Tag: Portland

This could be a mistake but… here’s the Silicon Florist podcast (alpha)

Well, any number of people have come up to me and said, “Your posts are too long,” “I wish there were a quicker way to digest the information you’re providing,” and “Why don’t you do a podcast?”

So, despite my better judgment, I’m going to be giving the podcast a shot.

If you’re interested in suffering through my dulcet tones, take a few minutes—or 20—to listen to the alpha version of the Silicon Florist podcast.

Now, rest assured, I’m no audio expert. And trust me, I’d love to get your feedback. Anything is fair game. Too loud? Too quiet? Do I need to do a little Chocolate Rain maneuver? Not breathy enough?

And please, by all means, let me know if this is something you would like to see continue.

So, can I buy you lunch today?

Well, it’s finally here: Portland Lunch 2.0, the Silicon Florist first anniversary edition. And to celebrate, I’d like to buy you lunch. But don’t tell anyone. This will just be our secret.

All that you have to do is meet me down at CubeSpace around noon. That’s it!

Now, it’s no secret that I’m not the best in front of a crowd. So I’m currently wallowing in a near-death tizzy about forgetting to thank some very important people. (And it’s just you and me. Imagine what a wreck I would be if more people decided to show up?)

So, rather than risk it, I thought I’d do what I do marginally well: write a post.

First and foremost, thank you, um, you. Thanks for reading this blog for a year. For the amazing support. And for the true feeling of community. I completely stumbled into this. And I continue to stumble—and be humbled by the amazing community we have here. I feel incredibly lucky. And, I really, really appreciate your support. Thank you.

Thank you to all of the cool side projects and companies Portland and the Silicon Forest. Thank you to each and of every one of you—geeks, bloggers, and leaders—who take a risk, try to bend technology to your will, and in the end, wind up creating some incredibly cool things about which—in my opinion—everyone should know.

I love hearing about what you’re doing. And hopefully, I’m doing a little bit to help other folks understand what all of those late hours and crazy conversations truly mean.

And I’d also like to thank some individuals:

  • Thanks to Jake Kuramoto for bringing Lunch 2.0 to Portland. Without him, I wouldn’t have this knot in my stomach right now.
  • Thanks to CubeSpace for always being the gracious host for the Portland Web tech community. Without them, we would all (and by all I mean you and me) be trying to stand in my backyard during lunch.
  • Thanks to Marshall Kirkpatrick, who has been a true mentor, a connector of dots, and a consummate promoter of the blog. I can honestly say that I’ve never received a better introduction than, “Rick follows everything going in Portland tech. And then he blogs the shit out of it.”
  • Thanks to Justin Kistner, who has truly codified a community with Beer and Blog, who has helped Silicon Florist reach a wider audience, and without whom, we’d still all be seeing that little watering-can guy in the header.
  • Thanks to Scott Kveton for his Portvangelist magic, his seemingly unshakeable belief in what this blog could be, his guest posts on Silicon Florist, and of course, for his indefatigable (that’s right, I said “indefatigable”) role in all things Open. He definitely keeps me cranking content.
  • Thanks to Mike Rogoway and Steve Woodward at The Oregonian, for the link love, the kind support, and for realizing that there is something happening here. Something that’s important. Something that deserves a wider audience.
  • Thanks to Darius Monsef, for sharing his insight, his intelligence, his scheming, and his guest posts which always lead me to wonder if my servers are actually going to be able to withstand the traffic.
  • Thanks to everyone who has ever written a guest post, thought about writing a guest post, or read a guest post here on Silicon Florist. It’s really rewarding for me to have the opportunity to share other voices and views, and it’s made this blog a much better resource because of that sharing.
  • And finally, thanks to everyone who has ever read, subscribed, commented, trackbacked, and shared articles. It is, after all, a conversation.
  • And thanks, of course, to my family and friends without whose support I’d never be able to do what I do. “I thought you were a workaholic before, but this year took you to a whole new level.”

I could go on and on and on. Literally. And hopefully each and every one of you—whom I would love to list—know who you are. I hope. I hope I do a good job of letting you know that.

And I’d like to do a better job of that in year two. Making sure that people know not only what’s happening in Portland but who is making things happen. And there’s plenty of other stuff cooking, too. Let’s see if we can’t make this thing even better, shall we?

So come on down to CubeSpace, grab some lunch, and let’s celebrate a wacky, wonderful first year of Silicon Florist. I can’t wait to see what we accomplish in year two.

And don’t forget, Shizzow will be the guest of honor, so beta accounts will be flowing like honey.

Counting down to Inverge 2008

InvergeIn less than a month, a number of luminaries will descend upon the Rose City for Inverge 2008, a two-day opportunity to share their insights about the convergence of media platforms.

So far, the following speakers have been confirmed:

For more information on topics and timing, see the Inverge schedule.

Need more reasons to attend? Okay, you’re a tough sell, but I’m a soft touch. How about this:

Inverge brings presenters and attendees together from a variety of professions and disciplines to explore changes and opportunities presented by the increasing digitization of media, the democratization of distribution and the proliferation of connectivity into new areas. The big picture is revealed via the unique integration of disciplines at the event. The presentations are high-level, informative and conceptual, pointing the way toward the future and facilitating advanced professional development.

Still not biting? Okay, well… How about a 2-for-1 deal? That’s right. I’ve been authorized to give you a 50% discount when you register two people. That means the price per person drops to below $200. Split the cost with a friend. Give someone a ticket as a gift. Or look to scalp it on eBay.

To get your discount, simply visit the Inverge registration page and enter the code 2for1SF. That’s it. Easy!

What’s that? You don’t have anyone with whom to split this deal? Oh my. That IS a sad story. Okay, well enter the code SF and get a 25% discount. See there? Buck up, little camper. It’s all better.

Inverge 2008: the interactive convergence conference will take place Sept. 4 – 5 at the Armory in Portland’s Pearl District (128 NW 11th).

Shizzow knows Portland, Oregon. Now get to know Shizzow.

ShizzowSharing information about your current location with people you trust has always held this glimmer of potential. The glimmer of actually finding the time to meet face-to-face during our ever increasingly busy schedules. The glimmer of that impromptu meetup with people whom you would like to get to know better.

To date, that potential has always remained a glimmer.

The reality? That’s been slightly less beneficial. Reality has tended to be a useless stream of updates, declaring your friends are “in Portland, Oregon” or, worse yet, at some random address that holds little to no meaning.

Introducing Shizzow

And that’s why I’m so glad to see Portland-centric Shizzow opening its private beta, today.

What’s Shizzow?

Shizzow provides the technology for you to notify your friends of your location, with as little effort as possible, so you can spend more time hanging out with your peeps and less time trying to coordinate bringing them together through phone, email, SMS and IM.

I hear you. “Another one?” But hold your horses. I think Shizzow’s got a number of things going for it. And, as far as Portland goes? I think Shizzow has nailed it.

First and foremost, Shizzow is for Portland, Oregon. And only Portland, Oregon. Not the world. Not the Northwest. Portland. And that’s it. Shizzow isn’t about the video-game mentality of adding as many followers as possible—followers you may never ever meet in person. Shizzow is about knowing where your friends in Portland are. So that you can meet them, face-to-face, when those opportunities avail themselves.

Simple and local. By Portland, for Portland. And in my book, that’s huge.

Second, Shizzow is designed to understand where you are—and to tell people where you are—as simply and easily as possible. And I’ve been duly impressed by how hard they’ve worked to make sure that the database of locations is as deep and intuitive as possible.

Why is that important? Two reasons:

  1. No more (or far less) “Please enter the address of your location.” When you “shout” with Shizzow, you just need to know the name of the Portland place in which you’re currently standing. Not the address. Not the GPS coordinates. The name of the place. Easy.
  2. I know places better than addresses. When I’m reading the shouts of my Shizzow friends, it’s a lot (a lot!) easier for me to process “EcoTrust Building” than it is for me to process “721 NW 9th Avenue Portland, OR 97209.” That means, that I’m more likely to go meet my friends or plan my trips accordingly.

Sounds good, huh? I know! So let’s get you involved in this private beta.

Beta invites available

Dawn Foster has been helping Shizzow with its community, so if you’re in the Portland area and interested in an invite, she’s the best person to ping… but you better hurry:

Right now, the beta invites are limited to a couple hundred people living in Portland. I’ll be sending out invites today along with the rest of the team.

Even now, I’m already happily getting a flood of new friends (thank you!), so I know the Portland gang is getting involved. I can’t wait to see how this works once we get big group shouting.

A true side project to startup story

And the final reason that I’m so happy for these guys? They’ve truly made the leap from side project to startup:

Each member of the Shizzow crew has a full-time job outside of Shizzow, and it’s taken a ton of sweat equity and sleep-deprived nights to bring Shizzow to fruition. But because we’ve believed in our vision and believed in the idea of bringing friends and like-minded people together, the sacrifices we’ve made have not seemed like work but instead like… something we simply had to do. And now, 10 months and tens of thousands of lines of code later, we’re ready…

I can’t really put into words how proud I am of these guys. And how excited I am to get everyone in Portland on this service.

That said, what if you don’t happen to make the initial round of invites? Fear not, gentle reader. There’s still another way to get into shouting with Shizzow. As Dawn says:

If you want an invite, and don’t hear from me today, you can get one from me at Lunch 2.0 on Wednesday.

That’s right! Shizzow will be the guest of honor at the Silicon Florist’s Portland Lunch 2.0, this Wednesday. So come on down to CubeSpace, grab some lunch, meet some people face-to-face, and get signed up with Shizzow, so that you can continue those discussions—and continue getting to know your Portland peers.

Call me evil and conniving, but I’m seriously hoping you don’t get an invite. Because that way I get the chance to see you, in person.

In any case, I’m really, really looking forward to all the shouts from CubeSpace, this Wednesday. And to running into you in person—thanks to Shizzow—in the near future.

 

Shizzow is a location-driven social networking service that encourages quality relationships via face-to-face interaction. Dig in at http://shizzow.com . For more information on the launch and Shizzow’s story, see the Shizzow blog.

The Startup’s Journey

[Editor: Over the past couple of months, I’ve had the pleasure of getting into a number of fairly deep conversations with the Portland-based Back Fence PDX crew, Frayn Masters and Melissa Lion, about the power of story. You see, that’s what they do. They help people understand and formalize their stories.

I mean, technology is great and all, but the stories of the entrepreneurs in this town—the folklore—is what really brings these technology stories to life. But I could never really effectively capture that concept.

So why not let a real writer—an author—step in? Enter Melissa and Frayn—two real authors.

Melissa was kind enough to swing by Silicon Florist to write a guest post about the power of story in the world of startups.

Do you like what she says? Disagree? Why not take the opportunity to have that discussion with her, in person, at Beer and Blog tonight, where Melissa will be the guest speaker. And the beer is free. That’s right. Thanks to TeachStreet. Win, win, and, um, win.

Now, on with our story…]

The Startup’s Journey

by Back Fence PDX

Storytelling is appealing at its core because it’s gossip—that delicious thrill of knowing a person’s hidden life a little bit better. The details of the person’s story stick in the listener’s mind to be retold to others due to the history and flawed point of view of the teller. And, like a game of telephone, as it gets passed on, the little details change making the story more and more enticing, adding to the lore.

Business plans, white papers and websites all tell a hygienic story—none have a distinguishing voice—they are the musings of robots. None share the shiver of a whisper in your ear, or the eyes-wide-with-anticipation surprise of what comes next. That gossip, that raw story, is the reason blogs and social networking sites bloom. They are a break from the bullet points and style guides. Voiceless PowerPoint presentations don’t make for juicy party chatter.

People crave a voice. People desire a story.

The Startup’s Story

There is the official story of the company. And then there is the lore. It’s the legend, the myth, what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey. Campbell identifies the elements of the Hero’s Journey as the separation, the initiation and the return.

The separation is the moment the founder decided to do something different. Why the change? What was that moment? Was he or she on a bike ride? At dinner with a friend? Suddenly woken in the night? What did it feel like when the idea appeared?

The company is initiated through its initial mistakes, trials, additions and edits. It is the discovery of what works.

The return occurs when past life is melded with the present. When the business is at once, something totally new and yet blended with the past, with lessons learned and warnings heeded or ignored. It is the after shot of the makeover story—the person is still the same, but they are improved through the trials of the initiation.

Narrative Arc

Though storytelling is a natural element of humanity and the original social networking tool, an engaging and repeatable narrative is difficult to capture. The tools of the story from plot to character to voice can be unwieldy. The craft of narrative is one learned through years of trial and error. Skilled use of the craft is what separates lore from idle chat.

Professional storytellers have a trained ear for the details of the arc; they understand that it is not about perfection, but about flaws, the real humanity of the journey. They brush aside the static of the story, the starts and stops and craft a tale that is simple, compelling and easily retold so the lore is passed like so many legends through the community.

A story crafted by professional storytellers is the beginning of the buzz. There is a twist of the unexpected, or the make-over that engages the reader or listener. It’s the whisper that starts the cacophony.

It gives even the newest companies a past, a humanity that can never be felt through white pages. It is the history that all humans relate to. A well-told lore adds value to all companies, and invites a personal connection with those who hear the tale.

By creating a lore, a start-up invites others to become characters in the tale. The Venture Capitalist wants a role, they want to be character in the story. The Angel wants to be a hero. The lore provides a structure for people to better see their potential role in the start-up.

What’s your story? What’s the gossip passed around the community? What is the lore that is yet untold?

Back Fence PDX is a storytelling series in Portland. Co-producers Frayn Masters and Melissa Lion are professional storytellers, crafting the lore of Portland companies.

Melissa Lion of Back Fence PDX will be presenting at Beer and Blog, this evening. To RSVP, visit Beer and Blog on Upcoming.

BlogHer ’09 to be held in Portland, Oregon

Well, okay. Maybe I’m jumping the gun. But BlogHer ’09 could be held in Portland. It could be, that is, if you exercise your right to vote.

Elisa Camahort writes:

I’ve heard a lot of rumbling out there wondering where BlogHer ’09 will be. Well, just like last year, we’re going to poll the community. We included the below poll in the post-conference survey for attendees, but we want to make sure those of you who didn’t attend can also weigh in.

That’s right, the premiere event for women bloggers is asking you to help choose where BlogHer will be held in July of 2009. And I can’t think of any better spot than Portland.

Why?

  1. Portland is home to a number of phenomenal women bloggers
  2. Weather in July is pretty good
  3. Portland’s a great city for hosting these kinds of events
  4. Portland is home to a bunch of brilliant women bloggers
  5. And we’ve got some really talented women bloggers here, too

So what do you have to do to make this dream a reality? Vote! Female blogger or otherwise. Vote, and let’s see if we can bring BlogHer to the Rose City next year.

(Hat tip Jeff Martens)

Lunch 2.0 at the Art Institute of Portland

Hot on the heels of SplashCast’s possibly haunted Lunch 2.0 announcement, comes another Lunch 2.0. I told you I had a busy Friday.

The Art Institute of Portland will be opening its doors for Lunch 2.0 on October 15, just over a week after their Fall term begins. It’s in the Pearl, right across the street from the Portland Armory.

Big thanks to Bram Pitoyo for making this happen. Did you know he is a graduate of the Art Institute, as is Lunch 2.0 veteran Gaia Borgias Brown? I’m sure there are others you follow on Twitter who will be happy to return to the hallowed halls.

OK, the skinny:

aiipdx.pngHostsArt Institute of Portland

Where: 1122 NW Davis, Portland, OR, 97209

When: October 15, 2008 from 12:00 to 2:00 PM

RSVP on Upcoming

Thanks to Allena Baker and Lulu Hoeller for securing a gigantic space for this Lunch 2.0. Bring your friends and colleagues and look forward to learning something new about the Art Institute, meeting some new people and seeing your old Twitter pals. Oh, and check out the exhibit on your way in or out or both.

One last programming note, I’ve spoken to a few potential hosts who were interested in September and/or October lunches. Fear not, there’s no clause in the Lunch 2.0 bylaws requiring no more than one event per month.

So, we can work around the upcoming lunches, no worries, or we can look ahead to November.

Lots of lunches coming up, so here’s the quick and dirty schedule:

SplashCast to Host Lunch 2.0, Friendly Ghosts Invited

Last Friday I signed up two more Lunch 2.0 hosts at two very cool places in Portland.

First, SplashCast wants to show off its new(ish) office space in Old Town, and not just any building in Old Town, the old Merchant Hotel.

You know, the same building that Old Town Pizza inhabits, directly above the infamous Portland Shanghai Tunnels, the haunted one. That building.

While the Merchant’s old lobby is the home to OTP now, SplashCast is up on the third floor, presumably occupying space that once was one or two guest rooms way back in the day. Kim Ramage has done a great job fixing up the space, and she’s eager to have you all come by for some lunch. So, now the skinny:

splashcast.jpgHosts: SplashCast

Where: 226 NW Davis, 3rd Floor, Portland, OR, 97209 (we’ll have signs and spirit hosts to guide you)

When: September 17, 2008 from 12:00 to 2:00 PM

RSVP on Upcoming

The space isn’t huge, so the RSVP if you’re definitely coming. We’ll turn off the list at 60 or so; if you’re not sure, decide on that day and cruise by later. The crowd generally thins out after 1:00 PM as people head back to work.

As always, if you want to nom veggie or vegan, add a comment on the Upcoming event indicating your culinary desires.

In case you missed it, Rick is celebrating his first birthday as the Silicon Florist with a Lunch 2.0 on August 13 at CubeSpace. RSVP for that event here, and stay tuned for another Lunch 2.0 announcement for October.

Marshall Kirkpatrick promoted to VP at ReadWriteWeb, fiance

Portland-based blogger extraordinaire, Marshall Kirkpatrick, is well-known for his investigative skills, his objective reporting, and his almost Barnum-esque flare for hinting at the “big news” he’s just about to publish.

So when @marshallk sent the following tweet on Thursday night…

Marshall Kirkpatrick hints at two big stories

hinting at news that he had already queued up nearly a week before, a whole bunch of us waited with near-breathless anticipation for the news to drop.

And at 7:00 PM Pacific time, the news broke.

So what’s up with Marshall? Two things.

Let’s do the business thing first and the personal thing second, because I’ll probably get all gooby and misty by the end of this thing.

Marshall Kirkpatrick joins ReadWriteWeb full-time as Vice President of Content Development

Marshall has served in a part-time role as Lead Writer at ReadWriteWeb for nearly year, helping the publication climb the ranks of the tech blogs—and truly all blogs—to crack the top 10 of “most linked” blogs worldwide and to a near-permanent residence in the top 10 of the Techmeme Leader Board.

Marshall’s effect on ReadWriteWeb has clearly been felt. And, as such, his promotion to Vice President of Content Development is both timely and well deserved. Bringing him on as a full-time employee will only strengthen his ability to contribute to the publication.

So what will this new role entail? And does it mean we’ll see less of Marshall’s posts? Richard MacManus, RWW founder, described Marshall’s new role:

The grand title reflects Marshall’s senior position within ReadWriteWeb, where he will be responsible for driving a lot of our upcoming content developments. These include premium content, publishing system enhancements, and more magic things. Marshall will also continue to be ReadWriteWeb’s Lead Writer, so don’t worry his writing isn’t taking a backseat at all. He will be going full-time at RWW sometime over the next couple of weeks.

There’s no telling what Marshall has up his sleeve. But, before too long, we’re sure to see some of that Kirkpatrick magic beginning to wend its way into regular rotation on RWW:

I am really excited about getting to bring some of my other ideas to fruition with a team of good people and Richard’s support, though…. I think many of you will really like what you see us come up with over at ReadWriteWeb.

In my opinion, this is a shrewd and necessary move for the ReadWriteWeb team. Embracing one of the leading bloggers in the industry and giving him more control over the content on the site will only help RWW continue its ascent in the tech blog world.

That, and I never get tired of hard workers getting just rewards for their efforts.

I know. Call me crazy.

But here’s the even bigger news…

Marshall Kirkpatrick announces his engagement to Mikalina Wiswall

Tech jobs come and go. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started chasing the next shiny Web 2.0 bauble.

So that’s why it’s I take a distinct pleasure in reporting truly important news like Marshall’s and Mikalina’s engagement.

Marshall puts the announcement in context:

Most important, I’m getting married to my partner Mikalina! Many of my work contacts here on the blog haven’t met Mikalina but many of you have. She’s wonderful and I love her very much.

I’ve been lucky enough to work with Marshall as a consultant, as my blogging mentor, and—yes—even as an entrepreneur on the receiving end of his objective reviews. But for all of that fun, learning, and excitement, I always feel luckiest about the fact that I get to count Marshall among my friends.

And there’s nothing better than seeing friends happy.

(See? I told you I’d get all gooby.)

So congrats to Mr. Kirkpatrick on two very exciting—and life altering—announcements. I can’t wait to see where he goes from here.

And, I can’t tell you how much I love it when this kind of stuff hits Techmeme.

Enhance your monitor tan: Summer Coders’ Social

It’s no secret that one of the best things about Portland is the summer weather. (Although the past few days have been working at doing a pretty job of keeping that secret.) It’s also no secret that the more technically inclined spend more time absorbing rays from their respective monitors than they do from that burning orb in the sky.

So, if you’re a coder and you need something enticing to draw you away from the dull glow of your favorite machine, look no further than the Summer Coders’ Social, a language and framework agnostic gathering of Portland’s coding community, this Sunday, August 3, at Laurelhurst Park.

The first Coders Social was last December, Winter Coders Social (photos). It was the result of many of the scripting language User Groups “Taking the month off” from their regular meetings and instead “having a party”. The event was a great success so we thought we would do something this summer. Coders Summer Social is the outdoor, sunny, successor of that winter event. The goal is a very casual, geek social event. BBQ, games, and conversation.

C’mon. That code will wait for a few more hours. Why not take a few minutes this Sunday to hang out with some other coders?

Sponsor Mozilla will provide hamburgers, hot dogs, and vegetarian BBQ fare. The rest? Potluck. You’re a coder. Go build something in the kitchen, too. Beverages are your responsibility, as well.

For more infor mation on the event, see the Summer Coders’ Social wiki. To RSVP, visit the Summer Coders’ Social on Upcoming.

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