Leaving San Francisco
#MessinaOdyssey, Part 1
Yesterday I took my leave of San Francisco. I no longer have a permanent address and I don’t know how long I’ll be nomadic.
But here I am.
It’s not that I’m sick of the city, but rather that I don’t recognize myself in it anymore. I’m not at all bitter about it — the citizenry of San Francisco always seems to ebb in accordance with the latest boom and bust cycle, and this time is unlikely any different.
My kind just isn’t as useful as it was before. Or rather, it’s not that we’re not useful, but that more professionalized, narrow, and focussed individuals are more useful for this phase of minting coin from all the bullion that’s been mined from our minds. It’ll pass, like it always does, but in the meantime I feel a bit bored and superfluous. If I can now do what I do anywhere in the world — why don’t I?
Thus my decision to leave is less a retreat from San Francisco and instead a deepening of my journey into myself.
As of February 10, I moved out of my Dogpatch apartment where my rent was going up 20% and proceeded to purge and then move my remaining possessions into storage. I’m currently living out of two suitcases and a backpack — and will be for at least six months. This is the longest stretch I’ll be away from the city since I moved in to a shared apartment in the Inner Richmond in 2004.
I’m optimistic, anxious, and ready.
The next six months I’ll be speaking, consulting, visiting with friends, exploring and enjoying parts unknown; I hope to unset whatever stale or limiting ideas I may have developed or absorbed over the 15 years I spent living in the Willy Wonka bubble of Silicon Valley.
I have a rough sketch of this odyssey I’m embarking on — and arrived at my first destination today, on March 4, in Lisbon. I’ll be spending several weeks here ahead of speaking at Pixels Camp (a three day, non-stop developer event), after which I’ll fly to Bend, Oregon to give a speculative TEDx talk on the cultural infrastructure necessary to develop more humane artificially intelligent products (hint: it starts with better humans!).
The rest of my journey isn’t yet fixed, but I have several destinations mapped out:
Mar 3–25: Lisbon, Portugal
Speaking at Pixels Camp on March 22
Mar 26 — 31: Bend, OR
Speaking at TEDxBend on March 30
Apr 1–4: Portland, OR
Apr 4–12: Puerto Rico
Apr 13 - May 12: Bay Area
May 12–14: New York
May 15–21: San Francisco
May 21–May 23: Austin, TX
May 23 — Jun 5: New York
Seeking housing for May 30 — Jun 4
Speaking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s “A Transforming World Conference: Humanity 2.0” (May 23)
Jun 5-12: New England (Cape Cod)
Speaking at #GetSocial (Jun 5), a free seminar for realtors on social media and the future of social technology
Jun 12-22: San Francisco
Jun 22-28: Perth
Keynoting the State of Social (Jun 25)
Jun 28 — Jul 9: Berlin
Speaking at TOA Berlin
Jul 9-21: Montreal
July 21-Aug 4: Tel Aviv
Participating in the REALITY Design program
Aug 4-Aug 15: Bay Area
Aug 15–29: Edinburgh
Aug 29–31: Zurich
Speaking at Front Conference
Aug 31 — Sep 5: Helsinki
Speaking at Joint Futures
Sep 5–9: Copenhagen
Speaking at TechFestival
So — that’s my current itinerary. I will be updating it from time to time as my plans evolve.
Here’s how you can help me
N.B. This asking for help thing is edgy for me!
Help me find places to stay!
I’m looking for friends of friends’ couches, guest rooms, or other in-network spots to crash throughout my journey (see above)! If you have ideas or local contact that I should reach out to, drop me a line.
Seeking consulting or a speaker?
I’m available for short term consulting and speaking gigs.
My talks run the gamut from product design, UX, startups, technology & society, culture, media, “the future”, user behavior, conversational computing/commerce/marketing, and more. I’ve given talks for small, intimate audiences in large conference rooms as well as to 5000-person developer events. Lessons from the Death of the PC at Web Summit is an example of the kind of talk I’ve given.
In terms of consulting, I’m happy to advise on product strategy, design, launching and making the most of getting featured on Product Hunt. I can provide guidance on social media strategy, user experience, or review applications to accelerators like Y Combinator. In the past I’ve put on workshops and other consulting programs for startups, small companies, and enterprises (including the Federal Reserve and American Express).
Get in front of my audience!
I’ve spent more than a decade building up audiences across social media channels — primarily Twitter and Instagram (100k and 120K followers respectively). I’ve worked with brands on paid social media sponsorships in the past and would like to work with individuals, companies, and brands that are interested in tastefully connecting with a sophisticated, technologically literate and savvy audience. Got something to share?
What should I do? Who should I meet?
I intend this nomadic period to provoke and provide inspiration, direction, and stimulation — by reconnecting me to the wide world outside of the Bay Area and its inhabitants. Most of my best contacts and connections have come to me serendipitously and I intend to lean into that abundance.
Thus, I’d love your hints, tips, and hidden spots that I shouldn’t miss when visiting these places! Ideally these might come in the form of Foursquare lists or Google My Maps, but hey — whatever you’ve got I want’em! And if there are other places that you recommend I make time to visit and you have ideas on cost effective logistics—please share!
Coming Soon: Part II
I realize that this all may seem surprising and sudden — but it’s really been a plan that’s been materializing over the last several months. Part 2 covers the background on how this all came to be: