What lured me out to Portland was the NXNW conference, run by the SXSW conference folks. The conference focuses entirely on the music industry, scene and developments. I also had been hearing an increasingly bigger buzz about this city for its developing tech community. We also organized a Cocktails with Courtney in conjunction with the only game in town -- the Pint of Portland. Pint.org, a collection of more than 1,800 interactive professionals who meet each month, is run by Augi Garred and John Craft, both of Rapidigm Interactive. When you go to a Pint event, you get a sticker at the door. The networking premise is to buy someone you don't know a drink. That's one way to meet new people!
It was a beautiful, sunny day, but inside the sleek Bar 71 I was greeted first by my cohort and treated to a house specialty-Mocha Martini. I chatted with Ruby Bauske of NW Natural, who works in utilities but enjoys the Pints. Then I met Oregon Live president/CEO Janice Calvert, marketing director Michelle Helm- Carpinelli and recently promoted Rick Compton. They just celebrated their 3rd anniversary in May. Each CWC has at least one example of how well our mailings travel, and on this night Greg Hanson, president of Global Qualitative Group, was the one who'd heard about our gathering from his brother in Seattle. After checking out the site, he e-mailed a few other folks about it and is intent on helping plan Seattle's event. Then I met some current readers of this newsletter -- eyescream interactive's COO Cynthia Furhman, director or interactive PR Kim Kalapus and business development associate Shelly Sweeney.
NXNW's Interactive Sales and Marketing guru Samir Shah and Event Director Hugh Forrest stopped by and reported great turnout and enthusiasm all the way around with Portland, the conference and the 300 bands that played over the three nights. Hugh and I joke about Austin and Portland's similarities diverging with the weather. Mike Bullington, a producer and videographer who's worked with SXSW and NXNW, came by as well. Thomas Regional Directory's Portland representatives Eric Feldman, Kate Johnson and Angie Feldman were first-time attendees. But they were more than happy when I bought them their Bombay Sapphires! Augi introduced me to one of his board advisors, Vernon Vinciquerra of Visual-Producers.com. He was having the "real" party at midnight in their Paramount screening room. With talk of naked dancers and other acts, it sounded like this was where people know they'd get a kick. From there, I met Todd Denkin and John Siska of HelloNetwork and Miss Keli of Metal Edge Online, who donned a stylish pink fuzzy cowboy hat. While talking with FIOS CIO Bernard Stea, the black lights came on as a signal that our event was drawing to an end. After meeting some wonderful folks, I decided that my next trip will have to be longer. How else can I enjoy all the area has to offer?
Acting on a recommendation, I tried the trendy, three-week old Blue Hour, which was opened by a NY-chef of Remi fame. It was tres chic. The salmon was delicious, and I could tell that this place is all the rage for Portland-ites seeking a bit of restaurant sophistication.