Wonks R Us

Where Public Policy and Small Business Meet

Catching up

When I started this blog I set a goal of blogging at least once a week.  Obviously I have not met that goal.  But I have some good excuses and the intention of getting back on the weekly blogging wagon.

Here is a quick summary update of what I have been up to in the past month, sorted by degree of time suckage:

1. BarCamp – This is the 3rd year that we hosted BarCamp Portland and it is huge amount of work that culminates in a huge amount of fun.  BarCamp has nothing to do with alcohol (at least not directly) nor lawyers (once again, at least not directly).  It is an unconference, so there is no way to know what topics are going to come up for discussion.

2. Economic Recovery -In my ongoing efforts to help the Powers-that-Be understand small business’ role in the economy, I created this schematic, which I shared with Erin Flynn,  Portland Development Commission’s (PDC) Economic Development Director.   In that same conversation it became obvious that Ms. Flynn was not as familiar with the economic growth in Portland’s open source tech community as she would like.

Those of you who know me know that I rarely, if ever, sing the praises of PDC. But, I also believe in giving credit where credit is due.  To Erin Flynn’s credit, shortly after Andy Frazier (my Small Business Development Workgroup Co-Chair) and I met with her on a beautiful, warm Friday afternoon, she took action on our conversation.  The mayor has scheduled a meeting with several of Portland’s open source/high tech representatives to get their perspective on PDC’s Economic Development plan.  In other words, the precise voices that had been left out of the conversation.

3.  This past Saturday CubeSpace hosted Town Hall with State Senators Diane Rosenbaum and Ginny Burdick. Senator Ginny Burdick chairs and Diane Rosenbaum sits on the Senate’s Finance & Revenue Committee. I asked why state investment funds for high tech entrepreneurship are all targeted at companies looking for VC money.  I suggested that perhaps a revolving loan fund would better serve small tech companies whose focus is employment rather than selling for a huge profit. Increasing resources for startups not looking for VC money intrigued them. I have no idea whether this conversation will bear any fruit, regardless, I was pleased with their positive reception.

Not that things will be calming down any time soon, but I will try to get back on a more regular blogging schedule.

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