Go West

Image credit: Jay Cuthrell

Go West ( 2012 )

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Having reflected on my second year at VCE the question of what to do next has been bouncing around in my brain. In fact, it’s probably more accurate to say where to go next.

Oh the places you’ll see

On Monday last week I gave the final in a series of five keynote talks on innovation for NTCA that took place all across the US. I drove across Minnesota to get from MSP to Brainerd and Gull Lake. The colors were popping. The crowd when I arrived to present was receptive and warm. Looking back on this keynote series it was truly an honor to be selected by NTCA and to have a platform to share my views on innovation and a bit about VCE.

As soon as I left the stage there were a series of conversations taking place back at VCE on what and where I wanted to be next. The next series of conversations were about what country I’d be in next and when to support the next phase of growth at VCE. As I caught my flight to San Jose my mind was already made up but I still needed the details.

On Tuesday the blur of work calls, WebEx, and research eased into the late afternoon. To relax, I attend a seminar in Silicon Valley powered by pizza and Diet Coke as speakers from Netflix, Google, and enStratus shared unique perspectives on a variety of domains from foundations to failures to the fantastical. By now emails were flying around relating to the details so that moved final discussions to mid-week.

On Wednesday I worked out of the Cisco office in San Francisco. I was able to book my final travel details for trips to Spain and Saudi Arabia. By this point the trip to Germany was already starting to look like it could be handled locally. I was also rounding up contacts for other OCTO team members heading to APJC. In between I was able to walk around a disarmingly sunny San Francisco to find pecan pie. There’s just something about pecan pie that helps you think clearly. Well, that’s what I tell myself at least. That evening I shared my decision with VCE.

I’m moving to San Francisco.

On Thursday I found a place to live. That morning I put down a deposit, filled out paperwork, and gave my contact information to confirm it all on Friday.

Seriously. You can do that in San Francisco. I used this amazing new service called Craigslist. You should check it out if you get a chance. They just might be a big deal one of these days.


On Friday morning I got confirmation that I could pick up keys when I get back to San Francisco. When I arrived at the event I managed to catch the end of the ATIS Reference Architecture overview and attend their Q&A.

After I took the stage, my presentation veered quickly to the topic of software defined data centers. To get there I started with a light overview of what software defined networking is part of that puzzle. There were several heads nodding in agreement in the room.

After my presentation I realized that the speaker after me was going to devote his entire presentation time to software defined networking. I love it when things work out like that!

That Friday night I took the redeye back to RDU on Southwest as the orange painted sky to my back illuminated the desert below. I took a short nap and I woke up to the sparse lights of North Carolina under low clouds. When I looked at the time I made the decision that going to Moogfest would not be half as fun as visiting Beaufort. Maybe next year, Moogest.

The big questions

So what’s the best part of moving to San Francisco? It’s a lot closer to Montana. Hah! I bet you thought I was going to say something about bacon. Nope!

So what’s the roughest part of moving to San Francisco? If you were to ask me that as I was making the decision it would be the distance from Beaufort.

Then again, there are these wonderful inventions called airplanes and this concept called vacation that I’ve been reading more about lately. Perhaps it won’t be that rough after all.