Recently, I’ve seen a number of companies struggling with how to get more savvy about social media and interacting with online communities. My focus will be on providing consulting services to help guide companies in developing a comprehensive social media and community engagement strategy. I will help companies engage with their community both online and offline to help generate buzz around their products. I can also help companies find, monitor, and respond to what others are saying about them online.
No doubt, Dawn’s expertise will be highly sought. I’m looking forward to her continued success on the other side of the desk and would like to, again, congratulate her on this exciting new endeavor.
Yuval Kordov writes “I headed down to Portland last week to check out the happenings at RailsConf 2008. All in all, a good show. Four days of intensive sessions, new ideas, product announcements (woo Rails 2.1!), shmoozing, and frolicking. Thanks to everyone for their involvement, cheers to those we managed to meet up with, and loving kudos to Portland for being such an awesome city.” (Hat tip Bram Pitoyo)
Josh Bancroft writes ” read a LOT. I used to be subscribed to over 1500 RSS feeds. That was WAY too many. About a year ago, I cut it down to around 500 feeds or so. But that was around the same time that Twitter really exploded in my life, proving itself invaluable for not only connecting and talking with people, but as the fastest conduit for breaking news, the most efficient source for answers to questions, and general serendipitous gems of things that were interesting and made me smarter. So I think the overall level of information overload stayed about the same. Today, I decided action was needed. Drastic action, maybe. “
Gia Lyons writes “The idea of social data portability – ‘the option to use your personal data between trusted applications and vendors’ – has been around for some time now. The DataPortability Project is focused on consumer-oriented sites, and not corporate internal use. The Project people even say so.”
Nathan Bell writes “Looking at the GGP’s board of directors it appears to be made up of mostly reps from big business. I’m hoping that there will be opportunities tomorrow to expose this group to the great things that the startup community brings to Portland, as well as what Portland can do to bring more great startups here. If you have any opinions on the matter, or questions you want fished around let me or anyone else on the delegation know.”
This could be the job for you. “We are looking for someone to work part time at the front desk of CubeSpace. The position, however, is far from a typical reception position. As the first person our members see when they walk into our space, you will be the ambassador to our community. You will help create the first impression and set the tone for our members’ and subscribers’ experiences. You will be a critical link in building a thriving workspace community.”
Is this you? “Web application developer to join the UT-NEDSS Core Team. This is an opportunity for a self-starting individual to participate in a ground-breaking effort that combines non-technical subject matter experts with skilled professional developers in a major, well-funded, open source community and project.”
Mike Rogoway writes “Like the swifts coming back to Chapman Elementary, techies are returning to Portland this summer for the usual slate of technology confabs. Here’s my annual rundown of some big ones…”
[Editor: For those folks outside the Silicon Forest who stumble upon this blog, I tend to get a bunch of questions about Portland: What makes Portland so special? Why do I keep hearing about Portland? Should I move there? Can I stay at your house?
It goes on and on.
But they’re all really asking the same thing: Why Portland?
So, I’m starting a new series of posts entitled—appropriately enough—“Why Portland?” In so doing, I hope to provide some different viewpoints what makes Portland, the Silicon Forest, and the whole startup scene around here so special.]
Intrigo succumbs to serendipity
Go to practically any Legion of Tech event or a Beer and Blog or a Portland Lunch 2.0, and more likely than not, you’ll have the pleasure of meeting someone from Intrigo, a small Portland-based development shop focused on helping startups get their products and sites to market as quickly as possible.
And Intrigo isn’t just participating. They’re sponsoring. They’re pitching in to help. They’re part and parcel of the burgeoning Portland startup scene.
They must have been around here forever.
In reality, the first footsteps that Tucson, Arizona, founded Intrigo set in Portland were last October.
“Four days of rain,” said Nathan Bell, who helps run Intrigo.
They were here as part of a search for a new home for Intrigo. But at that point, Portland wasn’t really even on the list.
“We were looking to get out of Tucson,” said Bell. “We had a list of places we were exploring: San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Boston, Boulder, and Austin. But a couple of us were interested in looking at Portland.”
And yet, lo and behold, here they are in good old Portland. What won them over?
“Portland is so dense compared to the other cities. So focused in a small area with a very tight community,” said Bell. “Even with the weather, that visit had us putting Portland near the top of the list. And after a few conversations with the team, that was that.”
So, Intrigo packed up its entire company and began to relocate to Portland. Because, in their opinion, Portland had things that Tucson lacked, among them a good technology sector and growing startup scene. Things that were important for their business to succeed.
But the interesting thing was that that decision preceded their first face-to-face interactions with the Portland tech community. Even more interesting? At the point in time they were making that decision, the now exceptionally collaborative Portland Web startup community had just barely begun to gel.
But it was starting to gel. And there was one particular event that marked the beginning of that startup community getting more collegial: Ignite Portland.
And as serendipity would have it, that event was Intrigo’s introduction to the Portland startup scene.
“One of our first hires sent us a YouTube video from Ignite Portland,” said Bell. “And that led us to getting involved with the Legion of Tech. Because we wanted to support that kind of thing.”
And they’ve been continuing to support it ever since.
So, now Intrigo is indeed part of the startup scene that coincidentally seemed to come together even as they made their plans to move to the Rose City. They’re an anchor for events. And a definitive presence in the community.
They’ve helped make the Portland Web startup community what it is today. In effect, defining their own future. And they will—no doubt—continue to do so.
So, now, what does Intrigo see for Portland’s future? And what are they looking for from Portland?
“I’d like to see the Portland Web startup scene gain more and more critical mass,” said Bell. “I’d like to see this become a self-sustaining movement that attracts more and more companies to Portland.”
And as that happens, what is Intrigo’s role?
“We’re still maturing and working to find our niche,” said Bell. “We’re still figuring out how we’ll fit into the ecosystem around here. One thing is for sure, we’ll keep focusing on what we do well: building deeply technical Web apps for startups.”
If this is the way Intrigo spends its first six months in town, I can’t wait to see what they’re capable of doing once they’re settled.
Pete Forsyth writes “I’m very excited to announce that WikiProject Oregon, a loose collection of Wikipedia volunteers who share an interest in Oregon, has just started its own blog: wikiprojectoregon.wordpress.com.”
The Portland citywide free wifi demise is complete, according to Om Malik, who writes “In what is proving to be yet another high-profile Metro Wi-Fi failure, MetroFi, a San Jose-based startup that raised over $15 million from Sevin Rosen and August Capital, is close to shutting down, according to WiFi NetNews and MuniWireless, two blogs that follow the MuniFi industry closely.” Long live Personal Telco!
Scoble nails it. It’s an amazing tech scene over there.
But that’s not why I’m posting.
I’m posting because he also says this:
I’ve started noticing a trend: that the further away a tech area is from Silicon Valley the less respect that area will get…. Do you agree or disagree that people, companies, countries can get the respect and/or tech industry PR they deserve if they are far away from Silicon Valley?
And I can’t even begin to tell you how happy this makes me. How thrilled I am to hear this kind of thinking. You mean, there might actually be something interesting happening in technology outside of Silicon Valley? Do you think?
But, as to his question, that’s a bit more difficult. Because I honestly don’t know. It’s really, really hard to get folks in the Valley to pay attention to folks outside of the Valley.
There is a ton of noise down there. And what’s more, there’s always the potential for face-to-face meetings. There’s real, honest-to-goodness networking. Like the stuff we do around here with Portland Lunch 2.0, Ignite Portland, and BarCamp Portland.
Now, Scoble’s been to Portland before, so I know he’s aware of some of the stuff happening up here. But he’s not here enough. We’re not connected enough.
Down there, there’s more potential:
I’ve noticed this when I visited MySpace: they were so excited when I visited because they say that tech bloggers never visit. I was thinking back to my own experiences. Yes, that’s true. Facebook employees regularly meet up with us at parties and dinners and conferences. We run into MySpace employees far less often. These personal connections turn into stories on blogs.
And yes, while it’s nice and quaint that I try to make sure your projects are getting coverage here on the little ol’ Silicon Florist blog, that’s only going to get us part of the way. And a small part of the way, at that.
We’re on the right path. And the tide is starting to turn. But there’s still a long ways to go.
I’d be interested in your thoughts on how we can continue to grease the skids. What more can I be doing to help you? What more can we be doing as a community to get the startups here in Portland more of the attention they deserve?
And the map geeking continues. DailyWireless notes that the Portland transit system has been added to Google Transit Maps. “If your results include a button for ‘Take Public Transit,’ Google Transit will spell out directions to the closest station or bus stop, including schedule information.”
Allen Stern writes, that of Angel funded deals, “Out of 10 deals: 5 will go out of business, 2 will return what the Angel put in, 2 will return 3x, and 1 must return 30x.” Some great insight for those of you seeking funding.
Marshall Kirkpatrick writes “I was feeling frustrated yesterday when switching from one feed reader to another on a new computer. Then I remembered how wonderful RSS really is – and I decided to write this post. I hope you’ll find it interesting and useful.”
Bram Pitoyo writes “Lunch 2.0 was, in my opinion, one of the best places to talk with people who may not necessarily work in your industry, but who share the same passion about technology, and thus can provide catalysts for generation of new ideas and solutions. You’ll meet old friends or new colleagues, catch up and learn a few things about them, and then, through the conversation that happens, inspire you to better yourself or explore new ideas.”
Yesterday, about 50 geeks and non-geeks gathered at AboutUs.org in their sweet, newly-remodeled space in the Olympic Mills Commerce Center for the inaugural Portland Lunch 2.0. The event felt very Portland with no formal agenda and no presentations, just a good lunch with good people.
Possible tasks for this week include: finally getting that iCalendar import working, sending polite emails to organizations that don’t currently provide a calendar feed, and drafting ideas for the full event listing UI. Programmers, designers, and other tech community members are all welcome.
The GoLife team are fans of Apple’s device and we’re excited by the opportunity to develop for it. The SDK poses a distinct opportunities for GoLife Mobile and developers who support our framework. Application portability benefits everyone from the developer down. Developers can devote time and resources to one medium and won’t have to worry about supporting multiple platforms. That’s the beauty of a mobile framework and thats the beauty of GoLife Mobile.
SplashCast has announced the launch of the Converse splashcast application this week to promote the mega-sport brands’ cross-media campaign called “Open Gym”. The campaign is all about bringing great basketball facilities and equipment to urban centers across the country. Old gyms will be renovated and the kids will get free shoes and equipment for the courts. The initial Open Gym cities include Miami, Chicago, and Philadelphia.In other news, being a grammar geek, I’ve noticed some new SplashCast additions to the English language. SplashCast (proper noun) is the company while splashcast (noun) refers to the player in which the media resides, which of course makes splashcasting (verb) the act of playing media through the splashcast from SplashCast.
Today was the first Portland Lunch 2.0 event, a lunchtime gathering for a group of mostly-techie Portlanders to enjoy some good food and talk with others from the community. The idea is that the event will rotate around with different companies sponsoring the lunch in their space.
Jive’s Sam Lawrence writes, “Earlier this week, the DataPortability WorkGroup was sent a Cease and Desist order by Red Hat to stop using their logo. Opting to take the high road, Chris Saad and the crew decided to hold a logo contest to rebrand the DataPortability WorkGroup. To show our support and to get the prize bandwagon moving, Jive was the first to donate a prize, which was an iPhone.”
Internet security specialist iovation reported Wednesday that it has hired two new vice presidents. The Portland, Ore.-based company said Chris Reid will step in as vice president of sales while Emmett Zahn will serve as vice president of technology.
To get there, a city needs three things. Money, big companies and good weather. That last one isn’t a joke; quality of life is important. For example, many people want to live in Austin, while few want to live in Houston. So even though there are a lot of huge companies, money, and a real effort by folks at places like the Houston Technology Center and Startup Houston, building an information economy there is going to be a challenge. Blame it on the humidity. The same goes for places like Tulsa, Okla., Detroit and even Chicago, where weather or other factors such as crime make it hard to convince people to live there. (Note to the Chambers of Commerce in named cities: I said hard, not impossible).
Now, that’s not only Memorial Day weekend, it’s also pretty darn close to WebVisions 2008, which runs May 22-23, 2008, in Portland.
Oregon-native and Startup Weekend organizer, Andrew Hyde, has promised that he has a few surprises up his sleeve for this one.
I, for one, am looking forward to doing whatever I can to make this event a success for Startup Weekend—and Portland. And I hope you’ll join the fun.
(To help promote this event, feel free to use the Startup Weekend badge above.)
Just as Portland has made Ignite Portland an overwhelming success and promises to make Lunch 2.0 a Portland-flavored affair, I’m sure we can show the Startup Weekend folks how Portland puts its own unique spin on these types of events.
Tickets for Startup Weekend Portland will be sold here for $40. This is really a RSVP cost, and you will receive your fair share of food, swag and memories. If you or your company is interested in sponsoring a meal, shirts or massive amounts of caffeine, email firstname.lastname@example.org.