It’s a little weird when you meet someone who shares your birthday. It gets even weirder when that birthday is the exact same day. Like day, month, year. Same, same, same. And then, what if you were both working a similar sort of job? Now imagine putting those two — Libras, mind you — together on a podcast. And that’s pretty much what you get with Saul Colt’s “We now join the program already in progress” podcast — with me as a guest.
You’ve heard me talk about the growing prevalence of regional offices as a compelling and growing part of the Portland startup community. To date, many of these offices — which often rival or fully eclipse (Intel) full fledged Portland companies in size — have played the role of employers, event hosts, and sponsors for the community, as a whole. And that’s a trend that I hope to see continue.
While it used to be common knowledge around these parts, Portland Lunch 2.0 seems to have become a bit of an enigma. I can tell, because every time I start talking about it, folks are like “How do we even do a Portland Lunch 2.0?” Fair question. Let’s see if we can clear some of this up. For both attendees and hosts.
While the Portland startup community does its best to be incredibly collaborative and welcoming, we’re not always so good with communicating how best to engage with the community. And that can be a tad bit frustrating for folks who are looking to help — and even more frustrating for those who are looking for help.
It happens to the best of them. We start a Slack instance. And then it grows. And folks add channels with the best of intentions. And then some of those channels flourish. While others wither away in anonymity. Creating clutter. And impacting discovery. But worst of all, increasing frustration and a feeling of disconnectedness. Which is entirely counterproductive.
On any given day, there are a bunch of hardworking entrepreneurial folks doing their best to build a new life. Only they’re not in offices or coworking spaces. They’re not building storefronts or crafting products. They’re Street Roots vendors. And they’re braving the elements to bring you journalism that addresses poverty and houselessness.
As much as I love Portland, there are still any number of things — or lack thereof — that can cause a ton of frustration. Like the lack of infrastructure for getting connected to the startup community. Time and time again, I hear from folks how difficult it is to get connected. Because while Portland tends to be a very one-on-one meeting sort of town, it’s not obvious where to start.
For all of the fanfare and hype, the Portland startup community — and tech community at large — is still full of problems and faults. A lot of them. And those are issues that we’ll never begin to correct without a stark and objective assessment of the current state of the community. And that’s why I’m so thankful for organizations like PDX Women in Tech who take the opportunity to assess our progress as a community.
I know it’s more difficult than it should be. I know you have to hustle harder than most. But you can do it. And I believe in you. So this weekend, I stumbled into a bit of a pep talk. So I wanted to capture it for you here.