The other day I had a meeting at Pandora. The music streaming service, not the diamonds.
As I slunk into their uber-cool Uptown Oakland office, mere blocks from the old Sears building that the actual Uber just purchased to occupy in 2017, I realized more than ever that we in the Bay Area are living in extraordinary times. Tech has truly taken over.
Add this to the pile of things that makes me feel old. But not before my Pandora reception experience, where during check-in via ipad, my face appeared on-screen inches away, both horrifying and startling me backwards so fast that the camera snapped a photo ID badge of my ear. (See photo at left. This is not a joke.)
I love music, always have. So after I got past the photo trauma and was given a giant glass of water (hot flash), I was met in the lobby by my hosts who took me on a tour of the company.
Other than nods to music, the space was much like every other Silicon Valley, San Francisco and now Oakland tech firm with scads of money and a workforce too young to have heard of Day on The Green or Faith No More.
If I’m being honest with myself, I’m secretly thrilled I get to see the guts of so many tech Giants turned normal parts of everyday life. It seems each salon, store, or space I visit is tuned to Pandora (I love trying to guess the artist they picked), and so it’s fun to see what actually goes on where it all happens.
And yet, every time I meet at one of these firms, I feel fucking ancient. But once I get over the initial “good god, they could all be my kids” horror, I start to relax and feel, well, lucky. Lucky that I got to spend hours on end at Tower Records rifling through records. Lucky to have read miles of liner notes. Lucky that I got to see the Ramones and the Buzzcocks and Big Star. And Lucky to go to shows where people cared more about what was happening on stage than in their Instagram feeds.
So excuse me while I tune my radio to KALX. Yes, I still listen to music on the radio (KALX is the Cal Berkeley station and plays the best music in the world.) There is a KALX app, so I suppose I’m not that much of a luddite.