BizTrip to San Francisco, Napa and San Mateo

Departed Narita on Sunday afternoon and arrived in San Francisco on Sunday morning. First thing I did was to put my bag in a locker and jumping on the first BART for San Francisco’s Union Square. The weather was great and I enjoyed walking around, relaxing and soaking in the atmosphere.

Union Square
By 4:45 pm I was back at SFO and had arrived at the rental car offices. There I met two of my work colleagues as we had planned, they had arrived later than me.

Once we got a rental car we were off for Calistoga in Napa. That’s where this year’s Open Source Think Tank was held. But before arriving in Calistoga we had a stop in Napa where I had a Buffalo Burger – tasted just like a normal burger though πŸ™

The Think Tank was good, but not as good as the previous years. However, I attended a side track the first day – Community Leadership Summit by Jono Bacon. Great!

Tuesday in the afternoon of the second day there’s usually a social activity and I had signed up for the bike ride. However, it was raining so it was cancelled. Instead I went out for a run in the Napa valleys. Beautiful run. Though I had a plan to take the Oat Mill Hill Trail but I decided not to when I read the sign at the trail head… Warning rattlesnakes may be on the trail and mountain lions may attack humans, don’t go out on the trail alone. Well, I was alone and though it was not a day for rattlesnakes to be sun tanning on a trail I kind of thought it was best to take a safer route. And so I did.

After a 7-8 km run and a shower I was back at the conference where I joined with my case study group to finalise our presentation on the role of open source in the Internet of Things for Automotive.

At 6 pm we all were loaded into busses and shipped to a nearby vinery where we had dinner. The vinery was built as a castle in an old Spanish style, though it had an Italian name (Amoara or something like that) and many of the staff spoke English with an Italian accent. The food was great and I had a chance to talk lot with a super-long distance runner (50-90 km) from Red Hat. Nice guy and interesting talk!

Oh, across us were a Korean couple. She was a teacher back in Korea, dinner etiquette teacher. Perfect for us simple people as we could ask her how to use all the forks, knifes and spoons that they had lined up at each table seat πŸ™‚

Wednesday at lunch time the Think Tank was over. We spent some more time at the conference place to talk with Black Duck Consulting about an assignment they are doing for us. Good meeting and we decided to meet the next day in San Mateo for lunch so that we could finish the discussion.

Before heading to San Mateo we had a lunch in Calistoga. Then a 2.5 hours drive passing by Oakland, Coliseum (home of the Oakland Raiders) and the Half Moon Bay Bridge. Once checked in at the hotel we had a quick dinner at Redwood Shores, then back to the hotel for some sleep.

Thursday we spent at our office in San Mateo that is now at the same buildings as PlayStation. So there’s a lot of monsters hanging around the complex to promote PS games πŸ™‚ Most of the day we spent in meetings. Very good meetings.

However, the evening we had off. And we headed to Stanford Shopping Center for some serious shopping. Well, I did actually not buy anything for myself but I bought a lot of things for Chie. Just as it should be, according to her πŸ˜‰

Friday morning I headed to the airport again. Spent some time in the Delta Lounge, eating breakfast and watching some videos on my tablet. Relaxing. Then it was a looooong flight back to Tokyo, without much sleep.

Saturday evening and I am back in Tokyo again. Arrived at home and was welcomed by Japanese hoe cocked food. Life is great!

Business Trip to California

Chie gave me a ride to Shinagawa station on Sunday morning. From there I took the Narita Express (NEX) to Narita Airport. Spent some time in the lounge, taking a shower, having something to drink and eat before I boarded and had a long sleepless flight to San Francisco.

Once I’ve checked in at the hotel, had a salad for lunch then I headed out in the lovely and sunny California weather. It was spring feeling. I spent most of the day out in the sun reading and waiting for my work colleague from Lund, Calle. He arrived late in the afternoon and we almost directly went for dinner.

Redwood Shores

Monday, we spent it at the office. We had meetings with work colleagues at our Redwood Shores office. Fruitful. In the evening we went to Stanford Shopping Centre for some shopping. We also had a brief stop at Lululemon Atheletics, one of my favourite stores.

Tuesday, we spent the morning at the office clearing out our inboxes. In the afternoon we drove down to San Jose to meet with Tim Bird and Frank Rowand at a SONY office. We wanted to meet with them to discuss joining Sony Mobile and if so what kind of work they were interested in. From Sony Mobile’s side we already had something in mind, but you cannot just push things on people πŸ™‚ After the meeting we went back to Stanford Shopping Centre as Calle could not finish his shopping yesterday. Once finished we had a quick dinner and drove to Calistoga in Napa. The next day we would join the Open Source Think Tank there.

Wednesday, first day of the Open Source Think Tank. About 100 people had joined from various companies in various roles but all having something to do with Open Source. Many good presentation, but one stood out… Netflix’s chief architect presented their video streaming architecture and how they in three years could become one of the most innovative companies in IT right now – great ideas and Open Source drive their speed of innovation. We also got an introduction to this year’s case study, OpenStack, and some time to work with it.

Dream house

Thursday, second day continued with more presentations. We got a brown bag for lunch containing a sandwich, some fruits, water and a cookie. The idea was to bring it for the social activities that was planned for the afternoon. Three different activities: i) wine tasting, ii) golf, and iii) bicycling. I went for a lovely bike ride in the wonderful sunny California weather. It was warm and I could go in a t-shirt πŸ™‚ In the evening we had dinner at CIA (Culinary Institute of America). It was fun and tasty – I was next to a really nice guy named Laszlo from Portland.


Friday, last day of the Open Source Think Tank. Mainly dedicated to preparations for case study presentations and the actual case study presentations. I was happy to see that my new friend Laszlo and his group won the case study presentations. The OpenStack Foundation thought their ideas and suggestions on how OpenStack can improve their setup was the best and most complete. They won Beats earphones. Congrats!

At lunch the conference was finished for this year. Calle and I drove into Calistoga for a quick lunch and then headed back to the San Francisco airport. Calle had a flight back to Sweden the same day but I had to wait until the next day. But it was OK, I had time for a quick dinner and then I spent most of the time relaxing at the hotel watching videos on my iPad.

Saturday, woke up and got to the airport. Checked in and went to the Delta lounge – it’s great to be a gold member πŸ™‚ Spent the time in the lounge relaxing and reading. Once it was time to board I realised I had been upgraded to business class – super nice. I even managed to sleep for a while on the flight.

San Francisco, Golden Gate, Alcatraz

Sunday, arrived at Narita around 16:25. It took my max 30 minutes to get from the airplane to the train platform – including picking up my bag, passing immigrations and buying train tickets. Sometimes things just run smoothly. And lucky boy as I am, Chie picked me up at the Shinagawa station πŸ™‚

Business Trip to SFO and Napa

This week I have been in San Francisco and Napa on a business trip. First stop was at our office in Redwood Shores where we a work colleague from Lund and I) had some meetings with the “locals”. On Wednesday night we continued Napa where we checked into Silverado Resport for the Open Source Think Tank workshop.

Oracle’s offices are fun – they look like databases πŸ™‚

Meetings in our Redwood Shores office were good and we got a lot of useful input both on our business as well how it is living and working in the SFO area. The Open Source Think Tank conference was really good and was great opportunity to meet many people working directly or indirectly with open source. We also had a great dinner at a vinery not far from the hotel.

The hotel though was another matter. It claims to be a luxury resort and the prices are thereafter. But the service is not. They were unorganized and, as I found out when I got back home and examined my bill closer, had charged me $380 too much for spa treatments and dinners that I have no memory of receiving. That is OK but not responding to my request to fix it is not, still waiting for an answer after more than one week. DON’T GO THERE!!!

We also experienced the worst rain and thunderstorms in SFO for many years. And it haled in Napa. No luck with the weather, until the last day when it was California blue sky again.