City versus Country…

I’m on the road this week, at The Seybold Publishing Conference in San Francisco. I’m giving a half-day workshop tomorrow morning on “Learning Unix for Mac OS X”. Yes, the glories of a 30 year old operating system hidden inside the latest and greatest Macintosh OS.

It’s interesting to be here in San Francisco too; a city I love. Probably my favorite big city in the world, outside of Rome. But like any city, the time of day dramatically changes the face of San Francisco. Here on Market Street, the main east/west artery, daytime offers an engaging mixture of cultures, ethnicities, and SES (socioeconomic status). Tonight, though, it’s a dirty, gritty corner of the city where there are tourists, homeless people (surprisingly many) and young 20-somethings who are either gang members or wanna-be gang members. Sunglasses at night are a giveaway…

As I walked around this evening, I couldn’t help thinking “this is so not a place for little kids”, but I don’t even know if it’s a place for people at all… at least, it makes me feel more and more like a midwesterner, living in a quiet, protected small community in Colorado.

But is it really such a great thing to be “tough enough” to be able to live within the midst of the grit and be able to ignore the aggression and pathos? Or is there an inherent “turning off” that comes with this kind of territory, a hardening of the heart that lets you walk past the begger asking for “any change you got so I can get some food, man” without a second thought?

And how about you, dear reader. Do you live in a tough neighborhood or a quiet peaceful town? And why?

8 comments on “City versus Country…

  1. Sorry I missed your tutorial! I’m stuck at work but hope to get an afternoon session in today. I went yesterday for an Adobe thing but the most glaring aspect was: what a DEAD show!!
    Compared to the seybolds of just a few years ago, this one is lean and mean. Not such a great sign of the times, ya know?

  2. The show is dead, but I have to say that Seybold seems to be reinterpreting what “Publishing” means: this show is all about PDF, my workshop aside. I’d agree that the poor attendance is a sign of the times except Oracle World, adjacent in the main Moscone Center, is mobbed, and I keep hearing about how Linux and Open Source conferences are exceeding their attendence projections. So perhaps it’s not that economies are dead, but that Seybold is unable to identify its key constituency and as a result is running a trivialized show?
    Btw, my workshop went well, from what feedback I’ve received. About 60 people in attendance, and only two left during the 4 hour command line geek marathon! Brian’s second part workshop this morning had a sparser attendence (about 25?) but was also well received.

  3. Dave,
    So do you think that ‘publishing’ is changing? I sure do. Working in digital prepress I’ve seen, since the bust, our business suffer – we’re leaner and meaner now, too! I think stuff like blogging and xml and content management are supplanting some of the ‘traditional’ publishing that many have grown accustomed to. Hopefully, my company will roll with the changes and not let the ‘new’ things pass us by.
    It’s just very depressing seeing the sparseness of the show compared the ‘back in the day’.
    BTW, nice blog, Dave!

  4. Thanks for your note and kudos, Bret! I’ve thought about this a lot and I believe that as the economy gets tighter, people focus more on WHAT they’re doing rather than HOW they’re doing it. So a conference like Seybold is missing the point: people aren’t focused on the tools, they’re trying to more and more focus on what they’re using the tools to accomplish.
    But, yeah, I miss the glory days of conferences and bursting exhibit halls with tons of cool giveaways. This conference, the only neato giveaway were pens from Google. I got two. 🙂

  5. I agree – any good business should focus on the end user’s experience, not the tool itself. In fact, the better the tool the more it disappears from concious thought.

  6. I couldn’t agree with you more, Aaron. That was my motivation in writing the Unix email program ‘elm’ almost twenty years ago (gad! I’m that old?). I wanted a program that let me focus on the content, not the mechanism. McLuhan would be proud!

  7. Hi Dave, have you seen or heard of that lawsuit by RR Donnely against Quark and Kodak/Creo. I was wondering what you thought about it and how it will affect Creo customers. I have an HP Indigo and we are concerned how this will affect our use of the software in question YTD sold to us by HP, was dev by Quark. Not sure if you remember me, it’s me michelle, met you about a year ago. C ya.

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