Week 5 of Startup Life

Drunch, BetterTalk and Santa Cruz


May 25th was Memorial Day and my first public holiday here. The long weekend was more than well-timed as I felt unrested after the long hike on Saturday. Having slept in, I ran to Coit tower which is located at the top of a hill near North Beach. It takes 15–20 minutes to run there from my place so this was probably the fifth time I ran there to enjoy the great view.

Fortunately, there was an organized event on Memorial Day. My Finnish neighbors threw a dunch at 4pm. It is a meal between lunch and dinner, and it is not to be confused with linner or drunch. Apparently, linner is a meal between lunch and dinner but closer to dinner. Drunch, on the other hand, is a lunch with drinking.

I went there half an hour early to help with setting up the food and everything but they had hired professional caterers to take care of most of things. Here are the host, Mårten, and I having our first classes of champagne:

The next 3 hours went fast as I introduced myself to other guests and talked about the life inside the Silicon Valley bubble where we all are living in.

On Tuesday evening we had a guest speaker at work. Thiago Forte from his company, Forte Labs, came to talk about productivity. He went through a brief history of work productivity and made us think about the information era we are living in. After the speech we had an online meeting with out data team in Omsk, Russia but I was too tired and went home to rest.

Tuesday and Wednesday brought a lot of changes in our company. We’re shifting our focus a bit and cutting off some business areas. I’m really excited about all this because I get a change to see how and learn about transformation leadership as our co-founders start executing the new plan. The next months will be interesting as I get to move into new areas in my career.

During May I have been tired and feeling a bit sick every other day. I’ve been trying to figure out if I have a shortage of vitamins or too much stress. I’ve been sleeping quite a lot but perhaps I don’t get enough REM sleep. I don’t have any other options but to try to keep my sleeping schedule as stable as possible.

On Thursday afternoon we had our weekly shopping trip to Costco, the cheap members-only supermarket that sells everyhing in huge packages. We bought enough food for a week that we then prepare at the office. This is an excellent way to keep the cost down and have some healthy food every day. The only drawback is that we have really expensive chefs as our iOS developer and a senior software engineer usually prepare the lunch. Here is a picture of our shopping items:

On Friday morning I had to visit a bank because I had recently received a letter saying I should give an explanation for a change of address. The only problem was that I hadn’t changed my address! I had only corrected it because the bank’s details were missing “building 1”. It turned out that the letter had nothing to do that and it is sent to all foreigners that open an account at a US bank. Once again, this simple message was hidden behind the law terms and cryptic form numbers on the papers.

In the evening we went for after work beers with the people from work. I heard something I wish I had heard before. There was going to be a big music festival in Napa Valley that weekend and all the tickets were already sold out. One of my favorite bands, Imagine Dragons, was going to play on Saturday night and once again I was going to miss it. This happened to me also in Australia when I heard about their concert in Brisbane too late.

On Saturday morning I took Caltrain to Redwood City were Marko picked me up. This was my first Caltrain trip and I can say I wasn’t disappointed. There was plenty of space in nicely designed cars. We drove to Stanford Shopping Center and its luxury boutiques. To our surprise, we saw a Marimekko store and had to take a picture of it. I wonder how expensive the products are here.

Before going to the beach in Santa Cruz, we visited Henry Cowell Redwood State Park just a couple of miles north of the city. There, deep inside the forest, we found a big country festival, which wasn’t the kind of peace we came to look for in the nature. We did a really short trail and saw an old tree with a carved sleeping place inside it. The old man, who has been a volunteer at the park for more than 10 years, gave us a small lecture about some famous person who had slept there. All in all, the place was way too touristic and we were still able to hear the country music playing. It was time to head to the beach.

You would think that finding a parking spot in a small city would be easy. Well, this isn’t the case in Santa Cruz where you first have to find a find a place to buy a ticket that allows you to park anywhere near the beach. Once this hassle was over, we enjoyed the sun for a couple of hours and forgot everything about Carl the Fog, the permanent cloud creature living over the city of San Francisco. By the way, this small booth is apparently the only place to buy the parking ticket:

Santa Cruz was exactly how I had imagined; tourists, decent beaches and sun. On this trip we didn’t visit the broadwalk because only afterwards I heard it actually is worth visiting. To us it seemed just like another tourist trap park so we decided to skip it. When sitting on the rocks enjoying a beer, I managed to capture this picture with the boat and the birds nicely aligned:

Santa Cruz made me exited about living in San Diego next spring. The more-relaxed lifestyle and the surfers reminded me of Australia where I live 1.5 years ago. Here is another photo from the rocks:

Before driving back to the city, we needed to find a place to grab something to eat. Yelp saved us as always. We found this place called Planet Fresh Gourmet Burritos and started making jokes how it is run by some foreigners who just put some words they knew together to form a name for the restaurant. For just $8 we got huge burritos with a great salsa bar (mild, medium, hot, extra hot, Mexican levels of spiciness). The way back went on Highway 1 which offers great scenery on its way from LA to somewhere north of SF.

On the way we stopped at a couple of nice spots but due to the strong wind and approaching darkness, we mostly just drove and listened to whicher Spotify playlists we happened to have offline. In California, the land of Google, Apple and other giants, you would expect the mobile internet to be top-notch. Guess again. In most places it worse than in Finnish Lapland where some people use reindeers are used to go from point A to point B.

On Sunday I went to see Marko’s new place in Bernal Heights. The previous occupant had not yet left so we went to Dolores Park to enjoy the warm day. This was my second time here and still I was impressed by how nice the city of San Francisco can look from the distance.

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