Before signing on with Poken in December I had a previous obligation to attend an Association of Rice Alumni board meeting in Houston January 23 – 24. I could have nipped back for just a quick weekend but the airfare was literally an order of magnitude less expensive to come back for the entire week.
The flight over was good and featured stunning views of the snow-capped and fog-enshrouded Alps. I spent most of the flight working and planning out Poken’s Web UI refresh, which is coming in February. Once on the ground, my wingman and I had Niko Niko’s (the best Greek food around), watched Zoolander, and crashed.
Saturday night was a wonderful time. Four of my best friends in Houston had a guy’s night. We ate lots of red meat (buffalo, mmmm), drank some great wine, and played Wii until the wee (no pun intended) hours of the morning. Wii games included tennis, curling, left-handed bowling, and light saber duels, complete with light saber remote accessories!
The week has been an intense march of Poken work. We have so many improvements to the site and new features we want to offer our users that just wrapping my head around all of it is a major task. Plus, with the team back in Europe, communication is more difficult too. Fortunately the team is composed of really smart, highly qualified individuals and I know that they will rise to the challenge, no matter how hard the tasks are that we throw at them.
On Wednesday Larry McMurtry, one of Rice’s most accomplished literary alumni, gave a talk on-campus. I wanted to go but opted to focus on Poken work instead. Yesterday I managed to make time for a meeting with another distinguished Rice alum, the CEO of El Paso Energy. We had a good chat about the energy industry, the economy, and Houston’s future. While it is clear that dark financial times are ahead of us, it is hard not to feel optimistic after Obama’s inauguration on Tuesday.
It also hard not to feel optimistic about Poken as we now have over 20,000 website hits each month. There are challenges and competitors entering the market but I’m confident that, if we keep our focus on serving our users, we really can re-personalize the world of online social networking.