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?