Tag: Blog

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)

Kistner joins Silicon-Valley-based Voce Communications

Justin Kistner, a fixture in the Portland startup, design, and social media scene (who also happened to create the “Conversation” theme that skins the Silicon Florist site), has shared with me that he will be going to work for Silicon Valley communications firm Voce Communications, starting in April.

Kistner is perhaps best known for his weekly gathering of influential Portland bloggers, Beer and Blog, and his own blog on the social media scene, Metafluence.

He will be joining Voce (in spite of Steve Rubel’s recent post) as a Social Media Strategist, focusing on:

Identifying the people, places, and conversations that are advantageous for a business to engage with and recommend an approach. Then provide engagement maintenance to keep our market position moving in the right direction.

I hear you. “I thought Silicon Florist was supposed to be about Portland news?” So, why am I writing about somebody bailing on the Portland startup community for the Valley?

Well, because he’s not bailing.

Turns out Kistner will be working from Portland—and likely still for Portland companies. And I think that makes this announcement especially interesting to the Portland startup and tech community.

Why? I have three specific reasons.

First, with this hire, Portland’s social media and Web scene gets a hint of some well-deserved “street cred.”

“They want me to stay here because they like that I’m part of the Portland tech scene,” said Kistner. “And they feel that gives them more perspective. It helps them if I’m not get stuck in the Silicon Valley echo chamber.”

Second, Portland—through Kistner—has the opportunity to expose the firm that handles social media strategy for companies like Yahoo!, Verisign, Sony Playstation, and eBay, to Portland’s way of doing things.

Third, Portland gains another diplomat for meaningful cross-pollination with the Valley—in the same vein as Scott Kveton, Raven Zachary, Marshall Kirkpatrick, and countless others—whom Portland is lucky to have acting as de facto emissaries in that important epicenter.

All of those things, in my opinion, can only be good for Kistner. And good for us.

I, for one, am interested to see how this progresses and seeing who stands to benefit most from this new relationship.

Beyond the Forest: OpenID and the bigs, all hat and no cattle

It’s no surprise that Portland is rapidly becoming one of the de facto hubs for OpenID evangelism and development.

Scott Kveton, the chairman of the OpenID Foundation now calls Portland home. Portland-based JanRain is a leading force in the OpenID development effort and new Portland-transplant Vidoop is also coming on strong. If Beer and Blog is any indication, we’re all interested in getting more use out of OpenID on our blogs. And having the opportunity to sit down with David Recordon, the vice chair of the OpenID Foundation, is something that’s appealing to quite a number of us.

And while the big companies that we often encounter one way or another—Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and AOL—have all claimed to jump into the OpenID pool, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch is beginning to wonder if this isn’t all a bunch of OpenID lip service. Or to put it bluntly: Are the bigs all hat and no cattle?

The problem, though, is that the Big Four Internet companies that I mentioned above have made big press announcements about their support for OpenID, but haven’t done enough to actually implement it. Microsoft has done absolutely nothing, even though Bill Gates announced their support over a year ago. Google has limited its support to Blogger, where it is both an Issuing and Relying party. Yahoo and AOL are Issuing parties only.

This is a tenuous position at best. For as much ground as we can cover from a grassroots perspective, it’s going to be exceedingly difficult to get anyone—beyond early adopters—to take on OpenID without the support of some of these bigger entities.

Without the bigs, there is no OpenID tipping point.

But the funny thing—not funny “ha ha,” but funny “sad”—is that all of these gigantic companies are struggling with one very similar issue that would be partially—if not completely—solved by an effective implementation of OpenID: bringing acquisitions under a common login credential.

Yahoo! throws its acquirees’ respective user bases into turmoil every time it asks them to move over to a Yahoo! ID. Google takes years in its struggles to get everyone on the Google credential system. Microsoft and AOL are no different.

To me, it seems obvious that OpenID could solve this issue, now and for the foreseeable future. And I can’t be the only one seeing that.

As hard as it may be for them to accept it, the bigs need to move away from their proprietary credentialing structures. They need to embrace concepts like OpenID and OAuth for what they can do to solve their problems, today.

In short, they need to let go and let OpenID.

For now, the jury is still out on when and how the big company momentum will fall behind OpenID in terms of something more than spin and lip service. But let’s hope that day is soon approaching. For all of our sakes.

I can tell you one thing: from a grassroots level, Portland is sure to be leading the charge. And we’re not going to slowing our OpenID fandom anytime soon.

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