I’ve now arrived in San Francisco and staying at a “Startup Hostel” — basically a hostel for people starting tech companies or working in tech. There’s about 30 males and 1 female. I have the pleasure of having a top bunk in a room with 16 bunks… but it’s the cheapest place by a factor of 3, and in the heart of the city.

I quickly remembered what I don’t like about SF last time I was here. There is so much homelessness and it’s really a dirty city. Rubbish and the smell of faeces is everywhere. You then have people driving around in Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s – the wealth divide is stark.

That being said, it’s a hotbed of technology companies and high achievers. Everyone you talk to works in technology, so it’s pretty easy to meet new people and make new friends.

G Bike
Netflix offices

On the first weekend here, I had a friend give me a tour of Google and Netflix. Did you know Google have their own bicycles called “G bikes”?

The Netflix offices have amazing facilities. A new cinema, daily chef cooked lunches, waterfall in the main mess area and a bunch of golden globe awards in the foyer. They also have some of the best salaries in the valley, but with house prices measured in the millions — they don’t go too far.

Summer of Love exhibition at De Young Museum
Golden Gate Bridge as seen from Lands End

I spent last Sunday riding through Golden gate park, which was magnificent. I dropped into the Summer of Love festival (focussing on the music and political movement in the park in ‘69), rode past people roller blade dancing to Michael Jackson and people learning to swing dance on a bridge. I topped the day off with a walk along Ocean beach which is packed full of surfers. Casual swimming is not encouraged due to the rips.

Firefox offices with the names of contributors etched in stone
Storm rolling into San Francisco near Alcatraz

One late afternoon I also wandered along the waters edge as a storm rolled in. Starting at Oakland Bay Bridge I passed Firefox’s offices and then discovered some amazing art galleries and an abundance of seafood. San Francsico was improving…

San Francisco Pier with the weekly markets in full swing

On Saturday I wound my way down to the SF Pier and discovered a great market with fantastic food and trinkets. Finally some good food in the US! I couldn’t help myself and had a Nutella filled Italian donut, Bison dumplings and a homemade probiotic / carbonated drink.

Micro brewery festival in Oakland — how convenient!
Time to take a rest at Lake Merrit, Oakland

I caught the ferry across to Oakland, met a group of people on the trip and then spent the rest of the day drinking with them in bars across Oakland. They were creative types, bringing along their own paints and instruments – so as a result I spent the afternoon in Oakland with my face painted.

On a professional level, I’ve had a whirlwind experience. I have a much better sense of how work with US companies and investors which is helping shape my plans when I get back to Australia.

This is my final post as I should be home in a bit over a week!

Posted by Chris

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