Posts for Tag: oakland

What?! Facebook acquires Blue Bottle.

Lost in the news about Facebook acquiring Gowalla is the news that Facebook has bought the mini-San Francisco/Brooklyn coffee chain Blue Bottle.

Don't know how to take this. Blue Bottle is my current go-to coffee spot. I like them because 1) they make great coffee and 2) they are an Oakland based small business. Now that they only are one of these things (and I'm not sure if the other thing will continue or not), I'm not sure I want to support a mega-corp whose other service I don't 100% agree with.

Bay Area loses another legendary innovator - Raiders owner Al Davis dead at 82

"Al Davis was unique, a maverick, a giant among giants, a true legend among legends, the brightest star among stars, a hero, a mentor, a friend."

This phrase would hold true for Al Davis or Steve Jobs. The Bay Area, especially Oakland, lost another legendary figure today. One of the true innovators of American sports, Al Davis forwarded the game of football and helped make it the true national pastime and possibly the biggest sport in the world. Like Steve, he had a public persona - hard nosed, unyielding, always striving for excellence - and a private one people rarely knew about - loving family man, fiercely loyal, generous. Rest in peace, Mr. Davis.

Jack London Square heats up with expansion by Sungevity and fine dining from Daniel Patterson

Double dose of good news for Jack London Square today. First was that hot solar start-up Sungevity is leasing an additional 36,500 square feet in the mostly empty Jack London Market building. Sungevity is hoping to reach 400 employees by the end of the year which will give a great shot in the arm to the local economy. Even better was Sungevity CEO, Andrew Birch's commitment to growing in Jack London Square for the foreseeable future. The second piece of good news is that Daniel Patterson of COI fame has begun construction on his new restaurant Haven (also in the Jack London Market building). It's set to open in November of this year and will provide another great fine dining option alongside Bocanova and Ecuentro. Hopefully more businesses build/relocate/expand in the area and begin to realize that it's a great place to work and play.

How Mark Ruffalo and coffee showed me the value of Twitter over Google

I went to grab a coffee this afternoon at Blue Bottle in Oakland and the barista let me know a celeb was in the area - Mark Ruffalo. I have no real opinion about him as an actor. I think I've seen two movies he was in and thought he didn't add nor took away from my enjoyment of said movies. However, I'm always curious when movies or TV shows shoot in Oakland (Moneyball, Matrix Reloaded, etc) so I went to rusty-trusty Google and typed in "Mark Ruffalo Oakland". Nothing remotely relevant came up. Tried a few variations, adjusted some search parameters (only searches within 24 hours - one week) but still nothing that explains why Mark Ruffalo was in Oakland. I then popped over to Twitter and typed in the same keywords "Mark Ruffalo" and got these results:

As you can see, the 5th result down mentioned Mark Ruffalo and Sungevity, a solar startup down the street. Clicked on the link and BAM!, Mark Ruffalo sitting in a Tesla Roadster wearing a Sungevity hat. Looks like he was in the area not to shoot a movie but to pop into Sungevity for something or other.

This brings up my second instance where Twitter succeeded where Google (and other methods) failed to solve a problem/query. Over the July 4th holiday, I wanted to know if Blue Bottle was open on Monday, the 4th. Calling their number didn't help because it was a standard phone greeting offering hours of service during normal weeks but not holidays. Same for their website and any search I did about Blue Bottle and the 4th of July yielded no mention of hours. I then went over to Twitter and found Blue Bottle's account and BAM!, there you go.

Now these are just two specific instances and of course, I still do most of my general search on Google but it's been a long time since I last found the answer to a query outside of Google. It's a death by a thousand cuts for them as Facebook, Twitter, and others start chipping away at their defenses. Google looked unassailable, much like Microsoft 10-15 years ago. Today, there's only one product of Microsoft's that I use, Office. I've switched from Windows to Mac for my hardware, Windows Mobile to iPhone for my cell, and even Exchange to Google Apps for my businesses. The endless cycle of rise and fall in tech is unrelenting and no one is immune.

A great example on why you should shop locally...

This is great news. Saves me about half an hour when going to Target by avoiding the bad I-80 traffic. It can't be overstated the impact that big box stores have on a city's bottom line. Even though Oakland is splitting the tax revenues with Emeryville, it's still substantial what one store like Target can provide. There's a lot of debate about whether a city should invite big chain stores but folks need to realize that just because a store like Target isn't in your city doesn't mean your citizens won't still travel outside the city to shop at one which means your tax revenues just went to the city next door. As a Target shopper (and former employee), I'm happy my purchases will now at least benefit the city I live in.