On Friday, I went to a “Member Appreciation” party at the TechShop in Menlo Park. Got to talk for a long time with Jim Newton, the founder of the company. He came across as you might expect — geeky, enthusiastic, and smart. He showed me his 1971 M35A2 Military Troop/Cargo Truck “Deuce and a Half”, with a 478 CID Turbo-Diesel Multi-Fuel Engine. He said that the engine could burn almost any fuel, including gasoline that had been sitting for 10 years.
We talked about the growing pains that TechShop was having. Tech Shop is getting so big that he can no longer have direct control over its operations. So he wants to be able to grow the company, while maintaining quality, without introducing a heavy hierarchical structure. I pointed him to Paul Graham’s Y Combinator, and Gore and Associates, as companies that he might want to look into as models for his company.
On Saturday, I met for dinner with Razib of Gene Expression, and Eric Boyd of X Prize Cars at Shalimar’s in San Francisco. Shalimar’s turned out to be pretty sketchy (garbage on the floor, dirty tables), so we regrouped at a nearby Moroccan restaurant called Tajine. Tajine’s food was tasty (I had the DAJAJ MEQUALLI), and the restaurant had a nice ambiance (if a bit crowded). I would definitely eat there again.
Afterward, we walked to the AMC Van Ness 14, for the 9:15 showing of Iron Man. We met up with Kim P. and James. H., and Marek. I didn’t get to talk to Kim and James much, unfortunately, but I was able to catch up with Marek a little bit after the company. His company has developed a pen that can write on any surface and transmit what it writes back to a computer. They’ve finished several prototypes, and now they’re looking for the best way to introduce it into the market.
Iron Man was a lot of fun! Best comic book adaptation I’ve seen so far. Jeff Bridges and Robert Downey, Jr. in particular really nailed their roles. I hope Downey, Jr. can stay off the drugs — I’m looking forward to seeing him in more roles.