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.
This Spring, I was given the opportunity to take the stage for TEDxPortland. Which, I later learned, is among the top three TEDx events in the world. And it’s a good thing that I learned that later, because that definitely would have tempered my acceptance of the opportunity. But as someone who suffers from stage fright—and someone who did not yet understand the stature of the event—it seemed like one of those interesting personal challenges. A growing experience. I mean, what could go wrong?
Vancouver, Washington—our neighbors directly to the north—have gone by any number of names and descriptions over the years. As has the startup community in the ‘Couv’ and its supporting organizations. But all of that may change, now that they’ve revealed an identity designed to serve as the front door for the Vancouver startup community. Meet North Bank Innovations.