Wednesday, June 06, 2007

live from seattle

The long awaited rambling update... I promise that it will be disjoint and random. If the paragraph bores you, skip it and move on to the next one.

So right now I'm at work. I arrived in Seattle on Sunday, May 27 and I spent a few days hanging out in Seattle before starting work on Wednesday.

Working in my office is kind of like working in the Hall of Mirrors at SOM. I share the office with someone, which is fine with me, considering that at Progressive I didn't have much personal space to myself, though I do admit that I enjoyed hanging out with Steve and Colleen for many hours each day. The reason my office reminds me of the Hall of Mirrors is that usually it's relatively quiet, but there is a fair amount of traffic. Then about once or twice a day there's a loud gathering somewhere near here that's loud as hell. But it's OK. I'm used to working in the Hall of Mirrors. Only issue is that I am still in the habit of leaving my iPod in the car. I need to change my ways... especially with the amount of research that I'm doing.

So what am I doing? I'm trying to come up with a vision for a product. Right now it's a lot of competitive analysis - going and looking at different competitors' offerings and capabilities. I'll also be looking into trends both from a user standpoint as well as from a technology standpoint. It's very much like the sort of thing I did when I was doing research for my Comp Strat paper, so I feel like I'm pretty prepared for it. The only "issue" is that there is so much material internally to review that it's a bit overwhelming. I think I'm getting a pretty good handle on it though. I'm going to spend the next day digesting what's here, creating my own stuff, and then I'll reach out to a few more people to get some more brain dumps from people involved in two other affiliated projects. Good times.

So my apartment. Yes, I promised I would jump around a bit. My apartment is sweet. I'm sharing a 2BR with another intern in downtown Seattle. Heavily subsidized by Microsoft. We get a fantastic view of Elliot Bay and downtown Seattle. On a clear day I can see Mt. Rainier from my bedroom. Awesome. I'll put up some photos shortly so you can see for yourself. Better yet, drop by for a visit. We have a couch and plenty of floorspace. The other great thing about the apartment is that it's close to a bunch of stuff. I'm within a 5 minute walk of the Pike Place Market, which is a great place to pick up groceries (and flowers). I can get everything from produce, meats, milk, cheese, fresh bread, to asian and latino groceries. There are also a ton of little eateries around the market, from oysters to russian to chinese to greek to turkish. Good stuff!

The only two drawbacks to where I live: it's far from good greenspace and the commute kind of sucks. It takes 8 minutes to get to the highway in the morning. It can take over an hour to get home in the evening if there is a Mariners home game. I'll need to figure something out. Maybe I'll take the bus those days.

Oh yes. We get free bus passes for working here. I like.

You know another thing I like? The cafeteria here. Today I had Indian food and sushi. Granted, it's not the best quality I've ever had, but it's passable. Plus it offers variety. The only problem is that it seems like I want the Indian food every day. I have this bad feeling that I'm going to overdo it like we did Aladdin at SOM. Wish me luck. I intentionally got something else yesterday just for a break. The good thing is that they mix up what dishes they have each day. So is it really repeating?

So social stuff. It's been cool hanging out with the mix of people that I know here. High school people, b-school people, and Microsoft people. Give me a few weeks and I'll mix in some other peeps that I know here (from CMU and other).

My car. Ross and I have formed an alliance. An alliance to work on our cars. We both own 4th generation Honda Accords. He has the local knowledge. I have the tools and experience doing random stuff with my car. It will be fun. We will save enormous amounts of money. I'll probably save $300+ doing the radiator by myself. $100+ for the oxygen sensor. Driveshaft I may wait till I'm back in Cleveland. Ross will likely save a ton on his car as well. I like.

So what did I miss.... Photos! I just got internet access yesterday at home. I'll try to start uploading some stuff in the next few days. Not just so that you all can see pics from the cross country trip, but also so I can take more photos. I think I almost managed to completely fill 12GB worth of memory cards.

Oh yeah... I got invited to a party at Bill Gates' place. I hear he has a nice house.

So so far:
7 sunny days
2 rainy days
Had Japanese, Russian, Mediterranean, Mexican food.

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