Monday, November 19, 2012

A few days in New York

Etiquette's out the window. Posting this at a bar in SoHo while waiting for my food.

Hotel is pretty swanky although probably not the most suitable for business travel. Probably more for young professional couples having a party weekend.

New York office is pretty basic but actually has a great atmosphere. The few people who work there seem to get a long really well. What we probably call 'good banter'.

Went to a client meeting today which was everything a business meeting in NY you'd think it would be: marble hallway, bronze lift to the 10th floor, black stone meeting room table. Went well but I think I broke the record for fewest words contributed to a meeting! I also didn't account for the fact that East coast meetings require smart dress and was promptly sent down Broadway to buy a suitable get up. Company forced shopping. It's the future.

Just finished off a burger that would rival one of Rachel's (her's are still better, obviously) and enjoying a second pint of Keegan's Mother's Milk. Excellent drink.

Had a stroll around China Town and Little Italy. My trip through China Town was cut short as I realised I was walking in to the less tourist friendly area. By that I mean the very "tourist friendly" area. I'm also fairly certain some of those A grade hygiene signs didn't come from the local council...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Surfing the friendly skies

I had written an entire post in the airport, but then my connection failed and lost my post. It basically had my sign off from San Francisco and I made the point that I didn't take part in any touristy activities other than eating at good restaurants. Not even one lousy picture of the trollies and cable cars, sorry.

Well New York is well trodden territory but I will try and find something novel in the city that never sleeps, even if it's only for the dear reader's benefit.

The New York Fulham supporters club watch all the matches in a bar across the road from the Empire State Building so will be heading there tomorrow at 11am for the Sunderland match. Should be good fun.

Oh, and I'm writing this on the plane to New York! Inflight WiFi. Brilliant. This flight hasn't been a roaring success however: took off some 35 minutes late, the entertainment didn't work (big screen showing Ice Age 3 -- I would have watched it) and we had the "if there is a doctor onboard" announcement almost immediately after take off. Hope they're ok. So given that someone needed medica attention, I don't think any passengers are in a position to complain about being bored.


Can everyone on the flight stop using the internet so I can stream Spotify uninterrupted?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Brain overload

I was politely nudged by Rahul to update my blog. I keep putting it off, sorry.

Well I'm roughly half way through my trip to the US and I'd like to think it's been a worthwhile visit for both myself and Mashery. I've had a solid amount of training paced with meetings, reading and coffee. With just one day left in the San Francisco office, there's a good chance I will have covered the majority of topics required to get started with my job!

San Francisco is a great place. I've only had the opportunity of seeing the slightest fraction of the city, and there's a whole lot more to see. I will have to come back on holiday to take in some of the sites. I'm not sure if I mentioned it before, but if I have it bears repeating: there are a lot of homeless in the city. I mean, a dozen for every street block along Market/Mission. Seems to be quite a problem.

The advantage to being a costal city, especially on the Pacific with a strong multicultural diversification, is Sushi. I've never had sushi as good as what we had in Seattle, but yesterday we went to a restaurant that certainly delivered on my expectations of the state that coined the 'California Roll'. The universal problem still exists however, that to have a full meal, you will likely end up spending £40/head (including Sak√©). The whole team went, and I think it would be a fair assessment to say a good time was had by all.

I was hoping to play football (of the Association variety) this evening but it looks as though that may not materialise. Probably for the best as I think kick off was scheduled for 10.30pm. Yes, 10.30pm PST. Crazy. Still a shame as I could do with a run about. These business trips to seem to revolve around eatin' and meetin'. Speaking of which, a lot of people in the office have adopted the 'standing desk', myself included. Basically, you have no chair, and the desk is adjustable to about 5 foot high. It's almost like standing at a bar. I quite like it actually: it doesn't feel like you're 'trapped' at your desk.

I suppose that would be a good cue for a photo...

A small panoramic of part of the SF office

The snack station and kitchen

Entrance to the office

Some of the Mashery artwork

My standing desk

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


"You can have lots of toasters, but you can't just keep making toasters. Better just throw it all in to that big bit-bucket in the sky. Write that down." -Chris Lippi

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Busy busy

I've been having a lot of training at work and I'm quickly filling out my notebook! It seems like I'll have  a pretty full head by the time I get back to New York.

Went to see Skyfall last night which I thought was pretty enjoyable. We went to Denny's before the film which was *not* something I would recommend. Oh, when I say 'we' I mean Jason and Rahul who are my New York counterparts who are showing me the ropes while I'm out here. They're under no pretence that Denny's is of any standard other than bottom rung, but see it as comfort food, which I would agree with. They're open 24 hours a day, so it's popular with late-shift workers and revelers, and the menu choice reflects this: infamous pre-hangover remedies that are offered with your choice of potato and cheese; platters of grilled meats with your choice of potato and cheese; or if you're grabbing a quick bite before a movie you can settle for just potato and cheese...

Chips, cheese and bacon
I've been treated to two company lunches these 'first' two days. Yesterday we went to an exceptional fusion Chinese restaurant, and today we had an excellent lunch at an Asian inspired tea house in Yerba Buena Gardens which is located just around the corner from our offices.

The offices, I should mention, are fantastic. Large and open planned with rich accented walls, it also has a huge kitchenette and snack area which can only be described as enthusiastically stocked. I was also lucky enough to be presented with my company swag today: a branded windbreaker, a branded mug, branded pens, branded notebook (moleskine) and, oddly, some screen wipes (unbranded). I've had a few rounds of introductions with the various teams posted here and it's good to see so many smiling faces.

I have a lot more training planned for the rest of the week as well as some client calls. Not sure what the plan is for this evening so we'll see what happens!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Arriving in San Francisco

Well I arrived safely yesterday around 4pm 'local' only to join a 30 minute queue for the customs line. I as always had the pleasure of explaining my visit to a customs officer who had obviously been working on the desk so long that not even he knew if he was genuinely interested in every ones business. Hopped in a cab and zipped straight to my hotel I'm the heart of San Francisco.

The hotel is great. Looks incredibly grand and the foyer is a real deco statement. I will ask before taking photos as it has been my experience that security guards love nothing better than giving people a hard time about documenting their precious memories!

After checking in and getting on the wifi (now the most important task after getting to your room - beating the exasperated perusal of the mini bar price list) I headed out in search of a bar. My anti-jet lag theory, as practiced by functioning alcoholics the world over, is basically to throw your body in to reset. Irish bars are always a good start to this process. I went to Johnny Foley's and on the way passed the above rock band jamming out on the corner across from Union Square. An excellent welcome to the vibrant lower West coast life.

I met a lot of interesting people in Foley's: a couple from Hawaii who work in brewing, another couple who had travelled the state to catch the 49ers game, two ladies from London who were backpacking across the USA, and some barman from Kilkenny and Kilburn.

After watching the match between the Bears and the Texans I headed back to my hotel having successfully executed the anti-jet lag precautions which I'm pleased to say worked perfectly! I'm now up and ready to go and start my first day in the SFO office! Now where can I get a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair

Tomorrow I'll be leaving for San Francisco as an introduction to my new job with Mashery. I will be noticeably ignoring Scott McKenzie's above accessory advice.

This blog started a long time ago when I was traveling to Seattle for SNAPin back in January 2006. And so nearly 7 years since then, the wind takes me to California for the first time. I'm pretty excited, and obviously very grateful to my new employers for this opportunity. I've tidied up the blog a bit, and seeing as I had the pig-lipstick out, I also updated the address. So you can now read this journal at the much more memorable:

It's the same blog, and your old bookmarks will still work. It's what we call a 'vanity URL' in the trade. Maybe 'superficiURL' would have been funnier...

I'll be in San Francisco (SFO) for a week before stopping off in New York (JFK) for a few days and returning to London (LHR). Obviously I'll be aiming to keep this updated as much as I can but I don't need to remind people that business travel is not always terribly exciting.

Anyway, thanks for visiting and be sure to stay tuned for updates from sunny California.