A Day in the Life of the San Francisco Tech Community
My job is pretty cool. I get to spend time picking the brains of some of the planet’s smartest and most successful entrepreneurs—and invariably, I’m asking them to talk about the one thing they care about most passionately, their startup and/or its technology.
Even if I weren’t doing something I care about passionately myself—helping to build a new kind of journalism startup—their excitement would rub off on me. How could it not, for anyone who believes that entrepreneurs drive innovation, and that innovation drives economic growth and holds the hope of solving some of the world’s biggest problems?
My agenda yesterday—Thursday, September 15, 2011—included a fairly typical mix of meetings and interviews with local tech-community members. The only unusual thing was that I wound up eating lunch twice. Maybe I didn’t get to grapple with big topics like unemployment or global warming, but I did get to have in-depth talks with about a dozen different people about their businesses. That material will find its way into dozens of different stories down the road, some right away, some months from now.
Here’s how my day went—minus (most of) the boring minutiae. Cue the ticking-digital-clock sound from 24.
7:00 am Get up. Make coffee. Fire up Flipboard on the iPad to see what the other tech blogs are saying today. Check e-mail. There are 72 new messages since I zeroed out the inbox the night before.
8:43 am Publish the daily deals roundup.
8:50 am Update the Pier 38 eviction story from Wednesday with added details that came in overnight.
9:26 am Publish Steve Blank’s latest essay, cross-posted from his personal blog, about Silicon Valley’s pay-it-forward culture.
9:50 am Take Rhody—to me, perhaps the most important member of the San Francisco innovation community—out for a walk.
10:00 am Jean-Marie Hullot, president and CEO of Fotopedia and former CTO of Apple’s Application Division, arrives for an interview, along with Christophe Daligault, Fotopedia’s senior vice president of global business. I can’t say yet what we talked about, but it was extremely cool.
11:34 am Walk from Xconomy San Francisco’s Potrero Hill headquarters to Warm Planet Bikes at 4th and King to pick up bicycle. (I highly recommend them. They fixed my bent rear wheel for $54.)
12:10 pm Bike to Pier 38. Meet Gus Weber, entrepreneur-in-residence at Polaris Venture Partners, at Dogpatch Labs. Walk to Momo for lunch. Discuss the Pier 38 situation. Dogpatch, like the rest of the pier’s tenants, must move out by September 30 by order of the Port of San Francisco, which claims the building is unsafe for occupancy. A meeting between tenants, City Hall, and port officials is planned for Friday; Weber thinks a reprieve is unlikely and says Dogpatch will probably be in limbo for a least a month, from October 1 to November 1.
1:30 pm Bike to the Globe restaurant on Pacific Street to Meet Christopher Smith, organizer of the StoryWorld Conference and Expo, for a second lunch. Discuss Smith’s vision for the future of transmedia storytelling, touching along the way on Star Wars, The Matrix, crowdfunding, geolocation, augmented reality apps, and the definition of transmedia as opposed to multimedia, and the difficulties of being in the event business.
3:00 pm Ride to the Levi’s Plaza complex on Battery Street to meet Mindjet CEO Scott Raskin. Mindjet makes software for visualizing and managing team projects. Interview Raskin about his personal history, why he joined Mindjet, and how he’s leading an overhaul of its product line and business model. Take 6,235 words of notes.
4:43 pm From a park bench, use iPad to check e-mail and edit Curt Woodward’s news story on Shopobot, a shopping search company that has fled San Francisco for Seattle.
5:15 pm Head to TRUSTe headquarters at 55 Second Street to attend an open house celebrating the organization’s third anniversary as a for-profit company and its 14th birthday since its founding as a non-profit in 1997. Grab some beer and brie. Catch up with TRUSTe CEO Chris Babel and president Fran Maier; apologize for failing to find time as yet to write up my planned feature story after first interviewing Babel in January. Make plans to visit for a refresher interview. Meet TRUSTe investors from Jafco Ventures and Accel Partners.
6:30 pm Last stop: Chambers bar & restaurant at 601 Eddy Street for “Next-Gen Mixer” organized by Box.net. Have another beer. Socialize with founders, engineers, and other employees from Box, Roambi, Milo, Loopt, Yammer, RockMelt, and Bump.
9:05 pm Arrive home. Dinner: microwaved tofu quiche and a spinach salad. Watch an old episode of Fringe on Apple TV—“Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?”
10:00 pm Start writing this column.
11:20 pm Finish column. Check e-mail. 202 messages waiting in inbox. Attack them now, or surrender and leave them for the morning? Choose surrender. Off to sleep, perchance to dream of electric sheep—and start all over in the morning.