April 26th, 2008

xkcd LiveJournal

LiveJournal Moore, Special Advisor on Blog Affairs

Over four months later, it was time for another LiveJournal party! Oh, SUP, always throwing parties. This time, however, it wasn't so much about meeting people but getting to see the people I'd met before.

For instance, I was walking down Folsom with my nose in Ex Machina when I heard someone call my name. It was marta! Who was locked out of the building. Oops. chasethestars let us in along with someone else who was as absurdly punctual as I was.

LJ owned the whole building, but they were only using the first and third floors. The first floor, where the little shindig would be, was not very exciting, as it was a floor with some tables on it. The third floor, where the "offices" were, was also not very exciting, as it was a floor with many more tables on it. But on these tables were computers with very large monitors and people working on them and whatnot. It was not very glamorous, but chasethestars said they would be renovating the place. Still, it was very strange to see that LiveJournal was basically run out of the equivalent of some dude's basement.

Some of the other LJ folk I'd met were having some sort of meeting, so we didn't bother them. On the other side of the floor, I saw a man who looked familiar, and he seemed to recognize me before I recognized him. "I think I met you last time," I said, and he smiled and agreed with me, and he was British, and I remembered who he was. Ben, the British SUP guy! He talked with the other guy who had come early about a freelance gig.

We went back down to the first floor, where there were a few more people. We indulged in chips and guacamole (the guacamole was so good).

allsunday showed up, and, thankfully, she had gone ahead and brought me Last Exile to borrow as I'd hoped she would, even though I won't get to it for a while. Steampunk anime FTW!

arie was glad I was able to make it. I like when people are happy to see me!

By the chips and guacamole, I talked to a girl who asked me, "How long have you been a user?" Which sounded like a strange question. She also asked me what I blogged about mostly. I was confused because she looked very young, like, not-even-out-of-college young, so I'd assumed she was a user, but it sounded like she worked for LJ. Which she did. She was HR.

janinedog put a chip in a squeaky lobster's claw. I know this sentence makes no sense out of context, but I think it's important anyway. Because, come on, squeaky lobster. With a chip in its claw! That's all you need to know.

According to marta, she had brought me up during a meeting about having this Open House. Ben had asked if any users were going to be there, and she mentioned me, having told me about this thing earlier in the week. And he remembered me, and not only that, he apparently rattled off what I did for a living (which he had asked me about in December).

Of course, right after she told this story, Ben stopped by, and she pointed me out to him. He said we'd met upstairs, and I said that I was surprised he remembered me. He said that I did writing for medical research. "Clinical trials," I corrected, but still. "Good memory."

He remarked that I had come to the thing in December. And I had posted about it. And I had said he was "British, but perfectly reasonable."


(It looks like my actual words were "decent enough," but holy God, I was mortified. You never think about the FRIGGIN' OWNER OF LIVEJOURNAL reading your posts. I hoped he hadn't been offended, but he seemed to be cool with it, as he did like to think he was perfectly reasonable.)

After that bit of embarrassment/awesomeness, I talked to Stephanie from Finance, who thought I looked familiar for some reason (I just have one of those faces?) and also asked me, "How long have you been a user?" She recognized how strange it sounded, so she tried, "How long have you been using?" which we all agreed was even worse. She wanted to come up with a new word, but "customer" wouldn't fly with us and "member" wouldn't fly with immature teenage boys. She wanted to wage some sort of guerrilla advertising campaign. It struck me how much she and Corinna (the girl from HR) were unfamiliar with LiveJournal, but since they were only working on the business side (and pretty new to the company), I guessed it didn't matter.

With that, I'll segue into the LiveJournal gossip, which is why you're really here. Everything I said in my first post still holds true; from what I can tell, the SUP atmosphere and managing style is worlds apart from 6A (in a good way). They listen to feedback and actually consider things like features' being opt-in or opt-out. The staff seem very at ease with them. That being said, they know the fiasco with Basic Accounts was poorly handled, and they're still ironing out the communication kinks. In the future, they might actually consult the Advisory Board before making decisions like that! (I say that sarcastically, but I mean it seriously. Heh.) I do think they really want to make this Advisory Board thing work, but it's still in the early stages, clearly. One thing marta noted was that although LiveJournal has been around for years, Livejournal, Inc. is new, so they're essentially a start-up company again; thus, it's a really weird transition to make because you have two conflicting schools of thought and ways of running business. The staff had been in all-day meetings for the past two or three days, so it's clear they're committed to making things work and learning from their mistakes. I hope that one day that good behind-the-scenes atmosphere manifests itself in some crackin' good policy decisions that make people happy.

There were multiple conversations going on all over the floor; there weren't nearly as many people as there had been in December, so everyone had someone to talk to. I accompanied some people on a secret trip to the basement, where we raided for shirts. I looked for one I might like. Although the pink baby doll shirt looked good on coffeechica, I didn't think it would work for me. I was hoping for a black one, but they were all XXXL. We found a white one in the box upstairs.

This is also where I encountered the illustrious jameth, whom I had never heard of before this business. But apparently he's Famous on the Internet. Or at least LiveJournal, where he's a legendary troll. But a good-natured troll who does it for the lulz. He was there schmoozing it up in hopes of getting on the Advisory Board. coffeechica remarked that he was very sparkly and that he was "farting glitter." I thought I spied some actual glitter on his eyelashes, which were as long as mine, but she said his eyelids were just shiny.

marta dazzled us all with the power of LJ Mobile, which allowed her to instantly show the world a shirtless jameth and, earlier, allsunday with a lobster on her head.

I saw a guy who looked vaguely familiar, and he was talking to people, and someone asked if I knew who he he was. He was Abe, which did not ping me at first. Then he clarified: burr86. Oh! And he knew I was spectralbovine because apparently people know me. I must say, I was both amused and comforted by the fact that everyone was decidedly non-geeky about calling people by their LJ names. To these people, they were just as good and relevant as the name on your birth certificate. These are the names we chose for ourselves, after all.

Strange bit of trivia: burr86 actually works for 6A, not LJ. But 6A is still responsible for LJ's servers, or something like that.

Everyone was hungry, so we eventually wrangled people together for a dinner group. Sadly, marta stayed behind to perform hostess duties even though she wasn't offically a hostess. I gave her a hug goodbye, and she thanked me for being nice.

We walked down to Osha since the LJ folk had tried to go there for lunch earlier but had been called back for a meeting, and ferrell really wanted some pumpkin curry. Seating order for the oldbies (how many of you are there, even?), clockwise as usual: allsunday across from me by the wall, arie, ferrell, coffeechica, chasethestars on the end, burr86, hachi, janinedog, spectralbovine. You might notice that we two non-staff people ended up at one end of the table, segregated from everyone else. Oh snap!

The food was universally great, and I satisfied my craving for chicken pad Thai. At the end of the meal, coffeechica gave a lovely, succinct toast: "To surviving the past, embracing the present, and hoping for the future."

It was really nice to see everyone again, and I think they're planning on doing this sort of thing regularly, so it'll be fun to see them yet again! They're fun people. We talked and laughed and enjoyed ourselves.

Also, I ate an orchid.