Only in Silicon Valley

I went out for lunch the other day at this little sandwich place in Menlo Park. I had to get out of the office. Anyway, I got my sub — the Italian special — and went to pay for it, and the guy who takes my money smiles and looks carefully at my t-shirt and says, “OpenSolaris? Really? What’s that?” I just looked at him and smiled. I really didn’t think I had to explain what OpenSolaris was to the guy making my lunch, but ok, that’s cool. Then he blurts out: “I used to work at HP, and we always said that Solars was closed and proprietary.” Well now, that peaked my interest, even from a guy making my lunch at a deli where I wanted to get away from talking about work. “Nope,” I said. “It’s been open for a year and it’s free, too.”  “Really,” he says, “Wow, that’s great.” Then we talked about open source and OpenSolaris. Nice guy. Then I took my sub and sat down and began to eat. But I couldn’t help but think that a conversation like that with the sub guy could only happen in Silicon Valley. Could he possibly be in the wrong job?

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5 thoughts on “Only in Silicon Valley

  1. i was always surprised by the number of cabbies and chauffers in the greater Boston and NH areas. You would be sitting there minding your own business, watching the scenery go by, and then suddenly find yourself in a bitter diatribe on the relative merits of the DEC Alpha vs Itanium… These folks mostly didn’t leave by choice though.

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  2. Gezz, you guys. Small world, eh? I’ve never eaten there; I just wandered in trying to get away. Wild story. He seemed like a really nice guy, and if he owns the place I’m jealous. I used to be in business a billion years ago and it blows away being an employee. Not even close. And it doesn’t matter what the business is, too. It’s the process of working for yourself that turns me on. It seems he’s not in the wrong job at all after all! 🙂 I’m going back. You never know who you’ll meet out there.

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  3. You ate at Quizno’s in Menlo Park. I eat there quite a bit. I forget the guys name off hand (Henry?) but he’s super-super kool. I’ve thought about blogging about him in the past but never did. Next time you eat there look at the bulliten board near the rest-rooms, he wrote up this peice about how and why he left HP and why he decided to open a Quizno’s and how now instead of just pounding away at a job that seemed to be going no where as people around him got the axe he is now providing a service that he enjoys and is employing something like 14 people. Win win!
    I love his story and attitude. He’s always got a smile, he’s often in the store behind the register like anyone else, attentive to customers, warm, and friendly. I’m not really a fan of Quizno’s but I eat there quite often because I love his story and feel like as a customer I’m helping Henry and his cause in some small way.
    If only there were more people like him in the world.
    But speaking of “Only in the Valley”, I remember standing in line at Safeway once and there was a guy in the other line with a “Seagate SAS Team” shirt. I causually asked if he actually was on the SAS Team and he said yes. I then had a wonderful discussion with him (albiet quickly) about storage, the direction of things, SAS and SATA and how much I admired the engineering he and his team were doing at Seagate. It was kool and one of those ‘only here’ sorta moment.
    In fact, I remember another time at Safeway when some teenage kid was complaining about how he couldn’t do something in the Borne Again Shell (bash), so I off-handedly mentioned that he should try the Z Shell. That was a kool encounter too.
    Gotta love the Silicon Valley. 🙂

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  4. Let me tell you that once, during an night working late, the security guy was making his round on the building when I was troubleshooting an Informix problem. when I had a dead time, waiting for a command to finish, he started to talk with me and he was curious about what I was doing. Turns out he was a former Informix DBA with had a start of a nervous breakdown and decided to change his life to “something calmer”.
    Portugal is a calm country but, I can’t help wondering sometimes that that guy left the computing industry to be a security guard working the “graveyard shift” because he wanted something quieter.
    PS. Portugal is very far away from Silicon Valley

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