March 5, 2007

Four days off!

I only get three weeks off every year. Other than that, I work every day -- week in, week out. I can remember only a handful of days in the last year when I did not write code (Christmas day was one, I recall). It's really surprising that my first engagement broke up, yes? There are downsides to having your own company, if you want it to succeed. You work. A lot. All the time.

The first "week off" I started taking was for WWDC, and then for MacWorld (during years we go). And, for the past two years, another week, by far the most fun, is for TED.

So, this is my vacation this year. Four days in Monterey.

I don't want to try to summarize what TED is again; I've written about it a bunch and the link above seems as good an intro as any if you haven't read my earlier posts.

Every year, I do worry that I'll end up not really meeting anyone that interesting; that all the cool speakers, famous people, and successful entrepeneurs will be at some secret other party (these do exist), or will gather together with their backs interlocked like star-bellied sneeches -- and, in fact, I have seen some of this latter, as well. Some of the people I most wanted to talk to in past TEDs simply would not acknowledge my existence. And, conversely, there's the worry that uninteresting people will take over the conference, and I'll suddenly find myself surrounded by a bunch of buzzword-spouting business dudes whose claim to fame is integrating content markets under provider platforms that zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. And, finally, there's the disappointment of meeting someone you really admire and having them forget you -- I met LP from Google two years ago, and in fact on the final day he came up and put his arm around me as part of the biggest cock-block in the history of cocks and blocking, but the next year when I said hi I got the eye-scrunch of "who are you?" Sure, dude meets 3,000 people a year... I know. But I wanted to be *special*... "OH HEY! It's MY OLD PAL WIL SHIPLEY! Come see my new helicopter! Dean Kamen built it for me! Can I drop you off in Seattle?"

But, mostly, I've met tons of amazing people each of whom has done something much grander than anything I have even attempted. And I love it. I'm giddy for four days straight, and frankly I could use a good dose of giddy right now.

So, here's hoping I finally get to talk to Elon Musk and tell him I think he's probably the coolest person on earth right now, and the closest thing we have to a messiah. (Name someone else who is working both to establish a redundant backup of our planet and simultaneously trying to save the planet by making conservation cool.)

And here's hoping I get to talk Matt Groening's ear off again, because he's hella cool and pretty much 1/10th of my brain is cordoned off just for a universe that HE created. (Name someone else who has written as many of America's memes... Excellent, Smithers. Everything is coming up Millhouse! Ow, my doctor said not to get jigs in that eye!)

Plus, I want to meet Bill Clinton because, well, frankly, I think his daughter is REALLY hot. I'm not sure how you approach this subject with an ex-president. I mean, it seems like it could lead to serious trouble, what with the prevalence of armed men around him. I just have to convince him my intentions are pure. Surely Clinton can understand how an older man could see a pretty, witty young lady and find that he innocently just wants to make her acquaintence... mmm... note to self try different tack.

And maybe this will be the year I do NOT bother Thomas Dolby... nah.


Blogger batterylife said...

It's great to hear you are getting some time off in the next couple of days, Wil. I must, say, as a European, we don't have such cool things like MacExpo, WWDC or TED, but I'd surely love to be around there. I hope you really enjoy your time and let us know how it all rolls ;)

March 05, 2007 3:04 AM

Anonymous Sharon said...

I know TED only from their excellent video podcasts... you are very, very lucky to go!

Michael Pollan, author of Omnivore's Dilemma will be a speaker at TED this year. If you want to meet someone interesting - you should seek him out. He is changing the world.

Did you read his book?

March 05, 2007 4:26 AM

Anonymous Jeff Atwood said...


p.s. really, stop bothering Thomas Dolby.

March 05, 2007 10:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, as Europeans we get loads of time off (compared to you Americans)

March 05, 2007 4:17 PM

Blogger Lukas Mathis said...

How could you not mention "Ze goggles! They do nothing!" when going on about Groening :-)

March 06, 2007 5:57 AM

Anonymous monkyhead said...

"It was the Olden days!"

March 06, 2007 5:55 PM

Anonymous monkyhead said...

"...and yet, if I were to have them killed, I would be the one to go to jail."

March 06, 2007 5:58 PM

Anonymous Chriz said...

I know how you feel Wil... Steve Jobs does not even remember me...

Duh! Wouh Ouh! Olà, mééé Qué Pazssaaa?

(That's enough for today...)

Tell me you're kidding when you say that Chelsea Clinton is .... hot. Too many teeth. :-P
Personally, I prefer daughter of your current president... I guess it could become a pain in the ass talking to the father-in-law in that case during Christmas party...

"So, Mr Bush, what's your plan for tomorrow morning? (January 1st) Dogslidding? skating?"
- Well, Iran invasion would be a great activity for me...
"ahem... well... I see... Oh! Chicken wings..."

Anyway, take it easy on your vacations! I have 2 weeks left until end of April... :-D

March 06, 2007 8:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hiya Wil. How about if I wanted to meet you? I'm not cute or talented or witty or clean or busty or freakin' cool or a preserver of pickles or an educated shrimp or doing anything at this moment that would be remotely interesting to you, but damnitall I freakin' enjoy reading your posts. If I came up to you and said "Hi. I'm Josh. While I think you're an anal retentive self-obsessed punk (as you have admitted in your posts...with all due respect), I think that your posts are incredibly thoughtful, ingenious, and well written, just like your software." would you kick me in the shin and run away screaming? I live nearby and I think it'd be interesting to thank you for your contributions in person.

March 06, 2007 10:16 PM

Blogger Brian said...

Ah, once again I must covet your glamorous lifestyle of stalking geek icons while I stay here. I must continue working at the online phonebook company, then I can go home to read through the Erlang book beta and my sparkly new copy of the D&D Player's Handbook.

Sounds like you are going to have one hell of a time. Enjoy yourself and try not to anger any armed guards.

March 06, 2007 11:31 PM

Anonymous monkyhead said...

"Silly customer! You cannot hurt a Twinkie™!"

March 07, 2007 10:11 AM

Blogger miradu said...

best. post. ever.

Very enjoyable.

March 08, 2007 6:06 PM


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