Work trip. Enough said, right? No huge sightseeing or walking around, boating…. instead, running around the city (literally) from meeting to meeting, staying up late and getting up early.

Context:

The largest cybersecurity industry conference in San Francisco. I have never been but heard it is madness and it was a bit of that. Over 400 companies in 2 large conference buildings in Moscone center in the center of SF. Hotels packed…. people with badges everywhere. Everyone running around all day long – either to a partner meeting, VC meeting, client meeting, scoping out competitors, learning…. evenings full of dinners and parties…up at early am to catch the EST calls…I also attended a venture capital conference to get to know some of the start-ups – a bit like speed dating in 15 mins increments..

My own experience & insight:

  • can’t operate on 4 hours of sleep for too long
  • introvert in and out, 14 hours of people, noise and talking is absolutely exhausting
  • so glad I dropped all heels, flats, flats, flats for running
  • 2.5 days of meeting people, seeing and experiencing makes up for weeks of web research and calls
  • great food all around, especial Anchor Oyster Bar (2x in 3 days)
  • SF is expensive… beyond expectations… starters in $14-18, main courses in $30+, hotel rooms in $400-600/night – who lives here?
  • lots of homeless everywhere… this was very very visible, definitely part of the city – assume due to attractive welfare policies.
  • Ubers do not work well here, go for taxis – 80% of my Uber rides got cancelled by the driver
  • Ah for the seafood – fantastic!

I am not much of a feminist but you’d have to be blind not to notice the disproportion of women everywhere – literally 90/10. Especially at the venture capital conference, me and my 3 colleagues (women) stuck out due to our colorful outfits in the entire hotel. And most of the times, I was the only woman in the room. Didn’t bother me, just noticeable.

Definitely reminded myself why I miss Prague or a walkable city. Walking to work, stopping by a bakery shop for fresh croissant, sitting at the bench for lunch, hopping on a tram – makes every city so much more livable and attractive. I felt so much more connected to others, standing at the intersection, walking with coffee cups, standing in lunch lines – reminded me of those spur-of-the moment coffee meet ups after work in Prague…. where you don’t have to check your calendar weeks ahead. Miss that!

BTW, try flying a plane full of hackers or security geeks… noone is connected or online b/c who wants to get hacked?