San Francisco, day 5

Wednesday, September 14 I spent the whole day at K&L Gates, one of the largest law firms in the world, which has customers like Microsoft (the “Gates” in K&L Gates is for Bill Gates’ father), Amazon, etc.

It was a typical upscale law firm setup: expensive video conference equipment and giant screens (I liked their “rear projector and mirror” trick) in a high-rise building with impressive views, and some art, like the “flying dildos” in reception.

I met with some of their top lawyers, all partners, and we had meetings around Data Protection, Term Sheet terms, Corporate Governance, Immigration, M&A, and Patents (that was the shortest meeting, although an extremely interesting and very open-minded debate 😉

I learned a lot, and it was extremely useful. Of course, these people are quite sharp; you have to be to charge $1,000 per hour.

Lunch was just “average”, but the wine and cheese they served at the end of the day were really awesome.

On my way back to the hotel I had a telephone call from Chinese investors I had to take. While talking on the phone and walking I realized a short homeless man was following me very closely, in an erratic pattern. Concerned that I might accidentally trip him, or that he would become distracting to my call, I entered the Saks Fifth Avenue store on Union Sq. Then he stood outside, with a frustration look in his face, banged the glass door, and left.

I did not make much of it and apologized to the three store attendants that witnessed it. What surprised me is how horrified they were. They wanted to call the police, and tried to persuade me to not go back out the door! What kind of irrational fear is this? Are the class divide tensions generated by a growing inequality leading to fear/aggression? We need to put an end to this sad situation where the 0.1% militarizes the secluded public areas where they transit in order to feel secure until they reach their luxury bunkers.

Ironically, I also saw “fanboy homeless”: rich brand-obsessed young people sleeping in the street in order to queue so they can have the “privilege” of owning the next gadget by a particular brand.

But, oh the marvels of a simple mind, all that was easily left behind as soon as I stepped into Kinokuniya bookstore, and later sunk my teeth into a homemade green tea daifuku filled with amazingly silken anko at Kissako.

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