Last month, HP rolled out the red carpet and brought our top contributing HP Experts to Portland, Oregon, for the 2017 HP Experts Global Meetup, also known as #HPMeetup17 on social media. HP Experts are the folks who volunteer their time to help members of the HP Support Forum. They're a very diverse group of folks from all over the world and different walks of life, but what they share in common is that they're very passionate about technology and equally as passionate about helping others. Many of them have been helping the community, together, for years. So what better way to recognize them than to bring them all together in person?
Over the course of two and half days, approximately 55 guests gathered in the beautiful city of Portland to learn more about HP products and technology, and our industry at large. Not only that, but they got the opportunity to get to know each other beyond their community screen names. Which leads me to...
Day 1: Welcome, HP Experts!
First order of business was to greet our special guests with a welcome reception and a toast on the rooftop restaurant Departure. Because what better way to break the ice than to enjoy tasty food and drink and get your caricature drawn which enjoying one of the coolest views in downtown Portland? And having it be one of the most beautiful weeks in Portland weather-wise didn't hurt either. If you can't already tell by the big smiles, guests had a fabulous time.
Day 2: A whirlwind of knowledge
Day 2 is when we really got down to business! We had an action packed agenda where attendees learned about a wide range of topics. We started with a presentation about the future of digital support at HP by HP's Head of Global Digital Support and Customer Support Operations LaChelle Porter-Ainer, then a presentation and demo about the latest HP Support Assistant upgrade (also known as HPSA) by Senior Manager of Support Solutions Development Lawton Mue.
After, we had a Meet the Team panel, which gave HP Experts a chance to get to know HP's Social Customer Care team. Fun tidbit: we all donned hats that we felt represented us, among them being a Dutch bonnet, unicorn horn, and a larger than life sombrero!
We ended the morning session with a presentation on Windows 10: The Creators Update, which was presented by Microsoft's Supportability Program Manager Charles Erwin, a favorite of HP Experts (he's presented at previous HP Meetups), plus a panel that discussed what this update means for HP products.
Then it was off on a field trip to visit the HP campus in Vancouver, Washington, which is just a short drive away from Portland.
But first... #BusSelfies.
We made it!
What went on inside was super top secret (no photos, livestreaming, or tweeting allowed), but what I can share is that we were given a presentation on HP 3D printing, taken on a very cool hardware quality test lab tour, and this one photo that we were given permission to take during one part of the lab tour:
To sate our hunger after a long day, we treated our guests to dinner at Portland City Grill, which is is located on the 30th floor of the U.S. Bancorp Tower in downtown Portland. Do you know what 30th floor means? AMAZING views! 270°, to be exact, and we even got to watch the sunset. When upon entering the room and folks make a mad dash to the window to take photos instead of to the bar or buffet, you know the views are good.
Da 3: HP Product Showcase and community recognition
We kicked off the final day by showcasing the latest and greatest in HP technology. The showcase featured several HP printing products, including the bestselling HP Sprocket, as well as the new OMEN X gaming PC, HP Spectre, and then some. Each product was presented by the very HP folks who work on them, which was a real treat.
After the presentations, Experts had the opportunity to test drive the products themselves. I tried to take a photo of them getting hands-on with these goodies, but with so many Experts swarming them, I ended up taking a bunch of pictures of the backs of heads. With so many cool new products on display, I can't blame them for making a beeline for them!
After the Product Showcase was the Community Focus Session. It's not every day that we have so many Experts gathered in person in the same place, so we wanted to dedicate time to answering their questions, getting their feedback, and allowing them to share their ideas with us and one another about the community and our Expert Program. With such a sizable and multi-lingual group (we have English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, and Chinese-speaking folks), we broke off into smaller, different language groups, with the discussion being led by each Community Manager. The sessions were very interactive and great, insightful discussions were had. It's very clear that we have some very passionate folks in our community and we are grateful for that.
And of course, with such passionate folks in the community, we couldn't send off our Experts without recognizing those who go above and beyond in helping others. Our last item on the agenda was the Awards Ceremony, with the awards being presented by each Community Manager to their respective community members. Below are some of the recipients of trophies and plaques, including categories such as Top Contributor, Expert Responder, and the Jolly Good Fellow awards. Congratulations, Experts, and thank you for your contributions to the community!
Outside of presentations and meals, we also took a little time to let our Experts explore lovely Portland. For a couple folks, it was their very first time in the U.S., and for some others, it was their first time in Portland, so of course, we had show them a bit of Portland's culture and charm. We went on an "Underground Portland" walking tour, where we wandered around Old Town area and got to see the remaining underground tunnels. We got a bit of history lesson there and a scenic walk. We also ordered in some obligatory Voodoo Doughnuts so that Experts could get a taste of what many have heard about, but had yet to experience. Now they can go home and say that they've had a Voodoo donut in Portland.
And for a few of the more adventurous early birds, they went on daily early morning "Fun Runs" (and "Fun Walk" for some!) to explore the city some more.
And with that, it was goodbye... at least for now 🙂
Experts, it was a pleasure to get together for a few days to celebrate you, the community that we've built together, and all that you do in the community. Thank you!