Portland Tech Community

Lately I’ve found myself in a lot of conversations about the Portland Tech Community.

It started with a conversation with people at Software Association of Oregon (SAO) about their interest in creating a Mobile SIG and wondering how that would relate to Mobile Portland.

Then there was Thrive PDX which attempted to bring together the growing tech community that orbits around Legion of Tech activities and the different community that attends SAO events.

Finally tonight, Rick Turoczy led an interesting retrospective at the PDX Web Innovators on where the tech community has been in the last year and where it might go in 2009.

To varying degrees, all of these discussions have had some tension between those who want to bridge the different communities in Portland and those that desire a more organic approach. At ThrivePDX, someone suggested that we needed one group to coordinate all of these subgroups.

I dislike approaches like that. They are massive undertakings that never quite succeed. I prefer distinct problem statements that you can solve.

Which is why I became interested when someone tonight said that they had problem connecting to the Portland Tech Community when moving here from out of the area.

Over the last year, I’ve written several emails to people moving here describing different events to attend and at those events introduced people new to the area to others in the Portland Tech Community.

Despite the fact that I had found myself doing that multiple times, I never really thought about it as a need. I just considered it some ways part of being a good host for the town I grew up in.

As Selena pointed out tonight, our community is actually pretty good at pointing people in the right direction once you connect with someone in the community. She described it as latching onto a spoke and getting pulled in.

But there is a clear need. If someone doesn’t know to ask or whom to ask, they may never find their connection.

So it is with that in mind that I purchased PortlandTechCommunity.org tonight. I don’t want to solve bridging gaps between communities. I don’t want to replace existing organizations either formal like Legion of Tech and SAO or informal like http://pdxtech.org. I don’t have a desire to recreate other efforts like creating central calendar of events for the community.

Instead, I envision a site that solely exists to introduce people from out of town to the Portland Tech Community and connect them to one of the spokes. A short simple problem statement that we should be able to solve. It will benefit those moving here, and it will benefit Portland by highlighting how vibrant the community is and how to get involved.

Portland’s Tech Community has given a lot to me. This is one way of giving back. If you’re interested in helping out or have specific ideas on the best ways to accomplish the mission of the site, please leave a comment or contact me via Twitter.

9 thoughts on “Portland Tech Community”

  1. Nice idea. A PDX geek welcome wagon of sorts. For starters I’d suggest:

    -Display Calagator’s feed with a snazzy looking UI
    -Link Twitter profiles of some local “connectors”
    -SEO it up.

  2. One ring to rule them all… What we need is an aggregator of the aggregators. Ok, so I’m being silly, but I agree with the point that was made in the meeting that we don’t need more tools. We’re good at making tools, so that’s what we as a group tend to gravitate towards. What we really need to do is just use the tools we already have.

    The magic isn’t in centralization, it’s in the level of the engagement of the community. We all need to reach out to the others in our office and circle of friends to bring more people into the community. The strength is in numbers, and the most compelling way to get that to happen is to simply show up and meet people. We all know there are people in our offices and our friends that are perfectly wonderful geeks, they just aren’t on twitter and don’t go to any events.

    Out of this deeper, expanded networking, we’ll see the bigger things happening. I want Portland to get known on the tech scene nationally. I want techcrunch, gizmodo, arstechnica, daring fireball, etc. talking about Portland folks every other post!

    That’s how we’ll get people from the outside to even care enough to enter “portland tech community” into a search engine. If someone is searching about portland, we’re already 90% of the way towards selling them. The real challenge is to get them to say “Portland. hmmm… Wonder what’s up with that?”

  3. Great idea. I agree with Selena (again) about the wiki comment. Sure, it may get a little fragmented, but it’s easier to maintain and open.

    Not that we need more events, but a periodic (quarterly) welcome to PDX tech event might be useful to PDX n00bs.

  4. Agree re: wiki. Throw a wiki on the site and I think you’ll find a very nice directory appear, with some folks contributing longer-form introductory/explanatory parts.

  5. Chiming in a little late here…

    My name is Thomas and I am the owner of Network Redux — we’re a portland based web hosting firm specializing in managed linux platforms. We’re heavily virtualized, yes we have one of those “clouds” but we don’t tout it as such, moreso a utility platform for our virtualized customers who need to grow on an as need basis.

    We love to participate in portland based technology, and have been an avid open source sponsor and supporter for some projects you may be familiar with (adiumx / imagemagick / pidgin).

    We would sincerely like to provide hosting resources to your new site. There isn’t a caveat, no ads, no requirements, it is what we can do to help enable the portland tech community.

    You can contact me directly if you are interested in what we can offer. It goes beyond hosting, we can sponsor meetings and events, host conferences in our building, etc.

    Just let me know how we can help.


    Thomas Brenneke – President
    Network Redux, LLC

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