Memories From Portland

Maria and I set foot in Portland, Oregon on the 8th of July, roughly 24 hours after waking up in Athens, Greece. With excitement and anticipation dangling upon us, we left PDX and headed towards the city center: Support Driven Expo 2019 was right around the corner. New discoveries, knowledge and friends awaited!

In the morning of the 10th, just one day before the Expo, we joined the SD organizing team for a breathtaking hike through Washington Park, passing by the Vietnam War memorial and Japanese gardens — a path recommended in every travel guide. While walking through narrow cliff-sides (and stopping for pictures) we got to meet and greet many fellow attendees. No matter where we came from, which company we worked for, or what our job title was, we all had one thing in common: A passion to support and look after our customers.

Once the hike was over, we hopped on the train and headed back downtown to join the SD welcome party. On our way there, we took a detour to check out a popular food truck: We’d been told these places are the soul and body of Portland’s gastronomical scene, and it didn’t take us long to understand why. Then, Maria and I walked across the river, as the event was about to start. With our party attires on, we grabbed a beer and spent the rest of the evening chatting to more support-driven gurus.

On the 11th, we woke up eager to join everyone at the Expo. So many workshops to attend — and so little time! But first, we had to decorate our badges:

The first workshops of the day were informative and diverse. We practiced belief and putting ourselves in our customers’ shoes, and then learned how to improve our internal communication with the product team. The workshop I got the most out of was about self-care: A great team will always empower us to do our best; however, it takes some conscious, personal effort to maintain healthy working habits.

As the day came to a close, Maria and I joined yet another SD party — and were rewarded with some familiar faces, and a good amount of new knowledge.

The second day found us eagerly taking notes about how to create a support dashboard to help us stay on top of the queue and plan our workday better. Later, we got to know how automation could help us provide a better and faster service, and after a couple more sessions, we left the Expo and walked down the 10th Avenue towards Powell’s bookstore, which claims to have every (or almost every) printed book in existence. No wonder it was so huge!

At Powell’s, we met Nick and Jess from Prospress — the company behind WooCommerce Subscriptions. After an insightful discussion about the past, present, and future of Prospress and SomewhereWarm, Nick and Jess — both Portland locals — graciously shared some insider tips about places we should check out during our stay. With their suggestions at hand, we wandered a bit more at Powell’s and then hit the streets.

Over the last two days, we walked downtown and along the river, shopped for souvenirs and followed as many food testing recommendations as we could. If we could pick one place to go back to, it would have to be Luc Lac and its amazing Vietnamese dishes. If you ever find yourself in this corner shop between 2nd Avenue and Taylor, don’t hesitate to queue with the others. It’s well worth it!

Highlight of the trip? Climbing up to the 16th floor of our hotel, sitting at the rooftop bar and enjoying the view of the city while sipping cocktails and discussing everything we learned during the day.

A big shout-out from Maria and I to all who graciously shared their knowledge with us — it was a pleasure to meet you!

Portland, hope we’ll meet again soon!