Warning: This blog post is written under extreme jet lag (and hunger).
The day before I left we celebrated Lars’ birthday at Trancher. Great food, and a great last night. (Not so great picture.)
This is the face of someone who is REALLY EXCITED to be going to San Francisco! Didn’t sleep much the night before, and didn’t sleep much the next 24 hours either.
As always, I’m at Gardermoen *uhm* three hours before my flight. So I had plenty of time to work on our pitch. (A pitch is way you tell a potential partner or investor about your company, trying to make the main selling points very easy to get.) At the gate I had my first ‘american encounter’, when a musician gave me a high-five for wearing a Neil Young t-shirt. (I’ve never gotten a comment on my band t-shirts in Norway. I’ve already gotten three from americans on this trip. Met a fellow Morrissey fan today, and one guy who collected t-shirts.)
I love traveling with Norwegian and their Dreamliner. Duh, they have Tailor Swift as one of the music albums! This time I was smart enough to book a seat at the front! This would be my no. 1 tip to everyone traveling to the US: Book a seat at the front. This will save you hours when you’re waiting for immigration control! I managed to get through immigration after only 30 minutes wait – last time it was close to two hours. The immigration process was a breeze. A very friendly lady asked me why I was here, and for how long. She congratulated me on making it to the full 90 days before returning, and wished me luck with my business – and rental arrangement. So no hassle. I guess telling the truth also helps.
Travel tip no.2: Don’t order food when you book your ticket. The dinner is OK, but the breakfast is terrible. It’s much better, and the same price, to just order the tapas plate, and a couple of beers.
My plane landed in Oakland, and since I had two suitcases I had pre-ordered a shuttle to take me to San Francisco. If you’re traveling light you can take the airport bus down to the Bart station, and then Bart to SF. I used SuperShuttle.com. The driver was a really nice guy from Afghanistan, who had been living in California for 18 years. He had a lot of ‘fun facts’ about stuff we drove past (such as SF spending 15 million dollars on palm trees for the new bridge to Oakland), and also told me about Afghanistan, and how it was to live in the US. Lots of work, day and night. He gave me his number, and told that if I got stuck somewhere I could call him, day or night. It’s great to have a back-up for Uber.
At the apartment Mona, the dog, greeted me with enthusiastic barking, followed by Julie, who is my ‘landlord’. Julie gave me a tour of the room, and the house. The house is really charming, old-style victorian, and my room is big and cozy! Julie was super sweet, and ordered some (delicious!) burritos for us. We took Mona for a walk, and picked up the food a couple of blocks from the house. We also picked up some cold beers, – Julie recommended SpeakEasy, a local brand. (And really good!). Julie is perfect for us introverted Scandinavians, as she’s really open and friendly. She even introduced me to the cashier at the local grocery store. We spent the evening talking, and I also got to meet some of the other people living here. They all seem very nice, and all of them are working in tech – Apple, Google, and startups.
My room, at night:
(And yes, I’ve bought lots of Sparkling ICE Coconut Pineapple!)
Today (Thursday) I unpacked my suitcases, before Maria picked me up at 10. Maria is working for us, helping us with partners, growing the user base, and investor pitching. (And helping me with where to get my food, what areas to avoid, and lots of other practical stuff.) I think she might have the coolest car here:
So today I’ve been riding in a 1980′ cabriolet. Pretty cool! We spent the beginning of the day working at Innovation House in Palo Alto, where I met other entrepreneurs, and the new interns. In the afternoon we went to Google, Mountain View to meet our advisor Tarjei. We had a really good meeting, mostly about how to get partners, and also investors. Our case is really strong, so it’s easy to create a good pitch.
Driving back we could see the fog coming in over San Francisco. It looks so beautiful!
Back home I worked some more, then ordered some food from GrubHub. The food selection here is amazing! I went for teriyaki salmon salad, and an ice-cold beer.
All in all, it’s been a great start! People are so friendly, the area is really beautiful, the sun is shining, and it looks very promising for YAY here.