Po Bronson, a writer, before he found commercial success used to chronicle the geek lives and the social fabric of Silicon Valley. The late night trips through Fry’s, soccer games in Marina and The Nudist On The Late Shift. Sadly, his bitter sweet tales are not part of our modern Silicon Valley life. The vignettes he wrote about, also helped turn Silicon Valley from magical to mythical.I miss those “Bronson moments” and was reminded of that yesterday, in a strange sort of way.
Last evening, Niall stopped by to record our latest PodSession. Along with him came Scott Johnson, who as we recorded our banter, proceeded to install Word-Press, and MySQL on my Powerbook. (Part of my grand plan to turn WordPress into a word-processor!) Like all geeks, Johnson carries a Treo 650 (when he should be using a Nokia, but never mind) and mid-way through our PodSession, his phone buzzed and he went into my bathroom.
By the time we finished, so was he. With an angelic smile of a man relieved, Johnson said, “I just closed angel funding for my new start-up.” It was one of those “Bronson moments.” How many writers can say that their loo was the site where a start-up got funded. It is this techno-serendipidity that makes Silicon Valley Special (and provincial and boring at the same time.)
The next 24 hours perhaps were equally packed with these vignettes. I got to meet real Mr. Draper Sr. just by sheer chance. He maybe advanced in years, but the grip was still strong, the optimism and the glint in his eye still the same. I met him a long time ago. He reminded me, 12 years ago. A natty sports coat, a canary yellow tie – he is old school. They call him “Dr. Yes” and he still does get the early worm!
As bright day turned to dowdy dusk, I found myself riding shot-gun with Seth Steinberg of Meebo, a kid who had more ideas in 20 minutes that most have in 20 years. A few minutes later, I was sitting in Chat Cafe, across from Steven Starr, who told me about his new start-up; only to be interrupted by King Dave and Niall. Dave says he is 50, though he is got more energy than me, and I am 39. He explained to me, why the Apple RSS fiasco is something which could effect all of us in the future, and how Apple could mess with the developers who don’t play ball with them. I didn’t get that on his blog, but I did when I talked to him.
A few minutes into the chat, Kevin Burton of Tail Rank popped in. The new interface is getting him the kudos, and now if he could translate that into some seed funding. Dave talked news river, and reading lists, Kevin outlined his “memorandum for anyone for anything.” I suggested: why not layer one on top of another. Dave was still talking to Kevin, when I met scores of others including Greg Stein, Matt of AutoMattic, Scott Beale, and Jeff Clavier. And Dave Sifry, who decided, that perhaps spending time with his real family instead of the blogger family was a better idea.
As I left, I realized two things – I just had a San Francisco Day, and that conversations despite blogs, still are best enjoyed when analog.
PS: This doesn’t mean I am not going to move back to New York, for that is me. My all black wardrobe, lack of sneakers and a deathly addiction to Dunhill, not to mention a dour expression are proof. Also, will return to regular broadband stuff as per schedule. This of this as much needed ‘flavor change’ for me.