Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Changing names, not jobs

After nine months of hard work, we found that our strategy had outgrown our name. Yesterday, we had our official company relaunch and changed the name of the company from ActiveGrid to WaveMaker. I wrote about the whys and wherefores on Ready to Make Waves.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

California wins on diversity

The summer farmer's market at the San Francisco Ferry Terminal Building was overwhelming. The number of different kinds of tomatoes, peppers even basil you can buy there boggles the mind. The quality of produce in Paris is unmatched, but the diversity of produce in San Francisco is equally unmatched. Kinda makes sense that vegetable and lifestyle diversity should be linked!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Keene View: Ten Ways to Kick-Start a User Community – how ActiveGrid boosted postings by 10 times in five months

The Keene View: Ten Ways to Kick-Start a User Community – how ActiveGrid boosted postings by 10 times in five months

Just in case you want to know what we're up to in the boring (but beautiful) tech world in San Francisco!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

New business blog

Now that we are back in San Francisco, I have started blogging about my business. The blog is called The Keene View, and you can see it here.

Monday, January 01, 2007

All good things come to an end

After a splendid year in Paris, we have returned to San Francisco and stodgy responsibility. Much though we loved our time in France, this is our home and it was nice to come back.

I may update this travel blog from time to time, but if you are a glutton for punishment you might want to try out Chris Keene's blog on technology and entrepreneurship or just Chris Keene's web site.

A bien tot

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What I miss most about Paris

After 3 weeks in San Francisco, we are enjoying very much being back in our home, but there are of course a number of adjustments. Off the top of my head, here are three things I miss about Paris:

1. Food that doesn’t smell. Every time we go to our San Francisco butcher we get home with smelly food. The French markets have both fresher products and better handling of the products in the store. In Paris, we could have the butcher prepare a chicken and cook it 3 days later. In San Francisco, the chicken smells iffy the minute you get it out of that funky plastic bag whose primary purpose seems to be preventing you from getting a fowl whiff before purchasing the bird.
2. Wine with finesse. American wines are meant to be drunk much earlier than French wines, yet the grapes are the same. The reason you have to age French wines is to reduce the tannins – the bitter, pucker-producing aftertaste from a red wine. The way the American producers get around this is to make the initial taste so overpowering that you don’t notice the bitter aftertaste. The result is commonly called a fruit-bomb – a wine that clubs your tastebuds into submission so that they won’t notice they’re being bamboozled. This is also the reason that American wines don’t go well with food – the heavy, sweet fruit flavor knocks out everything in its path.
3. Being exotic. In Paris, being a high tech yuppie escaped from Silicon Valley was exotic. Back in San Francisco we are just high tech yuppies whose greatest claim to fame is that we drive Toyota hybrids, not BMWs. Everyone in the Parisian ex-pat community had a story about how they got there. We also shared a sense of being outsiders and short-termers who no sane French person would befriend, so we all felt sorry for each other and go out of our way to find each other interesting.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Back in the drink

Yesterday morning was the first time I’ve been in the Bay for over a year. After a year of indoor swimming, I was finally back home, bobbing in the middle of the bay next to a buoy with the fog horns blowing and the fog so thick that Alcatraz Island was the only thing I could see.

The first week has been a whirlwind of necessity and luxury. The necessities included buying cars (a pair of Toyota hybrids), setting up cellphones and whacking the weeds away from my roses. The luxuries included carne asada burritos at La Taqueria, high tea at Lovejoy’s and a shopping expedition to Rainbow Grocery.

We had an extraordinary year in Paris, doing and seeing more than we had hoped. We found Paris to be a magical city and the French people to be charming. But at the end of the year we were ready to go home.

Going away for a year is like putting a comma in a sentence – you pause, but don’t interrupt the flow. Going away for two years is like putting a period in a sentence – when you come back, you have to start all over again.

Besides, nobody even thinks of going swimming in the Seine.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Provence Light

We just returned from a week in Provence followed by a week in Dardogne, the poor-man’s Provence (Provence-lite if you will).

I loved the light in Provence, that clear yellow luminance that held everything in its crystalline precision, daring you to paint it or write poetry to it or at least cook a great meal and eat it outdoors.

All activities in Provence were accompanied by the Cicadas, who I thought were saying “ne t’inquiet pas” (don’t worry) but who my more bloody-minded boys decided were saying ne tue mois (don’t kill me).

In Provence, we stayed near Beaume de Venise and drank their sweet wine (great on glass one, a bit much on glass two, undrinkable on glass three). Austen was enthralled by the local go-kart track. He has decided that his life’s calling for this month is to be a race-car driver. Alexander loved wallowing in the pool with his signature drowning water-rat stroke. Yvonne took advantage of her first week to contract a scary case of strep throat.

We ate out at the local public pool, whose no-name restaurant featured a different and extraordinary local specialty each day. This to me is the essence of France – that you can walk into a public pool, saunter over to the snack bar, and have an exquisite, home-cooked meal. Savoir faire impresses most where you expect it least.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Prunes to plums

After my last game of water polo in Paris, I sat drinking a beer with my friend Chuck, who was sporting a snazzy black and blue eye, courtesy of a wild shot I took during the game.

“When I first saw you last year, you were so burned out you looked like a prune, just sucked dry,” said Chuck. “Now look at you, you’re whatever a prune is before it dries out.”

“A plum?” I offered.

“Yeah, a plum.”

That, at the end of the day, is what a year in Paris did for me. Thirteen roller-coaster years in a startup – not erased, but softened. I didn't make it all the way through my "Things I'm Gonna Do In Paris" ToDo list, but I definitely nailed the first item on the list.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Time to leave

Austen came home yesterday with the stomach flu. Yesterday late evening he started calling for us and we found that he had covered 75% of the available surface of his bedroom with what moments before had been the contents of his stomach.

It turns out that the overall reach of a projectile vomit is exponentially increased when launched from a height of 6 feet. This is one of those things that you don't stop to consider when you put your children in bunk beds.

Yvonne asked, "how will we ever get rid of that smell?"

"Easy," I answered, "we move back to San Francisco."

- chris