Tag: Startup

Community: The Secret Sauce of a Successful Internet Startup

secret_sauce.jpg

[Editor: Like many of you, I’ve long been a fan of Portland-based COLOURlovers, a site that fosters conversations around colors and palettes. We know about it, and have likely become fans, because of its vibrant community—a community that is the direct result of careful tending by its founder, Darius A. Monsef IV. And now, we’re lucky enough to have Darius sharing some of his insights on developing one of the most sought after features of today’s Web 2.0 sites, “community.”]

[HTML1]So many internet startups are trying to launch with “community” as the core of their business, but they seem to be flying blind as to how you go about growing a solid community. I’ve been asked to consult for a number of these startups. And while this could be a bad financial decision for my consulting business, I’d rather see more successful communities than fewer. So here are the basics of what you need to know and the rest you’ll just have to learn—albeit painfully—as you do it.

I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of building two great communities, one in the real world and one in the digital. The lessons learned in each worlds has meaning in the other and each can serve as a useful example to those who are working on nurturing their own communities.

My Community Director Resume

After packing up my bags and traveling without a specific destination to Thailand in the wake of the biggest natural disaster in modern times… I found myself in the middle of a micro-community of travelers who showed up to help with the Tsunami recovery work. Like any web community, people were from everywhere in the world and came from all sorts of backgrounds.

For five months I lived with this community. First as a volunteer, then as a project leader and eventually co-leading the group. From that experience we grew a non-profit that has since created volunteer centers to aid in disaster relief in six countries around world with the help of a community of 3,000+ volunteers.

Visit www.HODR.org to learn more and perhaps you’ll join us in a disaster zone sometime soon.

Before I packed up my bags and prepared for a place I’d never been to, in a disaster zone I couldn’t begin to guess what it would be like… I created a simple web service that allowed people to name colors and helped other people to rate and review those colors. Responding to early feedback I grew the concept into allowing people to put together combinations of up to 5 colors to also share.

I was the first member, but more than 100,000 have since joined. We’ve been nominated for Best Community Site in the Webby Awards two years in a row and have also received recognition for the quality of our community from several other periodicals and awards organizations.

Visit www.COLOURlovers.com to learn more or share your thoughts on whether silver satin is better than New Medicines.

Now that you have some insight into my experience, let me share some of the things I’ve learned.

Lessons for Building Quality, Thriving Communities

It could be the community in your five-person workplace, your blog readership or even a massive web community… but the lessons still apply. Here they are:

It Is and Has Always Been

One of the most important lessons that came from my time in Thailand was how in order to grow a solid community, you needed to be in the middle of it. The man who originally set-up the volunteer center to which we all arrived was a local who lived on the other side of the island. Since he was a family man, he made the trip to and from the volunteer center back to his house every night and morning. I can understand why he would, considering he had a nice comfortable home only 30 min away… but what happened in his absence almost tore the whole thing apart.

In the early days of a community’s growth, things change very rapidly. Because the group itself has only existed a short time and the early participants often cycle through in short spurts of time… there is no institutional memory. To the person who arrived this morning, we’ve always had a rule about eating lunch at 11:30… nevermind that we only made that rule up the night before. But to that new volunteer, who will in one week be an old timer to many more new people… it has always been so.

Within a week of showing up and seeing first hand the constant transition of ideas, cultures and people in our volunteer community… there was growing dissent about the so-called leader of our group who was never around and nobody knew what exactly he did. To them, he did nothing. Since they woke up in the middle of it all, went to work all day in it and laid down to sleep in the middle of it… this guy had no idea about anything.

Having since been the leader of a volunteer group, there are many things that go on above the ground that are not glamorous or all that fun… but are needed in order for the community to continue growing. For a leader, it is a constant balance of getting his head above the crowd to deal with long-term growth things while at the same time spending time shoulder-to-shoulder with the community.

LessonLesson: You must grow within your community, especially in the early days. Later, leaders will arise who can handle some of the day-to-day things and welcome new members. But in those first few days, weeks and months… you are the welcoming committee, janitor, house mom, judge, jury and banninator. Leading from the outside will only breed dissent and resentment among the early adopters… and without their early support your community will die before it really has the chance to grow.

Set an Open Border Policy with Your Neighbors

Immigration is a complicated and touchy subject in the real world, but online you need an open door policy from the beginning… even recruiting your first members from your related blogs, forums and communities.

When I launched COLOURlovers I was part of a thriving Flash development community at the time (www.Kirupa.com) and I shared my site with some members. These initial Kirupians served as the first dual-citizenship immigrants to my new community. Not all fully converted to COLOURlovers and few gave up Kirupa for COLOURlovers, but since the sites were related—but not mutually exclusive—we were able to get things rolling with their support without negatively affecting the Kirupa community.

These early members were providing ideas to enhance the site and voicing their critical feedback about what worked and what didn’t. I took all of their words to heart and worked feverishly to create and launch enhancements that would grow the community.

LessonLesson: Leverage your involvement in related communities to first seed your community with participants. You can’t force these people to join… just extend an invitation to people who might have an interest in what you’re building and be ready to respond to their feedback.

Cities Grow from Towns and Towns from Villages

Don’t worry so much about jumping right into being a massive community. You need to take the time to be a village and figure out how everything works before you get into issues like mass transit, pollution and housing shortages. You also need to foster leaders within your village who will eventually become your city leaders.

When I went to Thailand, I handed COLOURlovers to my early members and pretty much left them unattended for the five months. Sometimes, blessings come in strange packages. For when I returned, I found a lot of interest had been built while I was gone…

But unfortunately, the community wasn’t able to rapidly grow unattended. In fact, I made a pretty huge mistake when I was building the database for the site: I set the primary key for the users table to be a small int… meaning the database broke once 255 people had registered and no more could sign up. (We were probably one of the first web 2.0 sites to launch a limited user-base private beta site… although fully unintentionally.)

LessonLesson: Hey kids! Don’t focus so much on being rich, respected doctors someday… enjoy being a kid and take to heart the lessons you learn from the bumps and scratches you get exploring your surroundings and figuring out just what your body is capable of doing.

And as your community continues to grow. Problems will arise. And, at times, even your most vocal proponent may think that…

Your Community… Honestly Sucks

This is very key feedback that you need to be willing to hear. I consistently hear bad ideas for sites where people are continually talking about how people will love the service and flock to it… but who have no early adopters. “No worries, we know the idea is great and as soon as we get it out to the masses we’ll be flooded with visitors.” More likely flooded in the sense of your first floor being under water and no ability to use your kitchen to prepare food.

LessonLesson: You need early adopters and they may not like what you’re doing. Be willing to hear this feedback and be flexible in developing your community in ways you might not have imagined.

How do you get the feedback you need? The community is waiting to give it to you. And that’s why…

Engaging the Community in Decision Making is a Must

Ebay = Ebooo!!!! When eBay made a major change to their feedback system recently, some of their sellers revolted in protest. This decision had a major impact on sellers and a lot felt it unfairly hurt them. I honestly believe there are hundreds of ways to skin a cat (not sure why anyone would) and if you bring your members into the decision making process you could end up with a better solution then you could have come up with on your own.

LessonLesson: You need to at least let them feel like their feedback is being heard. Not every idea must be put into affect and you can’t let your members totally direct what happens with your community, but you’ll have a much stronger adoption rate for new changes if the members feel like they were a part of the decision making process.

But for all the brilliant feedback of your most vocal users, don’t let the many suffer at the hands of the few. Always bear in mind that…

No One Member is More Important than the Whole

This is something I’ve experienced with COLOURlovers, but it is a lesson I learned with my non-profit community. As they grow, communities need leaders to step-up and take on extra responsibilities. In almost all situations, this will naturally happen. You begin to rely on these leaders so much, that sometimes you think the community wouldn’t survive without them.

In one of my volunteer communities, we had a small group of leaders who were growing exhausted from the hard work and irritable with new arrivals. They felt since they had been around longer that they were entitled to more than others. I struggled for a while to try and keep this group happy and spent considerable energy dealing with issues that were being created by these leaders. It was stressful because I thought that if I asked the leaders to leave I would have no ability to send my work crews out the next day. Without my leaders everything would crumble and I was sacrificing the happiness of many for the comfort of a few.

It got to a non-pass point with this small group of leaders and they left. What immediately happened in the chaos of this change? People who had been around a little while and some fairly new people stepped up and assumed the leadership roles. I could have asked those troublesome leaders to leave ages before, and the organism that is the community would have replaced the roles on their own.

LessonLesson: There is always a number 2 or number 3 who is willing and eager to take on a bigger role. Your most active and valuable members will leave and a new batch will replace them.

The system, however, is not perfect. And it’s out of control. So sometimes, despite your best efforts, the whole thing will go sideways. Know that, as with most successful communities, someday you will be facing…

Pitchforks, Lanterns and an Angry Mob

If you let problems continue to grow a few disgruntled members will become an growing mob. If you don’t respond to this mob and address their issues personally you risk the mob becoming the masses… and if the masses revolt, you’ll end up with your head on a stick in the front lawn and a burning village.

If you’ve seen the animated film A Bug’s Life, you’ll have watched this lesson unfold in the form of grasshoppers and ants. The ants spend all year doing the work for the grasshoppers to gather a feast of food.

[Spoiler Alert] What the ants learn in the end is that they outnumber the grasshoppers 50 to 1 and if they unite they can run the grasshoppers out of town and no longer need to gather food for them.

09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0
A web world example of this was when HD-DVD stories started getting removed from the social media site Digg.com. Members felt their words were being moderated by Kevin Rose and the Digg staff and they didn’t take to kindly to the moderation. What erupted were hundreds if not thousands of new submissions, comments and digs for the DVD key posts.

Having been through some similar experiences as a community director I felt simultaneously sorry for Kevin and highly amused watching the shenanigans unfold. I imagined how chaotic things must have been at Digg… The image that comes to mind is the scene at the end of The Matrix series where the millions of sentinels come flowing into the bay where the humans can’t shoot them down fast enough…

digg revolutions

Kevin eventually bowed to his community and submitted a blog post on the Digg blog with the title being the hacked key string.

LessonLesson: Stay in tune with your community and be transparent with them. If Kevin would have personally responded to why they were removing the HD-DVD keys posts sooner, he might have avoided the giant headache that was a major member revolt.

But for all of the consensus-building and listening to user input, it is important to remember that there must be balance. For, despite our best efforts…

True Democracy Doesn’t Work on the Web

At least not yet. Perhaps it is that with the enhanced ability to communicate more we haven’t enhanced the way people communicate. We have the same miscommunication problems we have in real life online… but they’re hyper sped up and 10x bigger. We also have way to much negative crap flying around the web and it is hard to stay in a constructive place when trolls, spammers and others pains in the ass keep dropping by to stir things up.

Your community needs to know there is a leader and they need to know you’re reachable and engaged. You don’t have to be the most active member but you need to be around. In the early days of your community you have to be everywhere as your community culture is totally you… but as more leaders emerge and the numbers grow, the culture will become partially directed by the community.

You need to be accessible to every member of your community. They need to know where to find you and to know that if they really need you… that you’ll be there. Maybe you only respond to emails or through in site messages… but I’d go so far as to put up your IM names and phone number. For three years any member of my site could have picked up the phone and called me on my cell if they had something to tell me. (The number on the site now goes to voicemail… but I’ll still call you back if you leave me a message.)

LessonLesson: Especially in the early days members of your community need to feel like they know you and that you are reachable. They also need to know that somebody at the end of the day will make a decision in a tough situation.

Sounds difficult doesn’t it? Well, it is. It takes a great deal of effort. And that immediately leads a number of folks to consider buying their way out of a difficult situation. This, too, is a mistake, because…

Buying a Community is Expensive and Will FAIL

You can pay to grow your community, but if you substitute the organic nature of feedback and enhancement that comes from the early adopter phase… you risk not learning the early lessons that will keep your community alive later on. Also, don’t confuse the passion and genuine interest of early adopters—who tend to join organically—for the participation of people who were externally motivated to join in.

Communities, like other organisms, are constantly rebuilding themselves. New cells are built and old cells die off… your early members will leave and new ones will join up. If your community does not organically grow at all and your numbers are growing only because of your paid efforts… you have no ability to continue the growth without spending more money. This is a dangerous position to be in.

LessonLesson: Exhaust your ability to share your community with possible early adopters for free before you start paying for traffic. You could pay to get 10x more visitors to your community early on, but feedback from people who organically joined and are contributing ideas and suggestions are 100x more valuable.

Hire No Consultants. Pay No Community Directors.

It is extremely important that you are in the trenches with your community when it is first getting started. I see startups all the time spending valuable resources to hire consultants to build their community and early buzz… but what they end up with is only a shot in the arm with no long term abilities to grow without paying for more help.

The pay to grow initially is a lot like the drug user who uses to be happy. As they use drugs they need more and more to continue to feel good. If you pay to generate growth, you’ll end up needing to spend more and more to create greater and greater results. Learn to be happy without drugs and you remain in total control of your happiness.

LessonLesson: If you spend the late and long hours in the early days of your community, pounding the keys, networking, promoting and sharing your community you’ll learn very valuable skills that will help your community grow in the future without needing to pay for outside services. Those outside services can be useful down the road when you use them to fill gaps in your growth strategies… and having learned the lessons early on you’ll better know how to direct an outside consultant to help you.

Final Lesson

You can’t buy lessons. Part of what makes you remember the important lessons is how much it hurts to learn them. Don’t be afraid to get a few bumps and bruises. Good luck and grow well.

Darius A Monsef IV, Internet AstronautDarius is an Internet Astronaut and the creator and editor of COLOURlovers.com. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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.

Portland Startup Weekend: Five startup projects launched in 54 hours

Portland Startup WeekendWhat did you do this past weekend?

Yeah, really? Oh? You don’t say. Oh, that sounds nice. Me? Oh, you know. The usual.

Say, you’ll never guess what a bunch of our peers did over the weekend, though.

Oh, not much. Just started five separate startup projects.

That’s right. The group that gathered for Portland Startup Weekend managed to launch five startup projects: Get Gathered, Life Grant, Mugasha, Startup River, and TreasuRecycle.

They’re all in various states of startupedness, currently. But, rest assured, I’ll be dedicating posts to each of these projects as they gain their footing.

For now, let’s focus on Portland Startup Weekend, itself, with a good ol’ fashioned Silicon Florist round up:

No doubt more posts will be emerging as the participants recover from the weekend. And I’ll work to capture them here.

If you’ve posted something that I’ve missed, please comment and I’ll make sure to link it up.

Portland Startup Weekend now being held at Vidoop offices

Heads up! There has been a last second location change for Portland Startup Weekend. The event will now be held at the Vidoop offices in Old Town. The event begins tonight, May 23, at 6:00 PM.

On a side note, I’m not sure if a Twitter hashtag has been proposed (or if Twitter will even be functional), but I thought I would propose one for those folks watching from the sidelines. How about #pdxsw?

[Editor’s note: As much as I’d love to be in attendance, I’ve been sidelined by illness. That said, I will definitely try to swing by during the weekend. Best of luck to the participants.]

Portland Startup Weekend: It’s still a “Go!”… are you?

Portland Startup WeekendRoughly six months ago, the Portland startup community put its collective effort into casting votes for “Portland Startup Weekend,” a local version of the successful Startup Weekend events designed to test our collective entrepreneurial mettle by challenging participants to form a company in a 54-hour period.

Thanks to that collective voting effort, Portland was among the first cities selected for the 2008 series of Startup Weekends. And those who were interested in the event—myself included—were, for lack of a better word, “psyched.”

In the following months, the Startup Weekend team expanded to support its rapidly growing popularity. Founder Andrew Hyde stepped aside to hand off the planning for Startup Weekend—including Portland Startup Weekend—to the someone who could focus on the events full-time.

Everything seemed to be moving in the right direction.

But then, things got quiet. Too quiet.

And now, Hyde has informed us that Portland Startup Weekend—scheduled for May 23-25—has fallen victim to some organizational issues:

Sorry for the lack of communication, the person that was in charge of putting together this weekend quit last weekend without notice, and the lack of communication was worse than I realized. If you have any questions, please email me at andrew@startupweekend.com and I will get right back to you. I am very sorry for the inconvenience this has caused everyone.

It’s unfortunate that any Startup Weekend encountered these difficulties, let alone our Startup Weekend.

But, Andrew and his team are working overtime to recover the fumble.

Jeremy Tanner, who has now taken the lead on Portland Startup Weekend planning, had this to say:

This is disappointing to the planning process, but not breaking the spirit of the event (This being Startup Weekend and all). This is an incredibly talented group, and I can’t wait to see what the group can accomplish in just 54 hours….

The real goal of Startup Weekend is community, and I can’t wait for SWPDX to show what it has. Plan on meeting some brilliant folks, working with those you have only known through twitter, and showing what you can do. Don’t expect to create the next Google, unless you are on my team, which, then it would be totally cool.

What now?

But now, comes the real question: How will this stumble affect attendance?

If you were planning to go, are you still going? Have you opted out? Never thought about participating?

I’ve heard some rumblings about attendance on Twitter—both positive and negative—but that’s far from conclusive. So I thought I would take the opportunity to launch a quick poll. Just to gauge the interest—and possible attendance—this weekend.

[polldaddy|626477]

Please take a second to respond, either via the poll or the comments.

I’d really appreciate hearing from you on this topic.

Portland Start-up Index for May 2008: Platial debuts at 12, Frappr at 5

Techvibes has released the latest version of its Portland Start-up Index, with an interesting pair of debuts. Portland-based Platial has been added to the list, debuting at #12. What makes this interesting is that Platial-owned Frappr also debuted this month—at #5.

How did the other companies and products fare? Take a look. The usual “apples and oranges” rules apply.

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

Techvibes ranks the sites, products, and companies by comparing Compete and Alexa rankings. To learn more about the metrics and the movement within the list, visit the Techvibes Portland Start-up Index for May 2008.

Portland and Boise startups: A lot more in common than I-84

Editor: I grew up near a town that was the big city for a fairly rural state. It was the home to many traditional high-tech companies. It had great skiing nearby. And it had a river running right through the middle of it.

Thing is, it wasn’t Portland. It was Boise, Idaho.

And, I had a strange feeling that those aren’t the only similarities between our two towns.

So, when Chris Blanchard offered to write a guest column on the state of the Boise tech environment, a bit of my former Idahoan homesickness came into play. And I jumped at the chance.

The biggest surprise for me? How closely connected the two communities are. And how they, in Boise, are struggling with some of the exact same issues we, here in the Silicon Forest, find ourselves struggling.

Boise, ID: Not ready for prime time? Don’t tell us that.

I feel like the Apostle Paul writing a letter…

Greetings to you Silicon Florists, Portvangelists, Portvangelistas, members of the Twitterverse and others of the technology startup brother/sisterhood from your Brother here in Boise, ID.

Anyway, our friend Rick was kind enough to let me guest post from over here in the Silicon Sandbox, Boise, Idaho.

Why? I’m getting to that.

Last year me and a few friends started a company called Pronetos, the first social network for scholars.

The idea is to give scholars a place to network and collaborate, and ultimately give them a platform to publish their work. We’re still testing the publication tools—a combination of open source software and print-on-demand components—but they are pretty slick and pretty cutting edge, especially when you’re from Boise and resources are limited.

Thanks for your help, Portland

We spent a lot of time last year in Portland, and have a lot of props to dish out to the PDX community for helping us with technology, marketing, business planning, etc. We couldn’t have come this far without you, PDX!

  • Brian Jamison and the guys at OpenSourcery built the Pronetos site in rapid fashion.
  • Nate Angell (raised by wolves; cloned daughters) led us through the academic community over there (and to a great restaurant in McMinnville)
  • Mark Gregory at pdx.edu was a great help in our development (and encouraged us to move to PDX)
  • We met with the entire crew at Engine Works—very sophisticated and smart guys
  • Scott Kveton has helped us with contacts, business advice, and bacon addiction
  • @wendemm, @Turoczy, and the guys at Box Populi have been good friends to us as well

So thanks PDXers for helping grow Boise’s start-ups in addition to your own.

The state of technology in Boise

Boise is doing OK as a region. You might have seen that Forbes named us the 7th most promising new tech region or something or other. We get lots of awards like that.

Quality of life is GREAT! Still, the tech community is young. There are very few contract developers here. There are lots of software gigs open here all the time. Boise State graduates about 25 CS engineers every year and 100% have jobs when they graduate. Still, we do have a MySQL office here!

As far as financing goes, a couple months ago at a Kickstand meeting (this is the local tech start-up group) we heard from an angel investor that the local angel group had reviewed 100 business plans in the span of 90 days or so, and funded exactly zero.

We’ve got only one VC here in town and they don’t fund seed deals (and not often true early stage deals). So we have an angel group that wants to fund companies with 3 years of operating history and a VC that wants to fund mezzanine deals (oh, I can hear them racing to the comment link below).

So, if you’re interested, here are some cool things about Boise that may heighten its appeal—and your perception of our town:

  • If you are developer—Boise could be a place you want to pay attention to (especially if you are an open source guy—we have lots of MS devs here). We had exactly one Ruby dev in this town as of very recently, and all the PHP guys are employed by the man (not too many solo operators or small shops).
  • If you are a VC or angel that is looking for early stage deals—those are here too—in spades.
  • If you are a guy (or gal) that understands anything about long tail b-plans, web 2.0, user generated content, new media—and you’ve had a successful company in those areas—we (Boise) could use your help too. Just last night it was interesting to note that a group of cowboys got stares in downtown Boise (boy times they are a changin’), but we still don’t have a good base of people who have been successful in this new landscape. We do have a fair amount of successful folks from the widget economy and a few good software entrepreneurs. But we can use more.

We’ve got a good night life scene, beer and blog group, the Tech Boise Blog, 180 Twitterers, and we ran a great Code Camp a couple weeks ago. We’ve also got good institutional support from places like Idaho TechConnect, and the Boise State TECenter.

So it’s coming together—but is Boise “not ready for prime time?” Well don’t tell us that, but I’m still glad for all of you over there in PDX that act as out adjunct tech community.

If you want to keep up on what’s going on over here (like we do with PDX) find me on Twitter—@LGM1—and I’ll point you in the right direction.

Peace to you, PDX. Now a letter to our friends in Corinth.

37signals: Start up your startup somewhere else (like Portland)

It seems everyone is getting into the Silicon Valley bashing, as of late. But that’s what happens when you’re at the top.

And while I’m not going to pile on with the negativity, I thought a recent 37signals post—entitled “Are you sure you want to be in San Francisco?“—brought up one very positive point that we should all bear in mind:

So stop worrying to much about where you are and start worrying about how you’re going to make your business succeed the old fashion way: Through having a better product than the competition that people are willing to pay for.

Every single day, I’m lucky enough to talk to people who get this. People who have started amazing companies here in Portland and the Silicon Forest.

But you know what else is interesting?

We’re starting to become a destination, as well. We’re starting to attract both the talent and the companies to employ that talent. Companies that have chosen to come to Portland to succeed. Companies like Vidoop, LUNARR, Intrigo, Jive, WeoGeo… the list goes on and on.

All of these companies see something special here in Portland. And that is even more exciting.

(Hat tip Josh Bancroft)

Now on tap: Portland Startup Drinks

Portland Startup Drinks: Not that they are going to be drinking beer out of a can mind youJust saw that Portland has launched its own chapter of Startup Drinks.

What’s Startup Drinks, you ask? Well, it’s another startup idea from the same folks who brought us—or more accurately will be bringing usStartup Weekend.

A simple concept: startup culture in cities around the world gathers around a bar to have a pint and discuss what they are working on, what they need help with and what they can do for each other.

Pints and startups? I, honestly, can’t think of anything more Portland than that. Well, okay, maybe Beer and Blog.

Here’s hoping that Portland Startup Drinks will add their get-togethers to Upcoming so we can track them in the Silicon Florist Upcoming group.

Looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Portland Start-up Index for April 2008: COLOURlovers debuts at #4

I’m happy to report that, once again, it’s time to take a look at my favorite apples-to-oranges comparison of the Portland startup scene, the Techvibes Portland Start-up Index. For me, it’s like having birthday every single month.

The biggest surprise this month? Two-time Webby nominee COLOURlovers has debuted on the Portland Start-up Index at #4, cracking open an otherwise static Top 5. The only other new addition is the Collaborative Software Initiative at #46.

Second biggest surprise? Pheedo jumped up 25 slots. Now that’s a “mover.”

But what’s happening with the other folks? Who’s moving up? Who’s moving down? Where do we stand?

Well, let’s take a look.

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

For a details on the movement of each startup-list entity or to get more details on how the rankings are tabulated, visit the Techvibes Portland Start-up Index.

%d bloggers like this: