In addition to the formal events, services such as Shizzow and Twitter facilitate impromptu meetups.
Congratulations to Mr. Hockley on garnering a well-deserved speaking slot. It’s definitely got me thinking about making the trip down south to see him speak. Even though I won’t be able to post on it because of the whole “What happens in Vegas…” thing.
WordCamp:Las Vegas is a conference style event covering topics related to the WordPress software. It will be held January 10-11, 2009. For more information, visit WordCamp Las Vegas.
Darius Monsef continues sharing his insights on startups with part 2 of the post he began with a Silicon Florist guest post. Grab a cup of coffee (or beverage of your choice) and spend a few minutes with this one.
Allen Stern writes “SplashCast and Clearspring have announced plans to partner together to create a social advertising network targeted towards consumer brands. SplashCast provides content management services while Clearspring is a widget distribution service.” (P.S. SplashCast hosts Portland Lunch 2.0 next week, September 17)
As I mentioned on Twitter, IMINDI seesm to be the only Silicon Forest company launching at the TechCrunch 50. Here’s what they had to say. “IMINDI’s mind map is chart showing thoughts and those that branch off from them. Users can click on thoughts to see which thoughts on connected to them. IMINDI calls it the ‘journey of thought’ that will help connect people and share their information.” Mark Cuban’s comments are classic Cuban.
Professor of entrepreneurship at Cornell University, John L. Nesheim writes “BOTTOM LINE: Pick your board members carefully. You get more than money with a venture capitalist. And you have to live with that person for half a decade or more…. [L]ook for their characteristics in the VCs and angels you are planning on using. When you find the right ones, they’ll help you build power into your unfair advantage.” (Hat tip Carolynn Duncan)
Via the Redfin Corporate blog “Venture capitalists are racing to miniaturize themselves toward the vanishing point. One of my favorite bloggers, Fred Wilson, recently asked why not ‘back 10 teams at $25,000 each instead of one team at $250,000’? Just last week a Seattle venture capitalist boasted that ‘we are seeing impressive companies being built for under $100,000.'” (Hat tip James Whitley)
GadgetTrak was featured on Good Morning America, where the topic of tracking technology for gadgets was discussed. GadgetTrak provides theft recovery software for mobile devices including laptops, mobile phones, portable storage devices and more.
Via the Shizzow blog “Now that the RSS feeds for Shizzow are public, we would love to have a widget that takes an RSS feed from Shizzow and makes it look awesome in a blog sidebar. Yes, yes, we know this isn’t hard to do, but would you rather have us spend an hour on a widget or spend an hour working on SMS support and m.shizzow.com?”
Marshall Kirkpatrick writes “Want to go to fewer meetings at work? By making group decision making faster, easier and more accountable, new app Zapproved may help you avoid hours of painful face to face drudgery or endless email loose ends and get back to work. Zapproved is a lightweight hosted decision making service, it’s essentially like Evite for approval processes.”
Via the Platial blog “We thought it was about time to see if we could support ourselves with some minimal Frappr advertising. For this test we’re just advertising our own iPhone app. Please let us know what you think. We’re close to being able to let you opt-out of the ads as well.”
Via Venturebeat “Meanwhile, Voyager Capital has made moves to the south, as well, bringing on a new partner, Diane Fraiman (right), to open an office in Portland, Oregon and adding another, Daniel Ahn, as a managing director of its franchise in Menlo Park, Calif. — home of the big Silicon Valley venture capital firms.”
Verso writes “Earlier today I happened to be reading my friend Rick Turoczy’s blog and imagine my surprise when he offered to buy me lunch! Well having had a good experience last time I had lunch with Rick I figured I would be foolish to pass up his offer. So off I went to CubeSpace and imagine my surprise when I saw a number of people there whom I recognized! Turns out Rick had extended his invite to a number of others as well, but somehow I had mistakenly read it as just for me.”
Gary Pool writes “I had a great time at lunch today. It was called Lunch 2.0. We played networking games like meet someone you don’t know. I met some new friends and networked with some old ones. We shared some job related war stories and tall tales.”
Via OurPDX blog “In all of about 45 minutes I was able to put faces with names of people I already knew, and connect with them face to face outside of the Internets. There is one thing to be said for just walking up and talking to strangers at a networking event, but when you already know what goes on in their daily lives, it’s so much better.”
Sharing information about your current location with people you trust has always held this glimmer of potential. The glimmer of actually finding the time to meet face-to-face during our ever increasingly busy schedules. The glimmer of that impromptu meetup with people whom you would like to get to know better.
To date, that potential has always remained a glimmer.
The reality? That’s been slightly less beneficial. Reality has tended to be a useless stream of updates, declaring your friends are “in Portland, Oregon” or, worse yet, at some random address that holds little to no meaning.
Shizzow provides the technology for you to notify your friends of your location, with as little effort as possible, so you can spend more time hanging out with your peeps and less time trying to coordinate bringing them together through phone, email, SMS and IM.
I hear you. “Another one?” But hold your horses. I think Shizzow’s got a number of things going for it. And, as far as Portland goes? I think Shizzow has nailed it.
First and foremost, Shizzow is for Portland, Oregon. And only Portland, Oregon. Not the world. Not the Northwest. Portland. And that’s it. Shizzow isn’t about the video-game mentality of adding as many followers as possible—followers you may never ever meet in person. Shizzow is about knowing where your friends in Portland are. So that you can meet them, face-to-face, when those opportunities avail themselves.
Simple and local. By Portland, for Portland. And in my book, that’s huge.
Second, Shizzow is designed to understand where you are—and to tell people where you are—as simply and easily as possible. And I’ve been duly impressed by how hard they’ve worked to make sure that the database of locations is as deep and intuitive as possible.
Why is that important? Two reasons:
No more (or far less) “Please enter the address of your location.” When you “shout” with Shizzow, you just need to know the name of the Portland place in which you’re currently standing. Not the address. Not the GPS coordinates. The name of the place. Easy.
I know places better than addresses. When I’m reading the shouts of my Shizzow friends, it’s a lot (a lot!) easier for me to process “EcoTrust Building” than it is for me to process “721 NW 9th Avenue Portland, OR 97209.” That means, that I’m more likely to go meet my friends or plan my trips accordingly.
Sounds good, huh? I know! So let’s get you involved in this private beta.
Right now, the beta invites are limited to a couple hundred people living in Portland. I’ll be sending out invites today along with the rest of the team.
Even now, I’m already happily getting a flood of new friends (thank you!), so I know the Portland gang is getting involved. I can’t wait to see how this works once we get big group shouting.
A true side project to startup story
And the final reason that I’m so happy for these guys? They’ve truly made the leap from side project to startup:
Each member of the Shizzow crew has a full-time job outside of Shizzow, and it’s taken a ton of sweat equity and sleep-deprived nights to bring Shizzow to fruition. But because we’ve believed in our vision and believed in the idea of bringing friends and like-minded people together, the sacrifices we’ve made have not seemed like work but instead like… something we simply had to do. And now, 10 months and tens of thousands of lines of code later, we’re ready…
I can’t really put into words how proud I am of these guys. And how excited I am to get everyone in Portland on this service.
That said, what if you don’t happen to make the initial round of invites? Fear not, gentle reader. There’s still another way to get into shouting with Shizzow. As Dawn says:
If you want an invite, and don’t hear from me today, you can get one from me at Lunch 2.0 on Wednesday.
That’s right! Shizzow will be the guest of honor at the Silicon Florist’s Portland Lunch 2.0, this Wednesday. So come on down to CubeSpace, grab some lunch, meet some people face-to-face, and get signed up with Shizzow, so that you can continue those discussions—and continue getting to know your Portland peers.
In any case, I’m really, really looking forward to all the shouts from CubeSpace, this Wednesday. And to running into you in person—thanks to Shizzow—in the near future.
Shizzow is a location-driven social networking service that encourages quality relationships via face-to-face interaction. Dig in at http://shizzow.com . For more information on the launch and Shizzow’s story, see the Shizzow blog.
Given the dearth of posts this week, you’d think nothing had happened in Portland, at all. Or that I simply wasn’t paying attention.
Luckily, neither is true.
As you’ve likely noticed, I’ve been heavy on the link round-ups, this week. And I’ve been holding back some of the major news.
Why? Well, I know folks are taking time off, enjoying the Portland weather, and *gasp* actually getting out from in front of their machines.
The stories will wait. And I want you to around to read them. I’m funny that way. So, they’ll be here next week, when you’re back at your machine and looking for the latest and greatest.
What kind of stories? Well I’m glad you asked.
Did you know that the inimitable Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV was in town, this week? That’s right. And he helped the Legion of Tech launch their first Legion of Talk. That’s news. And, hopefully, when I run the write-up next week, we’ll also have video. Because, honestly, you don’t really get the full effect of Gary unless you get the full effect of Gary.
And Portland Web Innovators held their fist Demolicious event, featuring five local developers and their current projects. Not only were all of the projects cool, there’s one in particular that I found so compelling that I thought it deserved a write-up of its own. Which one? You’ll just have to wait and see.
As always, there are a couple of top secret stories that may (or may not) break next week. That’s exciting, isn’t it?
Oh and that’s not all, my friends. I’m sure there’s some news that I haven’t even learned about yet. Like why were Gary V and Loic Le Meur both in Portland at the same time? Inquiring minds, inquiring minds.
So, take some time off. Relax. Celebrate your independence.
And may you and yours have a safe an happy Fourth of July.