Impromptu dinner, great conversation

Posted by John Morada on Apr 20, 2019 6:04:00 PM
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Many thanks to Indra Mohan and Abhishek Shukla for joining the Agile Stacks leadership at Paul Martin's America restaurant in San Mateo. The entire leadership team was in town for planning meetings. And our impromptu dinner reservation made for a great way to end the week.

Let me ask, "what is it about breaking bread with colleagues that makes the entire business scenario seem less stressful?" Many articles are prescribing why more business should occur over lunch or dinner. Too often the heavy focus is on making something happen like closing a deal or hiring someone. That just did not seem like the case during our dinner.

Seating at 6p and on the outside patio, the pleasant breeze provided an urgency for drinks to warm the insides. Commensurate of the usual Silicon Valley attire, we wore fleeces or hoodies of some sort. But those did not stay on too long once the libations arrived and the conversation moved from hello to tech talk. By 6:20p and onward we covered OpenShift, Kubernetes, our market size, and customers. Appetizers arrived soon thereafter. Those came and went as quickly as the tech topics. The spinach & artichoke dip, grilled Castroville artichokes, and crab cake were shared. Saying the dishes were good is an understatement; savory and delightful is more like it.

I think I should say a few words about our venue. Paul Martin's American Grill is located in the Hillsdale Mall in San Mateo. The location is convenient as an anchor to the mall, and being mid-Penninsula made it an accessible commute. Choosing this restaurant for the third time in a matter of two months is starting to feel like a stress-free decision for every meal; business or personal. The wait staff and management are very attentive. Counting the manager having stopped by three times, I sensed a sincere attention to customer service. This level of service earned a Yelp 5-star rating from me.

Pairing their staff's attentiveness with our delicious main dishes, we found ourselves and our conversation in a relaxed mood. Dropping much of the tech talk, we made personal connections and heard personal opinions. We had a few funny jokes about a recent survey of what middle-class means in our neck of the woods. In case you missed it, the median income is $400,000 as written by Business Insider. Sardonic as we may want to imagine the truth of that figure, there is an emotional reality for those of us who live here.

Julie Child put it "A party without a cake is just a meeting." When the dessert menu came around, we did not hide that this became a better dinner when paired with butter cake and banana cream pie. And our conversation became a little more lively (code word for it really got interesting) as we talked about past M&A and recent IPOs.

Closing out the night, we are blessed by the continued support of our Board and investors. As Agile Stacks grows, the leadership conversations expand and extend to new areas of running the company. The company is maturing out of its appetizer stage and striding to be a main course for enterprise customers.

As we said our goodbyes, we had a jovial feeling of not having to carry promises or commitments away from the dinner table. Oh wait, we did make a promise - to do this again soon. If we can repeat the kindred nature of non-structured, non-motivated, and non-controlled conversation from appetizer to dessert then we may just have a formula.


(clockwise from bottom left: Indra Mohan, John Mathon, John Morada, Sean O'Shaughnessey, Igor Mameshin, Abhishek Shukla)

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