Tag: Portland

Portland Start-up Index for June 2008: Some movement for the same list

It’s that time again. Techvibes has published its latest installation of the Portland Start-up Index. And while there’s a bit of jostling among the usual gang, no new companies and/or products appear on the list this time around.

The highest climber? Jama Software, followed by Iterasi. The biggest drop was Lightfleet.

So, without further ado:

  1. AboutUs
  2. Kongregate
  3. Discogs
  4. COLOURlovers
  5. Frappr (acquired by Platial)
  6. Jive Software
  7. Splashcast
  8. MyOpenID
  9. Earth Class Mail
  10. Platial
  11. Sandy
  12. Gone Raw
  13. eROI
  14. NetworthIQ (acquired by Strands)
  15. Stikkit
  16. Grabbit
  17. Active Reload
  18. Attensa
  19. GadgetTrak
  20. Walker Tracker
  21. Iterasi
  22. Pibb
  23. ChoiceA
  24. Iovation
  25. Art Face Off
  26. UrbanDrinks
  27. Rocketbook
  28. Lunarr
  29. KnitMap
  30. FreeRange
  31. WeoGeo
  32. Jama Software
  33. Goboz
  34. GoLife Mobile
  35. Picktastic
  36. MomHub
  37. fmyi
  38. Imindi
  39. GoSeeTell
  40. Kryptiq
  41. Cendix
  42. VocalNation.net
  43. Kumquat
  44. Pheedo
  45. Workplace2go
  46. Avnera
  47. Box Populi
  48. IDP Solutions
  49. Collaborative Software Initiative
  50. Lightfleet
  51. Worldwide Nest
  52. YourList
  53. Techchex

As always, this list comes with some caveats. The Techvibes index ranks Portland area tech start-up Web sites—sometimes a series of products from one company, sometimes the corporate site—based on an average of Alexa and Compete traffic rankings. And they don’t take into account widget activity.

Numbers, movement, and other details are available on the Portland Start-up Index page.

COLOURlovers: Portland site could be one of the top 50 on the Web

COLOURloversPortland-based COLOURlovers has had quite a run as of late. Nominated for a Webby twice in a row. Winning a WebVisions Web Visionary Award. And now this: COLOURlovers has been nominated as one of the top 50 sites for 2008 by Time Magazine.

Now, I was Time Magazine’s Person of the Year a couple of years back (as were you), so I know what type of notoriety this type of distinction can deliver. Why not give COLOURlovers a fighting chance?

I’m not advising you to stuff the ballot box or anything. But if you’re a fan of COLOURlovers, you should definitely take a couple of seconds to vote.

Why Portland? Amy Winkelman says “Hi Vidoop, welcome to Portland!”

[Editor: This is Portland. And this is why I love Portland. New Vidoop transplants ask a few questions, and Portland responds. And, as I read through this response, it struck me as a perfect “Why Portland?” entry. So, Portvangelist Amy Winkelman, take it away.]

I’m a friend of Rick Turoczy’s who pointed me to his Silicon Florist post about you all moving to Portland. Since I’m currently on a client work project in China, I’ll miss meeting you at Beer and Blog. However, I’m currently riding in a bus for the next three hours from Huizhou to Hong Kong and it’s a perfect opportunity to try and answer the questions you posed.

Like Rick, I’m thrilled to have another way-cool tech company come to Portland and as a native Oregonian and fanatic Portlander, I love recommending things to new folks visiting the city.

So, here goes…

Portland geographic primer

Oh, just one thing first – a quick guide to directions in town. The city is basically divided up into four quadrants (NE, SE, NW, SW) + North Portland which is sometimes referred to as NoPo. The Willamette (oh yeah, it’s pronounced “Wil-lam-it”) river is the divider between East and West, and Burnside Street is the divider between North and South. A couple of notable neighborhoods fall into the following sections:

Oh yeah, and in NW Portland the streets are alphabetical in one direction (Burnside, Couch, Davis, Everett, etc.) and numbered in the other direction so it’s super easy to get around. Since Portland is home to a couple of mapping start-ups, I’m sure you’ll figure it out. 🙂

Now, to get to the questions…

Koesmanto Bong

Is there any local friendly pick up soccer and volleyball games in Portland?

For volleyball, the schedules and availability of courts change a lot depending on time of year, so check out: http://volyplyr.brinkster.net/pv.asp and http://www.portlandvolleyball.org/

I’m not a soccer player, so I don’t know about that, sorry!

Where can I find authentic Chinese food in Portland?

In the city, you can try Fong Chong in Chinatown/Old Town. [Editor: And within walking distance of the Vidoop office, to boot!] The area is a little dicey at night, so I’d recommend going in the day. But really, most of the Chinese immigrants and families have moved out to SE 82nd (around Division St.) where it’s less expensive, so the most authentic places are up there. The biggest place and possibly the most authentic for dim sum is called Legin. It’s huge and popular (big wedding banquet spot and really busy on Sundays).

My favorite Chinese restaurant isn’t necessarily authentic, but it’s very tasty (kind of expensive though)—it’s called Sungari Pearl on NW 11th & Lovejoy in the Pearl District. [Editor: A little bit of a hike from the Vidoop offices, or a streetcar ride away.]

Is bacon the official choice of food of the city?

It is according to @verso, but I would honestly say anything that is locally farm grown, organic and/or “artisan” is generally pretty popular. Portland is also known for coffee, microbrew, and micro-distillers, wine, berries, hazelnuts and anything you can find at the farmer’s market. Oh, and you’ll see many McMenamins restaurants of different types around town, all owned by a pair of hippie brothers who renovate old spaces and put in restaurants, theaters, etc. each with its own sort of theme. They hire local artists to decorate them, McMenamins microbrew on tap and decent pub food, and the atmosphere is very Portland.

Joel Curran

Where can I find some info on some sports leagues?

Online is the best way to go here. There are tons of leagues, and most should have Web-based info, registration, etc. available. There seems to be a league or group of people who get together to play just about every sport there is (I even see croquet players and bocci ball players in my neighborhood).

Who are some of the top local bands?

[Editor: Look out. You’ve struck a chord here. Oh my. Bad pun.] Indie-rock is the most popular kind of music here. The Shins, Modest Mouse, Spoon, The Decemberists, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Quasi, The Gossip, The Dandy Warhols, Helio Sequence, Stars of Track and Field, Menomena, The Thermals and many more call Portland home. It’s a great music town.

Pink Martini is also hugely popular, but they are a totally different kind of thing… just check them out. They’re fun. Floater is also a long-time favorite local band of many.

Oh, and the jazz/blues scene is strong—Jimmy Mak’s in the Pearl District is a great place to see jazz/blues players. Curtis Salgado is sort of the king of that scene, as is Mel Brown.

What is the one place you would say is a “must-go” for my trip to Portland this weekend?

That’s a really hard question since I don’t know what you’re into. Best thing to do is to pick up a Willamette Week (best alternative paper in Portland) and check out what’s going on this weekend. Here are some other ideas:

  • If you like books (no, if you enjoy life!), you must go to Powell’s. Best bookstore on the planet. NW 10th & Burnside.
  • Saturday morning, check out the Saturday Portland Farmers’ Market in the South Park blocks (downtown by Portland State University) as that’s a good slice of Portland life, and has great food.
  • Go down to the Willamette River waterfront (Tom McCall waterfront park) and walk along the promenade.
  • Take a ride on the Portland Streetcar to the South Waterfront area and take the Portland Aerial Tram up to OHSU (hospital at the top of the hill) for a great view of the city.
  • Check out who’s playing at the Crystal Ballroom, the Doug Fir Lounge, Roseland, Wonder Ballroom, Berbati’s Pan or Jimmy Mak’s and go there for some live music and a drink. [Editor: More of Amy’s insights on venues below.]
  • Try Stumptown Coffee (various spots around the city) for amazing coffee and hipster viewing.
  • If you like to hike or just want a walk in the woods, go to Forest Park—the largest city park in the US. It’s not really a park, but a forest that has amazing trails for short, long or really long hikes. You will totally forget you’re still in the city. A good way to access it is from Washington Park and the Hoyt Arboretum which is also by the Oregon Zoo (accessible by MAX light rail).
  • If you’re a movie buff, there are tons of great theaters, from high-end fancy to down-to-earth funky. I like the pub theaters where you can order food and a beer while watching a second-run flick for only a couple of bucks—try the Mission (in NW), Laurelhurst Theater (NE) or the Bagdad (SE) [Editor: Home of Ignite Portland 3]. On the nicer side, try Fox Tower theaters (downtown) or for strictly independent or foreign flicks, check out the Living Room Theaters (downtown/NW) and Cinema 21 (NW).
  • I’d also recommend checking out Jackpot Records (downtown & SE) and Music Millennium (NE), two of the best independent music stores.
  • For art galleries, restaurants and window shopping, go to the Pearl District (if the weather is good, Jamison Square on NW 10th/11th & Johnson is filled with kids and families playing in the fountain which is fun to watch). I love walking around Northwest Portland along NW 21st & NW 23rd which has some great stores, restaurants and people watching opportunities—both neighborhoods are accessible using the Streetcar.
  • Oh, and it’s definitely a good idea to grab a donut at Voodoo Doughnut at some point—a true Portland experience (downtown, just off Burnside on SW 3rd).

And most importantly, what is the best place for some Mexican food?

Portland is not really known for its Mexican food (sad, but true), but I really really like Nuestra Cocina (SE Division St). Also try Por Que No (NoPo on Mississippi), Cha Cha Cha (NE), or for funky Tex-Mex you can go to Esparza’s just off E Burnside and 28th.

Jason Grlicky

Where is the best local place to get music gear?

Portland Music Co. is the most well-known (several stores around town).

What are your favorite venues?

My favorite is a little (smoke-free) spot called the Doug Fir Lounge that mostly features indie-rock bands (it’s on East Burnside, just over the Burnside bridge from downtown). It has a great bar and restaurant with a cool design, and is located in an up-and-coming area of town with some hip restaurants and shops.

I also really like the Crystal Ballroom, also on Burnside, but in NW/downtown Portland. It’s a lot bigger, brings in all sorts of musical acts and since it’s a McMenamins, the art/design is very Portland. It also has this awesome old-time dancefloor with springs underneath it so you bounce when you dance or pogo or sway, whatever you do. The Wonder Ballroom is another good spot for music (in North/NE).

Who wants to get together and play some board games?

I’ve seen people get together the Lucky Lab pub in SE Portland (on Hawthorne just over the Hawthorne Bridge) for board games. I’m not positive about which night—like Wednesdays maybe?—so check online. It’s a great pub, and I’ve seen all kinds of board games set up that I think you can just join in and play if there’s a seat open.

Robert Nelson aka Rob

Where should I live?

Well, are you single? Have kids? Want to buy a house or rent an apartment? Do you want to bike/walk to work? Want to spend a lot of money on rent/mortgage or only a little? All those things are pretty key (you know that, duh), but let me know what you’re looking for and I can recommend some neighborhoods for you to check out.

I’ve lived in several different kinds of places in NE, SE and NW Portland and each area has its own distinct neighborhoods with their own individual personality. I don’t know where Vidoop’s offices are going to be, but that’s definitely something to consider as well since Portland has excellent public transportation and bike routes so you may want to factor that into where you decide to live.

Where are some great places close to down/mid town to hike?

Forest Park! You will grow to love and adore it—it’s right in town, huge, gorgeous and has great, well-maintained trails. And of course right outside of the city, there are many amazing hiking, mountain biking and walking trails through forests, up/down mountains, along rivers, etc.

Sushi?

Oh, are you going to love Portland! My favorite (traditional) sushi place is in the Pearl District and called Hiroshi (after the chef). It’s a little expensive, but has the best quality fish I think. Other hot spots are Saburos (in SE/Sellwood – go early, it’s crowded), Yakuza (NE), and Masu (downtown & SE). For cheaper but still decent sushi, there are many Mio Sushi’s around town also.

Live music?

Depends on what kind of music you like, but check out who’s playing at the Crystal Ballroom, the Doug Fir Lounge, Roseland, Wonder Ballroom, Berbati’s Pan or Jimmy Mak’s which are the places I’ve gone to most often.

Places to train MMA (jiu jitsu and kickboxing)?

Sorry, no idea… [Editor: I’m hoping that Jake Kuramoto will jump in here. He may even offer to beat you up!]

Joel D. Siedenburg

Looking for a good gym…?

24 Hour Fitness is in just about every neighborhood (downtown, Pearl District, NE, etc.) which is where I go (well, sometimes…). I have some friends who really like the YMCA downtown by Portland State University. There is a Nautilus gym downtown, and some boutique gyms in NW Portland. Oh, and there are tons of yoga and Pilates studios if you’re into that sort of thing (located all over the city).

Where are some close fly-fishing spots?

Not sure, sorry about that. I know people who head down to the McKenzie River near Eugene (about 2 hours away) and I know there is awesome fly fishing on the Rogue River in southern Oregon (about 5 hours away), but I’m sure there are places closer by. A friend of mine is a fly-fishing fanatic (and local software engineering guy) so I’d be happy to do an email invitation for you and he could fill you in.

And definitely need to start looking more into housing… recommendations?

I don’t know what price range you’re looking for, but Portland’s housing prices may be a bit high in comparison to what you’re used to. Every neighborhood in Portland has its own personality and price range, and the closer-in you go toward downtown, the more expensive it is generally. Let me know what you’re looking for and I can do my best to recommend some cool neighborhoods. I also have a really good realtor I’ve used a couple of times if you need that.

Benjamin Stover

What kind of bike should I buy? A hybrid? Where’s the best place to buy one?

Since I bike around on an old busted up mountain bike on the occasions when I do bike, I’m the worst person to ask. But, there are amazing bike resources in town, including some excellent bike shops (Bike Gallery, River City Bicycles, even REI) that have super nice people who can help you. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance is a non-profit to check out—they should be a good jumping off point for bike-related questions. They’re actually a really strong force in the city to promote better bike lanes, bike safety and to make Portland even more bike-friendly.

Is there a good capoeira group in Portland? Muay thai?

I so had to look up capoeira on wikipedia. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t practitioners in Portland… [Editor: Again, recommending Jake Kuramoto—who should be at Beer and Blog—to help in this regard.]

What are the geeky niches in Portland? e.g., retro video game hobbyists? Chiptunes scene?

Portland has lots of geeky subcultures, including retro video game hobbyists (check out Ground Kontrol in Old Town [Editor: Conveniently located just below the current Vidoop office])… The city’s unofficial motto is “Keep Portland Weird” so I guarantee you that you’ll find “your people” whoever they may be.

Again, the Web is your best friend when it comes to finding them.

More questions?

I hope this helps, that you have great weather during your stay and that you enjoy Portland as much as we do. 🙂

Please feel free to drop me a note over email amywinkelman at gmail dot com or Twitter if you have any questions.

Have fun!

Amy Winkelman

First Portland Google Friend Connect sighting? Mapdango may be it

Earlier today, Portland’s Marshall Kirkpatrick had a post on the first Google Friend Connect widget observed outside of captivity, in its natural habitat:

Prominent Israeli tech blogger Orli Yakuel has just installed the first Google Friend Connect widget we’ve seen yet in the wild.

Read the post. Found it interesting. Filed it away.

Then, this evening, I’m reading through my feeds and what do I see? Portland-based Mapdango has added Google Friend Connect:

Friend Connect provides a simple, effective, and fairly universal way of adding social networking features to a web site. Although Friend Connect is still in private beta, mapdango is one of the lucky sites that now includes Friend Connect functionality (it took a little cajoling) 🙂

Now, that’s exciting!

So, what’s Google Friend Connect? Well, it’s a social-networking widget. The most readily available analogy I have is “the Yahoo! MyBlogLog widget on steroids.” Or, as Google says:

Google Friend Connect lets you grow traffic by easily adding social features to your website. With just a few snippets of code, you get more people engaging more deeply with your site.

Now granted, Google Friend Connect is not without its shortcomings—or its detractors. But let’s suspend disbelief for a brief moment, disregard that silly “privacy” thing, and revel in how cool it is to see a Portland company among the very fist to get the chance to test-drive this technology.

As always, I’m very interested to see where this goes.

To try Google Friend Connect for yourself, visit Mapdango.

Vidoop Troop #1: Portland by way of Tulsa

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard that originally-Tulsa-based Vidoop is now well on its way to becoming Portland-based Vidoop. If not, let me tell you this little secret: Vidoop is moving its headquarters to Portland.

Now, Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a far cry from Portland, Oregon, on any number of fronts. Therefore, a little friendly immersion is both recommended and necessary for this burgeoning crop of soon-to-be Portvangelists.

So, Scott Kveton, the original Portvangelist, has arranged to bring members of the Vidoop team up here in waves, introducing them to Portland and the whole Portland tech scene. There are a group of them in town as we speak. And they’ll be in attendance at the Vidoop sponsored Beer & Blog, this Friday.

Hold that thought. And let’s talk about Twitter for a second.

Like many of you, I’ve been known to use Twitter from time to time. And, one of the things I’ve always appreciated most about Twitter is that I gradually get to gain some sort of insight into a person’s life before I run into them in person.

In essence, I get to meet them before I meet them.

Now, I’m excited to meet all the new talent that Vidoop is bringing into Portland. And I’m following as many of the Vidoop folks on Twitter as I can. But we’re a little short on time. So my little “getting to know you” Twitter trick won’t work.

Long story short, I’m feeling a bit behind.

And, here’s where you come in. Disguising my “self interest” as “community interest,” I asked the Vidoop troop if they would be up for answering a few questions. So I we could meet them—as it were—before meeting them.

Being good sports, a number of them obliged. (I like them already!)

And now, I present those folks to you, to meet them before you meet them. Breaking the ice, as it were.

Koesmanto Bong, Web Developer

What? I am one of the web developers at Vidoop who is in charge of the development of myVidoop. I also work on maintaining vidoop.com, confidenttechnologies.com, and blog.vidoop.com

How? I was born in Indonesia in 1982. Came to the US in 2000 and graduated with a degree in MIS in 2004. I worked for a non-profit organization for 2 years before joining Vidoop in June 2006. I have a huge crush on photography and soccer. My dad is a photographer so it runs in the family. My favorite soccer team is Manchester United. I am glad to be a part of Vidoop and what it believes in as far as the way things should go in the identity space, and definitely look forward to seeing where things are going in the near future.

Links? SoccerNet, Digg, Koesbong on Twitter

Questions about Portland?

  • Is there any local friendly pick up soccer and volleyball games in Portland?
  • Where can I find authentic Chinese food in Portland?
  • Is bacon the official choice of food of the city?

Joel Curran, Researcher – Business Development

What? My day is filled with reading tech blogs and different news sources to find info on competitors, potential partners/clients and what’s happening out in the tech community. I also do some market research and help provide information and statistics to contribute to our marketing department.

How? I graduated from Oklahoma State University with a B.A. in Public Relations in 2007. At OSU I helped manage a student-run advertising agency, worked on some non-profit PR campaigns, and worked for the athletic department/football team. I have been working at Vidoop since January. Some things that make my day are: listening to Ray Lamontagne, any sport (but college basketball is number one), Chuck Palahniuk books, meeting new people, being outdoors, a little rain, some time at the gym, an episode or two of The Office, and a good dinner and night out with friends.

Links of interest? The Office Quotes, ESPN, and Go Pokes.

Questions about Portland?

  • Where can I find some info on some sports leagues?
  • Who are some of the top local bands?
  • What is the one place you would say is a “must-go” for my trip to Portland this weekend?
  • And most importantly, what is the best place for some Mexican food?

Jason Grlicky, Web Developer

What? Web work of all sorts. Mostly keeping up with myVidoop.com and working with the plugin team. I am frequently seen grazing in areas populated by CSS & JavaScript and have been known to create little icons at the slightest provocation.

How? Raised in Oklahoma, I graduated from the University of Tulsa in ’07 with computer science and psych degrees. I joined Vidoop as an intern last August and became full-time as soon as I could. I take great joy in good design and am obsessed with games (video or otherwise) and music.

Links? Maxheadwound on MyVidoop, Maxheadwound on Twitter, Jason Grlicky

Questions about Portland?

  • Where is the best local place to get music gear?
  • What are your favorite venues?
  • Who wants to get together and play some board games?

Robert Nelson aka Rob, Business Development aka BizDev; specifically: Prospector (I like saying aka)

What? I am part of the Business Development Team, working specifically for Confident Technologies which focuses solely on bringing stronger authentication to enterprise. I support my BizDev brothers by finding new leads and building relationships with contacts/companies that we want to partner with to provide the web with stronger authentication.

How? I have a problem (or so my boss say’s, “whatever Mitch, you shut your mouth”) I tend to speak, then realize that I immediately regret what I just said, there is supposedly this thing called a “filter” that most people have and apparently I don’t have it. I am very active, if it is day light I want to be outside, I enjoy combat sports, watching and training, I train Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai kick boxing along with some wrestling and boxing as well. I like to cheat the system (for the record there is no sign that says you have to leave the theater once your movie is over, so the way I see it I am just smarter than everyone else 🙂 ..I am known to go to a movie and then whenever my movie is over sneak into another movie, then another, then another, then another, my record is 6 movies in one day, 5 soda’s 3 popcorns, 2 pickles, and of course a butterfinger…and waaaay too many bathroom breaks. One of my favorite things to do though is simple, get together with quality people and eat some quality food, in that order. I think I am addicted to sushi, our CEO said I am going to wake up one day with gills, I’m still waiting…

Links? T-Rex Vehicles, UFC, and the obligatory ConfIdent Technologies, Vidoop, and Silicon Florist

Questions about Portland?

  • Where should I live?
  • Where are some great places close to down/mid town to hike?
  • Sushi?
  • Live music?
  • Places to train MMA (jiu jitsu and kickboxing)?

Joel D. Siedenburg, Account Manager

What? Siedenburg’s core role is business development and strategic partnership procurement as well as account relations and management.

How? Born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, moved to Tulsa for college in 2000, and did commercial real estate (retail investment sales) with CB Richard Ellis. Later turned down doing an amplified level of this in London or Madrid to join Vidoop in Nov of 2006. Have never looked back!

Links? Elpais.es, elmundo.es, Lowes.com (joke, I’ve been renovating a 1928 house), Wes Anderson, Audi

Questions about Portland?

  • Looking for a good gym…?
  • Where are some close fly-fishing spots?
  • And definitely need to start looking more into housing… recommendations?

Benjamin Stover, Software Developer

What? Member of the plugin team. I currently maintain the Firefox plugin code.

How? Born in Texas, raised in Oklahoma. I’m 23 and have been working for Vidoop for about a year. My interests include video game programming, Javascript, jogging, two-stepping, beer (favorite: Pilsner Urquell) and math (or what I can remember of it). My current project is losing weight. 🙂 Lately I spend too much time reading blogs and thinking about work. I’m gay and have a wonderful boyfriend who is a
school teacher, and we volunteer together at Oklahomans for Equality.

Links? Not very interesting, I assure you 🙂 My webpage is stechz.com, but there’s nothing there right now. My twitter URL is http://twitter.com/stechz.

Questions about Portland?

  • What kind of bike should I buy? A hybrid? Where’s the best place to buy one?
  • Is there a good capoeira group in Portland? Muay thai?
  • What are the geeky niches in Portland? e.g., retro video game hobbyists? Chiptunes scene?

So now that you’ve met them, where can you meet them? Beer and Blog, my friend. Beer and Blog. Sponsored—appropriately enough—by Vidoop and featuring Scott Kveton, Michael Richardson, and DiSo.

As always, I’m sure Mr. Kistner would appreciate an RSVP on Upcoming so he knows how many to expect.

Looking forward to seeing you and the Vidoop’rs there.

And if you want to get a jump start on answering some of the questions posited above, feel free to begin sharing your Portland expertise in the comments.

Why Portland? After trying LA, a native returns home to the northwest

[Editor: And the “Why Portland?” series—which began with Intrigo and continued with Tim Kadlec—continues with Heather N of Strands. What’s Strands? Well, if you’d like to find out, something tells me that “Portland” may also help you get into their private BETA. Now, on with the story…]

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and Los Angeles was the last place I imagined living.

But about a year after graduating college, I was working in Santa Monica at a new social network called TagWorld, focusing on online marketing, business development and project management. And, after becoming immersed in Los Angeles tech and social media, Portland seemed even further away.

But, as TagWorld evolved into Flux (Viacom as a minority investor), I became more aware of a growing tech scene in Portland and the temptation to return grew.

Eventually, I decided my relationship with LA was coming to an end, and Portland called. Soon enough, I found myself at Strands as the new Community Manager. Strands is headquartered in Corvallis, but I have been given the opportunity to work remotely and evangelize to the Portland community, which I am very excited about.

For the past four years, Strands has been working to develop social recommender systems that can be applied to numerous verticals. After a very active 2007 ($55M raised in VC funding; $12M in sales), 2008 is the year we will be presenting this technology to the world. We are applying our recommendation technologies to three areas: personal finance, social media, and business solutions.

Though I have only begun my journey into the tech sphere of Portland, I have already noticed an interesting dichotomy with that of Los Angeles.

LA is all about competition, competition, competition

I won’t go as far to say that the tech community in Los Angeles is as cut throat as their entertainment industry, but in some cases it’s a close second. With a new NDA being drawn up every minute, companies offering the world to a person to join them and leave their current position and enemy lines being drawn between social media companies, there is a definite switch in the overall feeling of community in LA.

Of course there are some amazing start-ups and tech companies that don’t employ as aggressive tactics, but they’re a bit harder to find in LA than here in Portland.

It’s only been a few weeks and I already feel happily welcomed into the Portland tech community. Not only do people from different companies and verticals work together, but also everyone I have met has been very willing to help in whatever capacity that may be. This makes me realize that the overall sense of the Portland tech industry is much like that of the people of this city.

Portland is free of over-saturation

To me Portland is the perfect size. Not only in terms of a city but also that of tech. I am shocked to see just how much is going on in tech and social media in this town, but doubt it will ever become too much.

In LA, I worked in a three-block radius of some of the biggest tech companies in the world and that was just in Santa Monica. Though you do run into a lot of the same people and I did make some amazing relationships, it was never possible to get a stronghold on the entire tech community.

In Portland it seems everyone is connected and the close-knit environment is not only inviting, but extremely helpful in my job objective for Strands.

Portland excels at “Keeping it Real”

Los Angeles is a city full of archetypal sorts that exist nowhere else—other than our minds. Though the tech world of LA is separate from this, these models of perfection that only LA possesses occasionally bleed over.

I don’t feel that the Portland is trying to be something its not. The unrealistic idealism that floats through Los Angeles has not made its way to Portland, and I love that.

Looking forward

As much as I am now at the point of critique, I would never trade a second of my time in Los Angeles. I became immersed in a world I never would have dreamed of being a part of and now can take the experience with me.

I am very ready to submerge myself in the Portland tech community and get people as interested and excited in Strands as I am.

Have you got a “Why Portland?” story to tell? I’d love to hear it. Feel free to drop me note at siliconflorist at gmail.

Portland Lunch 2.0 SP4: Code name “Wieden + Kennedy”

Update (June 10, 2008): The format for Portland Lunch 2.0 SP4 has been revised.

Details have just been released for Portland Lunch 2.0 SP4 and it’s going to be a little different than the “come one, come all” format that’s governed your attendance—or possible attendance—at the first three.

Hosted by Portland’s favorite advertising juggernaut—Wieden + Kennedy—on June 30, Portland Lunch 2.0 SP4 will come with a catch: It’s going to be a more exclusive gig, with a limited number of tickets available to those hoping to attend.

On Monday June 30th, 50-100 people are cordially invited to join 50-100 W+K employees for a “blind date meets grade school birthday party” ad/tech extravaganza. It’s going to be a fun, it’s going to be quirky, and it’s going to rock RockBand style (literally).

So how do you get behind the velvet rope? Don’t worry, gentle reader. We’ll make sure your name is on the list.

Well, if you show up on June 16, that is.

In order to get the most out of this event, we ask that you swing by the W+K lobby on June 16th (next Monday) between 6-9pm to pick up a ticket package. This package will contain information about your Lunch 2.0v4 “date”, directions/instructions, and a ticket to the event.

On June 16, I’ll hope to see you at the doors of the W+K home base in the Pearl, clamoring with the throngs hoping to get a ticket. And I swear, if you elbow me in the chops the way you did to get into the first Ignite Portland at W+K, I’m not going to be happy.

Interested in attending Portland Lunch 2.0 SP4? Well, you can RSVP on Upcoming. But as I’ve said, that’s not going to do you much good. It will, however, give you an idea of the competition against which you’ll be struggling for that coveted golden ticket to Portland Lunch 2.0 SP4.

Update: This format for Portland Lunch 2.0 has sparked some interesting discussion, starting with Aaron Hockley and continuing with Bram Pitoyo.

Ignite Portland 3: And the burning ideas are…

Ignite Portland 3Who could top the presentations of Ignite Portland and Ignite Portland 2?

Well, if anyone has a chance, it’s these fine folks who’ve been selected to present at Ignite Portland 3.

That’s right. The Ignite Portland 3 presentations have been announced.

Drum roll please. And the lucky 13 are (in order of appearance):

And, while the free “guaranteed entrance” tickets sold out in a little over 24 hours, there’s still room for you to attend Ignite Portland 3. Get there early and I’m sure you’ll get into the venue.

If you’re even considering attending, please take a second to RSVP for Ignite Portland 3 on Upcoming so the organizers have an accurate count of how many people they’ll have to turn away will be showing up.

I’m looking forward to seeing you there.

Why Portland? Tim Kadlec provides a view from outside the bubble

[Editor: Happy to be continuing the “Why Portland?” series…

I had the pleasure of meeting Tim Kadlec at SXSW 2008. Just one of those random connections that really made the whole event worthwhile. At SXSW, the Portland crowd took Tim under our collective wing and worked hard to woo him from the Midwest to the West coast. We’re still working on it, but it’s clear we’re having an effect.

And with that, here’s an outsider’s view on “Why Portland?”]

I was recently asked by Rick if I would like to write a guest post for Silicon Florist about why I “find Portland tech appealing.” I think that was his nice way of saying, “Why are you so obsessed with Portland tech?” Can you be a fanboi of a community? If so, then I guess I’m a bit of a Portland fanboi.

It all started innocently enough….

I’ve visited Oregon many times and always loved how beautiful a state it was. With the ocean nearby and gorgeous mountains a short drive away, Portland offers no shortage of beautiful scenery.

Then I started to look into what was going on in the Portland web community, liked the activity I was seeing, and my interest in the area started to slowly develop beyond sightseeing.

In March, I had the opportunity to attend SXSW in Austin, TX where I got the opportunity to meet and talk with Rick Turoczy, Toby Lucich, Dawn Foster, Scott Kveton, and a whole flood of Portlanders. After hearing each of them rave about Portland and the work that was being done by their peers there, I was hooked.

The tech community in Portland is a great example of what other communities should strive for. They are consistently innovative, develop quality solutions and genuinely get excited about seeing progress.

Portland’s web community is thriving. No doubt about it. With high-quality companies such as Vidoop, Jive, SplashCast, JanRain and so many more, you could easily imagine a situation where communication between developers is minimal….that’s an awful lot of competition in one area!

The exact opposite happens though…there is a surplus of support and communication taking place. There is no shortage of sites whose primary goal is to sing the praises of Portland. PDX Web Innovators, Portland Is Awesome, Portland on Fire, and of course, Silicon Florist, all try to bring attention to Portland and the wonderful quality of work being produced there.

I can honestly say that I haven’t seen another community where so many people are so excited about what they do and where they do it.

That general excitement is why I believe Portland’s tech community continues to grow. They say enthusiasm is contagious, and it looks like Portland is severely infected.

In the end, it’s this enthusiasm, excitement and sense of community that makes Portland so appealing to me. I believe when you surround yourself with people who have similar interests and are willing to share their experiences and knowledge, great things happen. Portland offers that environment and the ideas being developed there echo it.

Tim Kadlec is a web developer from Wisconsin who specializes in Javascript and CSS development. For more, check out Tim’s blog or follow tkadlec on Twitter. You are also highly encouraged to join the campaign to woo Kadlec to Portland.

Want some time with Forrester’s Charlene Li? Internet Strategy Forum, Jive give you two opp’s

Internet Strategy Forum Summit 2008When it comes to A-listers in social media, Charlene Li of Forrester Research is right up there. So I can totally understand why you’d jump at the chance to spend some time with her.

Well, the good news is that she’ll be coming to Portland. The better news is that you’ll get the chance to spend some time with her—in person and in hardback—but you have to act quickly.

Charlene is going to be speaking on “creating social strategies that work” at the Internet Strategy Forum Summit in Portland on July 17. (So that’s your in-person time.) And, now, Jive Software has offered a free copy of Charlene’s new book, Groundswell, (that’s your hardback time) to the first 250 people to register and attend the event. (You have to be there to get the book.)

Groundswell provides Charlene’s analysis of some of the top corporate uses of social media strategies within and without the “enterprise.”

And for that ever-popular “local flavor”? Groundswell also features Portland’s own Josh Bancroft and his social-media work at Intel.

Who knows? Maybe you could get Charlene and Josh to autograph it for you?

But wait, there’s more

So, you get time with Charlene Li and you get her book for free. What could be better?

How about a discount on your registration fee? Yes? Yes!

Silicon Florist readers are entitled to a 10% discount on their Internet Strategy Forum Summit registration. Simply enter the discount code FLORIST.

That’s a lot of good news for one post. But quite frankly, gentle reader, you deserve it.

The Internet Strategy Forum is a professional association and peer networking group for management with responsibility for driving Internet strategy and implementation from within medium to large client-side organizations across multiple industries. For more on the organization and the summit, visit the Internet Strategy Forum.

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