The Second Most Famous Garage In Silicon Valley
|Michael McAnally - I've been privileged to live in the bay for 27 years now and I've seen and done a few things!|
I'm sitting in Cafe Venetia, an Italian cafe in one of the most powerful and influential technological cities in silicon valley, on one of the most upscale streets of Palo Alto California, University Avenue, waiting to meet Ann Bradley, the blogger and writer of “The Silicon Valley Story” for coffee.
Ann, and I are following up to our first encounter over a year ago at a bitcoin meetup, which I randomly walked into. She arrives with a bike helmet and bag, having parked her bike on the sidewalk outside. We exchange pleasantries and she gets settled in at our table, with what looks like a lovely cappuccino. I glance at my phone to notice that I have only 1.5 hours left on a blue zone parking spot for my car. See says parking is free in downtown Palo Alto, but I don't want to get a ticket.
In a very eclectic and thrilling roller coaster ride of topics, our lively conversation waxes back and forth across subjects such as: degrees of Snowden, the CIA and PRISM, Pebble vs.the Apple Watch, What to do?, the Metaverse, Ray Kurzweil chief engineer at Google, exporting Silicon Valley DNA around the world, my indie comic book, and universal consciousness and the plot of the recent science fiction movie Ex Machina.
She is a joy to converse with, infectiously optimistic and then the subject turns to Flipboard, the magazine like news feeder, pulling out her iPad she explains to me how she aggregates content for over 11,000 followers, including some stories of her own. I am confused at first, but she is patient to my questions. I borrow a pen and sketch a few wild ideas I have for the distant future of the internet, 300 years out, mention something about the simulation argument by Nick Bostrom and his new book “Super Intelligence” and then something about like the Matrix without the Kung Fu. Ann laughs and says, I should check out this guy named Robert Lanza.
We then decide to go off to another location to have a late afternoon lunch, to which I instead order breakfast. I find out she is a vegetarian, but as she says, “not the food police”.
While moving venues, I explain I have to move my car as well to avoid getting a ticket.Walking along the sidewalk to my car, Ann and I encounter a telepresence robot from Beam, one of the shops nearby. A young woman's face appears on the screen and says hello! Ann greets her knowingly and after a brief “how are you conversation?” asks if she would keep an eye out on her bike while we move my car to another colored zone. Ann turns to point down the sidewalk to her bike, and the telepresence robot girl turns her robot body as well (remotely I assume), to see with it's camera eye, and says “Sure”.
We move and park my car, this time the lime colored zone, collect Ann's bike and settle into another fascinating late afternoon brunch conversation. When we writers get together, we talk, just about everything! She explains that she might have the second most famous garage in silicon valley, after the first, which everybody around here knows is the HP garage, where Hewlett Packard was started. Her house is on the same street. I say really, and she says, yeah.
It appears a number of famous start-up's and people rented from her and used her garage over the years and recently, they seem to flock to it! There was Josh Riedel, a young guy who came from Reed College at age 23, rented from her and started working for a startup called Facebook when they had offices in downtown Palo Alto. Quit Facebook, went to Vietnam, came back, and today is community manager for Instagram with a billion dollar buyout from Facebook.
Half way through the stories, my phone receives two calls (one from my good friend Yolanda, one from a phone spammer) and then I have an allergy attack, coughing and blowing, embarrassing. Ann's lucky, she doesn't have allergies.
Ann . . . then there was Paul Sciarro,the former CEO and co-founder of Pinterest, living there while it was in beta, he got funded. There was Scott Allison, co-founder and CEO of Teamly, he got funded.
She tells me she has some new tenants recently, but just then I notice the young women seated at that table behind us have gone hush because of our talking. So I quickly change subjects to cryonics and life extension, then Aubrey De Grey comes up, regenerative medicine supplements and a single drop blood test to measure damage resistance to DNA.
Ann relates her recent experience using MeerKat and Periscope apps and some ideas for scheduling streaming for upcoming interviews. I mention I'm experimenting with historical antibiotics, because there probably won't be any functioning ones left in 15 years time, due to the antibiotic resistant super-bugs. Ann is interested and asks me to name some of them. Surprisingly most of them she knows, others she has heard about. Coated Garlic Capsules, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Oil of Oregano, Olive Leaf Extract.
She walks me back to my car and we talk about how real we think “Silicon Valley” is on HBO. Says she is not so sure about the new season, and I say I liked the canceled “Betas” much better. That's probably because I'm use to startups in the city. She hasn't heard of it, so I promise to send her a link to the free pilot, on Amazon.
We hug, and it feels like we are old friends. Ann Bradley of Palo Alto, rides off on her bike, back to the house with the second most famous garage in silicon valley. I drive my car back through heavy traffic to my apartment in the city of San Francisco.