Three marketing areas where PDX11 fails

I had a short conversation yesterday about what I wish PDX11 was doing better with it’s marketing. I was the person who suggested we call this effort PDX11, and I bought the domains and asked the Open Source Lab to host our sites. I created the mailing lists and setup and ran the hackathon.

So, really, if anyone is to blame for this, it’s me. :)

But I’d like some help, so I’ll lay out to you what I think is wrong:

  1. Ensure that the Portland open source community knows what PDX11 is.
    Work in progress by the Knowledge Network is starting to address this issue. But much of the open source community has no idea what PDX11 is, or why they should care about it.
  2. Align some of the goals of open source community and the proprietary software community.
    Right now, it seems as though the values of one community diverge greatly from the other.

    The Mentor network seems like the most likely place for the groups to come together, but there’s still quite a significant cultural gap between the Software Association of Oregon and a very large open source community. It makes me wonder if the SAO hasn’t realized that open source developers are a meaningfully large and growing group that they should be serving the needs of.

    This reminds me of a post I did back in 2009 about growth in PostgreSQL job postings.

    So I looked up the relative growth rate of jobs with “open source” in the description:

    Seems like growth worth paying attention to, especially given that “Mobile App” has explosive growth, but still only represents .0007% of all job postings – whereas “open source” is in .004%:

  3. Marketing to the general public about why it’s important that the PDC focus effort on the software industry cluster.
    A friend asked the other day “Why should a non-geek care about PDX11?” And, I didn’t have a snappy answer. One thing that was said today during the unconference that I’m still mulling over was: “Software is the last growth industry we have in the US.” That’s maybe too agressive. :)

    Talking with Audrey today, I learned that it’s an established practice to target growing industries in a municipal area for public investment, and software industry was identified through an objective measure to be clustering and growing at a rate that warranted the city’s encouragement. The PDC has a site that shows some stats, but it’s far from clear to me, even as a person working on this project, exactly what is relevant to the general public. A bunch of this data was put into a PDF. One key number is that there are over 1,400 software companies in Oregon, and employment in this industry grew 19.2% from 2004-2009.

So, we could use your help. How should we address this?

Why should a non-geek care about the City’s and software community’s efforts to bring more software industry to Portland?

4 thoughts on Three marketing areas where PDX11 fails

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  1. Well, does my knowledge or caring about the PDC’s goal to develop the software industry have any bearing on their ability to achieve that goal, or on PDX11′s ability to achieve its own goals? If the answer is no, does it matter how aware the general public is about the whole thing?

    I think “awareness” too often becomes a goal of campaigns (of all types), when it should be a means to an end. The question shouldn’t be, “Why should they care?”, but “Why do we need them to care?”. If awareness among the general public contributes to some greater goal, then it’s worth pursuing. If it does not, then why spend time on it?

    Or, maybe awareness on certain segments of the non-tech communities is more important than others? In which case, the answer for each of those particular groups may be different than the others.

  2. First of all, thanks for everything you’ve done.
    Second, give things some time to build. I think of the “Portland Software Summit” as the kickoff, and that was just a few months ago.
    Third, you raise some interesting points in terms of awareness and aligning goals.

    I believe these issues usually hinge on (shared) “value”.

    For example: “Why should a non-geek care about the City’s and software community’s efforts to bring more software industry to Portland?”

    I’m not sure how PDX11 and non-geeks give value to each other, so I don’t see how we could pull it off, or even that it matters very much.

    But: “Align some of the goals of open source community and the proprietary software community.”

    I think there is a huge opportunity for these two communities to give value to each other.
    So, it’s both feasible and worth working on, even though it may take time and be hard to accomplish.

    How to pull it off hinges on value.
    For example, we could increase the proprietary software community’s interest in open source if we could find and publicize examples of open source helping proprietary software companies succeed and grow. (Google seems to be making a lot of money with Linux and Android. Any Portland examples?)

    We could increase the Open Source community’s interest in the proprietary software community if we could find and publicize examples of proprietary companies providing resources to help the Open Source community. (It’s cool that Network Redux hosts ePDX.org. A growing number of products leverage – and contribute – to Open Source. Google, IBM many others -> Linux. Sun -> Open Office. Lots of companies -> Apache. Any Portland examples?)

  3. Tara:

    Excellent points. I’ll see if I can write something up later on today to address the “what can I do to help” as opposed to raising awareness. And try to identify what segments of the non-tech community specifically should be interested.

    Briefly, I think investors, marketing professionals, sales executives and project managers should be interested – because emerging projects and businesses need them, and there are job openings and market opportunities available for them.

    -selena

  4. Bryan:

    Good points. I can compile an initial list. I’ll see about developing a wiki resource so that we continue to add known instances to it over time.

    -selena