Here’s a quick video showing you how tags work in ePDX and how the PDX11 community is starting to use ePDX to link together resources specific to the entrepreneurs, startups and founders who have participated in the Financing network.
We’re looking into how to display, remix and present individual items from this collected information in the future.
For now, if you want to see the latest that’s been added, check out the resource list as it grows over the next few days.
Last weekend we had more than 70 people out for a civic hackathon associated with PDX11, the joint effort between community, the City of Portland and the Portland Development Commission to promote software development in Portland.
We kicked things off last Friday with a 30-minute, whirlwind status update since the kickoff of three initiatives in December 2010. Scroll down for a video!
The next morning, Saturday April 2, we had another orientation, but focused on people’s hacking projects and an unconference.
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:
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.
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.
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?
I wanted to continue talking about the perceptions stemming from the “quality of life” versus “financial success” juxtapositon from this slide:
A friend pointed out that maybe this issue is being framed in the wrong way for “outsiders”. If we’re going to pitch people on Portland being the best place to build a startup, values are certainly part of the equation, but what do investors want to know?
Maybe problem is similar to the process of gentrification… And as far as Portland’s software scene is concerned, we’re out of the blight, well into the “artists and weirdos make a home” phase and maybe just about to transition into “developers buy up a lot of land and artists start moving on” phase. But capital investment is in companies rather than land.
Maybe the story we as a city need to tell is that we want early adopter investors and more “artists and weirdos” who are passionate about what they do.
It’s a tough analogy, because we don’t have the same geographical or physical world indicators. When gentrification occurs, there aren’t always clear signs in the beginning. But as the process unfolds, people physically move in and out of a tight geographical area.
To put a spotlight on what’s going on with the tech industry, we need for some better indicators! Have a look at the employment graphs like the Oregon tech job employment indicator:
I don’t think it tells the whole story. There are also indicators about VC, but again, I don’t think it is capturing the nature of what is happening in Portland.
To start, I’m interested in a finer-grained look at the jobs associated with small software and IT firms. I’m not sure if there’s a way to pull that data out of what is typically tracked, but I’m going to try.
What indicators do you think we should be tracking?
Here’s an edited version of Thompson Morrison’s presentation about the software industry’s response to a series of surveys. The original presentation is available here. One of the key slides was about what folks here value:
The point I appreciated about this clip is that Portland’s software community *is* our competitive advantage.
I edited the video most for audio coherence. Sorry about the audio being a little out of sync.
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.
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