Tag: rael dornfest

Dear Portland Twitter fanatics: Twitter API guy Alex “@al3x” Payne will be in town this weekend

Well guess what, Twitter types? The number of Twitter employees in town is going to increase 100%. For this weekend, at least. Twitter API guy Alex Payne will be in Portland through Tuesday.

[HTML4]Now, I don’t know if you know this, but Portland? Portland likes the Twitter. A lot. And those of us who happen to pop on to Twitter—every now and again, I mean it’s not like we’re addicted or anything—are quite proud of the fact that we have a Twitter employee—Rael Dornfest—here in town.

Well guess what, Twitter types? The number of Twitter employees in town is going to increase 100%. For this weekend, at least.

You see, Alex Payne will be in Portland through Tuesday. And his schedule seems pretty open. Read More

Strange Love Live recaps 2008 and looks toward 2009

Strange Love LiveI had the honor of joining the Cami Kaos and Dr. Normal on Strange Love Live for a recap of 2008 and a look forward to 2009.

Well, not “joining” exactly. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to actually attend in person, thanks to the Portland arctic blast, snowpocalypse, and resulting thawnami.

But it’s probably just as well, given that I was all prepared to show up in my “incoming 2009” outfit—a sash and not much else. So thanks to Aaron Hockley for allowing me to appear more respectable.

Cami and Dr. Normal altered the usual format giving us the opportunity to talk for a good 90 minutes—and that led to some pretty interesting discussions including the top events on 2008, Vidoop, Shizzow, Bacon Geek, Beer and Blog, KGW’s The Square with Stephanie Stricklen and Aaron Weiss, Twitter, Rael Dornfest, pdxtst, Our PDX, Neighborhood Notes, OpenID, calling Facebook Connect the Hotmail of this generation… even indulging in some conspiracy theory and what’s to be in 2009.

Here’s us chatting about the 2008 recap:

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And here’s our discussion of the potential future for 2009:

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Or, if you just want to listen to the whole shooting match, have at it:

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Thanks, yet again, to Cami and the good Doctor for allowing me to appear on the show. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: Strange Love Live is the best podcast in the Portland. And one prediction for 2009 that’s sure to come true? You ain’t seen nothing yet as far as Strange Love Live goes.

And hopefully, we’ll see the same thing for any number of people in our area. I’m really interested to see what Portland and the Silicon Forest will do in 2009.

And of course, I’m truly looking forward to watching—and covering—that of which you’re capable of in 2009.

Another Portland startup closes down

SandyUsually, when I have to mention a company going through layoffs or—worse yet—shutting down, it’s a fairly grim and unwelcome affair.

This is a welcome change.

I’m happy to report that Portland-based Values of n is being shutdown—because it has been acquired by Twitter, the popular microblogging service that powers the conversations of the Portland Web startup scene.

Why the shutdown? I mean, Values of n has some amazing technology and thinking in its products: my favorite anthropomorphic digital assistant, Sandy, and Stikkit, little yellow online notes that think. Which I guess makes them somewhat anthropomorphic in their own right.

Yes, the technology is amazing. And Sandy has quite an impressive relationship with Twitter. But quite frankly Twitter doesn’t know quite what to do with those assets at this point. So they’re going into the mothballs.

Which brings us to the reason they actually did acquire Values of n: one substantial piece of intellectual property by the name of Rael Dornfest.

Ev Williams of Twitter couldn’t have put it any better when he said:

Rael Dornfest is a famously talented engineer, author, and entrepreneur. Before founding Values of n, Rael served as Chief Technology Officer at O’Reilly Media and is known for his pioneering work on RSS as well being the series editor of O’Reilly’s celebrated Hacks books…. [I] have always thought he was one of the smartest guys I know.

Smart, indeed. Incredibly talented, yes. And in possession of an insane amount of energy.

It’s a little known fact that the amazing—and highly lauded—services of Values of n were single-handedly conceived and managed by Rael with some help here and there. (But he did the bulk of the work.) Even with all the stress of running those services in parallel with a consulting business, he remains one of the most delightful and intelligent people in the Portland tech scene.

And the good news is, Portland is exactly where he’ll remain. Twitter can have his intelligence and guidance, but we get to keep him here. Which means Twitter wins, Rael wins, and we win. Win, win, um, win.

But don’t just take my word for it

This news was all over the tech scene on Monday. Here’s a quick smattering of posts that provide more details on the acquisition:

  • A fork in the road
    “I have taken an engineering position in the User Experience group at Twitter. I started consulting there a few months ago, and fell in love with the team, their way of thinking about things, and of course the product (my Twitter user id is in the low 100s). It turns out we worked incredibly well together, the feeling was mutual, and they pulled me in as a permanent member of the team.”
  • Twitter Hires Rael Dornfest, Shutters Values of n
    “Twitter just announced on the company blog that the company has acquired the assets of Portland, Oregon based Values of n and brought its well-known engineer founder Rael Dornfest on to the Twitter staff. Dornfest’s latest project at Values of n was an anthropomorphized personal assistant service called Sandy.”
  • Twitter Acquires ‘Values of n’, Adds Rael Dornfest To The Team
    “The primary goal of the acquisition appears to have been to bring Rael Dornfest to the Twitter team. Dornfest is the founder of Values of n and former CTO at O’Reilly Media, whose responsibilities also included editing the O’Reilly Hacks series. He was also the head of the RSS-DEV group, which created the RSS 1.0 standard.”
  • Twitter buys a company, closes it, keeps its founder/engineer
    “The micro-messaging service Twitter, fresh off its rejection of an offer to be acquired by Facebook, has turned around and made a purchase itself: A personal productivity and information management solutions company called Values of n, Twitter reports on its blog.”
  • Twitter Buys Start-up’s Assets; Hires Founder Rael Dornfest
    “Twitter grabbed headlines today after reports surfaced saying it declined a $500 million buyout offer from Facebook. Now, Twitter is making more news today by saying it has acquired the assets of Values of n, a company that developed a sticky-note application as well as a personal productivity app that works over e-mail, SMS, and the Web.”
  • Twitter Acquires Values of n (Makers of Sandy)
    “Judging by the lack of updates to Twitter I highly doubt that we’ll see any of the Values of n’s features integrated. I am devastated to hear they will be shutting down all their services as well.”
  • Rael Dornfest joins twitter; now this gets interesting
    “Now the man’s going to join forces with Ev Williams, Biz Stone and other smart people at twitter; my product development head is bursting with speculation about the cool direction twitter could go in (and thinking multiple products people, one at a time…). And of course the dude’s an engineer….”
  • Twitter says I want Sandy
    “These are two pretty cool products and I have been a fan of I want Sandy for a long time and it usually runs most of my calendering.”

While I’m sad to see Sandy go, I’ll eagerly await her return. And in the meantime, I’m looking forward to Rael lending his intelligence, wit, and inimitable energy to Twitter.

Congratulations to Rael. This couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

And Sandy…? Call me.

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