Day 340

I’m only four days into my tenure at Pollinate and it’s already shaping up to be one of the best months I’ve encountered on the project. From the moment I walked through the door, everyone here has been eager to help me understand Portland and all of the things it has to offer. Thanks to my new colleagues, I already have more than enough suggestions and I’d say that’s a great problem to have. I already feel right at home here and even before the first day ended, it seemed as if I’d been working here for years. I guess it just goes to show how friendly the people of Portland are. I haven’t run into a single bad egg yet.

Aside from the overt kindness, Pollinate is also a very unique agency in many other regards too. The agency consists of a small group of highly dedicated individuals, who are all masters at what they do. Because of this, they’re able to offer clients an end-to-end experience, encapsulating everything from development and creative to planning and execution. It’s all extremely fascinating, because for the level of work they produce, you’d think they have a team of a couple hundred.

Of course, all that hard work clearly demands an equal amount of fun—and they know how to have it. I think that’s why I always enjoy smaller agencies. When there’s no HR department to overthink things, people feel more comfortable in being who they are. And when you combine that freedom with a group who really gets along, you’re always in for an unconventional, highly entertaining workday.

I suppose that’s why Pollinate reminds me a lot of Boxing Clever and Recess Creative. They all share a common bond in being masters of the work hard / play hard mentality. Then again, the high-energy they exude from their single-room office, also reminds a lot of BEAM, We are Social and BooneOakley. So, perhaps that says something about the participating #TGAA agencies? You be the judge.

On Monday night, I also got the chance to catch up with my friend Alex. He actually moved from Cleveland to Portland a few months before I started to plan the whole project out. We talked about how much of a departure the west coast is from the Midwest and also delved into all things soccer, LeBron James and past work experiences.

He was even kind enough to show me around the northwest part of Portland. And it just might be the “Williamsburg” neighborhood I always like to look for in every city. Only time will tell. I’m actually going to interview Alex about his move and post it at some point this month. I think it's a great story and I want to help him share it with you.

All in all, I’ve had a great start to the month and I look forward to what the weekend will bring.

-Steve-

Day 330

Before I begin today’s post, I wanted to mention that I took the advice of several people and attended the Sounders / Galaxy game on Saturday. Wow… it’s absolutely crazy how popular soccer is here. Chanting along with 53,000 people is a great time indeed. And the game itself was enthralling to the very end with Seattle winning 2-0. I think the sport has finally won me over. 

While most of my time in Seattle has been spent in the city proper, I finally had a chance to venture north this weekend. Everyone in the office has continually advised me to check out the Fremont and Ballard neighborhoods—which reside north of Lake Union—and I finally decided it was time to listen.

Part of Seattle’s charm rests in its vast suburbs, such as Queen Anne and the aforementioned Ballard and Fremont. They offer rows and rows of quaint homes and small shops, but my favorite discovery is that they also house a rather diverse roster of family-owned eateries, small town pubs and hidden shops. 

To be honest, I was a little worried on what I’d find when I crossed the water, because Fremont is also home to the Seattle offices of Google and Adobe. Thankfully, their vast campuses actually blend into the neighborhood rather than obstruct it. I don’t think that’s something you can say for many cities. It certainly doesn’t ring true for Austin. Once I passed beyond these institutions though, I was welcomed by everything I had hoped I’d find. Great bars like Add-a-Ball and Red Door, corner coffee shops like Brouwer’s Café and a wealth of must-visit stores like Jive Time Records.

When I journeyed even further north toward Ballard, I came across the Woodland Park Zoo (side note—kudos to them for owning the zoo.org URL), which delighted me to no end. I’ve seen some pretty unattractive and questionable zoos before, but this one seemed pretty great. The animals looked very happy and the workers there were friendly and full of information. I’d recommend it to anyone traveling into the area.

Once I reached Ballard, I couldn’t help but check out a few more record shops in the area. If there’s one thing that Seattle has really impressed me with, it’s their number of music stores. I guess that comes with the territory of being known for the grunge movement though. Music is in Seattle’s blood.

To finish off the day, I strolled down to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and sat by the water for a bit (Salmon Bay to be exact). I spent an hour or so just watching the boats pass through and the whole experience left me rather relaxed. I then began my long walk home, grabbing some small bites along the way. It all seemed like a rather fitting way to spend my final weekend in Seattle. I don’t think suburbs get enough credit for what they offer to the city experience and this only justified my opinion. You just never know what treasures await you, once you step outside of downtown. 

-Steve-

Day 326

Ladies and gentlemen; I realize that over the past couple months I’ve talked a lot about the project’s milestones. Well, if you’ll allow me just one more this year, I have to mention that we’re down to our final 100 days on the road. Can you believe it?   

I’m having such an amazing time here in Seattle and YRG Seattle has played a gigantic role in that. The people in this office are absolutely amazing and have really gone out of their way to ensure I get the ‘real’ Seattle experience. From offering advice on eateries to introducing me to others in the office, they’ve helped me find so many new places and experience so many great things.

During work hours, things aren’t much different either. While the atmosphere is more laid back and casual than some of the other agencies I’ve visited, I think my favorite part of it all is that there’s no shortage of people willing to have a casual conversation. It seems that no matter how stressful the day gets; no matter how tight the deadline has become, my colleagues always make sure they’re having fun along the way. I’ve been told it’s part of the charm here. Not only in the office, but in the city as a whole. Everyone has a strong belief that life is short; so we can’t afford not to enjoy it. I’m sure plenty of readers out there will agree that it's a very refreshing way of looking at things—especially in this industry.

Yesterday, I had the chance to chat with Creature Creative Director, Jim Haven, and boy was it insightful. We chatted about the Sounders and how much Seattle has changed over the past few years. On his recommendation, I might even try to catch Saturday's game against the LA Galaxy. This evening, I’m also grabbing drinks with fellow Copywriter, Jared Kessler. I’m hoping he’ll have some great tips for me on how to improve my writing and what it’s like to be a full-time freelancer.

All in all things are going rather well, even if it hasn’t stopped raining for five days. Alas, we only have 8 days left here in Seattle and then it’s off to Pollinate in Portland for month 12.

-Steve-