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Golden Gate dreams

October 9, 1997
by Pat McClellan

Six months ago, my wife and I packed up our home and our businesses and moved from Chicago to the San Francisco Bay area. Anyone who has ever felt a gust of wind coming off of Lake Michigan in January will well understand our underlying motivations. Beyond meteorology, the prospect of transplanting my business to "multimedia mecca" is the geek-dream of a lifetime. Just think... swimming with the big fish... crunching code as the sun sets beyond the golden gate... dealing with the likes of Apple and Macromedia on their home turf. So, does reality jive with the dream?

I'm happy to report that in my first few months, I have gotten to work on a project for Apple. I had to go down to Cupertino for a meeting and the feeling of driving my car around One Infinite Loop gave me the same giddy feeling as the first time I drove through the campus of my alma mater. Everyone around you is dealing with daily routine, but you've got this impression that "big things" are happening here. You've probably seen pictures of Apple's HQ -- or QTVR movies made in the courtyard of the buildings. Big white, heavenly-cool buildings, currently sporting huge photos of Einstein and Mohammad Ali, et.al. (I think they used to work here.) The reality is, Apple's campus is smack-dab across the street from some ordinary office buildings (Sun Microsystems), just off I-280, and about a block from a Wendy's. Brings it back to everyday life.

I now attend monthly MMUG meetings in the building where Macromedia has its offices. And through my work on Director Online, I've had occasion to get to know a number of folks who have this address on their business cards. They're all really nice, normal people -- if somewhat smarter than your average cinema audience. After awhile, you start thinking of them as your friends and associates and you stop noticing the aura.

I figure it will take several years before this place starts to really feel like home. Until then, I plan to enjoy the naivete. Last week, I was driving to a meeting in SOMA (local-speak for "South of Market Area", the area where many multimedia companies and Macromedia have their offices), stopped at a traffic light. I look up & there's John Dowdell (MM Tech Support Guru) walking across the street right in front of me. I've talked with John lots of times, he's very approachable. I was 1/2 a block from Macromedia's office, so it was perfectly natural that he was walking on the street there. There is nothing about this experience that should warrant reporting, except that for a brief moment, I realized "Hey, that's JD! I'm really here."

I'll keep you posted on my journey to become a Bay Area local.

Patrick McClellan is Director Online's co-founder. Pat is Vice President, Managing Director for Jack Morton Worldwide, a global experiential marketing company. He is responsible for the San Francisco office, which helps major technology clients to develop marketing communications programs to reach enterprise and consumer audiences.

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