I’m sitting in the lounge at SFO airport waiting to board a flight to Tokyo, after a busy couple of days in Silicon Valley and San Francisco. I was here mainly for the Game Developers Conference (GDC), but I actually did not get to see much of it because of an overloaded schedule with meetings. In total I spent about 30 minutes on the expo floor and I did not see any of the presentations that I had planned to watch. I guess that’s normal if you attend a conference like this, because you finally have the opportunity to meet all your industry peers in one place.
The trip itself was absolutely worth the long flight. I arrived last week Friday morning at 9 AM and spent most of the day in meetings (a good way to forget about the 15-hour time difference between SH and SF). I also made a 1.5 hour walk around town, from Union Square to Coit Tower and back. On the weekend I worked at bit in the morning and went for a run (I got up very early because of jet lag) and did some sightseeing in the afternoon.
On Saturday I drove to Napa Valley and visited the Robert Mondavi winery, and on Sunday I drove part of Highway 1 along the coast. The Bay area is a stunning place to live, you have everything here: beautiful nature with hills and beaches, a nice but relatively quiet city (SF is more like a town, especially compared to SH), a good nightlife (restaurants, theater), and excellent sports opportunities (you can even go skiing in less than 3 hours, you can see the snow covered mountains while driving south on 280). And the weather is nice, fresh air, clear skies and a good temperature.
But best of all is the entrepreneurial vibe that I feel here. The vibe that I am missing in Holland (and in most of the world for that matter), but that I am so used to in China, is here as well. People think in opportunities instead of in risks. People are not afraid to fail. There is a start-up culture, especially in area around Stanford University (Palo Alto etc.), which is very inspiring to me.
I talked to several VC’s and angel investors over the past days and am surprised about the number of new start-ups here. Of course I should have known about it because I’m following blogs like Venturebeat and TechCrunch, but I somehow had the wrong impression that the recession would have had a negative impact on start-ups. I don’t feel that’s the case, but please correct me if my first impression is wrong.
I would not mind spending some more time here and maybe even doing another start-up in the future. But that would mean I would have to leave China, and that won’t be an easy decision. It won’t happen soon because I have no intention at all to leave Spil Games Asia, but who knows what the long-term future will bring. Life is full of opportunities, you just have to make sure that you grab the right ones.