If you’ve been around the Portland startup scene for a while, you likely have memories—perhaps somewhat hazy memories—of Beer and Blog, a weekly gathering of startup types that started as bloggers helping bloggers over beer. It was the brainchild of Justin Kistner.
And so it goes. Times change. People move on. Beer and Blog is no different. And now, Justin Kistner—the founder of that seminal happy hour for Portland’s tech scene—is relocating to San Francisco. That’s right. I said “seminal.”
Given what a great contribution the weekly gathering has been to our tech scene, it only makes sense that Portland provides him with a little going away party—at Beer and Blog. Read More
[HTML2]Long absent from the burgeoning Portland Web scene, our friends over at Webtrends have come back with a vengeance. They were quintessential to the success of Open Source Bridge, from sponsoring the event to hosting volunteer meetings to co-hosting Portland Lunch 2.0 to providing an adult beverage friendly venue for the after party. They’ve become a gracious host for events like CloudCamp PDX and WordCamp Portland. And, of course, they hired Justin Kistner, founder of Beer and Blog.
Given all they do, it’s really nice to get to share some of their good news here. And now, I’ll do that. Since they just signed a deal that has them working with Radian6 and Salesforce to incorporate Webtrends analytics for social media monitoring. Read More
I often say that Silicon Florist is less of a breaking news site and more of feature site, like People or Parade. And while I’m not expecting to be able to fill James Brady‘s sadly empty shoes, it only makes sense that we spend some time catching up with some of the folks around town.
Let’s start with Justin Kistner, whom we affectionately know as the founder of Beer and Blog but who also holds a day job with Voce Communications that is having a positive effect on the Portland tech scene.
Back in April 2008, you were hired on at Voce Communications to be their “Portland office.” How’s that working out?
I brought the lead for the first two, and helped pitch the last two.
What kind of work are you doing for these clients?
We’re helping Intel build their social media engagement for their embedded systems group.
WebTrends is an integrated communications program. We’ll be helping them with PR, AR, and social media. In fact, we just launched a new WordPress blog for WebTrends’ Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, the vice president of marketing.
We’ve seen your company and clients sponsoring some of the events around town, like Ignite Portland, which is great. Is that something that’s likely to continue?
Voce has sponsored Ignite Portland a couple of times and has more plans to support the Portland tech scene. Having an on-the-ground presence here locally, will only increase our ability to sponsor, host, and just generally get involved.
So there may be more of Voce in Portland in the near future?
We’ve gotten support from upper management on opening a local office. I’d like to see us open an office in Portland.
Another Vocian who you may have met at Beer and Blog, Colin Crook, owns a house in Beaverton, but is currently living in the Bay Area. He’d like to be able to move up here.
In fact, he was the guy that was leading the pitch process with Jive, which is how I met Voce. Colin cut his social media teeth on the Spread Firefox team along with Vidoop employee Chris Messina. So there are a lot of connections for us here.
Speaking of Beer and Blog—your side project—you’ve seen explosive growth over the last year. How popular is it, these days?
Beer and Blog started with four people meeting at the Lucky Lab just over a year ago. Now we see 40-70 people every Friday at the Portland chapter.
We also started expanding to other cities this year and now have 10 chapters including our first overseas: Tokyo.
With Silicon Florist, it was very much a dumb luck, right place at the right time situation. While I’m sure Beer and Blog was a little more planned, did you ever expect this sort of response to the event?
I was very surprised by the popularity of the format. Prior to Beer and Blog, Portland didn’t have a weekly meet up of any relevant size, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
The truth is, it started as a means to round up all of the people I was helping for free, so I didn’t expect it to grow beyond a dozen, maybe 20 people. I heard naysayers telling me weekly was too much and we’d burn out our audience.
However, time has shown that it actually works better for people because they don’t feel as obligated to make every one. New people consistently tell me that it feels more accessible since it happens every week too.
Justin’s story just goes to prove that a lot can change in a year.
It’s great to hear about this kind of stuff happening in the Silicon Forest, especially given current economic conditions. Hopefully, you’ve found Justin’s insights as interesting—and as positive—as I did.
Speaking of what people are doing…. Not to overstate the obvious, but I’m a firm believer that people in Portland consistently do amazing things. And they deserve to be able to tell people about it. So now is as good of a time as any to mention that I’m working to rekindle Portland on Fire this month. If you’re interested in participating, please make sure to submit your Portland on Fire profile.
What kinds of leaps and bounds? I’m glad you asked.
But does it stop there? Oh no, my friend. Not by a long shot.
Sniff sniff. Our little Beer and Blog is all growed up.
Congratulations to Justin, his Portland-based team, and all of the chapter leads! It’s great to see something that has so strengthened the Portland tech community getting the chance to work its magic in other towns.
Like the little orange RSS chiclet, the Universal Edit Button—launched last week—is, in my opinion, one of the most promising promotional tools for raising the visibility of wikis and other editable sites.
But in order for it to work, people need to understand exactly what it is.
“I heard about the UEB when it came out, and I thought it was really cool,” said Kistner. “Then I started talking to some other folks about it, and managed to get Ward, who devised the wiki concept, Mark, who had been coordinating the UEB launch activities, and Pete, who had been integral to the project, all on the phone.”
Kistner’s Skype conversation is available below. (Audio quality is a little rough at times, but the content more than makes up for it. And don’t be fooled at the beginning… You didn’t just initiate a Skype call.)
Just click the little gray arrow to listen.