Wow. There's SO much information I have to share, yet so little space (you don't care to read some heavy tome in a blog, after all).
Upon arriving to San Fran, I met my host, Hiego Partalu - a young successful entrepreneur (grateapp.com), who's apartment was jaw-dropping. 15th floor, overlooking Twitter HQ, everything immaculate. I could go on. Suffice it to say, the place (and host) were amazing.
Then, I had my first meeting - with the illustrious Gordon Walton - at the beautiful Marriott Marquis. Since it was his birthday (mine, too!!), I brought him a BGV t-shirt ("There's nothing on here (bad language/copyright infringing) that I should be aware of, eh?"). We spoke for about an hour, and met a few of his friends (who all offered their cards and seemed interested). When I told him about what I was doing (in more detail than previous conversations), he told me I was "crazy". But, he said it with a smile. :) More on him, later.
I then got my badge. I also posted on facebook that I was going to have a little (emphasis on "little") birthday celebration at a popular local sushi bar. I didn't expect more than 6-10 people. 35 showed up! We actually got kicked out! :D (Haven't been kicked out of a restaurant in a LONG time!) Most of the people who showed up were former students of mine, now kicking ass in the game industry, and either living in San Fran, or having been sent by their firms. Thank you all for coming! You made my birthday very special! (sniff!) [sorry, not the best picture-taker - this is early, before all the rest showed up]
Before the event - last week, actually - I asked my new HR Director, the amazing Leesa Grills, to help line me up some meetings with industry leaders. By the end of week, I had 28 (Leesa, you rock)! I met so many amazing & cool people, most as busy as me! Hell, between the meetings and seminars, I was only able to spend just 1.5 hours on the show floor! [BTW: this pic was posted on GDC's flicker page]
In all the hubbub, I was also interviewed on the one. life. left. podcast. You can hear it here: http://onelifeleft.libsyn.com/one-life-left-vs-gamasutra-gdc2015-show-3 (I come on just before 47:00). They said that I "charmed them". Go figure... (thanks, guys! enjoyed it!)
On Tuesday, after several meetings, I went to visit three of my former students - Zachary Brandon, Tyler Weikel and Kurt Young - who are doing great things at EA - and they gave me the VIP tour! Gave me a little swag, too! (Woot!)
The rest of the week was a blur - meetings, seminars, meetings, seminars... And, honestly, I was a little disappointed with San Fran - so many homeless, and the streets weren't very clean, and everyone had such an indifference to the suffering going on around them. I thought everyone here was supposed to be so "progressive"? Oh, well. Just the observations of an old fart.
At the end of the show, 3pm on Friday, I found myself with nothing to do. Except that I was exhausted, and could use a little sumpin' to whet my whistle (wink, wink). I looked up & saw the Westin hotel, and remembered that MANY people ("powers that be"-type) said that that was the place to be (in the bar). So, I walked across the street. Interestingly, as I walked up, I could see Gordon through the window. I got the impression (from before) that he wasn't THAT interested in BGV. So, I nodded "hello", and was continuing on my way to the bar - when he grabbed my arm. "I need you guys to meet someone who's as crazy as you!" he said, as he introduced me to a few people, including Chris Migleo (Unity), the hilarious Martin Mueller (Simple Games), and others. I was there for six hours! Met a couple dozen more people, including some younglings, up-and-comers who invited me to join them for dinner @ Chevy's. Nice! Looking forward to seeing great things from you all!
Really didn't get to enjoy the city, otherwise. Just walking 1.5 miles to/from the apt. & Moscone. Saturday morning, I went down to the Embarcadero. Met a monk (from my old order!), and, envied all the sweet cars that were hot-rodding it around. If I had my car, here, woot! (boy, did I miss driving it that week!)
My goals for GDC were to: help develop the BGV brand (from what I've heard, I was successful - a lot of "Who the hell are they!?!", and, "You need to hear what your competitors are saying about you!" (hint: it was very good to hear!), and, a LOT of business cards thrust into my hands; look for additional Advisors - to add value to my Clients (time will tell... however, am continuing conversations and getting corporate approvals from several heavy hitters! - will keep you all posted on the BGV fb page & web site!); and, try to find someone who could be my partner - my COO/Executive Producer, if you will (not much luck on that... we'll see...). So, two outta three ain't bad! Hope you had fun, too! Cya!