Thrive in PDX Despite Economic Uncertainty

These last few weeks have been tough on people. Most of us can probably say that we’ve felt the impact of these tough economic times in one way or another. From my perspective, companies have been a little less eager to spend money on consultants, and I have some friends who recently lost jobs at local Portland tech companies. During times like these, we need to stick together and help each other. By working together, we can all be more successful and come out of the downturn with our businesses intact.

On another note, a few of us have noticed something a little disturbing about the Portland tech scene:

On the one hand, Legion of Tech and other grassroots efforts (Beer and Blog, WikiWednesday, Portland Web Innovators, and more) have built thriving events where groups of people get together to talk about technology in a very informal way. These events tend to bring in large numbers of very smart people who skew toward being relatively young, working as consultants / freelancers, being incredibly passionate about technology, and having more technology-related side projects than you can count.

On the other hand, there are groups like the Software Association of Oregon (SAO) holding events that are also very well attended, but by a completely different set of people. These people are also very smart and successful, and they skew toward being more experienced, working at established companies, and are career technology professionals.

For some reason, it seems to me like there is this wall between these two groups of people, and it doesn’t feel healthy to me. I’ve been working with the SAO for months (way before we even suspected that we were heading into times of economic uncertainty) to find ways to break down this wall and get these two groups of people together. With the economy taking a hit, we decided that now was the time to do something about it. We felt a real need to get these two groups of people together to find ways to help each other through tough times. Our ultimate goal is to have Portland emerge out of the downturn with a technology industry that is stronger than ever.

We wanted to kick this effort off in a very informal way to get these two groups of people together and talking to each other. Thrive – PDX is born. We would love to have you join us on November 11th for the first in what we hope will be a series of events for a united Portland technology community.

Thrive – PDX
Tuesday November 11, 2008
5:00pm – 7:00pm
Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub (upstairs)
112 SW Second Ave
RSVP on Upcoming

Rick Turoczy and I also outsourced part of the naming for this event to our Twitter followers, and I wanted to thank everyone who provided suggestions. A special thank you to Benjamin Jacobsen who came up with this idea: “Survive and Thrive. Portland Tech moves onwards.” (we shortened it a bit)

Please use the tag: ThrivePDX when you write, tweet, post photos, etc. about this event.

We hope to see you there!

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7 thoughts on “Thrive in PDX Despite Economic Uncertainty”

  1. I for one think this is an excellent idea. I love our tech scene, and comradery with people we relate to, who also use Mac, who also love rails, who also watch the same tv shows. If I were to be a glass is half-full kind of guy I might say we’re in danger of looking like a clique.

    Yeah I know, I’m exaggerating. A little.

    I’m looking forward to the event and what may come of it. Thanks for taking a strong lead in developing a more diverse community.

  2. Great idea, Dawn. Way to tackle a wonderful issue. I’ll throw in my support. Integrating efforts to improve Portland’s technology ecosystem will be key to our ability to thrive, whether we’re one group or five.

    As one who skews older (more experienced? not sure) I have found the circles of geeks are extremely disjointed, and we have much to learn from each other. I’m not able to attend the first meeting on Tuesday, but will spread the word to the OEN community, as well as the older geeks I know. (You’re too kind not to write it, but we claim it… the gray and reading glasses makes it too obvious not to…)

  3. David,

    It does feel a little cliquey, so we’re trying to get some more cross pollination. We have so many amazing freelancers / independents / consultants here in town along with companies who need help. I’m hoping that by bringing them together, we can keep more business in Portland.


    I struggled with the wording on that sentence and finally settled on “experienced” 🙂 I’m not even sure which camp I fit in, and I see myself as somewhere halfway in between. At 37 years old, I spent more than a dozen years in corporate jobs climbing the ladder before deciding to venture out on my own. I think it’s a question of mindset more than age, and I think you straddle the two groups in a similar fashion with your experience in traditional marketing / corporate work and your social media savvy / consulting life now. Maybe that’s why I’m so interested in bringing these two groups together.

    Thank you so much for sending it around to the OEN crowd, and we hope to see you at the next event!

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