Day 3

I spent Thursday mostly in the conference room at US Venture Partners (USVP) in Menlo Park.  We were the guests of Paul Matteucci who had invited a bunch of people in to watch the live stream from TED which was going on down in Long Beach.  It was my best experience of a TED live stream so far.  

People came and went but most of the time there were enough people to know you weren't alone but not so many that conversations about the content were disturbing.  The piece that stirred the most conversation was Eli Pariser's talk on "filter bubbles" where we get locked in by "helpful" algorithms to only seeing the content "they" think we want to see.  Much discussion on how this sat with democratic capitalism – I was reminded that it's much more acceptable here to invoke national identity "it's our duty as Americans" etc.

I had a long chat with someone about how my art isn't challenging enough.  It feels challenging enough for me…

Anyway, it's not everday I get to sit in a comfy leather chair at a solid wood boardroom table, listen to big ideas and have a VC buy me lunch :)  

Thanks Paul, I really appreciated being there.

We went home for dinner and Maryam had made another delicious meal for us – lamb stew with lamb that just melted in your mouth.  And then it was time for American Idol with babies crawling all over me… Milan got hold of my iPod and knew exactly which apps were games he wanted to play, though he got a bit frustrated when he didn't win as easily as he'd hoped.

We had a chat about what I was going to do the next day and I knew that I needed to blog about it to get it clearer in my head and get some input from others.  I realised it's a good way to work if I can let go of "problems" by blogging them at the end of the day and just see what the collective intelligence came up with while I was unconscious.  So that's what I did, and the result is that I have a plan that takes me all the way to Austin, which actually means I have a rough plan all the way to New Orleans :)

I woke around 5am to have a little look at how #tuttle had gone, of course everyone had mucked in beautifully and Brian did a fab little twitvid: http://twitvid.com/OSXOH

Originally posted on Please Look After This Englishman

Solved – not quite how I expected… but…

So the tagline for this trip has been "What happens when I give up control and ask for help?"

I've been banging my head for the last couple of days against my desire to go to Long Beach and hang out again on The Queen Mary with the very cool people of the BIL conference.  It just wasn't working, Silicon Valley to Los Angeles doesn't really work unless you have a car or a rideshare – and finding someone to stay with was tricky too – I had some lovely offers, but I could tell it was going to be difficult to mix it up with being at BIL – I'm travelling fairly light, but I have a suitcase, a shoulder bag and a ukulele so it's not like I can just walk around anywhere, even when I'm in a walking-friendly city.

So I posted three options last night and went to sleep.  Thanks to everyone who mailed, tweeted and commented.  By the time I got up, I had a plan that covers me for the whole week through till I arrive in Austin.  The only problem with it is: it *sounds* insane :)  

So here goes – here's the bones of it:

I'm getting my Amtrak vibe back on.  Tonight, I'm going to take the train from San Jose up to Seattle.  I'll be staying with some friends of a friend – I've never met them, but I have seen pictures of them on Facebook :)  I get into Seattle at about 11pm, stay overnight and then have until 4pm to take a look around and hopefully get at least one cup of damn fine coffee!  

I then take an even longer jaunt than last year's Austin to LA marathon.  I'll be on the Empire Builder for 43 hours (yes, two overnights again) to get to Milwaukee, WI where I'll be overnighting on the Tuesday with the lovely Tracey @tapps Apps.  

She will be flying down to Austin the day after, while I will be taking the Hiawatha Service down to Chicago and then the Texas Eagle all the way, arriving in town at 6.30pm on Thursday ready to start enjoying the SXSW fun.

So yeah. Not what I expected, but it's what has emerged.  So I'm going with it.  Thank you for helping me see the next right steps.

Originally posted on Please Look After This Englishman

Solve it while I sleep #2

OK I'm still in Half Moon Bay but tonight I'm writing at 11.30pm when I'm going to bed, in an attempt to put away stuff that otherwise would wake me at 3 :)  It seems to me this might be a good regular practice – to write any issues  down before I go to bed and see what you all come up with (if anything) overnight.
I have 3 options for travelling on.  I'm learning from a few hits and misses that I need both a feasible route *and* somewhere to stay where I'm going.  I don't have that for any of the options yet.  Let's see if you can fill any of the holes.

Option 1: Go down to Long Beach, CA – I neither have a ride nor a sensible route for this by other transport – I have one offer of somewhere to stay one night.

Option 2: Take the Amtrak from Emeryville to Denver – I have had promises of contacts there, but no-one I already know to stay with

Option 3: Take the Amtrak from Emeryville to Seattle – I have somewhere to stay provisionally, just waiting for confirmation that the timing's OK

Now that I write it out like that, if I'm intent on moving on out of the Bay Area tomorrow, then Seattle looks like the best idea.  However, that train leaves at about 11.30pm (not my first time joining a train just in time to get to sleep!)  The Denver train leaves at 9.10am – that might actually be too early for me to get there.

So I guess you can help most with places to stay in any one of those cities but also some way of getting from San Francisco to LB

Do with this what you will… Melatonin is dragging me to bed…

I just need to say, I'm not worried about this.  I trust that the perfect answer will emerge in time – and I'll be much more comfortable if I don't try to work it out alone.

Originally posted on Please Look After This Englishman