Seattle-loving

I declare I’m a really bad blogger because my backlogs go up to a year ago.

So this is my bucket list  for Seattle if you’re bound there:

Continue reading “Seattle-loving”

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Travelling from SeaTac

If you have the good fortune of visiting Seattle (lucky you!) and you’re looking to travel downtown from the airport, I’ll highly recommend you to take the light rail also known as Link from the airport!

If you see the costs you’ll understand what I mean:

Traveling to downtown
A ride on the Link light rail: USD$2.40
Share ride on Shuttle Express: USD$33
Downtown Airporter: USD$18

Shuttle Express will drop you at the door step of wherever you might want to go and will leave only if there are sufficient people to fill a mini van, typically about 8 – 10 people. Downtown Airporter stops only at major hotels and leaves in 30 minute intervals.

The Link doesn’t head beyond Seattle CBD area so if you’re staying somewhere further than the city (that is across the Portage Bay or in Bellevue/Mercer Island), you’ll definitely need to connect to another service. From the airport arrival hall, it’s a bit of a hike to the Link station too. It’s not a big problem if you’re having wheelie luggage but if you’re lugging hand luggage, it will be tricky.

Unlike our blessed Changi Airport, it costs USD$5 to rent a luggage cart. I know right – what a cultural shock.

I was there during the winter to spring transition and it was a very drafty and chilly walk to the Link station. And since that was my first wintry experience, I thought my fingers were going to drop off anytime soon.

Light rail trains

You purchase a ticket ((somewhat like a stored value card) at the Link station before you head up to the platform. The funny thing is, there are no barricades anywhere that governs payment. So commuters pretty much goes by the “honour” system of tapping before of after they get on the trains. I’m guessing this is where a lot of taxpayers money goes..

The Link is not crowded in the least and it’s a pretty nice ride out to the city. It took me about 25 minutes from the airport to get to downtown where I was staying.

There was space to put your luggage

This is what the interior looks like

A letter back home

” Hi guys,

Wanted to do a quick shout out to everybody back home! Hope all is well and dandy. It’s getting much warmer in Seattle and I am dealing better with the cold. It’s no joke to be caught in the wind. Last week, it was so windy that the rain fell sideways. A first time for everything too – I walked in the snow to work last Friday! I was so excited about the snow and all the Seattleites were going, “Oh damn the snow.”

It’s been a great experience being here in the hub of all activity. I’ve had many sharing sessions and learnt so much stuff that everything is spilling out of my head. The working style and dynamics are very different from Singapore and I kind of miss the buzz, noise and activity in our shophouse. Tomorrow, I’m going to see the Microsoft campus.

Another week to go in Seattle before I see the lights in New York. Many thanks to all for holding down the fort when I’m away.

Missing everyone and sending all my happy thoughts back (heart shape x3 and <3). Please have some fish soup and sotong balls for me. ”

17 to 31 March

Seattle: 18 to 29 March 2013

So I’m in USA now, working from the Seattle office. This is such a great opportunity to be able to work from the Seattle office. Today is my second day in the office.

While I will do up a proper post soon, this is a short post on my top line observations about USA.

1. Nice and welcoming people with exceptional service: I think Americans are generally warmer and nicer as compared to Asians. When I went to a fish and chips place alone, I struck up conversation with a couple of patrons next to me and we had a mighty conversation about how some people are so ignorant about the Internet. The service staff also go to lengths to make sure that you are taken care of. When I was at AT&T trying to find a prepaid solution that suits my needs, Jose Galvez, the service staff was an absolute angel.

2. Working styles and dynamics: I think a lot of time we take our Singapore office set up for granted. After spending just merely two days here, I realise how much of a luxury it is to have everyone consolidated in one place. In the Seattle office, due to geographical boundaries, a lot of meetings take place via calls and video conferencing. Whatever happened to instantaneous responses that we are so used to?

3. Relationships vs transactions: Clients tend to be more of a “relationship” as opposed to being more transactional. I think a lot of times, clients call us for things that they need/want. We talk about building trust & relationship with our clients all the time but if client interactions are merely transactional, this trust will surely need some work. When I happen to hear client calls, they’re more like, “Oh hi, how are you? I hear that…” instead of our, “Hi XXX, just wanted to check with you on…”

4. Space and noise: The Seattle office is a lot more spread out than Singapore’s office simply because well, land is cheaper than Singapore’s. Singapore’s compact office layout facilitates more conversations as opposed to Seattle’s more spaced out layout. I can go for hours without having a conversation here which is not possible in Singapore.

5. Time: I think the Americans are a lot better with time than we are because they are more focused with meetings. Each meeting seems to come with an agenda, with each discussion point allocated an X amount of time. Also, lunch appears to be mostly brown bags at your desks. Well perhaps, people tend to bring lunch from home (as it is cheaper to cook) and also, it is more efficient to eat and work I guess. You work while you eat, you get to work on time and you get off work on time.

6. Language nuances: We follow British English which has different names for certain stuff. E.g. an elevator is a lift. Also, we say to “top up” a prepaid card and here, it is to “refill” a prepaid card. I have to remember to say “danz” class instead of dance class.