Kris, Me, Jon and Ellen at the Orange Vision Christmas party in 2004

Whilst I don’t want to over play my move to California (and I think it can be said that I have been doing so recently - this blog is testament to that), but as soon as my feet touch the ground at SFO it almost feels as if the next era of my life is set to begin. So as the final hours tick away on this one, I just wanted to pay tribute to three people who have become very important to me over the last four or five years.


I got to know Kris Benbow soon after returning from university, when I decided to return to McDonald’s on a full-time basis. Some would say my return was a foolish decision (and looking back, I’m inclined to agree), but I actually look on this care-free time as perhaps one of the best periods of my life.

On my first shift back, I was shocked to find that this guy Kris had been promoted to manager. It quickly transpired that he considered his role more that of entertainment officer rather than floor manager, and made everyone’s shifts there much more enjoyable as a result, including my own.

As we both took extra shifts cleaning stock rooms and taking early morning deliveries, we quickly became good friends, and Kris a person I felt able to talk to about anything - although it usually revolved around one particular problem woman at the time!

In the intervening years, this friendship has seen trips to Wales (with alarming regularity), Torquay, and even the other side of the world. Whilst these day’s he seems only able to travel as far as the local pub, at least I’ll know where to find him whenever I return home, and I’m glad of that.


I have known Jon Roobottom for many years, but we only really became good friends thanks to our shared love of the web. Originally, Jon went to university to study electronics, and then virtual reality, before becoming more focused on web design. Unfortunately for Jon, he didn’t really have a design lead education, and his early attempts were perhaps unimaginative.

However, after two and a half years working as a web developer at design agency Trinity, he has built up an impressive portfolio of work. Indeed this, coupled with his passion for photography (with many shots that I think are just pure genius), I now look to him for inspiration and critique.

We often discuss joint initiatives and projects (a podcast is the latest thought). Whilst a number of these have failed to get of the ground, we did have one little success in the rdc theme, and it’s because of this, that I find myself at Ning today.

I don’t think I can mention Jon, without talking about his beliefs, that are large part of who he is today. Given that I am someone who moves between an atheist and just plain doubtful, I enjoy being able to debate this (and other) issues with him, which give me a greater sense of who I am, and where we all are.

Finally, it would seem he is starting to become a star in his own right, and you will be able to see him speak at 20×2 this coming November in London.


Last, but by no means least, my favourite lady friend! Again, like Jon, I have known Ellen Sanders since secondary school, but we only became really great friends since my return from university.

Back in those early days, I would travel round to her place, watch a movie, and talk about the worries and news of the day. Yes, we did once rent ‘Who Wants to be an Erotic Billionaire’ but it was a total accident, and were quick to return it once we spotted our mistake!!

I also have Ellen to thank for my first kiss (although not passionate), which is one example of many which demonstrates her amazing kindness!

She is the best friend a grumpy old git like me could ever ask for, and indeed in these final few hours as I worry about things I shouldn’t be worrying about (almost complaining about the fact that I have to go to California… yeah I know), she is there telling me to “live like there’s no tomorrow, love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like no-ones watching”. Valuable word’s of advice I intend to follow.

If my life was a film (and at times it feels like it), Ellen would certainly be the leading lady.

Not forgetting…

I didn’t want to finish this post without acknowledging all my many other great friends, who I am also immensely proud to know (you know who you are). All of you will be very much missed, and I look forward to many of you joining me in sunny California over the coming months and years. In the meantime, keep those Flickr streams flowing, the e-mail channels stuffed, and my Skype headset buzzing!

A Footnote

Regular readers may have noticed that this blog has become increasingly reflective, and indeed soppy over the last few months, and for that I can only apologise. I do however think there is some value in a blog as a personal refection of your own experiences. Hopefully in years to come, this will be a record of what was a great (and much needed) transition in my life… or, more embarrassingly, a load of old bollocks that came to nothing (but let’s hope not).

So here’s to the next few months, back to blogging about dodgy television adverts, old pairs of shoes and observations from across the pond. It has been said that I should blog more about living in California and what working at a web2.0 company is like, and as much as I am able to do so, I plan on doing just that.

See you on the other side.


11 responses so far. Go on, add yours!

 Gravatar#1 On October 2, 2006 8:56 AM, Si Jobling said...

I keep saying it fella but good luck over on The Other Side and keep in touch.

Its a shame you didn't get to hang around for much of the Multipack Antics but I don't blame you taking such an opportunity. P*ssed nerds talking about Web in Walsall or buzzing nerds talking about Web in San Fran? Tough call. ;)

Make sure you keep blogging about what you're getting up to in Silicon Valley, give us a bit of inside info on Ning (like Mark Cutts does with Google). We want all the filth...

 Gravatar#2 On October 2, 2006 11:20 PM, Lewis Burden said...

Its been great to have you back and will be again whenever you return! For the small amount of time we have spent together during your return, every ocassion has been a laugh! I like your company, views and thoughts!

Your source of knowledge when I have asked about certain web things has never let me down.

Heres to you lloydy!

 Gravatar#3 On October 3, 2006 7:09 PM, Kris said...

I second that, Here’s to you mate! The most unreliable time keeper I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, but a pleasure is exactly what it has always been!

I always said you’d do well in life and I hope things work out perfectly for you!

I’ll miss our pointless trips to random destinations and our late night service station coffee breaks! You’re a great friend Paul, and a huge part of my life over the last 5 years. You were there for the time that I considered to be the worst time in my life and you were certainly ‘Gleebing’ it up for the time I have always considered to be the best!

You’re a friend for life and I will miss you!

Keep in Touch!


 Gravatar#4 On October 3, 2006 11:48 PM, matt said...

the greatest blog in the world? NO, it is just a tribute (or matter of opinion)

 Gravatar#5 On October 4, 2006 9:42 AM, Jon Roobottom said...

Yeah, you're ok I suppose! Ah, my most geeky friend (and I suspect I yours) have an amazing time in the US, and use that English accent wisely!

Don't be an e-mail stranger, and we'll see ya at Christmas buddy.

 Gravatar#6 On October 6, 2006 12:47 PM, Mark said...

Cheers for having me on that list of friends your "immensely proud to know"
..... Oh hang on I'm not on there :-(

Was that really the best picture of Ruth you could find?!

 Gravatar#7 On October 6, 2006 5:31 PM, Paul said...

Sorry Mark! I'm actually planning on uploading a lot of photos that I have on this site, and offline to Flickr over the coming months to coincide with the new version of this site - so that link should make more sense soon, with you mug in a prime position!

 Gravatar#8 On October 6, 2006 5:32 PM, Paul said...

Oh, and thanks everybody for your kind words! It is really very much appreciated, and I look forward to seeing you all soon!

 Gravatar#9 On October 7, 2006 2:17 PM, Gareth Brown said...


Have a great time, good luck for the future, wish i could have got to know you more (multipack) being as im also a Walsall boy and fellow web designer etc.. Now go and give the yanks hell and show em' how we do things in the UK..

Can't wait for futer blog posts on life in google county ;)

Drink a british beer for me when you are over there!!

 Gravatar#10 On October 9, 2006 2:09 PM, Stuart Gray said...

America, eh? Have fun. I hope everything goes well for you out there.

 Gravatar#11 On October 27, 2006 2:33 PM, Krystyn said...

I like your soppy posts. :)

And I'm not just saying that because I am trying to sweeten you up enough to want to redesign MY website.

Giggle. Snort.

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