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.