I'm still in transit from my flight back from Microsoft Search Champs in Seattle. Due to foggy weather in my home city of Wellington, I've had cancelled and delayed flights to deal with. And to top it all off, the airline lost my luggage!! I'm currently in Auckland and will be off to Wellington within a couple of hours. Let's hope my luggage isn't too far behind.
I had a great time in Seattle and briefly in San Francisco on the way back. Microsoft Search Champs was fantastic and well run. There were nearly 60 people invited and the discussions were very enjoyable. Thanks to Microsoft for inviting me over -- and I look forward to seeing all their very promising web-based products released to the public over 2006 and beyond.
I also got the opportunity to meet with the Robot Coop and Blue Favor, two little local Seattle web companies. Plus I got to spend time with some of the Workgroup and other Web types. It was great fun all round. I believe there's a drunken podcast around somewhere that me and a bunch of the workgroup recorded late one night. Compelling listening, I'm sure (not!) :-)
Photo by Dan Farber, via Marc Canter. A pic from a dinner Marc organized at Max's Opera House. Some of the people there, seated L-R: Jeff Clavier, Jennifer Allen, Michael Arrington, Chris Alden and me.
On the way back I met with Marc Canter and his family, to discuss plans for 2006 with Marc's company BBM. He has lots of exciting things in store for BBM, so it's fantastic to be a part of that! Generally speaking I'm at a kind of crossroads with my career... I've established myself as an independent analyst/writer in the Web industry, but freelance work is very seat-of-the-pants and subject to a lot of changes and variables. I'd ideally like some more stable and ongoing work, being a family man and all. I'm thinking about whether to move to the US (if I can - I've had little luck so far with that goal), or moving to Aussie, or staying here in New Zealand. 2006 is going to be an interesting year, for me personally as well as Internet companies like BBM and Microsoft.
Also check out Dave Winer's How to reform the VC industry post, which I've only had time to glance over today. But as soon as I get home (please let it be today!) I plan to read it more thoroughly and contribute my thoughts. I had the pleasure of chatting on the phone to Dave briefly while at Marc's house. Both he and Marc have a lot of history with web stuff and that's why I always listen closely to what both of them say. It's also why I feel like Silicon Valley is my spiritual home, because lots of fascinating people and companies live there.
But right now, I just want to get back to my real home! :-)