So Neil and I have returned after two blissful months in San Francisco with numerous trips down to Silicon Valley to see our clients, potential clients, clients-come-friends and analysts. It was a great trip and very worthwhile and incredibly different to working in London. Most strange was the realisation that most Californians are health freaks, with a crazy number getting up at 5am to train, eat healthily and then go to bed at 9.30 – great for us who seemed to only want to go out to eat at about 8.30 and rebel against the lycra!
We also met some cool, chilled out folks (not what we were expecting in the Valley) who surprised us – as they really were living the life – our girls did an internship at the hippest ad agency in San Francisco Hub Strategy (check them out) and the owner would disappear every lunchtime for 2 hours – not to go down the boozer, but to surf under the Golden Gate Bridge!
There is also this joke that most San Franciscans would rather sell their car rather than give up eating out – and that really is true – the restaurants were superb and it became a daily ritual to find a better restaurant than the one the previous night – so if you need any recommendations you know where to come.
Surprisingly we thought all the IT security stuff was happening in the Valley, but San Francisco is increasingly becoming an IT hub – with these really trendy open planned offices – with mountains of free food, snacks and drinks. One office had an entire wall filled with every whisky and spirit you could imagine with trays and trays of sushi, chocolate, cakes, sandwiches – all very exciting – but I was rather sceptical about the whole concept behind it – maybe I’m just really cynical!
On the work front it was interesting – in the first week we had 9 meetings cancelled on us, either over the phone or in person – so after thinking it must be something to do with us, we asked around and apparently the Californians are renowned for cancelling on meetings if something more urgent comes up – which it frequently does right – flaky, really flaky (not my wording) but theirs – it’s how they describe their own Californian behaviour. Here we’d just say it’s “not very British” – but after a while you just sort of accept it and go with the flow.
As for Eskenzi in the US – we’re growing! We now have 3 clients in the US, all of whom had started using us in the UK first, then expanded to using us in France and Germany and now in the US as we become their global agency. We have a team on the East and West coast who are providing analyst and press relations and it’s an area we hope to grow as our client base grows – and clearly to enable this growth it’s going to mean many more wonderful days in San Francisco to oversee its success!!! Rock on Eskenzi San Francisco.