This PIE is Totes Delish

Coworking at PIE (short for the Portland Incubator Experiment) was a highlight for me during a month spent in the lovely green Pacific Northwest. I shared a desk area with Automattic colleagues Daniel and Andrew, going in twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. PIE is a glorious twistup of coworking, startups, tech heads, and advertising executives.

The vibe is energetic and the people are interesting, the inside feels airy and spacious due to high ceilings, natural light, and white desks and tables.

If you’re in Portland I recommend you swing by and check it out.

As I happen to love coworking spots, I’m adding here a brief review as if it were a full-on coworking spot. It’s not, but what the heck—I’m giving it 4 out of 5 stars.

Pluses

  • Centrally located in the trendy Pearl District.
  • Great vibe and energy.
  • Top-notch amenities as a workspace: phone booths for private conversations, fast internet, whiteboard walls, full kitchen, high ceilings and lots of natural light.
  • Lunch at Food Carts or Whole Foods, both a short walk away.
  • Great coffee nearby, Caffé Umbria or Barista
  • Kegerator with local brew on tap. ‘Nuff said.

Minuses

  • Can get a bit crazy when the startup classes are in session; which would be a plus if you’re involved in PIE on a regular basis.
  • Bathroom is a bit of a hike. Great for a stretch and break from the desk, though.
  • If you need ultimate concentration and quiet, it’s not a great fit. You’ll need headphones as there’s a buzz of conversation depending on who is around.
  • More an office than coworking spot; I’ve expanded on that below.

The day-to-day folks at PIE are busy cranking on their apps and services, meeting with partners and clients, and more. I didn’t expect to make instant friends going in, but thought I’d meet more people. I ended up with my headphones on a lot and head down in code and work.

A quick welcome tour and more conversation with the regulars would have been nice bonus—and would give this space 5 out of 5 stars in my book. In this sense it’s less like other coworking spots I’ve experienced. I was disappointed that over 8-10 visits only one person approached and asked me who I was and what I was doing there. Spoke6, my home spot in Tucson, does a much better job in this respect, though in all fairness Spoke6 is set up differently and is fully dedicated to coworking.

All in all, PIE a sweet place to work, and next time in Portland I’ll be back for another slice.

Speaking at the June 2012 Portland WP User Group

This coming Tuesday (June 26, 2012 at 6:30 PM) I’m giving a talk on WordPress themes, as part of this month’s Portland WP User Group.

My talk is titled Theme Busters R Us—theme breaking is one of my passions, so it’s a logical choice.

Breaking themes for fun?! Crazy talk. Busting your WordPress theme – on purpose – can be both fun and useful. The process is a crucial part of building sites with WordPress, whether it’s for a client project, a personal blog, or releasing an awesome new theme to the world.

Testing is often considered a dirty word; we either have no time to do it, or we think it’s boring and tedious. Breaking stuff should be fun and something we are excited to dig into. Even better if the breaking means pushing your theme to extremes to simulate real usage, with a goal of making it the best it can be: the best quality possible, and the best experience for people using it.

See details, location, and RSVP at Portland WP User Group. If you’re in the Portland area, hope to see you there.

Thanks to Daniel for the invite.