Sponsored by Oregon Business

How open source got its groove back

| Print |  Email
Articles - October 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011

By Mark Everett Hall


Risk taker Luke Kanies, CEO of Puppet Labs, likens Portland to "an underdeveloped stock" for entrepreneurs. 
Photo by Michael Cogliantry
Two years ago when Luke Kanies was mulling over where to move his Nashville startup he considered Silicon Valley, an obvious choice for an open-source software business. But with year-old twins in tow, he and his wife decided Portland was a better fit for them financially.

“I adored Portland,” he says of making the choice to base Puppet Labs in the city. “And we could afford it.”

Another key factor for Kanies’ relocation to Oregon from Tennessee was the proximity of experienced, open-source software developers. Without talented people to help, he knew that by himself he couldn’t build the software as he envisioned it. He needed skilled programmers and Portland had them, as he knew, from previous visits to the city for OSCON, the biggest conference for open source techies.

Finding top-notch technical talent is always an issue for companies large and small. That’s why it’s becoming more commonplace these days, especially in the software industry, to have remote workers,who work from the comfort of their own homes. Currently, though, only two Puppet Labs developers work remotely because CEO Kanies has been able to locate the bulk of his staff locally. His other 38 employees work in the company’s Park Blocks offices. He says those few times he’s had to fish for folks outside the area, there’s been no trouble recruiting people to come to Portland.

“If people were willing to relocate at all,” he says, “they’re willing to move to Portland.”

Portland’s lure lost some luster when the Great Recession hit. Developer jobs evaporated. Investment stalled in the open-source market. But the economic speed bump was a small one. Drawn to the area by its culture, community and cost of living, open-source developers continued to flock to the area, which, in turn, attracted the companies who needed them.


More Articles

100 Best Nonprofits: Working for equality inside and out

October 2015
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Striving for social equity is the mission of many nonprofits, and this year’s 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon survey shows employees are most satisfied with their organizations’ fair treatment of differing racial, gender, disability, age and economic groups. But as a national discourse about racial discrimination and equity for low-income groups takes center stage, data show Oregon’s 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For still need to make progress on addressing these issues within their own organizations.


100 Best Nonprofits announced

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

1015-nonprofits01Oregon Business magazine has named the seventh annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon. The rankings were revealed Wednesday night during an awards dinner at the Sentinel Hotel in Portland.



Linda Baker
Thursday, November 12, 2015
111215-taxilindaBY LINDA BAKER

Raye Miles, a 17-year taxi industry veteran, lacked the foresight to anticipate the single biggest trend in the cab business: breaking the law.


The War Room

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Veteran political consultant Carol Butler plays to win.


Where Do We Go from Here?

Guest Blog
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
102115-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | CFA

Volatility reigned supreme over the summer. The old Wall Street adage of, “Sell in May and go away,” was prophetic in 2015.


Company Present Accepted

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

’Tis the season of giving — and that goes far beyond trees drowning in Lego sets and ironic knitwear. Santa Claus knows corporations are people too, in need of gifts to warm the hearts (and stomachs) of even the most Grinch-like CFOs.


The Food Pod Grows Up

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Oregon's first generation of food entrepreneurs created a brand based on quality and craftsmanship. Can the second generation sustain it?

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02