The Fall of Vidoop

Chris Messina just posted a long, thoughtful and informative blog on the rise and fall of his erstwhile employer, local Portland identity provider Vidoop.

For those of us in the Portland tech community who welcomed Vidoop, saw our friends and colleagues go to work for them, and—in my case at least—starting using their OpenID provider service myVidoop—the whole series of events is mostly sad. I truly liked everyone I met from Vidoop and really appreciated their work and contributions to our community, like their hosting of the CyborgCamp 2009 pre-party.

I strongly agree with Chris that the fall of Vidoop can not be read as a failure of OpenID or other open web technologies, standards, or practices.

It is in fact the strength of OpenID that I was able to switch my OpenID delegation to our other local Portland identity provider, Janrain’s MyOpenID, in a matter of minutes and have no interruption in my identity services. What happened with Vidoop proves the value of controlling my own identity via OpenID and merely using providers and other services as I need them.

Vidoop: I’m truly sorry. For those of you who needed to learn lessons, I hope you did. For all the Vidoopers and their customers, I hope what happens next is a good thing.

For OpenID: I’m with you even more than before.

PDX #powerballVC Reaps Rewards Worthy of Wall St

I’m pleased to report that the first ever PDX Powerball Venture Capital fund returned earnings worthy of a Wall Street investment fund. With a generous $155 in initial capital, #powerballVC returned a stunning $9 in winnings!

After subtracting our promised 10%—or $0.90 —donation to the Legion of Tech, 31 #powerballVC fund members divide the remaining $8.10 equally to earn a whopping $0.26 each for their original $5 investment—a healthy -94.8% profit!

If you are among the lucky 31 #powerballVC fund founders, please tweet me your vote for how we should invest the fund’s current $9 capitalization:

  1. Let it ride (ie, buy $9 worth of Powerball tickets for the next drawing)
  2. Liquify (ie, buy a pitcher of beer for LoT board members at the next LoT Happy Hour)
  3. Get out now (ie, collect your 26¢ before the market crashes)

For anyone who’s interested, 3 out of our 155 powerball tickets won $3 each by matching 29, the powerball number for the Sat 27 Sep 2008 drawing. If anyone wants to look over the remaining 152 losing tickets to double check for other winners, let me know.

PDX #powerballVC

Based on an idea by @linuxaid, we announce the first PDX Powerball venture capitalist (#powerballVC) group.

Our own Legion of Tech has been nominated as the trusted #powerballVC steward and will receive 10% of any winnings to support their awesome work to grow and nurture the local Portland community through free, educational, community-run technology events.

Anyone who gives/pledges $5 no later than noon tomorrow (ie, 12pm PT Saturday 27 Sep 2008) can join the final draw and I’ll collect your contribution later if necessary. All entrants will split the winnings equally, minus LoT’s share.

I’ll buy the greatest number of random-number tickets possible for the Saturday 27 Sep 2008 OR Lottery Powerball draw. I promise not to buy any other tickets, so any I hold win for all of us.

Pledge either by leaving your comment below (OpenID-enabled!) or tweeting me @xolotl.

Current Powerball Venture Capitalists include:

  1. adamd
  2. adronbh
  3. ahockley
  4. bl00mie
  5. betsywhim
  6. bryanstearns
  7. caseorganic
  8. chrisorourke
  9. fightingmonk
  10. geekygirldawn
  11. ginabean
  12. jslabaugh
  13. kram
  14. kveton
  15. linuxaid
  16. mediachick
  17. melissalion
  18. mettadore
  19. mtrichardson
  20. neophiliac
  21. parenthacks
  22. rael
  23. ryansnyder
  24. sblom
  25. seeger
  26. turoczy
  27. unclenate
  28. verso
  29. wajiii
  30. willnorris
  31. xolotl

Creativity Inverged: InVerge & Cre8Con 2008

Experiencing three days of purposefully and accidentally thought-provoking speakers at Portland’s recent Inverge and Cre8Con conferences leaves me feeling, well, thoughtful and provoked. Some of the presentations were predictable, some were compelling, but nearly all of them generated further reflection on what is and what will be.


Engagement was the theme I drew from the wide variety of media and marketing professionals and researchers at Inverge. From the giddy meditations on the media engagement that is from presenters like Widen+Kennedy’s Renny Gleeson, Vidoop/OpenID’s Scott Kveton,’s Raven Zachary, and cyborg anthropologist Amber Case, to the descriptions of what media engagement is beginning to become from USC ICT’s William Swartout‘s descriptions of the building blocks of holodeck technologies and Vortex/Harmony Channel’s Ed Lantz‘s tour of immersive media environments. Then the good news/bad news of engagement brought to us by MIT’s Joshua Green, who got us thinking about the value the agents formerly known as “consumers” bring to brands and products and what they should get for their work, and Andy Mooney and Chris Heatherly, who openly described Disney’s very clear and strategic systems to engage children as “desiring machines.” I hand it to Disney for understanding how to architect experiences like the techno-charm bracelets that talk to each other and jack in to Tinkerbell’s Pixie Hollow website…but thankfully, Disney’s poor art direction and music selection may keep them from owning the entire brains and allowances of every child on earth.


Despite drawing on only local Oregon talent, Cre8Con certainly delivered a day-load of eye-poppingly great work and thoughts on how to make it, including Michael Curry‘s amazing puppetry, damali ayo of Crow Clothing’s must-have clothing and laudable business practices, and Brian Van’t Hul of LAIKA’s tantalizing previews of the upcoming Coraline animated feature.

When it came to creative practices, I was left waffling between the incredible focus required to produce Jay Meschter of Nike’s nearly-invisible shoes and Adam Gallardo of Dark Horse Comic’s advice to absorb as much as you can from the widest variety of sources. I’m left feeling like both practices fuel my creative engine.

On Your Feet ‘s closing 10-min summary of the entire Cre8Con conference should be required at any and all conferences of any type from now on for both laughs and material retention. And finally, let’s not forget that neither of these worthy events would’ve happened without the dedication of Steve Gehlen and a host of other hardy volunteers.

Inverge & Cre8Con

For anyone engaged in the creative practices that are generating the continuing convergence of interactive media, technology and culture, Portland, Oregon will come alive next week with the convergence of both the second annual Inverge 2008 Thu-Fri 4-5 Sep at the Gerding Theater and Cre8Con, Sat 6 Sep at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts, not to mention the concurrent MusicFestNW, the Time-Based Art Festival and the only slightly more regular First Thursday.

Last year’s inaugural Inverge event sparked a lot of thinking that crossed all the right boundaries and provided the opportunity to connect with thought leaders from a wide variety of disciplines. This year promises to be even better, with speakers including MIT’s Joshua Green, Weiden+Kennedy’s Renny Gleeson and Jelly Helm, Disney’s Andy Mooney and Chris Heatherly, Nike’s Jay Meschter and Michael Tchao, as well as Oregon luminaries, Scott Kveton from Vidoop, Raven Zachary from and Amber Case, Cyborg Anthropologist, designer Damali Ayo, Adam Gallardo from Dark Horse Comics and many more. Check out all the speakers at Inverge and Cre8Con.

I’ll be there, will you?