SyneRyder - journal

USA Trip 2005 - Part 8

August 2005


The drive up to Seattle was very pretty, with lots of pine trees everywhere. But the city itself was huge, somewhat confusing, and the people weren't as friendly. The hotel was extremely difficult to get to by car, and the underground car park was an absolute joke. The parking spaces were barely wide enough to fit the car in, let alone open the car doors. The hotel room itself was comfortable enough, but the hotel restaurant charges about $7 USD / $9.50 AUD for a hamburger!!

Seattle Space Needle

We went to the Seattle Space Needle, rode the Monorail through to a shopping centre (or "malls" as they call them here), and walked along the waterfront until I found a Parasailing place - but I wasn't game enough so I stayed on the pier and took some digital photos. Afterwards I got the best ice cream cone I've ever had - the cones were freshly made from real waffle mix, and the ice creams included fresh ingredients (or at least, my strawberry ice-cream included real strawberries).

Experience Music Project

We also took in the Experience Music Project and the nearby Science Fiction Museum. All of these places were in the same area, within walking distance from my hotel.

Then there was the visit to Microsoft. The grounds were absolutely gorgeous (pine trees everywhere) and it's a HUGE place, about the size of a small city! I heard that the Microsoft Redmond campus alone has 20,000 employees. We had to walk about a mile just to get to the right building for visitors. Once there, the visitor center was really disappointing - a tiny museum and the technology was the same as what you'd find in any local computer shop. No spectacular futuristic developments. The staff were friendly, but it was like walking through the grounds of a cult - Microsoft logos on every building, every car, every product.

Microsoft Visitor Center

The meeting with Jessica Dewell from the Association of Shareware Professionals went well. Jess also brought her boyfriend Ryan, who was also involved in the RegNow company. The three of us went to 13 Coins, supposedly Seattle's best restaurant (some of the menu items were $50 US - about $66 Australian!) Personally I thought that the Turntable Restaurant at the Experience Music Project was better though - just depends what kind of cuisine you wanted.

In conversation I mentioned that I'd felt a bit out of place at the shareware conference. The other companies seemed much larger with several employees. Jess reassured me: "I don't think the majority are like that. I personally only know 4 people who have earnings above $1 million and they each took 7-8 years to get there." Gee, only four?! But Jess and Ryan were both very friendly, very relaxed and easy to talk to.