twittering on 2010-12-05

Weekly tweet digest for 2010-12-05

twittering on 2010-12-05

Open Data Hackathon Day: ScraperWiki views

Open data is really only as interesting as what we can do with it!

One sweet thing about ScraperWiki is that it enables quick creation of visualizations called ‘views’ from inside the wiki. They’ve got templates that use Google Visualization to help the process along.

I made the following today (from this datasource):

I don’t have the entire data set, but this graph indicates that the recession had a significant negative impact on the creation rate of new businesses in Oregon.

I just started a new scraper job to pull more information about people and the places where the businesses are located. When that job is done, I hope to create a few more fun visualizations with this data.

UPDATE: I’m playing around more, and here’s the embedded version of the graph if you click through (takes a while to load!).
Continue reading

Open Data Hackathon Day: Oregon Business License Registry

At the Portland Software Summit on Thursday, a couple people mentioned that it was hard to keep track of new businesses that pop up, and that merger and acquisition activity wasn’t being sufficiently publicised.

I thought – maybe we could get this information in an automated way!

I started with the state of Oregon’s business registry search site. Unfortunately, they limit search results for business searches to 1000, and they don’t paginate their results. So, we kicked ScraperWiki into gear, and wrote a very simple scraper with @maxogden: http://scraperwiki.com/scrapers/oregon_business_registry/

Next, I wanted to find out information about businesses specifically in Portland. The City releases information about this, but in PDF form: http://www.portlandonline.com/omf/index.cfm?c=32192

I wrote a quick and dirty Python script to scrape out information, and am getting probably 250 of the 300+ businesses in the November release. Next, I want to cross reference this data with what’s in the Oregon site. I’ll be publishing the Python scripts over the weekend. Hopefully ScraperWiki will add pyPDF to their Python repo support and I will be able to publish the transform there so it can be easily linked to the Oregon data.

Two lessons today:

  • Governments: Please don’t publish data in PDFs. YUCK.
  • Governments: Please paginate results from your site! Hard limits are just kinda lame.

The alternative to scraping the state of Oregon’s site is to order a CD-ROM for $50. I think this is such a stupid profit center for the state. I’d be interested to know how much money they’re really making off of it, and whether they could take a page out of Metro’s book and find a way to share the data with a different, more useful service.

Tweeted notes from City Hall meeting

  • Looking for a few good OPML files: http://www.chesnok.com/daily/2010/12/02/looking-for-a-few-good-opml-files/ #
  • many <3s to @osuosl @ramereth @gchaix for help with setting up #pdx11 #
  • What's better than the civil war game? OPEN DATA HACKATHON! This saturday! with @maxogden! http://calagator.org/events/1250459494 #
  • Thanks, Girltalk. Now I want to eat an ice cream sandwich. #
  • #PDX11 It's alive! http://www.chesnok.com/daily/2010/12/02/pdx11-its-alive/ #
  • Heading to City Hall for the software summit #pdx11 (psst: http://pdx11.org) #
  • Look! @MayorSamAdams on the floor #pdx11 #
  • So, @MayorSamAdams says that he picked us for our good taste in fashion AND our strength and future promise as an industry #pdx11 #
  • This is the fourth gathering about economic development strategy for the PDC plan #pdx11 #
  • Scott Adams from the PDC talking about how they have been trying to figure out the software industry #pdx11 #
  • And now, Gerald Baugh is up talking about the key people who helped research the industry here. #pdx11 #
  • Pdx11 crowd at city hall http://flic.kr/p/8XVqnz #
  • PDX economic opportunity areas: Athletic/Outdoor, clean tech, advanced manufacturing and SOFTWARE! #pdx11 #
  • Why target software? Direct & Indirect opportunity – $9 billion dollar effect on the Oregon economy #pdx11 #
  • Average wage in software sector is $87k, almost double the wages of other industries in Oregon #pdx11 #
  • Another goal: design a public/private partnership to support software industry #pdx11 (heck yeah!) #
  • PDC & the City were impressed by participation at CEO, developer and hobbyist #pdx11 #
  • Had a fireside chat with the Mayor with 35 companies, but it wasn't wide enough. So they made a survey & got >800 respondants #pdx11 #
  • Out of those conversations, created the Portland Seed Fund http://portlandseedfund.com/ and Portland10 http://www.portlandten.com/ #pdx11 #
  • The City of Portland put together open source initiatives and hosted Lunch 2.0 #pdx11 #
  • Since December $68 million in risk capital that has come in the last year! (and now we're having those guys stand up) #pdx11 #
  • Some PDX CEOs have turned down capital from other investors that would have had them move to other cities #pdx11 #
  • "Ours is not a normal industry. I truly believe this in my heart." Thompson Morrison #
  • Three key elements in our software industry: community sourcing, agile iteration, open innovation #pdx11 #
  • re: agile iteration – why yes we do have @WardCunningham in the audience! :) #pdx11 #
  • use of #pdxstrat tag is full of lulz /cc @BajillionHits #
  • Haha. Quoting @bradfordcross — "There is No Such Thing as the NExt Silicon Valley." #pdx11 #
  • Suggestion: Let's make the next town hall an @IgniteGov! #pdx11 #
  • What are the most important values in PDX? Quality of Life, Community. #pdx11 #
  • What is the least important value in this survey? Financial Success. (by an embarrassing margin) #pdx11 #
  • Fort Hall is the "fork in the road" between the California and Oregon Trail. #historylesson #themoreyouknow #
  • "Cultivating enduring wealth." That's the takeaway. I guess. #
  • So, how do we turn who we are into competitive advantage? Community is our competitive advantage. #pdx11 #
  • Community is not just for social wealth. It's also for our economic wealth. #pdx11 #
  • Community == agility (not what people would assume…) – enables it through fast connections between people, mashups #pdx11 #
  • Community provides support to help us make the right decisions as we build our businesses. #pdx11 #
  • Why aren't we as connected as folks in the valley? We're cultivators – stick with the same companies and don't move around as much #pdx11 #
  • Do you want to build the knowledge network? Sign up! http://lists.pdx11.org/mailman/listinfo/pdx11-knowledge #pdx11 #
  • Do you want to build the financing group? http://lists.pdx11.org/mailman/listinfo/pdx11-financing #pdx11 #
  • Do you want to build the mentoring group? http://lists.pdx11.org/mailman/listinfo/pdx11-mentoring #pdx11 #
  • Question: Financial success is a low priority, and we're complaining about lack of investment? Why do we complain? #pdx11 #
  • Answer: @MayorSamAdams everyone wants to be financially secure. We're just foremost motivated by how the work we do makes us feel #pdx11 #
  • Observation re VC: You need to have some big wins. 6 years since last company went to public. Bring people in from outside #pdx11 #
  • Observation from @brianfinger: hiring from outside PDX because they want to come here. Need to market PDX tech community better #pdx11 #
  • Sez @MayorSamAdams: part of the problem – we lack a coherent strategy. #pdx11 #
  • Can we have more money? $.5million is chump change. @MayorSamAdams: And I got that without even having a strategy for it! #pdx11 #hellyeah #
  • Excellent classroom control by @MayorSamAdams this evening ;) #
  • How do we sustain quality of life over time? Hitting $1million – of course biz should. But then what? #pdx11 #
  • Stuart Cohen (of CSI) /cc @mherrick66 supplier to customer mkt. Oregonians don't consume enough products to enable rapid innovation. #pdx11 #
  • Question: Where in this effort are we going to see a plan to achieve financial success? #pdx11 #
  • We haven't created a cycle of successful M&A events. Creates more capital and more experienced management teams. #pdx11 #
  • yay @technojosh is speaking up! We have lots of companies that don't publicize their exits. #pdx11 #
  • Big question: How do we define success and how do we measure it? #pdx11 #
  • Finding space for user groups is currently an issue. Can we use PDC's background in real estate to help with that? #pdx11 #
  • Big thing that Gresham did: Waiving fees if you move from a home-based biz to downtown. @MayorSamAdams: YES! We do that. #pdx11 #
  • Next steps! We need structure. #pdx11 #
  • Scheduled a PROGRESS REPORT event February 2011 #pdx11 (dude. seriously awesome.) #
  • Haha. They're passing buckets around to put your card into buckets to get involved in these groups #pdx11 #
  • Conveners: they're here to ask people to come to a meeting. #pdx11 #
  • Introducing Warren Harrison from PSU: working on the knowledge network to solidify our informal and formal groups #pdx11 #
  • Matt Nees from SAO: working on the mentoring network can we cross breed .NET and open source audiences. (lulz) #pdx11 #
  • PDC guy (missed his name) is leading up the financing group. Help companies find the capital they need #pdx11 #
  • Thanks for bearing with my tweets! All done. :) #
  • At @pdxhackathon! #
  • I'm competing with "coats" in the local trending topics. https://skitch.com/selena/rn9q6/trends-in-portland-united-states-trendsmap #
  • OMG http://hatsproductions.com/organtrail.html #
  • Software summit wrapup! http://www.chesnok.com/daily/2010/12/02/pdx11-the-software-summit-wrapup/ #pdx11 #

twittering on 2010-12-03

  • Looking for a few good OPML files: http://www.chesnok.com/daily/2010/12/02/looking-for-a-few-good-opml-files/ #
  • many <3s to @osuosl @ramereth @gchaix for help with setting up #pdx11 #
  • What's better than the civil war game? OPEN DATA HACKATHON! This saturday! with @maxogden! http://calagator.org/events/1250459494 #
  • Thanks, Girltalk. Now I want to eat an ice cream sandwich. #
  • #PDX11 It's alive! http://www.chesnok.com/daily/2010/12/02/pdx11-its-alive/ #
  • Heading to City Hall for the software summit #pdx11 (psst: http://pdx11.org) #
  • Look! @MayorSamAdams on the floor #pdx11 #
  • So, @MayorSamAdams says that he picked us for our good taste in fashion AND our strength and future promise as an industry #pdx11 #
  • This is the fourth gathering about economic development strategy for the PDC plan #pdx11 #
  • Scott Adams from the PDC talking about how they have been trying to figure out the software industry #pdx11 #
  • And now, Gerald Baugh is up talking about the key people who helped research the industry here. #pdx11 #
  • Pdx11 crowd at city hall http://flic.kr/p/8XVqnz #
  • PDX economic opportunity areas: Athletic/Outdoor, clean tech, advanced manufacturing and SOFTWARE! #pdx11 #
  • Why target software? Direct & Indirect opportunity – $9 billion dollar effect on the Oregon economy #pdx11 #
  • Average wage in software sector is $87k, almost double the wages of other industries in Oregon #pdx11 #
  • Another goal: design a public/private partnership to support software industry #pdx11 (heck yeah!) #
  • PDC & the City were impressed by participation at CEO, developer and hobbyist #pdx11 #
  • Had a fireside chat with the Mayor with 35 companies, but it wasn't wide enough. So they made a survey & got >800 respondants #pdx11 #
  • Out of those conversations, created the Portland Seed Fund http://portlandseedfund.com/ and Portland10 http://www.portlandten.com/ #pdx11 #
  • The City of Portland put together open source initiatives and hosted Lunch 2.0 #pdx11 #
  • Since December $68 million in risk capital that has come in the last year! (and now we're having those guys stand up) #pdx11 #
  • Some PDX CEOs have turned down capital from other investors that would have had them move to other cities #pdx11 #
  • "Ours is not a normal industry. I truly believe this in my heart." Thompson Morrison #
  • Three key elements in our software industry: community sourcing, agile iteration, open innovation #pdx11 #
  • re: agile iteration – why yes we do have @WardCunningham in the audience! :) #pdx11 #
  • use of #pdxstrat tag is full of lulz /cc @BajillionHits #
  • Haha. Quoting @bradfordcross — "There is No Such Thing as the NExt Silicon Valley." #pdx11 #
  • Suggestion: Let's make the next town hall an @IgniteGov! #pdx11 #
  • What are the most important values in PDX? Quality of Life, Community. #pdx11 #
  • What is the least important value in this survey? Financial Success. (by an embarrassing margin) #pdx11 #
  • Fort Hall is the "fork in the road" between the California and Oregon Trail. #historylesson #themoreyouknow #
  • "Cultivating enduring wealth." That's the takeaway. I guess. #
  • So, how do we turn who we are into competitive advantage? Community is our competitive advantage. #pdx11 #
  • Community is not just for social wealth. It's also for our economic wealth. #pdx11 #
  • Community == agility (not what people would assume…) – enables it through fast connections between people, mashups #pdx11 #
  • Community provides support to help us make the right decisions as we build our businesses. #pdx11 #
  • Why aren't we as connected as folks in the valley? We're cultivators – stick with the same companies and don't move around as much #pdx11 #
  • Do you want to build the knowledge network? Sign up! http://lists.pdx11.org/mailman/listinfo/pdx11-knowledge #pdx11 #
  • Do you want to build the financing group? http://lists.pdx11.org/mailman/listinfo/pdx11-financing #pdx11 #
  • Do you want to build the mentoring group? http://lists.pdx11.org/mailman/listinfo/pdx11-mentoring #pdx11 #
  • Question: Financial success is a low priority, and we're complaining about lack of investment? Why do we complain? #pdx11 #
  • Answer: @MayorSamAdams everyone wants to be financially secure. We're just foremost motivated by how the work we do makes us feel #pdx11 #
  • Observation re VC: You need to have some big wins. 6 years since last company went to public. Bring people in from outside #pdx11 #
  • Observation from @brianfinger: hiring from outside PDX because they want to come here. Need to market PDX tech community better #pdx11 #
  • Sez @MayorSamAdams: part of the problem – we lack a coherent strategy. #pdx11 #
  • Can we have more money? $.5million is chump change. @MayorSamAdams: And I got that without even having a strategy for it! #pdx11 #hellyeah #
  • Excellent classroom control by @MayorSamAdams this evening ;) #
  • How do we sustain quality of life over time? Hitting $1million – of course biz should. But then what? #pdx11 #
  • Stuart Cohen (of CSI) /cc @mherrick66 supplier to customer mkt. Oregonians don't consume enough products to enable rapid innovation. #pdx11 #
  • Question: Where in this effort are we going to see a plan to achieve financial success? #pdx11 #
  • We haven't created a cycle of successful M&A events. Creates more capital and more experienced management teams. #pdx11 #
  • yay @technojosh is speaking up! We have lots of companies that don't publicize their exits. #pdx11 #
  • Big question: How do we define success and how do we measure it? #pdx11 #
  • Finding space for user groups is currently an issue. Can we use PDC's background in real estate to help with that? #pdx11 #
  • Big thing that Gresham did: Waiving fees if you move from a home-based biz to downtown. @MayorSamAdams: YES! We do that. #pdx11 #
  • Next steps! We need structure. #pdx11 #
  • Scheduled a PROGRESS REPORT event February 2011 #pdx11 (dude. seriously awesome.) #
  • Haha. They're passing buckets around to put your card into buckets to get involved in these groups #pdx11 #
  • Conveners: they're here to ask people to come to a meeting. #pdx11 #
  • Introducing Warren Harrison from PSU: working on the knowledge network to solidify our informal and formal groups #pdx11 #
  • Matt Nees from SAO: working on the mentoring network can we cross breed .NET and open source audiences. (lulz) #pdx11 #
  • PDC guy (missed his name) is leading up the financing group. Help companies find the capital they need #pdx11 #
  • Thanks for bearing with my tweets! All done. :) #
  • At @pdxhackathon! #
  • I'm competing with "coats" in the local trending topics. https://skitch.com/selena/rn9q6/trends-in-portland-united-states-trendsmap #
  • OMG http://hatsproductions.com/organtrail.html #
  • Software summit wrapup! http://www.chesnok.com/daily/2010/12/02/pdx11-the-software-summit-wrapup/ #pdx11 #

#PDX11: The software summit wrapup

So, the software summit happened this evening. Mike Rogoway posted his brief overview here: http://blog.oregonlive.com/siliconforest/2010/12/portland_gathers_software_deve.html. The back of my head, Teyo and Amy are featured on the bottom of the photo :)

I livetweeted the event, so tomorrow there’ll be a cavalcade of tweets here: http://www.chesnok.com/daily/2010/12/03/twittering-on-2010-12-03/

Big ideas:

  • Portland is about Community. And our competitive advantage is that community.
  • Part of what makes us what we are is the fact that we stick with the same companies over time. What can we do to enable collaboration across company boundaries?
  • We cultivate enduring wealth.

My takeaway from the Q&A was that we’ve got this huge biz/developer divide. We have management talent – but maybe not the big M&A talent that the VC-oriented folks are after. We have loads of developers. We need to make more effort to get those folks connected to one another in a way that makes sense!

We have tons of events that are advertised on calagator.org, and the city is making an effort to make itself a hub (hosting Lunch 2.0, and now this software summit in the City Council Chambers). Overall, I really think the City is doing a great job, and I can’t wait to see what the citizen initiatives come up with.

So if you want to get involved, subscribe to our lists:

http://lists.pdx11.org/mailman/listinfo/pdx11-announce (announce only!)
http://lists.pdx11.org/mailman/listinfo/pdx11-financing
http://lists.pdx11.org/mailman/listinfo/pdx11-mentoring
http://lists.pdx11.org/mailman/listinfo/pdx11-knowledge

Find out more at: http://pdx11.org

UPDATE:

Portland Business Journal coverage!
Slides from the City’s presentation
Video from Software Summit

#PDX11: It’s alive!

Alright, PDX11 is alive!

Tonight’s the big software summit! If you didn’t already sign up, it’s going to be live streamed, and I’m sure there will be tons of tweets and blog posts after. PDX11 will have followup information, and announcements related to the next steps each group involved will be taking.

If you want to get a head start — sign up for the mailing lists!

For announcements: http://lists.pdx11.org/mailman/listinfo/pdx11-announce

For more information about today’s meeting (4:30pm at City Hall!) check out Mike Rogoway’s coverage: Portland wants to transform its software culture into an industry

What else should we have on the site? Want to help make it better? Leave your thoughts in the comments.