Every 3 years our Fall medical convention is in San Francisco. The cool things about this city are the abundance of good dining selections, the great combination of old and new architecture, the unique but easy to navigate street layout, the relative safeness of the central city areas for walking back to your hotel at night, the abundance of Walgreens stores every few blocks for bottled water, snacks and cheap fridge magnets, the ability to walk from hotels to the convention center (as opposed to say Chicago where you need to get on a bus and drive mostly underground in Batmobile territory to get to McCormick Place) and the relative small size of the convention center, especially between registration and the exhibit halls.
So Sunday I awoke at 3am for a 5:20 boarding time. Quick hop to Detroit's mile long former Northwest terminal (the one with the monorail) on a E175. Quick layover - enough time to grab a sandwich - and onto a 737-800 for the 4.5 hour crawl to the coast.
Upon arrival, got my bags quickly and a cab to the hotel. Drop the garment bag and tripod tube in my room at the Hotel Nikko, and then walk to convention center. Get my vendor badge and then hit the Speaker Ready room to check on missing videos. A few minutes there to get acquainted, then off to the booth, or what would eventually become the booth. Here's the final result.
In San Fran you have to hire a laborer which was actually helpful since the booth is a bit clunky to assemble solo.
I then dashed off to a committee meeting to discuss plans for 2012's meeting. Meanwhile the rest of my team arrived and finished the setup. We then agreed to meetup later for dinner.
But halfway back to the hotel I got called back to deal with some video issues, which we got sorted out.
Dinner was at a place in the Italian section of town (North Beach - no actual beach nearby but it used to be a beach before the city was expanded with land fill) which was just ok.
Slept like a log until 4am (7 Eastern) when my body clock said "Mike, time to wake up, you're going to be late for work." So I slept a bit longer, got up, took a walk to get some bottled water for the room and a few toiletries, then got dressed and headed to another hotel to help my colleague Jake get setup for a round of interviews. We booked him into a suite for this purpose. I had the tripod and backdrop, he had everything else, and we rented a set of Diva Lights which are beautiful little instruments. We moved the furniture around and got set in about an hour.
I then headed to convention center to start working the booth, while Jake waited for the first interview subject and interviewer to arrive.
At our booth we sell our videos and books and do a lot of networking both with existing contacts and new ones. We try to plant the seeds for future business with people who seek us out as well as with industry elsewhere on the show floor. It is also a time to meet face to face people who you have only corresponded with via email. It is especially interesting to see people I know electronically from places like Kuwait, Dubai, Venezuela, Hong Kong and even Connecticut!
Once the show broke at 4:30 we headed back to our hotels and met up an hour later to do some exploring. We walked up Stockton Street (very steep hill for a couple of blocks but a nice view once you get there),
then down into Chinatown. Chinatown has two areas - the touristy part with the American style Chinese restaurants, and the part where the locals actually live and work, which you walk through on your way to Columbus Street and Broadway - our destination of North Beach for more Italian food. We found a better place tonight, followed by pastries and capuccinos before a walk back to the hotels through the financial district. On the way back we stopped into the famous City Lights Bookstore and Vesuvio Bar, both of which were instrumental in the Beat movement of the 1950s.
While I would never eat there we stopped into the Stinking Rose restaurant where every dish features Garlic. They have a unique decor and it is fun to take a peek.
Next past the Sentinel Building (now known as the home of American Zoetrope) and the contrasting Transamerica Tower, and finally back down the Union Square and the Nikko.
Tomorrow more of the same with a board meeting in the afternoon.
It is always a lot of prep work leading up to these meetings, then we hit the ground running back at the office later in the week.
Well off to bed as it is 2am where I come from and will soon be for a few days before heading back this way next week.