Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bike vs Tomatoes

Following on from my last post, this is what the aftermath of a night of wholesale vegetable trading in Borough Market used to look like. I took this from the window of my flat in 1998.

Bike vs Tomatoes

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Three Windows

Years ago I lived in Borough Market. When I moved there in 1998 it was pretty much an abandoned area of London frozen in time: a little Dickensian enclave. Filthy vegetables were sold wholesale 2am–6am, the corner pub opened 6am–9am to serve the market vendors, but for the other 17 hours each day it was more or less empty apart from shady characters up to no good amongst the deserted stalls and sooty arches.

I took the photo below exactly ten years ago today, 23 February 2000. See those three windows on the first row, the second set in from the left? Those looked out from the front of my flat, 11 Stoney Street:

Here are the same three windows a year or so later, in June 2001. I can't remember what was going on at the time with the flat upstairs but boarded-up windows were pretty common in the area.
And talking of shady characters, you can see the three windows again top-center about a minute into the first scene of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Here's Bacon on the run after the cozzers turn up:
(The B.J.D. SUPPLIES LTD sign was put up for the filming in 1998 and taken down afterwards)

The whole neighborhood has changed quite a bit now; I visited a couple of weeks ago as I passed through London. These days it's glistening sun-dried tomatoes rather than muddy sprouts, and instead of piles of trash on the corner it's carts offering slivers of imported jamón or nuggets of organic falafel. It's upscale and lavish and epicurean and gastronomic. How incredible that an institution 150 years old (or 700 at a stretch) can transform so dramatically and so suddenly.

The three windows are still there. The windowless ground floor, however, which used to house my downstairs neighbor (a reclusive artist) in the late 90s, is now a glass-fronted oyster place.

Wright Brothers

For the nostalgic, I've got on Flickr a set of shots of Borough Market in its pre-tapas days.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fifteen Minutes

My moment of fame: being linked from TechCrunch. You can't but sympathize with the fourth commenter George:

Are you seriously planning on reporting about every little nobody that leaves Google and joins Twitter?


Here's what a Crunching looks like, showing visitors to this site over time:

Screen shot 2010-02-18 at 10.36.41 PM.png

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Next Stop: Twitter

When I left Google I didn't have any plans in particular apart from taking a "funemployment" break and finding the right next move. At first I wondered how I was going to go about it.


Ever the good corporate citizen, I figured I'd start off with meetings. I met a lot of people in a lot of coffee shops. There were some who got in contact with me when they heard I'd left Google. There were other people from previous lives and previous companies with whom I was long overdue in catching up. Still other interesting people I managed to hunt down through ruthless LinkedIn-ing.

I had a great time hanging out with people and talking about the business of technology. I signed some NDAs and learned some amazing things. It's actually incredibly exciting how much is going on out there.

After doing a lot of talking and a lot of thinking I made the breakthrough realization that in fact I wasn't looking for a specific role so much as I was looking for a specific environment:

  • a tech company;
  • a transformative product;
  • a kick-ass team;
  • a strong top-down vision; and
  • ideally in San Francisco.
and then it got much easier to narrow down the possibilities. So while I did consider a few especially interesting opportunities outside of SF I mostly stayed local.

From the beginning, Twitter stood out as seriously impressive. Everyone I met there was smart, super-interesting, switched on, and welcoming. I'm a keen user and fan of the product. What's more one of the co-founders mentioned while interviewing me that he wants Twitter to be not just in San Francisco but a part of San Francisco. I love this city and thought that that sentiment was especially cool.

Most of all, though, and as I said on Twitter itself, how could I resist such charming stationery?

Twitter Offer

I'll start next month as a Product Manager and I'm pretty excited. Between now and then I've got a few weeks of funemployment left and lots of thinking to do so I can hit the ground running in my new job. If you've got thoughts or ideas about Twitter, send 'em over.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

More Polaroids

Like I said, I'm a bit obsessed with this iPhone app. Here are a few more shots since last time.

I staged and took this one to make Wendy's birthday card:

This one taken at an open house down the road which Wendy and I went to view:
This one round the corner from us in the evening sun:
This one of the Contemporary Jewish Museum downtown:
This one just up 24th Street from us:

I just can't help myself!

Saturday, February 06, 2010


The other day I bought an iPhone app which takes photos in the style of a Polaroid® camera. It's wickedly addictive. I may be a little obsessed with it.

Some recent shots include this plant in Facebook's lobby:

Lobby Plant
this of the outside of Wendy's school:
Family Life
this of city skies:
San Francisco Skies
this outside Blue Bottle Café downtown:
54 Mint
another outside Wendy's school:
Time has fallen asleep
and this of Wendy herself:

An ever-growing set including these and more is on Flickr. I know it's corny but boy this thing is so much fun.