I open my eyes. Sun is already shining outside and the room is bright. I reach for my phone. It is 5:42 am, 29th of May, 2013. I slowly stand up, go to the bathroom, brush my teeth and get back to the room. I make my bed, take my iPad, open the app “Seconds” and activate my “Morning exercises” loop. Four minutes of dynamic stretching, followed by 6 minutes of strength exercises. Room is warm, by the end of the pushups I’ve breaken the sweat.
I put on my running gear and do not bother to check out what the temperature in San Francisco is at the moment. It would not make any difference. I only have the short outfit with me. As I take the elevator down, I turn on Audible (this time Jackie Chan is reading me his autobiography) and as I exit the Rincon Center I push “Play” in Endomondo.
I run along San Francisco Bay, from Embarcadero towards Golden Gate Bridge. Like expected, it is freezing for the first half an hour. The wind is blowing strongly and directly against me, it is about 12 degrees Celcius. It will get better, I think. There are other runners, in fact a lot of them. I think that all of the runners in San Francisco must run along the piers, because it is the only part where you would not have to wait behind the traffic lights nor take any hills.
I run with easy pace of 5:45/km and notice that most of the other runners are faster than me. Just like yesterday, and the day before. Who said americans don’t do sports?!
Half an hour into the run I turn back and now it’s not cold any more. Jackie tells me about a lucky event that made it possible that he became the biggest Chinese star in Hollywood, ever. There was just this one guy called Willie who believed in him that much that he changed all the other crew (even a movie director) just to have Jackie as a star actor. Jackie had met the guy randomly in Hong Kong when he worked there as a stuntsman in a Bruce Lee movie. When Jackie returned from Australia (where he worked at a construction site) he contacted Willie and the rest is history. Everything in life is about people and relationships you have, I think as I get back to Rincon Center and push “16” in the elevator and “stop” in Endomondo. One hour, ten and a half kilometers.
Back upstairs I make a 10-minute skype call with my girlfriend and our son. Quality time. After the call I realize there’s not enough time to make proper stretching sequence so I make a few quick stretches, vow myself that I’d do some yoga in the evening and then I hit the shower.
After shower I go downstairs to get breakfast. Majority of the workers in cafes in San Francisco are Latin. Here’s my minute of spanish practice right here. “Un plate con jamon pero sin pan, por favor“. What is “plate” anyway?!
I take the plate with me and upstairs, as I eat it, I answer some more urgent e-mails. The rest of them would have to wait. Then I get dressed, take my bag, business cards and out we go.
The first meeting today is at Flurry in their brand new office on 3rd street. By the time we get there, all of our teams are already waiting outside the building. We grab some muffins from a cafeteria and go inside to meet Patrick and his colleagues. We start with office tour and then take some coffee. Patrick and his colleague tell us about Flurry and it’s services. The stuff we hear from them is just golden and our teams as well as us learn quite a bit. Time flies by and soon comes the point when we realize that we really need to go in order not to be too late for our next meeting.
We hurry out and speedwalk towards Mint Plaza to meet Dr. Hanno Fichtner, the MD and co-founder of HitFox Group. When we get to the place, it is a bit confusing, the place looks like an apartment building. I ring the bell and as a lady opens the door, I realize, that it is indeed an apartment. Or actually, it was an apartment, because it is completely redesigned to be a very cool office indeed. And it has a prime location and a great view to the city outside.
I had agreed to this meeting with Hanno’s colleagues when I was in Singapore a week earlier and somehow the information that I’d bring our teams with us was lost in the communication. So it was a (hopefully pleasant) surprise for Hanno to meet not only me, but 9 other people, too. We grab some small foxes – their mascots – from their office and hit an Italian restaurant downstairs for a lunch. The sun is shining, it is much warmer than 6 hours ago and between big buildings there’s much less wind.
The food is amazing and Hanno and his colleague Jean Philippe tell us about HitFox and we tell them about Gamefounders and our teams tell us all about their games. Hanno has moved to SF 6 weeks ago, before that he lived in Berlin, just at where our team Pfeffermind Games is from. Soon Daniel and Hanno are in a long discussion in excellent german.
Too soon it is again time for us to go. We thank Hanno and JP heartily for the lunch and start speedwalking towards PocketGems. During the whole 15-minute walk our italian team-members cannot stop but tell that the restaurant that we were at was the best Italian restaurant they’ve been so far in the US. And it has a Michelin star!
PocketGems is one of the biggest mobile publishers in the world, in terms of revenue. Yet, they are very selective and publish only one title per month. Our Bad Seed Entertainment’s first game Sheep Up! will be published by them in just a few weeks. So we already know a few things about them as we step in and meet Jameel and Alexander.
The first thing you see at the office is the pool table and old arcade videogame machines. There you can play “Pac-Man” with 4 people simoultaneously. We take the office tour and yet again I see an office that would be a dream place to work at. In addition to pool- and table-tennis table, there are the consoles to play videogames and sofas to doze off in needed. Just as in most of the other places we’ve already visited, there’s a kitchen where you can have fruit, muesli-bars, drinks, etc. If there’s something missing you can always order it and they’ll bring it there. I’m glad to see that most of the drinks shelves are filled with different flavored (yet not sugared) waters and there’s only a tiny bit of shelf real estate occupied by liquid sugars such as Coke and others. And the selection of muesli bars is amazing. We all grab one each and we go to the seminar room.
We learn about PocketGems, they learn about us, time flies by and soon it’s time to go again, this time towards Unity.
We get to Unity, meet Chris and have yet again a pleasant conversation where our Lithuania team gets very persuasive that Unity would cut their licences to smaller packages to provide smaller developers with better chances of using their technology in developing games. Yes, they are persuasive. As we say goodbye to Chris and leave the office, Arturas smiles and tells me: “We did everything we could, so let’s see.” I have respect for them that they fight their cause.
Outside, Gabriele tells us that they are planning to celebrate Sportsquare Games winning the Tech All Stars and they are inviting us all to dinner to Pier 39 at 7:30pm. This leaves us with two and a half hours. As we get back to the apartment, I respond some more urgent e-mails yet again and then I start filling the promise I gave myself in the morning.
I dress, roll open my mat and start with sun salutations. Upward-looking dog, downward looking dog, 5 breaths. over and over. Then comes the standing sequence. My legs are wide at the sides and I bow forward and put my head against the mat. Well, I try to put my head against the mat, because it would not stay there. My knee ligaments are not happy to put it mildly, my inner thighs hurt. My knees make cracking sounds as I change positions. I grab my toe between my fingers and reach the right foot forward and the bend. Thigh backsides hurt and I almost trip over.
I hate yoga.
The standing sequence is over, finally. Couple of warrior positions, crow and there are the sitting poses. My two feet in front of me, I sit with straight back and stretch forward and grab the toes with my fingers. My body is all warm and nicely flexible thanks to the standing poses I just made a little time ago. I stretch even more forward and cover my heels with my palms. It feels nice to be that flexible. Then I put my palms firmly on the ground at my sides, lift my legs and cross then on my chest. I slide my legs underneath me to my back, feeling my abs work and slowly float them back, ending in a pushup-position. It feels great to be able to do that.
I love yoga.
Unfortunately i can’t enjoy the moment long enough. Since I’m painfully aware of the time constraints we have, I make the shortest Ashtanga series there is – I finish with Janu Sirsasana A. Then comes the closing sequence and just 40 minutes after I rolled out my mat I finish, lying on my back, hands and legs open. I stay in the position not nearly enough time and then rush to take a shower and hurry out to have dinner with Sportsquare and other teams.
We get to the Pier 39 and that restaurant – Fog Harbor Fish House – seems to be a really nice one. As we step in, we can’t help but notice how desserts are being served to one of the tables and they look delicious. There’s lot of selection in the menu, I go with Mixed Grill that promises me 3 kind of fish. For a starter we split crab cakes with Kadri. As we are waiting for the food, I speak with Daniel at my side about startups, gaming business and running. Daniel mentions me that he was really excited to meet HitFox people, since they (Pfeffermind guys) had already planned to contact them in Berlin. I’m glad for him and his team.
The food is delicious and nobody has any complaints. Others enjoy their food as much as I do and also take desserts. Since the restaurant does not appear to have any gluten-free dessert, I pass and have to watch jealously as others eat theirs. Then we finish and start heading back to the apartment. There are no taxis to be seen, this means a 20-minute walk.
Back at home I continue answering the e-mails. As I get almost done, I realise the need to make a phone call to Estonia. It is 11pm here, so it is 9am in Estonia. I make my call and then send the last e-mail. Now I need to do some other stuff – book accommodation, check the videos the teams not in San Francisco sent us to show in the demo day. At one point I realise that it is long past midnight already. Tomorrow we go to Playhaven, Kabam, Sony and Facebook and then have a dinner with Amazon Games. I better go to sleep.
I brush my teeth, make the bed and then grab for my phone to turn it quiet. It is 12:55am. I put the phone down, lie and close my eyes. I doze off immidiately.