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A Portland High-Tech Guide

by Gary Romans


Definition: Networking is the process of meeting and talking to a lot of people, especially in order to get information that can help you: Students find networking essential to finding the right job. (Cambridge Dictionary of American English)

How does a company that targets startups as clients (like Technoloft - reach these ’stealthy’ clients? How does an entrepreneur meet that right person who can arrange a meeting with that venture capitalist who never returns your calls? How do you meet a hiring manager at that company you’re dying to work for?



Especially in an incestuous town such as Portland, Oregon, where everybody of importance in the high-tech community seems to know each other, meeting and greeting those insiders - and having them remember you and what your strengths are - is vital to success.

It’s a skill that can only be learned by practice. Being nice, being pleasant, working a crowd, smiling, being memorable, being sincere - getting and giving a business card, qualifying the contact, getting more contacts from them, and politely moving on.

It may be tough getting started, but force yourself - it pays off. Practice, practice, practice.

"Remember, networking is a gracious art ... treat people like you would like to be treated." Quoted from Peter Paskill, founder of Portland based Careermakers (

Luckily, Portland is blessed with ample venues for the networker to practice their skills. I’ve listed the six major organizations in the area that hold monthly events that can provide you the opportunity to meet someone who can help you. Just remember that good networking also requires you to be prepared to help someone else in return. Get a contact - give a contact.

I’ll probably see you at one of the following events. Ask me for a card:

e-Que (
Barb-e-Que for the Internet & technology community sponsored by Technoloft and others. This event is targeted at the Internet and technology entrepreneur. There is no speaker or presentation, just 3 hours of networking. Meets monthly, usually downtown at the Oregon Sports Museum, 3rd Thursday in the evening, no charge, see website for details.

IPN (Internet Professionals Northwest -
IPN is an organization dedicated to promoting the interests of professionals engaged in providing Internet services, products and technologies of all kinds. Each meeting has an informative presentation on a variety of topics, plus a short period for networking. Meets monthly, usually at OHSU, 2nd Tuesday in the evening, admission charge, see website for details.

SAO (Software Association of Oregon -
Mission: To foster an environment that fuels the explosive growth of Oregon’s software industry, by identifying and addressing the highest priority needs such as advocacy, professional development, networking, communications, quality, productivity, recruitment and retention, access to capital, and member services. Each event, held at a variety of locations, has an informative presentation on a variety of topics, plus a short period for networking. Frequent events - admission charge, check website.

OEF (Oregon Entrepreneurs Forum -
OEF is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to "opening doors" for Oregon entrepreneurs and improving the climate for emerging, growth-oriented Oregon companies.
Each meeting, held in varying locations, has an informative presentation on a variety of topics, plus a short period for networking. Frequent events - admission charge, check website.

AEA (American Electronics Association, Oregon Council -
"Our destination, our goal, our mission is to simply make the high-tech industry better." Frequent events - admission charge, check website.

Pint (
The Pint is a place where interactives get together to discuss the philosophies of the medium as well as have a few drinks. Monthly events, usually held at a downtown bar - admission charge, check website.

Other organizations or companies frequently hold additional events. The best sources to find these events are:
1) The Monday Oregonian TechNW Tech Calendar (;
2) The Portland Business Journal, published every Friday (
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