Halloween in the Homeland

Halloween_2006 (7)I had a couple speaking engagements in San Jose at KMWorld last week that conflicted with Halloween; so, rather than missing Ashby’s first Halloween, Tara and Ashby headed out to San Jose with me. It was great to have them there. We spent the entire week at my sister’s house, Julie, in Atherton. It would be wonderful if Tara and I could live the rest of our lives without ever being separate for an entire day. Tara read somewhere this is how Paul and Linda McCartney lived. That would be fantastic. Anyhow, it was great for Ashby to see her cousins again: Skylar and Owen. We were out there in June for at least a few days; so, it wasn’t their first time together, but now that Ashby is older she was able to really engage them.

Ashby really digs traveling. She is so into it, it’s a riot. She just has the time of her life at the airport, on the plane, strolling about in public from place to place. I think she thinks she is the queen of the parade or something. She just loves it! This girl loves to be on the go. This was the third time Halloween_2006 (13) she has flown since being born. The first time we flew to North Carolina so I could speak at UNC, then, as I said, we were in California last June (Tom Tran’s wedding), and now this Halloween trip. She’ll likely fly again this year to San Diego. More on that later.

Tara and Ashby spent all day at Julie and Paul’s while I went into San Jose to work from the hotel was holed up at: Hotel Montgomery, a snazzy and affordable hotel just a couple blocks from the McEnery Convention Center where KMWorld was being held. For some bizarre reason my sister’s place doesn’t have WiFi with broadband. I have no idea what’s up with that considering Julie is a Publisher for a major technology media company. It’s always strange going back to the valley. It definitely feels like home. As soon as I step off the plane the smell hits me and I immediately know I’m back to the homeland. Maybe that’s my kind of pollution. I don’t know. There is something comforting about the urban sprawl, the rolling foothills, and good Asian food on every corner. I guess you can go home.

Tara and I got out for sushi twice the week we were there. Living in Minnesota we don’t get many chances to get decent food…I mean Asian food. In case you didn’t know: Swedes, Norwegians, and Irish don’t have the most diverse palletes. We went to Bonsai in Redwood City off El Camino on Monday while Julie and Paul monitored Ashby while she slept, which had totally shitty service and ‘ok’ food. Then later in the week we took Ashby to some sushi place in Palo Alto that, oddly enough, Tara had been to once previously a couple years ago with her mother. Odd coincidence. This place was pretty good. Ashby ate rice for the first time, she loved it, and, as usual, had a gay ol’ time with us. She really gets a thrill about being on the go.

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I spoke on Tuesday about wikis being the future of Knowledge Management and then on Wednesday I spoke about business/enterprise wikis and features and attributes to consider when selecting a wiki. I wrote briefly about this at my OpenGarden.org blog, which reminds me: I need to publish my PPTs up there. In general, I’m sorry to say, I think KMWorld is lame. Mainly because the Halloween_2006 (23)organizers were just so damn disorganized. Just to give you some idea: it took me 15-20 minutes, 5people and three trips to figure out that I needed another ribbon on my badge to get me into the exhibition hall. Also, they misplaced Joel Waterman (Program Director, Enterprise Search Solutions, IBM) and I in the ‘collaboration’ track and totally boffed the description for our presentation.

I was stunned to see TheBrain there. Apparently they’ve been at KMWorld every year since 2000. It’s weird because I remember this software application like 6 or 7 years ago. It’s a mind map based personal information manager. I remember when I first saw it I was so impressed by the interface. Strangely the interface hasn’t changed since I first saw it–six years ago. It looks old. It’s kind of like when you see furniture from the 1980’s…not pretty. Not exactly a classic. I look at some of these bubbly Web 2.0 interfaces and I just know it’s going to be the same thing a few years from now. We’re going to look back at them and wonder what the hell was everyone was smoking. Just because we can make everything clickable, draggable, with rounded edges and primary colors doesn’t me should. San Jose

Then there was Halloween. Wwwwweeeeeeee!! This was so much fun! I hauled ass back to Julie’s house after my presentation on Wednesday just in time to catch everyone geared up and ready to go trick-or-treating. Ashby was, as you can see, dressed as a Lady Bug from hell. Ok, so I said she was from hell for creep factor. It didn’t work well. I grabbed the only costume I had at my disposal in 5 minutes and we headed out. It was awesome! Ashby was totally into it. We went a couple miles away from Julie and Paul’s place and met up with a mob of children, and their parents, that Julie and Paul know. Tara and I made it out to about a dozen houses before heading home early to get Ashby to bed.

On Thursday, Paul and I went to a San Jose Sharks game. I had never been to a hockey game. It was a blast! Paul got us some killer seats: eighth row center. Other than Mark, the very big and clearly mentally impaired dude in the seat next to who kept crowding me and periodically dropping peanuts into my beer it was great. Hockey is loads of fun live. San_Jose_Sharks (32)Sharks lost 1-2 to the Rangers.

Friday, we convened the: "Phase 2 of Establish Global Dominance" meeting with several of the MindTouch core team. MUHAHAHAHA!!! The next 6 months are going to be very exciting.

Finally, on Saturday we had brunch in Las Altos (Las Altos Cafe–good) with Josh Branscomb. An old buddy of mine that I graduated from UNC with. We did our senior project together. He’s pretty cool, for a Republican. Josh actually helped forge MindTouch waaaaaay back when it was still just an idea, before there were even other Wiki companies out there. In fact, he really was a founder. Instead of continuing with MindTouch he decided to go to Stanford Law School to get his law-monkey certification. He’s doing great though. He spent last Summer in D.C. and he’ll be working with Wilson and Sonsini this summer. In case you didn’t know, this is probably the most well respected technology focused law firm in the country. They represent Google, Yahoo, and perhaps the most impressive client: MindTouch!