HistoryThe first glimpse of Techlandia came in December 2009, when the Software Association of Oregon (SAO) and Portland Mayor Sam Adams held a "fireside chat” with about seventy-five software industry executives to discuss the state of the local software industry. It became clear that both the public and private sectors wanted to provide greater support to the software industry, but they needed a deeper common understanding of the role of the industry in the region. The Portland Development Commission (PDC) subsequently commissioned a sophisticated, three-part alignment process of software industry professionals in the Greater Portland area. This eight-month process engaged the software community through online surveys and in-person meetings, and culminated in a Software Industry Summit held at Portland City Hall in December 2010.
Shared Values & VisionThe Summit, which drew more than 300 software professionals ranging from large company CEOs, to entrepreneurs and independent programmers, revealed the findings of the study. These findings demonstrated the underlying shared values of the community and the need to focus on building relationships and value networks in three strategically important areas: 1) mentorship networks, 2) software user groups, and 3) early-stage financing. Software community volunteers jumped right in to convene three networks—Mentor, Finance, and Knowledge—in early in 2011. These three networks became known as the PDX11 effort.
Knowledge, Mentor & Finance NetworksBy February 2011, participants in the Knowledge Network had created ePDX.org, which is an open source community directory for software professionals and companies in the Greater Portland area. The Knowledge Network was convened by Portland State University and included many representatives from Portland-area user groups. Members of this Network subsequently collaborated with the Mentor Network to help with the development of a web-based mentor matching tool. The Mentor Network also started a thriving LinkedIn community and an ongoing topic-specific Roundtable series led by local software thought leaders. Topics have ranged from the "Psychology of Starting Up” to "Sharing the Reins – Bringing on a Co-Founder”. Finally, the Finance Network created a web-based chart, organized by revenue, detailing all of the regional funding resources for software companies, which is now available on epdx.org.
Our StoryConcurrent with all this activity, Techlandia founders planted the seeds for building broader visibility. Mayor Sam Adams’ office and the SAO convened a series of focus groups with local software executives and community leaders on the topics of branding and visibility for the industry. Participants in these focus sessions agreed that the industry needed an authentic brand and website to tell the story of the companies that are working and thriving in this area - a concept confirmed by 94% of respondents to an SAO survey who identified it as the number one issue SAO should focus on in 2012.
And here we are.
Techlandia’s innovative website is a pro-bono collaboration by the following local technology leaders: Cascade Web Development, Fuse Insight, McClenahan Bruer Communications, ViaWest, and WebTrends.