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.
16 thoughts on “Angel Funded In A Loo”
My Palo Alto day was sa diverse and interesting, except of the 80 minutes I spent on 101 driving up to San Francisco. Though it gave me time to listening to your last podsession.
Always read your blog with interest. This last column suddenly made me sit up. You are 39 and you are into the thick of things. I am almost there (37) and all I have to show is one “failed” venture! Time to get off my a** and do something NOW. Thanks.
Yes, Om, move to New York. We seem to be running low on interesting people. We could even do a Tech on Wall St. podcast!?
That was a great post Om, it was certainly a San Francisco day as you called it. I’ll have to head out there again at some point to chat; you’ll be the first to know 🙂
Hm, perhaps Ookles should from now on be called Lookles 🙂
All I can say is you have battle scar, and wear it with pride. Hey you have done a company, i just write about the stuff. big difference.
“Ookles!” (oo’-kulz) (n.): (1) the sound made by an entrepreneur after relieving himself; (2) the exclamation made by the same entrepreneur upon closing a round of funding.
om, nice… uh… “scoop”.
Your mention of a San Francisco brought a smile to my face. As I was recounting one of my recent trips, I was telling someone — “What’s it like to be there? You actually see Om Malik bebopping down the street.”
I used to work with Scott Johnson at a startup in Cambridge MA and I walked into the bathroom on more than one occasion to hear him talking on his phone while taking care of his other business, not surprised to hear him at it again!!
As I said on Sam Ruby’s page (and I’m now even more certain of this), I don’t buy the whole “embrace and extend” paranoia about Apple’s photocasting situation.
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
Certainly, there is some danger here, as I’m sure Dave realizes. But it’s just an issue with not enough community interaction as a result of the quest for secrecy. Given enough pressure, I’m optimistic that future products have a good chance of having their RSS/Atom validated before they try to ship it. With any luck, the iPhoto/iTunes guys might confer with the Safari guys about how feeds are supposed to work, or (perhaps this is too much to hope) with, say Mark Pilgrim, under NDA.