I drove to Half Moon Bay by myself to my first twitter meetup on July 22, 2008. I heard about it from Laura Fitten (@pistachio, http://pistachioconsulting.com/). Laura and I are connected through Twitter.com.
The drive was longer than I expected. I initially thought Half Moon Bay was near Stinson Beach. It’s not. The drive ended up being almost two hours, including San Francisco Bay Bridge traffic that I had to pass through. The closer I got to Half Moon Bay, the more beautiful it was.
I was reminded of the only other time I had been there. In high school my science class had gone to Half Moon Bay for a fieldtrip to see the tide pools. That memory and the view around me made me eager to plan a trip their again soon, with my kids.
I finally arrived at the Half Moon Bay Ritz-Carlton! It was a stunningly beautiful hotel nestled next to the bay. The view was incredible! We were supposed to be meeting by the fire pit on the ocean side of the Ritz. What I didn’t realize was that the Brainstorm: TECH Conference that I had heard talk about was also going on there at the same time! In the same location! It was so crowded with people it was difficult to get to the fire pit area, which by-the-way contained no fire.
I first spotted Lucretia (@geekmommy)! Laura Fitten (@pistachio) was also there! Lucretia and Laura are both twitterfriends of mine and we recently met face to face for the first time last week at the San Francisco BlogHer ’08 People’s Party. I stayed with Lucretia, most of the time, and got to meet her family, her husband and adorable daughter! I met Shel Israel (@shelisrael) , also Ryan who has a startup and no business card! Robert Scoble was there, and I had orignally hoped to meet him, but in the end I was standing next to him and didn’t make the effort. He seems very friendly, maybe next time. He actually looked much younger in person than I had expected from the pic on his blog. There was a barbie doll version of him floating around that was hilarious!
Funny story. While I was standing next to Robert Scoble I was trying to set the date on my camera and had it pointed down and ended up taking a pic of his shoes! Made myself laugh!
The BrainstormTech people were beginning their dinner outside near our meeting spot and everyone started leaving the tweetup to find dinner elsewhere. Men that looked very much like secret service men, with the dark suits and earpieces, told us we had to leave. Right before that a woman had told me that I wasn’t supposed to be taking pictures. Oops, too late! (If I suddenly disappear, you’ll know why).
I had talked with Cathryn Hrudicka (@creativesage) on twitter and had hoped to meet her some time soon, but I didn’t realize that she was going to be at this meetup, so when she came up to me I didn’t place her at first, but luckily she did me. I was very pleased to meet her! She had ridden with another couple who initially wanted to leave early, so I offered to give her a ride home.
I was a little nervous about driving out of Half Moon Bay at night because there had been quite a few turns and I didn’t have clear directions home. I initially wanted to leave before dark, but Brian Solis’s cheeseburger description changed my mind. Luckily Cathryn knew her way around Half Moon Bay a bit more than I did so between the both of us we found the restaurant and the rest of the group.
The restaurant was part of a hotel, simple but nice. We had a table of twelve that included Laura Fitten, Shel Israel, Stowe Boyd, Brian Solis, Cathryn and myself. Cathryn and I ended up sitting across from Brian and Stowe. They seem to know each other quite well and were enjoying the night and a bottle of wine. After we all got aquainted they wanted to get another bottle of wine and share it with Cathryn and I. I was driving, but was really good and only had a small glass. I had my friends on twitter DM (Direct Message) me to remind me not to drink too much wine! (Thank you Mark and Tina!) Brian and Stowe were a lot of fun and Cathryn and I really enjoyed the dinner.
Even though we got turned around a bit at first, the drive home was very enjoyable thanks to Cathryn’s company. It was such a pleasure to get to know her.
Even though I had a long drive by myself, I am so glad I made the effort. I got to see some special friends again, and make some wonderful new friends.