#PDX11: Turning things up a notch for Portland’s “software cluster”

So, last night a few Portland tech community folks got together at a bar and talked about the upcoming software industry summit on November 18th. You haven’t heard about it? Well, here’s the lowdown:

Mayor Adams, the Software Association of Oregon and the Portland Development Commission cordially invites you to participate in the development of a key software cluster strategy for the Oregon/SW Washington region. By attending this informative meeting you will play an instrumental part in the process with other top business community leaders.

The deal is: you show up, you get to help direct the resources dedicated to software industry development from the Portland Development Commission, the Mayor’s office and the Software Association of Oregon. That’s pretty much it. The people who go to this meeting are the folks who will be directing the future of the PDC’s “Portland Software Mandate”, which is part of that whole industry “cluster” initiative that targets active outware, advanced manufacturing, clean tech and software. More broadly, this is part of the 5-year plan to guide Portland’s economic growth.

Anyway, you really should attend this meeting next Thursday. If you can’t attend, see if you can get someone you know or a friend to attend on your behalf. We want to pack city hall.

That’s right — we’re meeting in the City Council Chambers. It’ll be great. Please attend! It starts at 4:30pm and goes to 6:30pm. And, if you show up we can lead you over to a sweet afterparty. Seriously. It’s gonna be awesome.

But — back to the PDX11 thing. One thing we talked about during the meeting was that we’re having problems communicating to everyone what it is that we’re doing with this whole “portland/pdx software cluster strategy”. It’s a mouthful to say that, and once you take another step and try to describe who is involved and why, things get muddy.

What if we just made a hashtag for it? What if we created a community site to start hacking on our city’s approach to software industry? To have public conversations about what’s next, and to bring to the table all aspects of development: education, small businesses, big businesses, hobbyists, investors and an epic number of volunteers.

Our first stab at this is to create pdx11.org. There’s nothing there yet (sorry, just bought the domain name), so this is your opportunity to help create this thing.

Last night, as we tried to come up with a concise name for what we were talking about, people started to giggle, and laugh at “turn it up to 11” jokes. Next year is 2011, so this thing has an expiration date (deadlines – my favorite procrastination ending technique). Because really, we’re kicking off this thing and wanting to deliver in 2011 on some initiatives. Which if you’re not aware are:

  • Creating a Knowledge Network to support local user groups – group convened by Warren Harrison of PSU
  • Developing a business mentorship network – group convened by SAO’s Matt Nees
  • Enhancing a financing network – group convened by Gerald Baugh of the PDC

These conveners are here to be project managers in the best sense — to find out what it is that *you* want to have happen, and then to communicate, document and follow up with public and private partners who are *making* these initiatives happen.

But back to PDX11. We wanted a name, a brand, something that made it easier for us to talk about with and recruit people inside the community, a connection point for locals, and a launchpad for outsiders to check us out.

If you’re up for helping to build the site, contact me directly (selenamarie -at- gmail -dot- com) and we’ll get going.

Otherwise, we’ll see you next thursday!


For those not familiar with the PDC surveys, here are links to the results in SlideRocket format (meh):

Survey 1 Results
Survey 2 Results