Mashing Up The Fraternal Order of Stumptown Hackers

Geoff Kleinman, writing on looks back at the Web 1.0 tech boom that took place a decade ago and sees similarities to today.

He also looks forward and wonders if an insular community can step up and out for their own benefit.

The brutal truth is that 2009 is going to be an extremely rough year for many people in the community. Local companies have just started layoffs and a lot more are on the horizon. Great adversity can create great opportunities for a community to come together, support each other and find ways to use that community strength to grow. But for the Portland Tech Community to be relevant it takes more than just coming together. If the goal is to ‘put Oregon tech on the map’ then it’s going to take crossing the lines and reaching out to local businesses, involving people from outside the tight knit community and working together to create relevant national stories about Portland and tech.

As I attend various tech events in Portland, people invariably ask me, “How are you connected to all this?” It’s an innocent question for the most part.

The other day, I told one developer that I’m not connected. That I moved to Portland in August and I come to town with a history in, and interest in, marketing technology. Of course, that bit of information makes me something other than an engineer—a person who makes things! So, as I reflect on Kleinman’s call to action, I think yes, the engineers might want to warm up to people from my profession. Not all ad men are exploiters. Some of us are, in fact, as idealistic as the hackers who’ve made it their business to change the world.