Friday, February 20, 2009

More Marketing

A lot of today's marketing meeting focused on Portland's supposed inferiority complex.

We're wedged between Washington and California, which both have a reputation for attracting venture capital. That's Silicon Valley to the south and Bellvue/Redmond to the north.

From my angle it's more symbiotic than competitive as we have more of a FOSS meets healthcare angle (a stimulus focus), whereas Microsoft has Xbox and San Jose has disk drives and routers -- not saying I'm not biased.

My attitude is we're happy to accept sponsorships for program expenses, but what we really want are program participants getting to work with us as a part of their job descriptions.

Don't just send us your money, send us your people too. That's more the non-profit psychology, with paid volunteers (e.g. paid by their own companies to help reboot the schools, a self interested practice if your long term plan is to stay in business, recruit new players).

Of course there's a product placement angle to all this. Who wants to be seen as a champion? You don't get it about marketing if you think there's no glory.

Speaking of Portland and champions, I liked how Portland Mercury handled the Michael Phelps story. Way more honestly than the Kellogg's approach. We still have some free speech left in "Little Amsterdam" (FOSS capital). We may be corporate and button down, but we're also sanely liberal (as in catholic) -- OK, so maybe "Little Vienna" then (as in Vienna Circle), likewise a hotbed of liberalism (as in "liberal arts" as in "open and sharing").

The upshot: market Portland as the Nashville of Open Source, laptops as like guitars, geeks as like musician, with lots of different sounds (more than "just country" -- in Nashville as well). The analogies run deep given how player pianos fed into the punch card era. Gibson Guitar already saw this a long time ago, as our sponsor at OSCON. I paid my respects on my last visit to TN (to Jack Daniels as well).

And no, we're not ashamed of our Wild West ethics, park American Cowgirls right across from our Oregon Convention Center. Don't think we're not proud of our night life. Our streets are packed when many a city shuts down, everyone home in the suburbs watching TV. We'd call that scary (even creepy), much prefer to nurture our own, have music clubs galore. That's a feature, not a bug, as we say in the business (show business).

"Shocking maybe, but not shabby" could be our mantra, because we're very serious about studying. We're book readers in this City that Works (another slogan). We plan, we have meetups (oft times at CubeSpace).

So don't underestimate Portland's value, would be my advice. Like if you're really serious about being a Grunchie, get a footprint in this town (to sound esoteric about it -- not everyone reads our buckaneer syllabus, gotta remember that).