Ness Blackbird

Portland, Oregon, US

Serial technical founder
Ness's Skills
Product Management

Startup Experience

Founded 2+ startups

Age Group


About Ness

I'm an experienced developer and entrepreneur. I started Arts People ( with my wife Heather in 2005, who now runs it. It's a profitable company with 30 employees, but I'm feeling a need to branch out. I've started People Can Program (, an educational site that teaches programming.

Yes, this is a crowded field, but we have some innovations which we believe will change everything.
1) Programming is invariably taught either with programming languages or with graphical systems. Graphical programming systems are great for children, but they don't go the distance. Programming languages aren't friendly enough for beginners to use -- period. We have a solution to this, which is to rewrite programming languages for friendliness.
2) In a related problem, teaching systems for programming also fail to allow students to practice over an extended period of time in a supportive setting where their mistakes will be explained and correct solutions provided. Our lesson delivery system does allow for this.

One of the main business problems is simply this: You may not have completely understood the above, and neither do many of our potential customers. This problem can be overcome through word-of-mouth -- basically, I believe, nothing else will do it.

I want to pursue this as a values-driven, for-profit business. I'd like to offer the product for free, or nearly free, across the developing world.

I'm seeking a co-founder, someone I can relate to, someone who wants to work on the business/sales/marketing side. I'm a bit of a mad scientist, and not always easy to get along with, but I'm a nice person and I'll eventually come back and say I'm sorry when I screw up.

I'm completely devoted to this project (that and my family). This is an exciting journey, and I want to have fun along the way.


I have seen your divine compassion; where is your divine wrath? - Bertolt Brecht

Work Experience


Arts People, Inc.

January 2005 - June 2013

Founded Arts People with my wife Heather. This is an online ticketing system which serves smaller theatres and performing arts groups (symphonies, dance, etc). Customers sign up and use our custom shopping cart to sell their tickets. We currently have 30 full-time employees. The business is profitable, and serves over 1,000 theatres.


Marylhurst University

Masters of Psychotherapy and Counselling

1991 - 1991