Vision for Oregon’s software community

Ryan Buchanan
CEO + Founder
As Board Chairman of the Software Association of Oregon (SAO), I gave the following speech last Thursday at SAO’s Annual Member Dinner about the vision for the software community in Portland, and Oregon as a whole. Would love to hear your comments:

“Six months ago, 25 strong-willed SAO Board members locked ourselves in a room for a day to get aligned on our vision of the software community in this great state.  Yes, it took an entire day and a lot of debate to come up with one sentence. But, it’s an important one:

“Our vision is to make the software industry the catalyst for Oregon’s economic renaissance and a mecca for innovation.”

There is ONE phrase that really stands out here and is rarely ever used in a vision statement and that is “economic renaissance.”  What does this mean?

The first part of renaissance means that we’ve been through the dark ages or dark times of the past couple years of the downturn where there have been times where it’s sucked.  We’ve had to work seemingly endless 60-80 hour weeks without any immediate payoff. I don’t see anyone in this room that fit the Portlandia profile of “where young people go to retire.”

The second part of renaissance is the good part – it means innovation AND creativity.  It means job creation AND company growth.  It means leveraging what we as Oregonian tech and business leaders do so well – collaborate, mentor, and improve ourselves and our businesses through the mentality that rising tide float all boats. Like Charlie Sheen, we all want to WIN, but we want to win together as a vibrant business community.

How are we doing this? We are forming value networks through partnering with the PDC and City of Portland to support mentoring programs like PDX11 and Portland100. We have monthly Leadership Exchanges for CEOs, CFOs, and Technology Leaders. We have Fireside Chats that connect and feature public and private industry leaders like the CEOs of PGE, PacificCorp, and NW Natural who spoke about the importance of technology innovation in their own companies.  And lastly, we are educating our future leaders at a K-12 level through our non-profit Techstart, and we are driving tangible career development opportunities through SAO Programs and workshops.

I’m going to share some simple advice from one of my mentors:

Keep working hard and get involved in the software community.

The Renaissance is happening.  In fact, we’re making it happen here in this room, in this city, and in the state of Oregon.  Thank you.”

Ryan Buchanan
Ryan Buchanan, CEO + Founder at eROI.
1417 NW Everett St. Suite 300
Portland, Oregon 97209 United States
(503) 221-6200
Old Town