09
November
2006
|
12:10 AM
America/Los_Angeles

Two hours plus to get to Seagate Boss's Beach House

It was two hours and 25 minutes for Seagate's car service to bring me to the Aptos beach house of Seagate's CEO Bill Watkins, a long way to go for dinner.

It was nice having a driver and I read the newspaper, wrote a couple of posts and took a nap, yet when I looked out the window, we were still about an hour away...

Finally we get through the traffic and head on to a road that winds through a state park. We drive slowly along a narrow street that seems to turn into a trailer park, then there is a row of wooden beach huts and outside each one there is a very large sign that says "Do not park here." At the end of the street looms a very large house and that's where I get out.

After my long time getting there, I was ready for the bathroom, and then the bar. I looked for familiar faces and fortunately there were many, Michael Kanellos, Cnet's editor  at large was there; Don Clark of WSJ of course; Therese Poletti from the Merc; Jean Baptiste Su US chief of the French News Agency; John Dvorak my favorite grumpy columnist; the always impressive Erika Brown from Forbes; and pretty soon nearly all the press is crowded together at one end of the living room -- normally not a good sign.  

We sit down for dinner, a five course dinner cooked in a large, open kitchen by a top chef from Napa. Each course is paired with a fine wine. The dinner's many courses include a lobster bisque soup, crisp sea bass, delicately tender filet mignon, and salads, and cheeses -- a very nutritionally balanced meal.

I'm sitting next to Peter Burrows from BusinessWeek and I tell him him how much I liked BusinessWeek's recent cover story on the greed and gluttony of private equity funds. George Anders from WSJ is sitting across the table. I get to chat with Audrey Webb and Joanna Andrade from Eastwick.

Don Clark mentioned that WSJ has started writing obituaries for the first time. We joked that it was chronicling the gradual demise of its newspaper readers.

I didn't get a chance to talk to any Seagate people. And I had trouble picking out Mr Watkins, who was dressed in T-shirt and jeans. I initially thought that he might be one of the workmen that had been rushing to get the renovations done in time for the first annual Seagate Media dinner but I was told that it is his signature dress style.

Then a long ride back to SF...  And I left my phone in the car.

I can't say it was a good use of my time, four hours of travel, and I didn't learn anything new about Seagate. But I did get to chat with my media pals over a very good dinner, within a beautiful house.

Let me suggest an SF location for the second Seagate annual media dinner, and at a restaurant that won't be snooty about T-shirts and jeans.