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Otherwise, chickens are laying eggs regularly, I’ve got a delicious looking crop of cherries developing in the front yard, and maybe some strawberries if the sun lasts for a few days. For the moment, I’m taking it easy today, reading a few books and relaxing in warmth that Portland has deserved for quite a few months now.
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.
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 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 →
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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