It's time for the final update from DAC. Today, we'll learn:
Eventually we got it all cleaned up and understood better how we were supposed to run things (who reads the well written directions provided in a file called README? That's what *I* want to know...)
After the demos (we finished at 5pm), Ellie took us to what is reputed to be some of the best Chinese food in SF, a place called "The House of NanKing". She didn't remember exactly where it was, claiming it was just a hole in the wall near the Holiday Inn.
So, we wandered down to China Town and began the search. We wandered out of the main touristy parts of China Town, into and through the Asian Banking Quarter, and into a less, how shall I say, prosperous part of town. We eventually did find the place, located between a bar called "A place to meet good friends and women" (couldn't vouch for the former, but they were certainly lacking in the latter) and an Asian massage parlor. We knew we were in the right place when we found a hole in the wall with a line of 10 or so people out on the street!
By the time we got to the front of the line, the lady kept letting other sized groups in ahead of us. Apparently groups of four are hard to seat. Who knew? Eventually we were seated. Imagine, if you will, a diner with tables crammed against the wall. To get to the spots on the backsides of the tables, the chairs must be slid aside and the table slid out, like some sort of giant 15-puzzle. After you're seated, the table and chairs are replaced. You are close enough to rub elbows (and share food) with the people next to you. It was a very friendly atmosphere. God help us if there had been a fire, since a speedy exit was not in the cards.
They brought menus and cans of soda (nothing on tap). When the owner came by to take our order, we apparently made a critical error. We hesitated. Before we knew what was going on, the owner snatched our menus from our hands and said "I'll take care of it".
So, eating dinner at this place was a bit like opening presents on Christmas morning. You weren't sure what you were going to get! You'd look at the people that were there before us and wonder "Will I get that? What *is* that?" When the food came, it was very, very good. We did get a couple of appetizers and four dishes. That wasn't enough, so we had another. Ellie claimed she was full, but that didn't stop her from preying on the additional dish! For all this, the food was very reasonably priced.
After walking back to our rooms (spying more cockroaches - now that we're on to them, we can foil their evil invasion plans! Ha Ha!!!) we headed our separate ways. Around 11pm, Ellie got a call. From Simon Bennett. He and Larry and Richard Pugh and some other fellows were in the bar and wanted Ellie to join them. All I can tell you is that when you don't get to bed till 2am, early floor duty becomes very unappealing, or so I've heard... Still, when we bumped into Larry leaving the hotel, he had a smile on his face, so who knows...
Turns out an analyst was coming to the 11am slot and Dave pressed Jay into service to run the demo to present a united Marketeering front. My guess is that there was some fear Robo or I might get asked a tough question and accidentally tell the truth.
So, just to demonstrate just how small a town SF is, the other morning Robo happened to come out of his room and pass the Imperial Room just as the current occupants were exiting. He asked them a few questions, admitted to breaking in to their room (before these guys checked in) and learned a bit more about how nice the place is.
Later, as we pulled into the end of the line at the House of NanKing, who should get in line behind us but the *very* same couple. I asked them how much the place goes for and he told me $2500 a night and that it's almost always rented by companies doing business meetings. I'm going to see if for my next trip to SF, Geoff will spring for this room if I promise to have at least one business meeting. I bet he will...
Well, DAC is coming to a close. At noon, Robo and I will help Jay pack things up in the suite. We have to wait for the NCS guys to come pick up the box rented by the other groups and then we'll head for the airport. We're trying to get an earlier flight in hopes of getting home a bit quicker. We'll see how it goes.
I have to say, for all that I got much more confident and at ease giving those demos, Jay, Ellie and Dave Park have got some sort of special talent. I never saw them get flustered and they always seemed to have a good answer for the tough questions. Maybe that's one of the special talents you acquire when you go to the Dark Side (kind of like Darth Vader's ability to throw space junk at Luke just by waving at it!) Needless to say, this is not a skill I'm in any hurry to acquire, but it's good to see it when it's used to serve good (us) and not evil (Mentor).
Finally, I'll pass on a few anecdotes I heard while here at DAC:
That's it for the 35th annual DAC. I'll see you all on Friday!
-Darrin at DAC