In the middle of May, SolDevelo went for another business trip, this time to the eastern part of the USA: to Ashburn. This small but beautiful city in the state of Virginia is located near Washington D.C.
The main purpose of this business trip was to strengthen the relationship with our American client which is known to be a global communications and technology leader, in order to discuss short and long-term plans for the project. The project itself is strongly related to network testing and troubleshooting and was developed and maintained for over 6 years already. While it was not the first time SolDevelo visited this client in Ashburn, this specific trip was quite unique. It was the first time we met in a significantly larger group (both from ours and clients side) and had the opportunity to know some important people involved in the project which we haven’t met before. Recently, the project is evolving rapidly and this delegation was a great opportunity to summarize what we have done and what are the plans for the future.
Ashburn was originally called Farmwell and for a very long time, it was just a plantation. In XXI century however, a city was built upon it and it is still rapidly evolving. Almost everything in this city is new and the majority of buildings are dated for no more than few/a dozen or so years. The city is located in the state of Virginia and is no more than 60km away from Washington D.C. The city has quite a few beautiful places to see and even though we had the opportunity to visit some of them, there are still places which we would love to visit on our next trip.
While there are many advantages to living in such a calm and beautiful place, there are also some drawbacks. The major one which we encountered from the very beginning was that this place is not friendly at all for people willing to go on foot from point A to B. There are some sidewalks here and there but…:
Due to the above difficulties, we fairly quickly switched to using Uber as it is the most popular method of traveling for people there (unless you have your own car, of course). Ashburn lacks good public transportation and it’s difficult to even find any bus station here (though legends say there are few somewhere). In Ashburn (and USA overall) blocks of flats are not very popular and typical American family lives in detached houses located in suburbs. There are also not so many shopping centers here yet and given that the majority of citizens live fairly far away from them makes it even more mandatory to have a personal car.
After a day in the office, it’s always good to unwind and enjoy some good food & drinks. One of the joints we checked out was a restaurant from the popular Red Robin chain.
When you are in the States, it’s mandatory to eat at least one burger. We have also drank a fair amount of draft beer, which at this point is extremely popular in the US. It’s worth noting though that we tried a few more fancy drinks as well. For example a Blue Moon Beer Shake:
In the USA there are few easy to spot differences like:
- Tips are everywhere: it’s very popular to give tips in restaurants/hotels/pubs, even taxi, etc. Moreover, some places even expect you to give a tip so much than it is even included in a bill and you can’t avoid it. Anyway, it’s always a good manner to give at least a small tip here to show the appreciation of someone’s work.
- “How are you?”: you will hear it almost everywhere. Everyone will ask you about how you are doing just right after saying hello. It’s a pity that in Poland people are not so friendly-orientated to each other as here in the USA.
- Positivity: we haven’t seen a single person seeming to be unhappy/tired about something. They all emanate with such good positive energy!
As already mentioned, it was not the first SolDevelo delegation to Ashburn. However, so far we only had the opportunity to meet mainly Hamid which is our main contact during daily work on the project. This time we also met a few more people, including senior management, network specialists, Hamid’s recently increased team and among them Mark, which as it turned out also speaks Polish! Mark used to work in Poland for some time and as soon as we discovered his past we managed to have few conversations in Polish as well (he was happy that he could practice this language with us). Mark is also very enthusiastic about travels and history – we were able to get to know some interesting facts about Ashburn and the surrounding region, moreover, we even visited some of these historical places (mainly Civil War-themed ones). We were also able to attend a team dinner in our free time where we had a great time discussing not only project-related things. All the people there are very friendly and we fairly quickly became to feel like one big family.
When being this close to the capital of the United States it would be a crime not to visit it. We found some time on a very warm Wednesday to visit Washington D.C. itself and do some sightseeing. We visited the White House, the Capitol building and multiple war monuments scattered in the beautifully green D.C. area.
Two things immediately come to notice when walking through Washington: how popular electric scooters are and what a duck-friendly environment it is.
Overall the delegation was a success and we were able to kick-off with some really great ideas for project evolution. We are also looking forward to visiting our US client again very soon.