My Annual Pilgrimage to ‘Macca’

What follows will not only detail the excitement I feel each year at this time, as well as some historical reflections back on what has become a ritualistic gathering of the faithful along with a dedicated annual dining experience that continues to grow in participants each year, but it’ll reveal what a complete and absolute total mac-geek I am at heart.

Even before I first held a white-badge in my hand, adorned with my own image, I had been a mac zealot and fanatic. When one of my best friends brought over one of the earliest Macs, I never looked back, and with only an exception or two, I’ve attended every MacWorld in San Francisco since the very early 90’s if not before.

Just thinking about the numerous treks to the show brings back great memories. I can recall going with friends and coworkers over the many years. There were carpools and ‘train-pools’ via Caltrans. There were one-day trips and others spread out over a few days. At one of the earliest ones I attended, I walked in with Matt (the guy that introduced me to the Macintosh) and Alberta (a coworker at the time) and within 5 minutes, Matt had won a free printer. I remember lusting over and walking out with such break through products as 45mb removable Syquest cartridges, then 100mb Iomega zip drives, and my first MP3 player, the Archos Jukebox. I worked the Apple booth on more then one occasion and always greatly enjoyed the opportunity to server up a cool cup of Cool-Aid. More recently, I remember sitting with Brian, Jess and Jonathan at a ‘stump the geek‘ contest, watching Brian not only proactively answer the questions before any of the contestants, but listening to all the muttered meta data as well.

There’s been a handful of great moments and memories around the events, including passes to several parties at posh locations in the city, or the night we visited a nearby bar and my girlfriend Melissa was serenaded by Bud E. Luv. There’s been numerous visual encounters of celebrities, and I was in the frontmost section for the awkward but still interesting 1995 “Keynote” featuring a panel of guests including Herbie Hancock, Graham Nash, Thomas Dolby, Todd Rundgren, Charles Fleischer and Douglas Adams.

The keynotes were not a huge deal until Steve Jobs returned. Steve is quite adept at deploying the reality distortion field, and even after it’s effect fades slightly, one still rides the buzz for weeks to follow. Watching the flair and dramatic presentation of all the cool stuff always makes my mind reel with the possibilities and I immediately search out an opportunity to check out the latest and greats things for myself. Nobody shows off “Just One More Thing” like Mr. Jobs. It’s like watching a top notch magician performing the most elegant slight of hand.

In addition to the geek factor, the friends factor is right on par. Every year I’ve made a point of meeting friends for lunch, from Joe Sluga to Tom McInerney to this year’s confirmed lunch guest, my long time friend, Jack Marks. After the show, an annual dinner outing of friends and colleagues has grown extensively over the past decade or so, and attendees this year include up to 25 close friends and people I’ve known for up to 15+ years, representing companies from Oracle to Palm to TiVo to Microsoft and many, many others. We’re reaching such a capacity that even Bucca De Beppo might not be able to contain us, and we’ll have to start looking for banquet rooms next year. It’s the crescendo to a great day of geekery.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but in the spirit of being completely honest, I’ve actually lost sleep over excitement about this annual event. As my good friend Jess posted on his blog today, (trumping my opportunity to be the first to say it) it’s like being a kid on the night before Christmas. This year, more than any before, I’m actually aware of some of the things that’ll be under the tree, but that doesn’t impact the excitement of the event, and the expectation that even if I know about many of the gifts, uncle Steve will have something up his sleeve that I’m not aware of.


Written by gsm

01/08/2007 at 2:50 pm

One Response

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  1. I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about tomorrow. This week is a tribute to geek-hood. We have the keynote on Tuesday, the trek to SF to bask in all that is Mac and the Geek Dinner Thursday night.
    Biggest challenge of the dinner on Thursday night it trying to talk to everyone for at least a few minutes. For the record this will be the 16th Macworld Geek Dinner. The first was in Boston during the 1992 Macworld. We have had one every year since at Macworld San Francisco.


    01/08/2007 at 4:06 pm

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