I have been an IT-guy for many years now. Within the age of six, I began to experiment with my Commodore C64 and had – about 13 years later – the grateful chance to turn my hobby into profession. Since then, everything went its way but one thing has always accompanied my journey: The myth (and of course the facts) about the place IT were made when William Hewlett and David Packard established their company in a garage in Palo Alto in 1939.
Since its foundation, many things have happened but Silicon Valley was always the centre hatchery of many IT-companies as well as the place of lost dreams. Over the years I saw companies rise and going down or turning into the big players of the business. One book that finally pushed me forwards was Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs which I read shortly after it got released – first in English, then in the German translation after the book made it to Europe.
Mentioning Apple you should know that I consider myself to be a fanboy since 13 years. I was always around in the PC-business and worked with Windows (and some Linux-OS) until I got interested in Apple and Mac OS 9. Things should happen like they were destined to happen. From the classical iMac that once saved Apple over the PowerMac, various iMacs or my current MacBook Pro were always with me. Accompanied by other products like my old beloved Cinema Display, the iPhone of course (starting with the 3G) or the iPad and the Apple Watch – Apple has been with me for many years, shaping parts of Silicon Valley.
Anyway, to get back to the original aspect of this text: The Valley and the spirit behind it always made be curious. Now, at the age of 40, I am more a Sales Consultant than the Technician I started my career as. This is not bad although I needed to get used to it – but this seemed to be the way of the world. Likewise this offered me a great change as one of our CEOs asked me if I’d like to visit the Aruba-Headquarter in Santa Clara, California. Aruba is a Hewlett Packard Enterprise-company and well-known for networking components, excellent WiFi and solutions like Airwave, ClearPass, Aruba Central and Meridian.
After the fast „Okay“ from my wife who said I would be crazy if I did not take this chance I had some tasks to do: Getting a new pass and underlining it with an official ESTA-application was just one part. Running a half marathon in Hamburg, Germany, just a day before the take-off was the second one. Aquiring one of my best customers to join me on this trip was Number Three. I managed to manage all the tasks and – after finishing the 21,1 kilometers in Hamburg – went on the car-trip to Frankfurt Airport with just four hours of sleep I got in this night. The adventure was about to begin.
My first trip to America. My first flight over four hours. The chance to see, breathe and discover Silicon Valley for the first time ever in my life, accompanied by all the companies settled there. The first hop was a flight from Frankfurt to Amsterdam. Straight from there, KLM brought us to San Francisco Airport (SFO). 11 hours later after passing the security check, I stepped into the famous Californian sun and made yet another experience: The first ride with Uber (which is a great service I already missed when being back in Germany).
The New World
The first impressions on our drive to out residence in Sunnyvale were astonishing. Nearly each company I got in touch with over the years had a least a branch in The Valley and lots of memories came up throughout the one-hour drive from the airport. Second thought was that it is definitely a good idea to allow cars with more passengers to use the both left lanes while less occupied cars had to drive on lanes three and four. Third: The distances here were as impressive as many colleagues have told me – mainly you just don’t hop from one city to the other, there IS indeed a distance that can cause some confusion within the average-European mind.
After checking in at the hotel – which was a fine residence with the charm of the late 70s and 80s but still a lovely and cozy place – we refreshed ourselves and met at the local bar and grill not after resting for some time to plan the following day. Finally, we discovered that we were ready for the real adventure that should happen starting with the next day, not before finishing this one with a decent local burger and some bottles of 805 Californian beer. Cheers!