In relative terms, this recession has been much less hard on Oregon’s high-tech industries than the dot-com and telecom busts were early this decade. And though the state’s technology manufacturing base continues to erode, a new cluster of Web services companies have sprung up and created a vibrant culture around social-networking technology.
Hopes are high they could lead Oregon technology out of this latest downturn, though their economic impact is muted.
Many of these small companies have set up shop in previously rundown buildings downtown or on Portland’s inner east side. They share a passion for social media, which connects people online through a series of tools including wikis, blogs and the instant-messaging service Twitter.
Prominent examples include Jive Software, AboutUs and SplashCast. Dozens, maybe hundreds, of even smaller companies are bootstrapping themselves with just a handful of employees and their laptops, using low-cost open-source software to launch their businesses with a minimum of startup costs.
The article’s side panel lists a few companies that are “bucking the trend” during the recession: