Roadburn 2.0 : The Streets of San Francisco

September 20, 2011

“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.” 

That there my friends is a thought provoking albeit slightly dark quote from the film, World’s Greatest Dad written by observationalist and philosopher, Bobcat Goldthwait. I think about this line a lot and am sharing it here because it applies (kinda) as a tie-in to our #Roadburn2 stop in San Francisco. As with all our customer appreciation trips, we go out of our way to make sure all of our customers are happy but on this leg of the journey it happened in reverse: it was our amazing customers that took care of us and made sure our trip was special and memorable.

Quick Recap: The concept behind #RoadBurn2 was simple. 5 FreshBooks staff in a giant vehicle driving from Los Angeles, CA to Portland, OR with the only goal of being good, taking care of our customers, spending a little time and creating some memories.

We rolled into San Francisco from LA, taking the scenic journey up the coast and stopping quickly to visit Hearst Castle and the ocean on the way there. We spent day one in SF at TechCrunch Disrupt participating, meeting and chatting with customers from as far away as Copenhagen and from as close as a few blocks away.

Now, I could go on and on about how amazing Disrupt was but we will be featuring a bunch of the cool folks we met and some of the customers we bumped into in a future blog post so fast forward to that night’s dinner. Yes it was another installment of the now world famous FreshBooks Customer Dinners.

We do these dinners whenever we travel so our customers (as well as friends) have a chance to ask us anything but mostly for us to say thank you. Dinner offered amazing conversation but it was after dinner that one of our FOFB (Friends of FreshBooks) took it upon himself to round up some of the guests and keep the event going at a local dive bar and at the late evening mark, invite us for a tour and a few games of ping pong in the offices of one of the most recognizable companies in the world.

I know this seems like a huge #humblebrag but I think it’s important to highlight this night and next because they are a pure example of exactly what we preach at FreshBooks. You see once our dinner was over our customers decided to treat us like we have always treated them (perhaps better) by mixing fun with respect with the ultimate goal of professional happiness at the end.

For me this was far more then just a lesson in Karma but just good old fashioned people being awesome.

I hinted that there was a second night in this magical trip and simply put we got #Foursquare stalked…but in the best way possible. For our final night in San Fran we held a little debrief in a bar that can only be described as volatile, one of our favorite customers appeared unannounced and joined us!

While we love all our customers and it would be hard to pick a favorite, this guy is definitely up there!

So when last call was issued we accepted our invite back to “the warehouse”, a live/work space that our customers lives/works in. After some pleasantries we found ourselves in the TV area watching episodes of the Trailer Park Boys spin off show and sharing stores of past visits to the warehouse.

I’m the first to admit that I lead a pretty charmed life but even I am not used to being taken care of the way we were on our trip to SF. Which brings me back to the point of the quotation at the top of the post. On this particular trip to SF, our customers took care of us by bringing together people for us to meet who instantly made us feel welcome and alive. This is usually what we do but this time the roles were reversed and because of it we never felt alone.

As for me personally, well I took Tony Bennett’s advice and left my heart there but at least I know it is being looked after by someone special.

Stay tuned because the #Roadburn2 posts aren’t done. Coming soon is the Portland, OR wrap up and stories of what inspired us along the way.

Venice Beach, Los Angeles

about the author

FreshBooks is the #1 accounting software in the cloud designed to make billing painless for small businesses and their teams. Today, over 10 million small businesses use FreshBooks to effortlessly send professional looking invoices, organize expenses and track their billable time.