I’ve taken to calling my local area Silicon Pasture, because there are a lot of dairy farms around, and, surprisingly, there’s a vibrant tech community as well. I didn’t know that when I moved here. I came here for a job and to be closer to family. But in the last couple of years I’ve gotten to know folks in the tech community in South-Central Pennsylvania (Harrisburg-Lancaster-York) and am impressed with what’s going on here. It’s a testament, I think, to the anytime-anywhere-anyscale opportunities the web affords to people who have good ideas and the skills and determination to carry them out.
I’ve known Treff LaPlante at WorkXpress (Twitter: @workxpress) for a few years now. I’ve always been impressed with his no-coding enterprise-app building platform, and now, with release 2.0 coming out in April, his company is starting to attract some serious attention. WorkXpress is one of the many interesting companies launching out of the Murata Business Center incubator in Carlisle.
The guys at CoTweet (Twitter: @cotweet), out of Lancaster, “have a tiger by the tail,” to use a term I tweeted at them earlier in the week. Their browser-based tool to help companies manage multiple Twitter accounts and multiple users of those accounts (dubbed by Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester Research “CRM for Twitter”) is still in private beta, but has gotten early adoption by companies like Ford, Best Buy, Intuit and JetBlue, and has gotten raves from social media icon Guy Kawasaki.
Listrak (Twitter: @listrak), from Lititz, near Lancaster, is a fascinating company that has built a high-performance email marketing platform attracting top-tier customers such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Waterford Wedgwood and the Bahamas Tourist Office. The company also shares its email marketing expertise with its customers via user groups, webinars, blogs and (of course) email newsletters. So, in addition to providing a great technology platform, they also make their customers smarter.
And now, with the opening of the new downtown high-rise home of the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, the area finally has a university anchor to support its tech entrepreneurs. All in all, it’s an exciting time here in Silicon Pasture. I’ll keep you posted on developments.
[Disclosure: I've worked with folks at each of these companies, sometimes paid but mostly not, on strategy, customer research and rollout questions]
[Photo by marrit via stock.xchng]