Silicon Valley First Impressions

Traffic, the radio, the climate, the Kool-Aid – where to start.

Well, here’s something weird: I’ve been hearing a lot of radio commercials that have started dropping off the “m” in am and pm. For example, the Disneyland Resort commercials keep advertising special deals and events, available at “8a, 10a, 2p and 4p.” It’s weird, right?!?! Every time I hear it I keep thinking, is this going to catch on and become a new norm?

Then there’s traffic. A lot of Tesla’s, a lot of Mercedes, a lot of BMW’s. And to my great surprise, traffic is fast and smart. Drivers skillfully weave between cars, going 140+kms/hr, and no one bats an eye. It’s taken me a week to get used to it. My conclusion so far is that there are a lot of smart people here. People who can accurately gauge speed and distance, as well as human error and blind spots (everyone shoulder checks). I mean really – I saw an average of one accident per day in Surrey, BC, back when I was driving to university. Why? Bad drivers and a lack of shoulder checking. And here? Minimal accidents and good drivers. It’s pretty cool.

The climate is also pretty great. Every day has sunshine. Even if the morning starts off cloudy, the clouds burn off around lunchtime and the sun is ready and waiting. There’s also a really nice breeze that distracts from the heat. A breeze that cools the entire bay at the end of the day. A breeze that carries the warm scent of eucalyptus trees and comfort. I like it here.

Oh, and the Kool-Aid. Right. Well, there are a huge number of Tech companies here, each with their own Kool-Aid. Google, for instance, has it’s own Google branded bicycles. Yep. Blue seat, yellow handle bars, green tires, red frame. There are no labels or words on the bicycles, just the colours from the google logo. And I say bicycles because I saw 7 people on bicycles, biking through the Google area – where every corner for a couple of miles has a building that says Google on the sign. Building after building after building. All Google. And as I’m driving through all I can think is, do you get a bicycle on your first day of work? Does someone come up to you and say, “Hello there, welcome to your first day at Google. Would you like a parking space or a bicycle?”

All that to say, I’m surrounded by smart driven people, and it’s awesome. I just really hope that the whole “10p” time reference doesn’t catch on. I’m not a fan.


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