Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Revising the PKL Model

So we're revising our model of the Portland Knowledge Lab, based in part on Thom Hartmann's interview with Willamette Week on KPOJ (620 AM), which helps pop the nanotechnolgy bubble we've seen floating around near the Old Spaghetti Factory, i.e. in the Lower Southwest.

So the City of Portland has succeeded in attracting, and subsidizing, another bedroom community, not a new jobs haven, except for that clinic and assisted living center (both very welcome).

None of this changes the fact of our wanting more of a jobs haven in Lower Southeast, across from these new condos starting from OMSI, and heading up towards The Steel (the old Cornos neighborhood).

But nanotechnology may not be the big pie slice of revenue we'd originally projected, except from our more traditional Silicon Forest clients, i.e. those pursuing nanotech in robotics, chip design, and color printing -- already well established industries in our region.

So more visualizations of nanotubes (for cabling and wiring) and Z-axis layering, might be what we're called upon to provide, in addition to public (open source) mathcasting (a 4D Studios niche).

The basic idea of the PKL is it's a clearinghouse where movers and shakers get together in a collaborative mode, even though many are strong competitors in the marketplace. You need this kind of think tanky glue to fixate and focalize, such that outsiders see a more unified API.

Just phone our Knowledge Lab and someone knowledgeable will steer you in the right direction. However, behind the scenes, we have multiple studios jockeying for position, my 4D Studios but one of a great many.

I'm not sure how much of this model I've cribbed from London's. My impression from the tour they gave me is that prominent schools had coalitioned in order to process some juicy government contracts. For example: the UK is moving towards electronic whiteboards for pedagogy and the LKL was supposed to figure them out.

PKL will have this impressive list of sponsors without implying some kind of monopolistic, hegemonistic back end, which'd scare clients away as they'd presume ripoff price fixing. On the contrary, the long list of sponors only means we've succeeded in creating a neutral ground to take advantage of synergy, not to frustrate competition.

Such neutral ground building occurs quite naturally and readily in Japan. Even as competitors, it's in our own self interest to codevelop and share infrastructure -- Sten's render farm idea for example.

And finally, given we're talking ephemeral media, toons (many with highly technical content) that travel through optical fiber as easily as through satellite transponders, there's no reason we can't increase our business from out of state as well.

As a jobs haven, we're made up of local residents. But where those jobs come from, could be anywhere.

And so eventually, nanotechnology even in a more biological sense might well gain a bigger pie slice, in terms of the manhours and render farm time we give it, even if Pill Hill itself isn't the big client we'd predicted originally, based on all that hype around the cable car (which Hartmann likened to something out of an H.G. Wells novel).

Sorry I can't say I'm too worried. I still think we're on track for the Lower East. The print media businesses have already laid the groundwork. We have a proud lexical tradition and track record. Now we're getting more graphical, more animated. There's precedent for that too (e.g. Bill Plympton, Matt Groening, Will Vinton et al -- and of course not forgetting John Callahan).

Happy Birthday Dawn Wicca! Dawn's Turning the Wheel provided the original digs for Portland Knowledge Lab @ ActivSpace, near the Lucky Lab in Lower East.