Tag: tech

Portland startups—and other Silicon Forest startups—defy the Oregon tech slump

I was just going to link to this. And then I thought better of it.

“A link?” I thought. “This is traditional media taking notice and giving credit where credit is due. This needs more than a link.”

So, I give you this piece from my former college classmate, Mike Rogoway over at The Oregonian entitled “Oregon losing high-tech jobs—with more bad news to come.”

A steady drumbeat of cutbacks in Oregon’s high-tech sector has reduced the number of technology jobs in the state to its lowest point in nearly three years.

Wait a second. Where’s the positivity? Where’s the “credit where credit is due”?

Well, that comes at the end of the article. From which I’ll judiciously quote (passage emphasis is mine, not Mike’s):

Oregon’s tech industry has one distinct bright spot: software.

Long the weakest link in Oregon’s technology economy, software has emerged strongly over the past few years—spurred by a vibrant community of open source software developers and Web services companies that require little investment capital to get started.

Software jobs are up 12 percent during the past two years, and now number 9,500. Although still a relatively tiny part of the overall state economy—which numbers more than 1.7 million jobs altogether—software is the fastest growing part of the high-tech sector and one of a small number of industries that is defying the broader economic slowdown.

Much of the activity is concentrated in Portland’s Old Town, home to a cluster of companies that develop software for the Internet. Examples include password-protection technology from Oklahoma transplant Vidoop, and collaboration tools from Jive Software.

“We’re just this wonderful hotbed of open source, brew-your-own-softwareville,” said Harvey Mathews of the Software Association of Oregon. “It’s a tight community, so we all help each other out. Which isn’t the case in lots of other industries.”

Can I get a “w00t!!!1!”? This is exactly the kind of thing we want to see. The kind of recognition you deserve. And the reason I continue to relentlessly document all the cool things you’re doing.

You’re making it happen. And you’re blowing the curve.

And for that, you need to congratulate yourselves, Portland and Silicon Forest startups. You deserve it.

Keep up the good work. Stay focused. And keep working to on that code.

I’ll be sure to let everyone else know: they ain’t seen nothing yet.

A few Portland techie podcasts for your Sunday afternoon or your Monday morning commute

Last Friday was podcast day for me. And for as nervous as I was, I think they turned out pretty well. No doubt thanks to the talented people actually managing the whole podcast thing and me just having to spout off every now and again.

So, I thought I’d share the links, in case you were interested in listening.

OPB Think Out Loud on open source

Jim Zemlin, Raven Zachary, Audrey Eschright, and I had the opportunity to chat about open source and the open source scene in Portland. Topics include OSCON, how we all use open source software and may not even know it, corporate adoption of open source, Portland’s culture as a complement to the open source community, open-source rockets, and NTEN.

Download the mp3 of OPB Think Out Loud: Open-source City

Strange Love Live Tech Edition with Rick Turoczy

Cami Kaos and Dr. Normal invited me over for a tech edition of Strange Love Live (if you’re not watching/listening, you should be). And we were lucky enough to command a live studio audience as well, featuring Michelle Anderson (mediachick), Amber Case (caseorganic), Bram Pitoyo, and Kelly Guimont (verso). Topics included the reasoning behind Silicon Florist, the Portland tech scene, Vidoop, Intrigo, OSCON, the Open Web Foundation, and more.

Download the mp3 of Strange Love Live Tech Edition with Rick Turoczy

[Update] If you’re interested in streaming the podcasts—instead of downloading them—Cami Kaos has posted the streaming audio files to her blog.

Strange Love Live #afterhours with Rick Turoczy

Once the serious Strange Love stuff is done, the cameras keep rolling for the #afterhours discussion. We continued talking about some of the tech topics, discussed my sleeping habits (or lack thereof), talked about and lightsaber-ed with the iPhone, made some tech predictions including hinting at Marshall Kirkpatrick‘s upcoming internet brain implant venture, thanked our luck stars for OurPDX, introduced folks to Planet PDX, talked about upcoming guest Melissa Lion, and got into a pretty serious bidding war for sponsoring Strange Love Live.

Download the mp3 of Strange Love Live #afterhours with Rick Turoczy

So… what do you think?

Suffice it to say, this was a trial by fire for me and audio. So I’d love to hear feedback as to a) whether I was intelligible at all and b) if I was intelligible, if you’d be interested in more podcasts from yours truly.

Looking forward to your feedback.

Fast Wonder Dawn Foster launches consulting practice

If you’ve had the opportunity to attend any Portland tech events over the past year or so, it’s highly likely that you’ve come in contact with some of the handiwork of Dawn Foster. Chair of the Legion of Tech and a staunch advocate of the Portland startup tech and unconference scene, Dawn’s influence has been a critical ingredient in BarCamp Portland, Ignite Portland, the Legion of Tech Happy Hours, Portland Lunch 2.0, any number of Jive Software events, Portland is Awesome… the list goes on and on.

And now that Dawn has announced that she’s leaving Jive, some of that magic touch is for hire:

Recently, I’ve seen a number of companies struggling with how to get more savvy about social media and interacting with online communities. My focus will be on providing consulting services to help guide companies in developing a comprehensive social media and community engagement strategy. I will help companies engage with their community both online and offline to help generate buzz around their products. I can also help companies find, monitor, and respond to what others are saying about them online.

No doubt, Dawn’s expertise will be highly sought. I’m looking forward to her continued success on the other side of the desk and would like to, again, congratulate her on this exciting new endeavor.

For more, see Fast Wonder Consulting or for a (now slightly dated) bio, see Dawn Foster on Portland on Fire.

What does the Portland tech community look like?

While a good number of us here in Portland tend to interact on Twitter or via blog comments or at events, it’s rare that we’re all in the same place at the same time. So getting a comprehensive picture of the “Portland tech community” has been difficult, at best.

So what do geeks do to solve that problem? We employ technology.

Audrey Eschright has put together a Legion of Tech survey that will give us a view into the Portland tech community, in terms of the demographics and general foci of the folks living and working here in the Portland community.

It’s goals, according to Audrey, are pretty straightforward: get some semblance of an idea about who we are and what it is we do.

If you’re in Portland, and involved with any kind of technology activities for work or fun, please go to http://moourl.com/lotsurvey. The more responses, the better, since we want to see the breadth of our community, and whether Legion of Tech events are on your calendar. Tell your friends, coworkers, and neighbors.

If you consider yourself part of the Portland tech community—or if you’d like to be part of the Portland tech community—please take a few moments to walk through the Portland tech community survey.

I’ll make sure to highlight the results in a future post.

Oregon technology startups and education: Being part of the solution

A few weeks back, I wrote a rant about the abysmal state of Oregon’s tech education in which I encouraged anyone in tech—but especially those folks at startups—to consider his/her potential role in helping to resolve the issues currently plaguing our educational system.

Talk, as they say, is cheap.

So how can we act?

Well, admittedly, this is an awfully big problem, but to wax—and perhaps unintentionally slaughter—more platitudes, the journey of 1000 miles begins with one step.

And, I’m proud to say that we, as a burgeoning collective, have already taken two:

  1. Oregon Tech & Education is an online discussion group designed to gather interested parties, encourage discussion, and facilitate action. If you are at all interested in helping, participating, or just watching what’s happening. I encourage you to join. Even if you just lurk. And I encourage you to invite the teachers and administrators in your life to join, as well.
  2. Silicon Florist internship/mentorship challenge is a call to all Silicon-Forest-based startups to consider offering a summer internship for high school or college students in your area. No one knows more about what you do than you. And teaching someone who knows nothing about what you do could be one of the most rewarding things you ever accomplish as an entrepreneur. If you’re interested—not even yet to the “willing to participate” phase, just interested—please throw your hat into the ring as one of the participating startups.

From time to time, I’ll keep you posted on these steps, and other steps that the resourceful folks of the Silicon Forest are taking to resolve this issue.

I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish.

Silicon Florist gets some sprucing

While it may not be obvious to those of you reading the feed, the Silicon Florist site has undergone some long-overdue “sprucing up” over the weekend.

Call me crazy, but it seemed like it was time to step away from the slightly tweaked default template. Because quite frankly, gentle reader, you’re worth it.

Obviously, as with all new digs, we’re still working out some of the kinks (like resurrecting the OpenID comment log-in). So your patience is appreciated. As is your feedback. We tried to implement this quickly, over the weekend. And we’ll continue to iron out the rough spots over time.

Before you start lobbing critiques (and I do appreciate the critiques), I’d encourage you to first lob congrats at Justin Kistner of Metafluence, whose Conversation theme for WordPress and design recommendations served as the foundation for the Silicon Florist redesign.

Word around the campfire is that a few other folks are already using the Conversation theme—or are preparing to implement it soon. And, I can see why. I’m still learning my way around it, but I’m really liking it so far.

A heartfelt, “Thank you,” Justin, for offering this theme up for use, sweating through the tweaking over the weekend, adding some incredibly nice features to the blog, and—last but not least—putting up with my nitpicking. I cannot thank you enough.

Hopefully, all of you will like this new direction as much as I do. I mean, I can only read my own stuff so much. So keeping you readers around—and happy—is of utmost importance.

And please, rest assured, that despite the snazzy new look, the writing around here remains fair to middling, as always. 😉

I’m looking forward to your feedback.

So, that’s that. Enough navel gazing. Without further ado, we now return you to your regularly scheduled Silicon Forest startup news, already in progress.

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