It was a roll call of Silicon Valley’s finest – Ebay / Paypal / Salesforce / Mozilla / AT&T / Google / apple / Adobe / neurosky / mashery / stackmob / twilio …and many more.
The UKTI team in the UK Consulate in San Francisco had asked if they could make some time available, and they all opened their doors to Charlie, me and about a dozen other really bright UK developers. It was like the Blue’s Brothers, we were ‘on a mission’…a ‘multi-platform app developer’s mission’ to San Francisco. UKTI did an awesome job. Now, awesome is an overused word – but I think it covers the what the UKTI did for us. I doubt we’d have got a phone call into these companies … UKTI got us hours with each of them (and breakfast, lunch, coffees, and goodie bags!).
A few months earlier we’d mentioned to SETsquared that we were keen to go to San Francisco (as you do). They put us in touch with the UKTI in San Francisco … and a few emails later, we were taking off from Heathrow. OK – maybe there was a bit more paperwork than that involved …
We arrived on a Saturday and spent the weekend acclimatising (or in Charlie’s case, building an app in his hotel room to showcase the travel time technology working live in real-time in San Francisco).
The next week was spent on a mini bus with our UKTI hosts and fellow developers, shuttling between meetings in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Typically the company we were seeing would start with their prepared presentation, but by slide 3 the ‘men on the mission’ would be asking questions and challenging assumptions, and the whole session would become interactive and deeply interesting. And scarcely a presenter escaped without Charlie pouncing to demo travel time working in San Francisco.
A road trip to LA for the weekend, sampling a little beach living, then back to San Francisco for a few days of follow-up meetings…and back on the plane. And the net result of our 10 day trip, beyond a tan and some great memories?
Adobe now use Travel Time to demo their phonegap software; we’re building a relationship with Salesforce; we learnt loads, and have some good contacts and great new friends.
Plus we got that great surge of belief that comes from talking to people who we respect ‘getting it’.