|Am I finding eerie lyrics, or what? Low flying aeroplane, towers, fire.... Very strange lyrics indeed. Well, it looks like this Western journalist is sitting tight. There are a handful of Western journalists left in Afghanistan, but the Teliban has asked them to leave. My travel agent is relieved; she can stop looking for a way to smuggle me out of the county. I was starting to think that going in through Russia's borders would have been an easy way to go about this. You want to find out more about the remaining Western journalists go to: CNN link
Yesterday was strange, I went south. Like toward San Jose, the flats, someplace I not only feel my hands physically drying because I feel every drop of fluid is being drawn from my body, I also feel my creativity sucked right out. I usually go north in my business travels, you know, toward San Francisco. It's funny, but I'm not the only one who feels this way about San Jose.
Yesterday, as I passed under those 101 overpasses, I saw flags hanging on nearly every one of them, and messages "USA!" spraypainted onto cardboard...all of flags at half-mast at all of the troubled and well companies alike, and the huge flags draped over the roofs of companies that didn't have flag poles. I saw all these people with flags on their cars, wearing flags and red, white & blue ribbons and I wondered.... I sat at a stoplight and secretly observed a woman in the car next to me who had pulled her flag out from a fan vent on the dashboard and was kind of petting it absentmindedly. I couldn't help myself, I just wanted to be insulated; I rolled up my windows, closed the sun roof, turned on the air conditioning and focused in on what NPR was saying. So many mosques have been threatened, there have been acts of violence against "Muslim-looking" people and even Afghani restaurants. I didn't want this whole flag thing getting to me: it seems like a fanatical airborne bug. I closed my windows tight and put on some music. My Dark Side of the Moon CD seemed apropos.
My journey to San Jose took me to Caspian Networks, www.caspiannetworks.com home of Larry Roberts' company. I'm sure all of you wonderful geeks out there know Larry's name from your history books: he founded the Internet (along with Len Kleinrock, www.TTIvanguard.comwww.Nomadix.com , Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn).... These guys are legends and they're all fine and inventing as I ponder. Sitting there with Larry as he discussed his vision of the future of the Internet made me feel much better than I have during this heinous week. When all else is going to hell in a handbasket, you can count on technology to cheer you up. I have no doubt that one day Larry's company will be as large as Cisco. Too bad it's not publicly traded yet. Cisco is in trouble and I'd be selling that stock and investing in Juniper for the time being. Cisco's heyday is over.
I was feeling fine when I drove over to the East Bay to meet with one of the companies I work with. I had my handy-dandy digividcam when I was talking with Larry, and he had graciously allowed me to record his thoughts. So when I got over to visit the guys, I played the tape and got the energy level up again. And we had Thai food, which also put us in a better mood. Somehow, amidst all of this bad news as 5,500 are now reported missing and as our carriers close in on Afghanistan's harbor, well...we can still see a future for this startup company. I feel a bit guilty being so optimistic in such times, but I say grab onto whatever you can to get you out of this muck.
Teri Spencer, CEO of ephibian, called a few minutes ago to check in on me. She thought for sure I'd be getting myself in trouble somewhere. It was great hearing her voice.
I've been inundated with emails to attend benefits, but I have a book to finish. I've written my check to the relief funds — not the United Way, though, where I'm not sure what percentage goes to fund victim relief programs — and what percentage goes into the yacht fund (I still haven't forgiven them for the years and years they blew contributions). Just as I was writing this last sentence, I received a call from a woman who was referred to me from a friend: she had gotten a great price on a page in the Mercury and had written something great and positive for the centerpiece stating something about technology and how we're all pulling together as a Valley. She wanted to have companies sponsor the page for three hundred and something a piece. She wanted me to open my Rolodex for this cause. I asked her if any part of that would go to the relief funds, no, it was all to unite Silicon Valley and make us feel better. More flag stuff, I thought. I imagined a four-color waving flag background screened behind the company logos. I wished her well, but assured her I didn't share her vision. I've gotten several more emails since I started writing this about attending benefits....
And then I got an email from an illusive "Warren" who asked me if I could possibly be the woman he met 12 years ago (but in a later email said it was 13), he said we had mutual friends and met at some party in the East Bay — I swear, I can't even remember this guy.... But, it's not like he gave me any big clues — like his last name, for instance. He seemed to know everything about me.... I did get a cool email from the librarian at the Foster City Library who asked me to come speak, and even checked out the "about sally" page and made commentary about my X-Men choice for favorite super hero. What a cool librarian ; -) I said I would be happy to give a talk and I'd come as Jubilee (from the X-Men) and ride a skateboard — her method of transportation (yes, I know how to ride a skateboard — Pat and I used to be quite the skateboard rats riding around to the malls of suburban Sunnyvale. Skateboarding is not a crime!).
Too much ebb and flow for one day,
I must get back to work now.