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Watch Out SearchFest 2013, We’re Coming For You!

Submitted on 2/18/2013 by Monique Pouget

This Friday, Georgia and Monique are headed to SearchFest, a digital marketing conference in P-Town. To say we’re pumped is putting it lightly. Just how excited are we? Read on for more details!

The Talent

Throughout the years, us Thunder Cats have attended a wide variety of events, from little-known local meetups to annual international conferences. We can say with confidence that SearchFest is one of THE most important, can’t-miss events each year. The smaller, passionate crowd mixed with national experts is a recipe for success in our book.

Have you seen the lineup? Adam Audette, Darren Shaw, Joanna Lord, the 3 Jo(h)ns (Colman, Doherty, and Henshaw), Ian Lurie, Justin Briggs, Mike King, Merry Morud, Rand Fishkin, and Ross Hudgens are ALL speaking in one action-packed day that will surely blow our minds.

We’ve come to the conclusion SearchFest’s schedule conflicts resemble the music festival shuffle, where you always feel like you’re missing out on other bands playing simultaneously. In fact, even the speakers are feeling torn about the best session to attend, which proves this conference is unlike most.

Doherty and Dr. Pete too…

There’s no way we could pick just ONE session we are looking forward to, but “Social Media Analytics, Discover and Attribution” and the “Tools Shoot Out” panels are at the top of our lists.

By the way, if you could help us clone ourselves before Friday, that would be fab.


Networking Opportunities

One of the many perks of most conferences is the downtime in which you get to mix and mingle with your peers and maybe even your heroes, if you’re lucky. Don’t be afraid to ask a question or crack a joke while standing in line at the lunch buffet – you never know who you will meet and what they could possibly offer to you and your own career. Personally, we’re hoping Mike King’s Hammer pants make another appearance, and we’re looking forward to asking Rand if his full name is actually Randall, and admiring Rhea‘s pregnancy glow.

But on more official business, we will also be conducting extensive, in-depth analysis and research to see if Emma Still’s SEO Hypotheses are correct. We will be examining whether or not all “SEO Dudes”:

  • Ride bikes?
  • Wear plaid shirts?
  • Enjoy good beers?
  • Wear cool glasses?
  • Have fancy facial hair? (We sure hope so!)



SearchFest is in Portland, where the dream of the 90s is alive and well! Beers, books, bicycles, and beards – oh my! As lovers of all the aforementioned things that also just so happen to start with the letter “B”, we could not be more excited about visiting the city in which SearchFest is held!

Let’s begin with the beers. There is no shortage of awesome breweries in the Portland area, so we are having a very hard time narrowing down which ones we NEED to visit on this trip. Rogue Ales is arguably one of the most famous in the Portland area, so we will definitely be making a stop at one of their many locations to try the famous Bacon Maple Ale (we love the pink bottles!). Also on our must-drink list: McMenamins Kennedy School – where you can enjoy a pint in a classroom, Lucky Labrador Brewing Company – a doggie-friendly brewpub, Deschutes BreweryBridgePort Brewery and Hopworks Urban Brewery – they have organic beer! (If you think we left an important one off this list, please tell us in the comments below.)

As for the books, no trip to Portland is complete without a visit to Powell’s City of Books, which claims to be the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world, spanning a full city block in the Pearl District on the edge of Downtown. All the books! Also on our Portland Bucket List: Voodoo Doughnut, where we will pick up a Bacon Maple Bar to pair with our Bacon Maple Ale of course!

After all the beer and donuts, we are hoping to squeeze in some nature hikes to take in all the glorious beauty Mother Nature has bestowed upon the Portland Region. Perhaps a hike to the gorgeous Multnomah Falls, if we’re lucky?

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the bicycles and beards, we just really like both and hear Portland has quite a few to offer, so we look forward to checking some of those out while we’re there!

Our accommodations in Portland have been arranged via the wonderful service, Airbnb, which is old news for Monique, but will be a brand new experience for Georgia. Just a few days ago, we received an awesome confirmation email for our stay with some interesting details. Apparently, there is a groundskeeper who lives on-site at the property… in the basement! A groundskeeper named Shawn, to be exact, but no need to worry if “we hear him coming and going from time to time.”

We imagine he will look something like this:

Personally, we’re hoping for the latter of the three, cuz we all know that guy ended up saving Kevin’s life from the Wet Bandits (spoiler alert!).


After Party

If we’ve learned anything valuable from Robert Sylvester Kelly, it’s that after the show it’s the after party, which is why we’re totally jazzed about SearchFest’s First Annual After Party.

This year, Adroll and Splash Worldwide are sponsoring said festivities, and the shindig will take place at Couture Ultra Lounge (uh oh, that’s dangerously close to our #1 beer destination). Throw in some free dranks, apps and a DJ, and you’ve got yourselves a happy Georgique!

If you bypassed your chance to ask Marty or Duane a question during lunch, there’s nothing like a little liquid courage to get you in the mood. You never know what kinds of tricks and tactics an SEO will share with you after you’ve fed them a few free pints. Well played, Gianluca, well played.

Some of our favorite conference moments have happened at the after parties, so make sure to reschedule your flight if you were thinking about leaving Portland immediately after SearchFest.


Bringing Home the Bacon

In case you didn’t hear, attending SearchFest inspired a battle of brilliant proportions at the Thunder Office. While only two of us are able to attend this year, we won’t forget our awesome team back home in San Diego. No worries guys, we’ll be  ”bringing home the bacon” in more ways than one.

In addition to valuable client takeaways and material for internal workshops, we are also really looking forward to getting some sweet video footage for the Thunder Blog. Are you are all ready for your close ups? We’ll be cruising the conference halls looking for people to chat with and interview – is it you?

Can’t make it to SearchFest this year? Follow along on Twitter with this list and the #SearchFest hashtag. If you ARE attending SearchFest this year, leave us a note in the comments! We’d love to high-five you in person.

13 Responses to “Watch Out SearchFest 2013, We’re Coming For You!”

  1. FYI Multnomah Falls is gorgeous, but very touristy. If anyone’s looking for a nice long hike in the gorge with a stunning waterfall, try Eagle Creek. It’s an amzing trail carved out by the Army core of engineers in the early 1900′s. 12 mile hike, but totally worth it!

  2. Matthew Brown says:

    BEER: Immediately put Bailey’s Taproom and Apex at or near the top of your beer drinking list. These are two of our best beer bars.

    Bailey’s is a very short walk from the conference and has an awesome onscreen taplist. Apex is on the eastside, but there is great stuff all along SE Division St if you walk east. Check out:

    Double Dragon – fancy sandwiches you can take over to Apex.
    Bar Avignon – great wine and fancy snacks
    Reel m Inn – a total dive with amazing fried chicken
    Pok Pok – Possibly the best Thai food in North America (you read that right)
    Whiskey Soda Lounge – Pok Pok’s waiting room. You must try the fish sauce wings
    Sunshine Tavern – Gastropub eats, with Donkey Kong and shuffleboard
    Wafu – awesome ramen, sake.
    Victory Bar – good end to the crawl with a crazy Belgian beer lineup and a ‘nowhere else but Portland’ vibe.

    • Thanks for all the suggestions, Matthew! You had me at “fancy sandwiches”! Our To-Do list is getting a little out of control, but I have high hopes that we can tackle them all! Can’t wait!

  3. Great post. Searchfest is one of my favorites conferences I’ve attended too. We posted a Searchfest preview on our blog too. Check it out:

    • Awesome post Ryan! I like how you broke down the attractions by meal, and now I’m craving Grüner jelly doughnuts (aka berliners) too! Hope to meet you and the rest of the Amplify Interactive team this Friday.

  4. Ben Lloyd says:

    Every person in the ‘networking’ picture = plaid shirt. It’s a stereotype for a reason… I’ll be wearing one on Friday for sure.

  5. Chris Lister says:

    Great post! Searchfest truly is the best of the best, when it comes to conferences.

    Got to agree with Matthew on Bailey’s Taproom as well as Apex. Huge selection of taps from both local and nationwide breweries.

    His picks for food are top notch too. Pok Pok was recently voted the 8th most important restaurant in the US by Bon Appetite magazine. And the wings are amazing.

    I’d add Woodsman Tavern and Ava Gene’s, which are also on Division to your list. And of course one would be remiss if they didn’t give a shout out to Le Pigeon. Hands down, Portland’s best.

    Oh, and forget Voodoo donuts (they are for tourists); Blue Star Donuts is the real deal.

    And if you need any additional suggestions, just look for the guys with beards. We typically know where to find the goods here in PDX.

    • Right on, keep the suggestions coming! Looks like Bailey’s and Apex are a must. Good to know there are other doughnut and tavern options too, is Portland the most magical place ever or WHAT?! See you at SearchFest Chris!

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