And here is my mid-trip post from Web Mission 08:
It’s Day 2 of Web Mission 08, and I have not stopped yet. From the minute we landed in sunny San Francisco, we’ve been schmoozing, networking, visiting, exploring, learning, and, inevitably, drinking. The only thing I haven’t done enough of is sleeping… But what with unavoidable jetlag and a frantically buzzing mind unable to rest as I constantly think of what I should do next, I suppose sleeping can wait.
Our first night saw us welcomed to San Francisco with a cocktail party thrown in our honour by TechCrunch. It was a great opportunity to meet the other 19 start-ups on Web Mission, plus our fabulous sponsors like HSBC, Oracle and UKTI. However, a long and unglamorous flight that day meant we weren’t in top partying condition, so I went to bed early in anticipation of the next day’s revelry.
And revelrous it was indeed, with us all being invited for brunch and a barbecue at the house of Craigslist CEO, Jim Buckmaster. And I literally mean his home: for the first 10 minutes I stood in wonder in his living room perched on a hill in a trendy area of San Francisco, observing his family photos on the mantlepiece, his taste in twentieth century American poets, and his pet poodle.
Jim and his wife had hired caterers and invited the glitterati of the US entrepreneurial scene for a leisurely afternoon sipping Bloody Marys and nibbling prawn salad in his living room. Utterly surreal, and undeniably interesting.
I met YouNoodle’s founder Bob Goodson and heard about his interesting hypotheses; BlogTalkRadio’s John Havens, who interviewed a few of us using his cool interview-via-mobile-phone-to-voicemail technique, at one stage from the boot of a car in German (you had to be there I guess); and Michael Birch, the delightfully unassuming CEO of recently acquired Bebo.
We then scooted off to a party in the Valley at the home of Brian Solis where in the late afternoon dappled sunlight we ate corn on the cob and talked to the founders of Google-acquired Jaiku and Techmeme.com. I kept having moments of delighted shock as I realised I was in the company of so many people I admire.
By the end of that day, we are all exhausted. And it was only Sunday! The week hadn’t even begun yet!
Today started early, with a visit out to Oracle where representatives from Facebook, Amazon and LinkedIn talked about how to internationalise and scale, and Oracle talked about their incredible company history and interesting product strategies.
I feel so privileged to be part of a group that so many inspirational companies think is worthwhile meeting. After a gorgeous lunch in the Oracle executive dining room, I left the group, and went on my own to meet a company I hoped to partner with. The meeting went really well, so you will hear more about this partnership very soon!
Now I am on the way back to San Francisco to attend an evening with Jim Buckmaster and Michael Birch, followed by one of many parties during this week’s Web 2.0 conference.
You see what I mean then? I’ve been here for only 48 hours, and we’ve done all this already! I’m hoping my stamina stays strong as the week continues to unfold its thrilling and lucrative possibilities.