Back in the bay
This week was my first full work week in our new Atlassian San Francisco office, and the first time I’d seen the office without the thick haze of smoke.
At 14 floors up, and on the edge of San Francisco’s financial district, the views are nothing short of spectacular. They also vary with sunsets and weather changes.
I was definitely ready to move from our old offices — they were in a seedy part of town, which doubled as a food desert, in an area marketed as an “up-and-coming area” of Soma. I lived in that neighborhood five years ago, and it hadn’t changed much. So, the new office with abundance of natural light and beautiful views, was a huge change. A month in, I finally got to enjoy it 🙂
Walking home from work, I dropped by the Apple Store. It’s a new convenience that was an out-of-the-way task prior to our office move. It might seem silly, but it’s very nice having shops, bars and eateries, conveniently downstairs all day.
This office move has been like relocating to a whole new city.
Wednesday – Friday
More shots from the office. In rain, at dusk, and at sunset.
A movie and dinner
Afterwords, we checked out a new pinseria place in North Beach (Barbara Pinseria). It was good, but Montesacro Pinseria Romana in Soma is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. Our pizza-like flatbread meal hit the spot, and capped off simple, but great, weekend evening back in San Francisco.
The weekend ended with a trip to Santa Clara for a football game, with the local 49ers playing my Denver Broncos. I haven’t followed American football or the NFL much in recent years, but games are usually a lot of fun. Plus, going to see any sport live generally has a lot of great energy between the fans, the cheers, and some beers.
It was my second game at Levi’s Stadium — I previously saw a FC Barcelona vs Manchester United match there. We were given tickets to a club suite, which was well-stocked. My precious experience (also in a club suite) had hot dogs and Budweiser; this suite had a charcuterie spread, roasted chicken, and craft beer).
The posh seats were fun, but I was overwhelmed by the amount of advertising that covered every visible surface of the stadium. From the benches outside (brought to you by Intel), to an actual Levi’s clothing store (in case you spill mustard on your jeans?) to the escalator that doubled as a Pepsi cup to each section of suites having a major corporate sponsorship; there’s no way to avoid an advertisement during the game. Seriously, every section of the stadium is sponsored.
At some point, I was too distracted trying to figure out what each ad placement was for, that I lost track of the game, the instant replays, and announcements. All I remember is that I need to drink Pepsi and Budweiser at the casino when I visit Yosemite National Park. Also, fly United.
The game hit a lull, so we went for a walk… with more marketing to sponsor the occasion.
A quick comment here:
I’ve been to American football games in Tampa and Kansas City, and to soccer, baseball, hockey, and basketball games around the world. Some feel more energetic than others, but it usually depends on whether the home team is winning or losing.
And there are ads at most stadiums — soccer games are usually a full quilt of ads and LED signs all around the field. But usually the game was the center of attention.
Maybe it was just apparent because I don’t care for the 49ers, and I haven’t been that into the NFL in recent years. But usually I’ve been able to ignore the plethoras of ads at any sport. Or maybe they’re usually more subtle.
At the end of the day, the 49ers haven’t had a winning season since leaving San Francisco for the new stadium in Santa Clara, so it’s apparent that the marketing value of the stadium is greater than the substance of the team itself.
Critiques about the distracting stadium aside, it was definitely an entertaining experience. But the most exciting part of the game was the halftime show, when a bunch of college mascots played a mock game of football — the Sourdough Bowl! They looked ridiculous running around, especially the inflated dinosaur bouncing across the field with short arms. It was perfect.
Overall, I had a great time once we got down to Santa Clara. But I wouldn’t go out of my way to trek down and look at a million advertisers while trying to spot the football game.
Whereas we took a combination of Lyft –> Caltrain –> VTA to Levi’s Stadium, the ride back was more scenic (and eventful). That’s because we took an Amtrak Capitol Corridor train, across the marshes of San Francisco Bay.
The Amtrak line was more scenic than Caltrain’s path, and it was also more relaxing — until we hit the Oakland Colosseum crowds. The Raiders’ game had just let out as we pulled into the transfer station to get on BART, and their fans were definitely more energetic and excited about their win against the Pittsburgh Steelers.