The Procrastinator’s guide to PIE

NOTE: when I started writing this, I thought the deadline was August 1st, turns it was extended today to August 8th. So, come back and read this next week I guess.

Enjoying your summer? Soaking in that Friday night feeling? Have that nagging thought in the back of your mind that you haven’t finished your PIE application for you great idea? Ah ha, I knew it. Since I’m one of the biggest procrastinators around, I feel your pain. But, wait, you say “I still have 3 10 more nights, there’s plenty of time to watch a couple shows on Hulu, get lost for a few hours reading blog posts, figuring what the heck PIE is, and maybe do a little coding, and then finish the application.” I know your tricks, that’s why I’m here to help.

All kidding aside, and even though I just moved to Colorado, I am here to help. I’ve enlisted to be a mentor in the upcoming session of PIE, joining forces with a who’s who of Portland and beyond talented technology, startup and marketing communities. Even if you don’t need my help, or if my help is no help at all, then you’ll still want to be a part of it to tap into the roster they’ve got lined up. Heck, I’m hoping I can learn a thing or two or a hundred in drafting off this group.

Let’s get to it, turn down your Spotify, Turntable, Mugasha or whatever the cool kids are listening to these days and focus.

What is PIE?

First, stuff you can read on their website, but I wanted to use the blockquote tag:

The Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE) is a partnership among leading brands, technology innovators, and Wieden+Kennedy-the largest privately held advertising and communications company in the world. It serves as a hub for community, entrepreneurship, and creative thinking.

So, it’s an incubator, it’s an experiment, it’s got help from Wieden+Kennedy and a bunch of their clients? Yes, yes, and yes. But, I know you, you’re looking to do more research, so here you go:

How do I apply?

Go to the website and fill out the application

When’s the application due?

August 1st August 8th (great, there goes my whole procrastinator’s angle)

What’s in it for me?

You’ll get $18,000, 3 months of office space, and access to a host of nice folks that may know a thing or two to help. Like:

What’s in it for PIE?

You’ll give PIE a 6% equity stake in your company. (source). You’ll probably need to devote yourself pretty fully to this endeavor too, time-wise, but if you’re worried about that, then, well, maybe you just keep on bootstrapping. That’s reality, hey, it’s my reality.

Of course, if your team knocks it out of the park, then PIE can keep this experiment going into the next class or further.

What if I don’t get in?

You certainly don’t need PIE’s permission to build the next big thing. Prove us all wrong and make us write a “The one that got away” post.

There’s probably a ton of applicants, why bother?
What’s the first rule of business? Show up.

You’ll never know until you try. Plus, according to Rick, the number of applicants “hasn’t been blowing the doors off.” so there goes that excuse.

When’s that application due again?

August 1st August 8th (@ 11:59 pm, I checked for ya)

Rocky Mountain Hi

I won’t dwell on the fact that it’s been 3 years since I last posted. As I work on posting regularly again, it will be fun to revisit the last few years.

But, the occasion of moving half-way across the country is enough to stir the blog into action again. This past weekend, I made the journey from Portland to Boulder, Colorado, marking the culmination of a frantic few months of tough decisions and planning. After 12 years in the Portland area, we decided it was time for a change. So, in a a quick 2-3 month time period we went from, “what if we moved?” to thinking about where we’d move to, on to packing up and hitting the road for Boulder.

The questions usually come up in the course of telling people this. Why Boulder? Why leave? The short version: sun, software, and adventure.

The longer version… Earlier this year, we adopted our son from Ethiopia, our third child and second boy. Now, I grew up in a 3 kid/2 boy household in Oregon, I’m perfectly aware of the ups and downs. But, we just couldn’t take it. The kids need to be able to go outside and move and the constant grey was no longer tolerable. Plus, we’d always lived in Oregon, save for a years of college in Washington, so the explorer aspect was definitely appealing. Finally, even as I see Portland’s tech startup scene with more spark in the last few weeks than there’s been in years, the energy of the Boulder software and startup community was unmistakably electric, so what better way to check it out than to live amongst it.

Portland still holds a special draw for us though, so one never knows where this road will lead. I’m still working for my same company in Portland, will be back in town on a somewhat regular basis, am still working with partners in Portland on my side-projects and we still own our house there. Didn’t exactly cut the cord, eh?

That will segue nicely into the next post I think…

Events to keep an eye on

The next couple weeks are going to be busy around these parts and just wanted to share some of the events I’m planning on attending.

Always one of my favorites and it’s cheap! Starts tomorrow.

Strands Portland Meet-up
Think Strands is all about Music and now Money? Think again. This meet-up will be a chance to preview the all new and meet more of the Strands team.

Portland Lunch 2.0 @ Vidoop
The Lunch 2.0 series continues at newly re-located to PDX Vidoop

Andy Baio talks side projects and acquisition at Portland Web Innovators
We’re thrilled to have Andy Baio, founder of leading the discussion. Should be awesome!

Portland Web 2.0 update

Web 2.0 activity in Portland is still a big interest area for me and a number of Portland sites popped up this week. Seems things are really getting going around here.


TwitterWhere is a cool new project from local Portland developer Matt King. Similar to how Local Signal tracks an assortment of feeds for a specific city to filter and discover news, events, and people, TwitterWhere tracks Twitter activity for a given location, making it easy find local breaking news and other Tweeters. (Silicon Florist and Read/Write Web coverage)


ChoiceA is a new national real estate FSBO site (Silicon Florist and Read/Write Web have more).


Platial made a pretty bold move it seems in acquiring one of their direct competitors in the social mapping space who had been doing better, traffic ranking wise. Should be interesting to see what happens with the combined companies.

Kicked out some CLIQers

As the CLIQ leader for the Portland Web/Tech group, it appears that it is my responsibility to keep the CLIQ relevant. So, I have booted a couple of blogs that were definitely not Portland Web/Tech focused. I will restrain myself from abusing my power by booting those with more views than me ;-).

With CLIQ now in public beta, anybody can join, so get over there and sign up if you’re looking for a little bling for your blog and want to connect with other Portland bloggers.

LocalSignal preview release

Thanks for all that voted in my “name this app” poll. won by an 8 to 6 margin over I’m going to trust the voters on this one and go with it. It’s also time to announce the preview, since Silicon Florist and Metroblogging Portland have already covered it. Yes, I know it’s aesthetically challenged (though it’s much better than the first preview thanks to Matt at CouldBe Studios who hacked up my css), but I would love to hear feedback on the idea, content, and if you feel so inspired, design ideas.

Jump right into the Portland news to take a look.

LocalSignal is built for 3 types of uses:

  1. Quickly get the latest news, event info, and social media content from around the web for your city
  2. See what’s happening in a city you’re traveling or moving to
  3. See who’s online around you in your city

As is my custom, I usually give a back story when launching an app (here’s Web 2.0 Innovation Map and NetworthIQ). Basically, I was subscribing to a whole bunch of Portland feeds, and it was beginning to clutter up my reader. Feed readers are great, but the more feeds you follow the more difficult it is to keep up and need arises to find faster ways to filter. Also, when I took a trip last year to San Diego, I had been looking for something like this to get an idea of what was going on down there, maybe if there were any Web 2.0 type companies or events to check out. I also like to know what’s happening in Seattle to get a feel for overall Northwest happenings, but I certainly didn’t want to subscribe to those feeds, and didn’t want to build a new page in PageFlakes/Netvibes for any city I all of a sudden cared about. Finally, I’ve met a number of great people locally here in Portland as a result of my online activities, and would like to continue that tradition by finding the local people using various social platforms.

Putting those ideas together with my increasing use of Original Signal for news scanning, and the city-based single page aggregator now known as LocalSignal was born. Originally I was just trying to filter out universal social media platforms for local content (topix, newsvine,, technorati, MetaFilter, Ball Hype, Upcoming). If a site had feeds and some way to filter content by tag or location, I tried to utilize it. Unfortunately, I think the vision falls short by only relying on that method. Some feeds were too stale for that fine grained of content, and some too busy to find anything useful. For that reason, I’m starting to add more locally produced content.

If you’re wondering what the heck I’m doing building another app right now, as if I have the time. Well, I wonder myself sometimes. Focus was never my strong-point. But, I like to tinker and the feed plumbing was built back in February as I was brushing up on my PHP. Todd and I discussed some organization and design ideas in Aprilish, but I still let it simmer. Some recent events have given me the motivation to bring it down from the attic and get it out the door.
There’s still a number of things to do: UI improvements, showing new items since last visit, showing popular items (determined by clicks), and of course content content content (adding, removing, ordering) for the 53 cities currently being tracked.

Here’s some additional resources about news filtering methods:


Portland company LUNARR, cut through the TechCrunch40 noise nicely this morning with their release. Silicon Florist has a good roundup.

This is interesting to me, one because I love trying collaboration tools and two, because I noted LUNARR way back last february and for the longest time, I was getting a good chunk of my paltry traffic from google searches for Toru Takasuka, the CEO. I’ve now been relegated to page 3 of the google results.

So, now that LUNARR is out, let’s look at the description from back then:

“He says he will develop a Web-based product that will allow business people to handle their computer needs, boosting productivity through collaboration. Information will be accessible via anything from a personal computer to a cell phone to a television.”

The collaboration part is definitely there, and I see some interesting things there. The whole “turn the page over” idea is kind of cool, and importing web sites to comment on was a nice touch. We’ll see how the cell phone and television part plays out.

If you want an invite, let me know.

Blazers un-jump the shark

Amazing what a couple weeks will do for a team. The Blazers won the draft lottery last night for the rights to pick first in this years NBA draft, the most highly coveted #1 pick since Lebron James a few years back. Couple that with Brandon Roy’s rookie of the year win and I’m actually excited about seeing them play next year.

It’s been years since I’ve attended or even watched a game on tv as they’ve fielded teams that were terrible on and off the court. I’m definitely not alone, as the team has suffered huge decreases in attendance and financial performance. It doesn’t take a genius to predict that with this stroke of luck, the team should now have a city starting to get behind it again.

TeamSnap – the northwest is on fire today

TeamSnap, a product of Portland-based SparkPlug is the second northwest site on TechCrunch today and is enjoying a much smoother launch than TalentSpring’s. I saw TeamSnap on Mike Davidson’s blog the other day and it definitely is a good-looking site, but didn’t realize they were local. Congrats on the launch SparkPlug!

I used to play a lot of sports and do a little coaching before I got bit by the side-project entrepreneur bug, but not enough to warrant the use of TeamSnap. I don’t think it will help my golf game much either. If I start playing or coaching sports again (which I definitely want to do), I’ll have to remember to give this a shot.

New tech group in town

The folks at Pop Art have launched a new group, PDX UX (UX = User Experience), for area designers and developers to get together (via). Looks to be heavy on Microsoft stuff. That’s not an indictment against the group (I code in .NET for a living as a matter of fact), but I do know that many developers dislike Microsoft’s proprietary ways and many designers dislike working with Microsoft technology. So, it will be interesting to see how it does. I’ll add it to the list.

One of the questions that came up during the Inventrepreneurship session (slides) at WebVisions was where to find people to help build projects. Groups like PDX Web Innovators and PDX UX, as well as any of the groups in that list is probably a good place to start.