I spent the last three weeks in California and decided a recap blog was in order.I arrived in California on October 7th with the intention of catching up with friends, hanging out at the Corona Labs offices and having a generally fun time as usual.
As some of you know, my first trip to California took place a year ago, in October 2011 – that actually feels like a lifetime ago now, it’s hard to believe that so much could happen in the space of only 12 months.
I landed at San Jose International on a Sunday and was picked up by my colleague, friend and often chauffeur (sorry! I’ll get a US driver’s license one of these days, I swear!), Eric Wing. Eric works behind the scenes but is an audio, iOS and Lua guru and all around fantastic engineer at Corona Labs.
We went and grabbed some groceries (pepsi max, twinkies and whiskey – you know, the essentials) and got me checked into my room. I was staying at an Extended Stay America and have to say I was very impressed, lovely room and I had my own kitchen.
In the office on Monday morning I find that the lovely Reiko (who is the one to help you with many of your support tickets, amongst other things) has put out some snacks to welcome me and I immediately remember why I enjoy being in the office so much.
The day progresses and I get to catch up with everyone; Walter, David, Sean, Josh, Inna and of course Reiko and Eric as previously mentioned. (I didn’t get to see Tom, who you likely know from the blog, as he was off having fun in Hawaii when I arrived.)
There was a little melancholy at those missing from a year ago; Hetal, Gilbert, Jon and Biffy Beebe and of course Carlos Icaza. I still carry an old team picture they’re all in when I travel.
Despite those missing it was a great week; I am incredibly productive when I’m in the office with people who share my passion for mobile – it is the only place in the world I’m willing to drag myself out of bed before 9am.
My first Friday in town we all went on food tour in San Francisco, which lined up well as that afternoon I got the news that I passed my GED (with flying colors) and was in the mood to celebrate. We stopped at several different places and ate everything from cheese to tacos, beer to oysters and ended with an ice cream sandwich.
(If you’re wondering who the guy in the back left is, that would be Scott – he works remotely from L.A. and this is the first time I’d met him. He’s responsible for the Corona Labs website.)
Before my first week ended I of course also managed to lure Carlos away from his work for a meal and catch up, along with a visit to the Appcelerator offices where Lanica is currently based.
One week into my trip I had settled back into the office, gone for several awesome American meals, eaten lunch every day (not something I normally do) and even got to meet Rob Miracle, a name you should all know from the Corona Labs forum.
I may also have fallen over and horribly injured myself… but we wont start dissecting my clumsiness today
I also got to have a few chats over the phone with users I normally don’t get to speak to due to time differences between California and Australia, which I thoroughly enjoyed. (Emailing with you guys is great but I get swamped when traveling so a quick call to touch base and talk mobile is always a blast for me.)
Come Sunday, two weeks into my trip, and I was at The Intercontinental San Francisco (awesome hotel, try the California Club sandwich) for Codestrong – where I got to see Carlos’ keynote and presentation and actually live-blogged both.
I also got to hang out at the Lanica booth (best location, right outside the main conference room, made it very convenient) and spend some time with-
Biffy Beebe (her and Jonathan Beebe came to see Carlos speak and I could not have been happier to see her after so long! Beautiful as always!)
Todd Hooper (CEO of Moai, fellow Australian and awesome guy)
and of course the other Lanica founders (besides CEO Carlos Icaza), Bruno and Kota, who are some of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.
I also met Adam and Brock of Crawlspace Games and Nate from Fully Croisened, though I have to hunt down some pics of them. There were a number of Corona users I got to meet for the first time and hang out with, including Willy and Alfred, both of whom I really enjoyed chatting with – Alfred was the fellow I mentioned earlier on Twitter who recognized my voice and praised Techority. (I always appreciate that.)
Meeting some of the Appcelerator crew was cool also, especially Mike (thanks for that 2am shot!) and Anthony Decena who does some great webinars I regularly tune in for.
An awesome time was had by all though for now I wont say any more on that, I have a blog I need to clean up covering the lead up to Codestrong coming soon – make sure to stay tuned for that one!
My final week was spent doing a webinar (thanks to all who attended), doing a video interview with Corona Geek, having lunch with Walter Luh (CEO of Corona Labs) and, somewhat unexpectedly but totally awesomely, ending up running the gaming room at CODAME!
Check out the CODAME signal as seen from the Indie Arcade balcony-
I had an awesome time and got to hang out with some very interesting people, including-
Carlos Icaza (Lanica was a sponsor and Carlos was nice enough to be a judge)
and Bruno Fonzi, Tinic Uro and Richard Galvan, who, along with Carlos Icaza, made Flash what it is. (Along with being just fantastic people, great to meet and hang out with them. I immediately had a soft spot for Richard who preferred my superhero Tshirt over Carlos’ very loud designer shirt. Haha! Good taste.)
Monday night I said goodbye to the team, had a final meeting with Walter, hugged everyone I could lay my hands on, packed up my bags and prepared for my flight out of California.
Then of course it was time for the traditional last-night dinner with Carlos. (Fantastic food and the richest ice cream I’ve had in as long as I can remember.)
There is, when leaving a place and people one cares for so much, a sense of comfort in the things that remain the same in a fast changing, often challenging world – the office still looks the same, Reiko still brings me snacks, Eric and I still go to Outback where I mock the selection of Australian beers, Josh still shows me hilarious YouTube videos, Sean still impresses me with his charity work, Tom and I still enjoy our love-hate banter and yells across the office of “Google it!” and “I’ll Google your face” – and Carlos, despite now being the CEO of Lanica and no longer with Corona Labs, still makes the time to have dinner and talk with me – we both just have shorter hair than we did a year ago!
Stay tuned for the pre-Codestrong blog post, it should be an interesting read. (Also have an upcoming interview with Carlos blog, though that’s still in the clean up stages as well. Keep an eye out for it!)
Thanks to everyone who made my trip awesome; I look forward to seeing you all again soon!