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.

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