30 March 2014

San Francisco, USA

San Francisco. City of fog, startups and good hospitality.

In early March Brad and Matt from sendwithus proposed a crazy idea - that I fly to San Francisco to more actively support company growth during the whirlwind Y Combinator program. I scrambled to book the flights and clear my schedule and I was on my way.

The flights were a long 14 hours, wearing me out by the time we touched down at SFO. An upbeat Matt was waiting for me at the baggage pick-up and we headed back to Fort SWU as it was called, the house in Sunnyvale where I would spend the next weeks. It turns out our awesome teammates had cooked us steaks in the meantime! I would soon find that this great hospitality was just par for the course for these guys.

The next day we started early, squeezing in a couple hours of climbing at Planet Granite before going to pick up Wes, our newest team member. Linley then proceeded to show us a bit of the city, starting with Red's Java House and the Bay Bridge and then making our way to the Golden Gate. Along the way we also stumbled upon the Mozilla offices and checked out the Yoda statue at the Lucasfilm headquarters.

The next few days were spent getting acquainted with the startup life in the suburbs. Coding the new template gallery during the day, cooking together in the evenings and then continuing coding into the night. We played sports, hit the beach and lifted weights together to stay active and got our drink on once or twice with the other startups in the YC batch. My visit coincided with Demo Day, the time for startups to pitch some of the most important investors in Silicon Valley, so we got to hear Matt's presentation evolve from the first musings to the final, polished delivery.

Sunnyvale is right in the middle of the valley so both Apple and Google are just a short drive away. We managed to hit both during my trip, with a tour sampling the excellent lunch at Google as well!

As if that wasn't enough, my mom and her partner took the opportunity of me being on the west coast to drive down for a visit. We did some sightseeing and tried the sharable plates at the Fog City Restaurant.

Overall, a mix of the city sights, great people and geekery all set on the backdrop of the hotbed of entrepreneurship that is the San Francisco Bay Area. My favorite vacation yet.