November 22, 2013
Salesforce.com puts on the largest vendor led conference in the technology sector. So this year we were announcing the product I had been working on for the last 6 months at my job, Blue Jeans for Salesforce. So as part of that I got to go to the conference and experience the craziness of Dreamforce. It was epic -- as far as conferences go. The most people I had ever seen. The most conference perks I had ever seen. The most celebrities at a conference I had ever seen. Everything was done well. Nothing bad to say about the execution of that event.
We had a caricature artist at our booth as our draw. One live and one from Chicago on a video conference. So people would line up and as they got drawn, we could chat about their video conferencing needs. It was a cool way to get them to experience our service as they artist interacted with them in a real meeting. And they got something out of it. I had our artists draw me. Both had different styles. Which is a better likeness?
Salesforce.com CEO Marc Bennioff is one of the celebs given his auora. But he was always dragging around other people with him. Who is that? CRAMER! No shit. I was excited to see Jimmy in the flesh. Love me some Mad Money. I yelled "Boo-yah, Jimmy!" at him. I was that guy. Loved it. He gave me a nod. He was in some Marc distortion field walking the expo.
The next guy I had to check out was this guy. Bono! I heard rumors he was there so I tracked him down and got this photo with him. He took the camera and shot the selfie for us. He was very Bono. Almost too cool. Hmmm. Suspicious? Bono did do a TED conference earlier in the year. And he invested in some tech fund. Maybe? Later on, more rumors swirled so some journalist tried to get to the bottom of it.
The room was huge for the main keynote. There is Marc miles away from me on the stage. And there was an equidistant set of seats behind me to the back. Crazy huge audience.
There was a "house band" during the keynote. Some locals. Maybe you have heard of them? Huey Lewis and The News! Ha...yeah, they are locals to San Francisco and so why not. Power of Love...still gets people moving.
Salesforce is big on talking about charity. There was a whole thing on Haiti. The Prime Minster was there. And next to him was Spicoli, better known as Sean Penn! Whoa. He is way into causes of course. That article about Bono says he tried to beat someone up at his hotel for snapping a photo. OK?
Later in the week, we got our heads fixed by Deepak Chopra. Cool to hear him live. Free copy of his new book yet to be released too.
We exhibited all day for 4 days straight. When that was done, we deserved these! That's a Mexican Bulldog. A Coronaita upside down in a marg. Innovation? Damn straight.
What a week! Time to head home. Never sat down all week. Rewarding and exhausting show. Too bad my commute time back to Colorado isn't shorter. But Blue Jeans can make yours 0 as the billboard we have up shows!
November 19, 2013
I am a long time, many times of Green Day. And when they canceled their February 2013 appearance in Colorado I was bummed. Fast forward and I find out they are headlining the Dreamforce Gala in San Francisco. This is super convenient because I am launching our new product at Dreamforce. Score! This was to be Green Day's first corporate gig ever. Don't quite start thinking they sold out as the show was a fundraiser for the Oakland Children's Hospital, near where the band hails from. Good enough.
So the day turned to rain. Pouring rain. The concert was outside at the ball park where the San Francisco Giants play. They gave all attendees a rain poncho but I was soaked from the walk over. Should have brought my umbrella. Dang it. I took Eric Burke as my date. Gotta an extra pass from a co-worker that wasn't going.
Blondie opened the show in the rain. It was OK but I focused on eating and staying warm for now. The stage was setup out in right field. One of those usual stadium show type scaffolding stages. Legit setup. The outfield was covered in plastic boards so we didn't get all dirty on the field or more likely ruin the field. Its a technology conference so the crowd wasn't moshing in the rain but they were definitely lively.
About 1/2 through the set, the audio shrieked and went out. That was a first. Later we learned that the canopy above the sound board ripped and the water splashed down on it. Ooops. Billy Joe didn't give up. I wasn't sure if he even knew for a few songs. He kept right on going. Playing acoustically to the front of the crowd and making them sing with him. He was there to play and he never stopped. About 30+ minutes later, we got back some sound and then finally the whole thing was back on. Billy Joe made a joke about it but gave no impression that it ruined the show. He kept marching on through the rest of the set.
Know Your Enemy
Stop When the Red Lights Flash
Before the Lobotomy
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Wake Me Up When September Ends
Going to Pasalacqua
When I Come Around
Jesus of Suburbia
Stay the Night
A few random shots:
Small video clip with a spin around the field:
Good show. Definitely would have been amazing with better weather and no sound issues. Oh well. I won't complain about a free work-related Green Day concert any day!
November 18, 2013
After months of work, we finally announced what I have been working on since I came to Blue Jeans -- Blue Jeans for Salesforce! Basically taking our video conferencing product and embedding it into the Salesforce platform so sales and marketing professionals can schedule and attend video conferences from the environment they live in every day!
http://bluejeans.com/salesforce - All the real info is there including a video that shows it in action.
We got a bunch of press. Even this article suggesting that Salesforce will buy us. Who knows.
We had the privilege of working with many Salesforce teams directly to get early access to technology and be part of a few different keynotes where our product was used to demonstrate new technology. Pretty cool!
November 13, 2013
2nd NIN show in less than a month. Yes, please. I could go every night. When seeing them, its always a debate between best show and greatest show. I scored a last minute ticket for my neighbor, Dmitri, so I had a date. He has been bugging me about going for months after he found out I was going to the sold out show. So I kept an eye out and found more tickets got released so we got him in. We met up with the Timkos down at the venue too. They were at a nearby bar so we joined them for a bit of pre-party. It was good seeing them.
We walked into the venue just as the opener finished so there was no time wasted. The crowed was thick so we hung back by the sound board until the show started. "Copy of A" was first as has been on this entire tour. We watch from a far and then when the lights went down, we made our move. I started pushing a freight train of people right up through the middle and in now time, we made it up to the front pit. You can always just push your way up and keep saying "pit" over and over and people tend to just move over. Saves you a lot of time and energy. Come late. Go up front. Always works.
The crowd was a bit rowdy for a while but we were right on the edge of the pit where characters were developing. Like "troll dude" who was dancing to his own beat. Then "bald dude" who was just hurling people that came near him in the pit. Its like entertainment by itself. Back to the music...
Slightly different set than DC. The same big cornerstones but they changed out some songs. Some of the effects changed too. There was probably less stuff so maybe they took out some of the complications as the tour went on. Fun seeing it from up high before then 10 rows back on the floor. Different perspective. I wouldn't trade up close for anything but the seats are good because you see more of the intent of the effects versus seeing through them at times. But there were up close things that I didn't see from a far last time. Like they had this red back screen backdrop where when they lit it, the band looked like 2D characters in a video game live. It was trippy. I didn't catch that from the seats.
Here is the set list:
Copy of A
March of the Pigs
All Time Low
(with Closer snippet at end)
Came Back Haunted
Find My Way
Various Methods of Escape
The Big Come Down
A Warm Place
The Hand That Feeds
Head Like a Hole
All the Love in the World
While I'm Still Here
Great show and I hope this continues on and comes back around. I am there every time.
Some media from the event...
And here was the Timko photographing me from a far. Odd he would take a photo of someone with pants on.
A little video from up front to contrast with my DC video...
I was telling everybody about this video so I thought I would link it here for posterity. Shows what goes into putting a performance like this together creatively. Feels like something that would be cool to be a part of.
Until next time. So glad NIN is back.
November 9, 2013
Ozzy is getting bigger by the week. Finished his first dog training class series. Got a cool custom name tag. Then we chopped his balls off this past week. Recovering nicely. Ready to run!
October 31, 2013
A day not just for kids. I had a display of rotten carrots that I tried to convince kids that it was the treat. Then I went with Sydney and we ran 2 miles worth of houses. I tried to prank every door we opened. Got some laughs. You can be anybody with a mask on.
A while back some production company contacted me about my Leadville footage. They wanted to use it in a film. Sure! Is this the Jake Gyllenhaal movie we have been waiting on? Oh, nope. Ugh. Who is the star? His name is Brooks Williams, do you know him? That wanker! Of course. We go way back. And so I turned over what I could to help the CF folks promote the cause.
Well, now the movie is online at http://www.livingxtreme.org/. Watch for free. Brooks is around minute 18. My footage got chopped down in exchange for listening to Holly and Brooks talk. Boring. Hey, there is me at 43 seconds in!
Here is the credit for posterity.
Hollywood? Let me know what else you need.
October 30, 2013
About a week back, the Western States 100 board changed their qualifying list to basically kill off the 50 milers that they had. Many had asked for this change over the past few years to ease up the lottery pressure. I was one. I thought it was a good move. Western States is the original and its limited in size so I felt this was a good move by that board.
Fast forward to today when I see the Hardrock 100 changed its qualifiers for 2015. I was short of shocked but I had a feeling based on an Elevation Trail podcast I heard recently. So things remain the same for the 2014 lottery which occurs next month. I am locked and loaded there. You get a 2 year window so relying on my WS100 and/or LT100 from 2012 to put me in the hunt. Plus, I have 3 other prior attempts so my tickets are starting to add up at 2 to the 4th power. If my math is right and its getting bad these days -- I should have 16. Not bad. Starting to feel lucky.
I have been waiting this fall to schedule next year because I figured if HR100 does not pan out then the obvious move is to go back to Leadville in 2014 to keep my HR100 qualifier alive plus try and finally slay the big buckle demon. Plan A and plan B. Its OK. I kind of liked it. Back to work.
But then today, stuff turned upside down on me in a single post. LEADVILLE WAS REMOVED AS A HARDROCK QUALIFIER. WTF? Well, apparently, all the whining everybody did about the race this year backfired, sort of. Part of me wonders if its the race management or the racers at fault. 100s are hard...get over it. Every one is hard for a different reason. Its hot as hell at WS100 some years. Barkley just seems like a scavenger hunt. HURT 100 is humid as hell in the jungle. Whatever. If you want easy, go run a fucking 100 miles around a track. Wait, that sounds hard too. Well, my point is that Leadville 2012 threw in a lot of dealing with a big race. It was a factor for some and others didn't give two shits about it. And so when the race was over, everyone bitched about it. What a bunch of babies? Run your 100 miles. I can't imagine if they weather would have been bad. Fucking Ken can't fix that one? Lame. I am writing a letter. Or better yet posting on your Facebook wall so all the losers who are on Facebook can see my rant. But I digress. Run your race. Accept the suck. Move on. If you can't, then it might just be a pussy race as JT said.
That aside, race management could do better. Sure. People told them. They hopefully listened. They are a quiet bunch though. We will see if it pays off next year. Until then, we won't really know. However, the people at Hardrock seem to have taken that and put it against the race to the point of specifically calling out this race. While I don't know any of their board personally, I wonder if any of them attended the race. Saw this? Is this based on the blogs and hearsay from the day? Or did they witness this? I was in Leadville. I ran. I host lots of runners. Many of them had fabulous days and had no complaints about the experience. They came for a big race and got it.
So what did they say:
A note about the 2013 Leadville 100: The Leadville 100 includes many of the features that are important for a HR qualifier: high altitude, long climbs, potential for mountain weather, and more. However, the 2013 Leadville 100 ignored other traits of importance to the HR: environmental responsibility, support of the hosting community, and having a positive impact on the health of our sport
I don't know what examples they have specifically but I know a lot of things that contradict this. There has been a consistent effort to make the races green. All that annoying sorting of compostable stuff at aid stations? Yep, they did that this past year and maybe before. That seems good. I hear the complaint about race size and too much foot traffic. Please. 1/2 of this god damn race is on a road for fuck's sake. I never feel like I am impacting nature in that race. We saw nature impact nature in Boulder this season with the floods. I end up seeing more people outside enjoying the trails and then developing a respect. And stupid things like flag clean up...its gotten better. I used to go out and pick up remainders. This year there wasn't much near my house. And the cars at aid stations? Wah. Again mostly on roads, where cars go. And of course, there is no trail work requirement at Leadville. Wah. I am so over this thing about volunteering at a same type event. What if I want to help disabled kids with my spare time instead of shoveling dirt to make a switchback more palatable? Its fucking nature. What's with all the grooming?
So then it talks about support of the hosting community. Really? They have an economic impact study. Money is good for the town. This is a ravaged town with a very odd work ethic now-a-days. I own a house there as you may know and I encourage any type of tourism through the town. The town does have a love hate with it depending on the local you talk to. But mountain people are weird. Quote me on that. When I went to the Hardrock 100, I was in Ouray and eating breakfast. The topic came up about why we were there and I mentioned the race. What race? They had no clue. Nobody there cared...because there was no economic impact. The community didn't support it because its too small to care.
Finally, having a positive impact on our sport? I might argue this sport wouldn't be what it is today without that race. WS100 started it all. LT100 helped bring it mainstream. Born to Run helped too. Everybody knows the legend. Even the tie to Lance and the bikes has people chattering and lumping it all together for some type of extreme endurance shit. I like that. So they had some bad mojo this year....you throw the whole thing out? That's just odd.
Well, whatever. I wasn't even going to write this post but I feel like I have gotten away from just speaking my mind on my blog lately. Who needs it? I don't feel like dealing with people lately. But its making me weaker I think. So I am throwing this out. I wanted to defend Leadville a little bit since there were others claiming this was the best move ever.
The only way I think this is a good move is that Leadville just has too many racers so its saturates the pool. So Leadville has like 1000 runners and Hardrock has like 140. So we are an order of magnitude different there. So even if only 1/2 of the Leadville field finishes, and then they all apply for Hardrock, then each spot has like 5 candidates. And that's not even how the lotto works because there are different pools. But anyway. I don't see how it matters that you choose Leadville instead of some other race. They are both 100s and they both are worth a spot. If Hardrock really wanted to be cool, they would do a qualifier slot at each like the WS100 folks do. That's the ticket. Then you encourage the diversity in racing qualifiers. But they don't. They still lock it to the lottery and leave people like your Antons and Killians and such on the sidelines trying to get in like the rest of us. Oh, its fair -- but that doesn't make it right. Races are for competition not charity.
So now what do I do? Well, that's a good one. I will see what this December Hardrock lottery brings. I am not anti-Hardrock now by any extent. I just disagree with their move. It seemed reactive from a judgmental 2nd hand position. Maybe I got it wrong but that's my take with the info they gave and what I saw running the race myself.
If I don't get in, then the real decision comes. What to do now? Go back to Leadville and chase that buckle? That's the easy home court move. The downside is that I fall out of the qualifier pool for the next year. Do I care? I don't know anymore. Leadville was the original ultimate challenge. Then you get inside and that escalates to Hardrock. Ok, sign me up. But ultimately, my buckles I do have are in a box in my closet. Nobody cares. It only matters if I care. And I get bored easily.
Or do I have that qualifier thing empty? Say I step away for 10 years from trying Hardrock? Can I then not run a qualifier but put into the lottery based on all those prior years I tried? I think the answer is no. My interpretation is that you have to have an "Active Qualifier" (meaning that finish in the last 2 years mostly) then you get in the game then you count up the # of DNS you had lifetime?
Or do I take my game elsewhere? Looking at the list, the only races that seem reasonable or interesting are Bighorn, Bear, Run Rabbit Run. Steamboat seems like the choice to me there with what I know if I was only doing only one 100. Bighorn is early if you wanted to double up. Or do I scratch that other itch and get a 29er and go for that other title in Leadville. I don't know right now. Running isn't in the forefront of my life currently. I mostly do it right now because it makes me feel good.
That's my rant. Back to work.
October 21, 2013
Let's see what major things will I need to wrap my head around on this fall's ballot?
School funds? I always vote no. Do more with what you have. My kids go to private school anyway. At least right now.
Tax weed? Yes. Now that its legal, I imagine there is going to need to be "infrastructure" to deal with it. We tax heavy on cigarettes. This seems no different.
51st state? Really. This made the ballot. How ludicrous. No. I don't want to be in your shitty new state -- unless you tell me I don't have to pay taxes or some other miracle.
October 19, 2013
So this was perhaps the most randomly lucky thing ever.
We just finished up a whirlwind conference in DC. I went to the social event at the Museum for Woman in the Art. Had my nice stuff on and my company shirt. Did a nice meet-n-greet and then decided to head out. I called my wife to sync up and started talking while I wandered the streets of DC in a loop around the hotel. Started making my way over by one of the Smithsonians and noticed section of town with a lot of people out. Street performers, Friday night crowds, and more made it seems like the happening part of town. As I got further down the street, I noticed the Verizon Center buried back in there. I think they play NBA and NHL there. Lots of people flocking in for some show. No clue. When I travel to the west coast, I always check schedules as I can sometimes pick up a show out there that had just been in Denver. Probably nothing I wanted to see though.
So I walked over and got a burrito and sat in a window watching the passers by. After inhaling that, I walked back by the auditorium where I still couldn't figure out who was playing. I caught a sheet of paper taped on the entrance door with a rather verbose non-recording policy. At the bottom, it said "NIN". No fucking way. Really?
Nine Inch Nails is the single greatest act I have ever seen on stage. Period. There is no debate. Its a full experience. I was super bummed when Trent pulled the plug a few years ago. But now they are back. New album. New tour. They are coming to Denver in November and of course I have tickets to that sold out show. But randomly tonight they are playing in DC. And I have no one to report to. I am solo. I got $40 cash in my wallet. So I walk down the street to a gaggle of gentlemen who have tickets and are bugging me about the same. I opened my wallet and showed them the cash. Show starts in 10 minutes guys and I got $40, who wants to sell me one. Nobody ever wants one ticket. They quickly decided this was a good offer despite the $90+ face value printed on the ticket. I am in.
I was 5 rows up about half-way back on the left side. With my dress clothes on, my normal spot on the floor wasn't going to be the best choice. But this was perfect. Nice calm spot to watch the show elevated off the floor. I can get my floor on in Denver for that perspective. And just as I took my seat, NIN began. Its good to be back.
My photos look like shit because the iPhone is so bad with the lights. And seriously, its just a show you have to see in person for yourself. The video seems to have come out better though. So here are some snippets just so you get a taste.
The show was on par with others I have seen. Maybe a bit less angst but still amazing. I can't wait to see them again in a few weeks. Nobody does it like Trent does it.