The entry below is classified as a LEGACY post, meaning that it was written (well) before the current version of Avalonstar was released. Although these posts have survived the numerous moves over years, there is no guarantee that they've survived the trip unscathed (especially the links).

The (mt) Reprise

Ahhh, nothing like tea to keep you going in the morning. So let's start with thi... hmm? (Insert "Charlie Brown" style adult voice.) Yeah, that's my new mug. What? Yep, it has the Media Temple logo on it. When did I get it? Oh yeah! That's what I was going to write about. Well folks, I found them, and today on Avalonstar--the reprise to the "mailbox mystery."

Two days ago, I had made another 85-mile trip to Los Angeles to visit Jenni. After eating, getting my first model in a long time, and spending money elsewhere for no reason, we found ourselves back in Santa Monica. Jen was heading to a haircut at the Vidal Sassoon Academy, so I had about 2-and-a-half hours to spare. "Why don't you try going around the block to find Media Temple, and try calling Jason too," she said. Well, here was my chance, right smack in the middle of the day, so they had to be in business. After dropping her off, I took a few laps around the block, finding nothing. Discouraged, I decided to park at the mall and walk around. So what does a detective do when he gets lost? Go back to where it began.

It was RIGHT THERE.Hmm, a listing.

"Holy painted signs, Batman," I thought (not really, but something along that line). Now remember that it was 10PM when I saw this building the first time, so it would have never occurred to me to look. Besides, the sign pointed to the alley--who would want to go down a dark alley at that time of the night? But this time, it was a bright and sunny day and I could clearly see that the alley was clear, so I walked down. (Let me tell you that I have a much deeper appreciation for people that like to do their snooping work during the day. Forget doing it at night, unless you have a flashlight and can look inconspicuous using it, you'll miss stuff like this.) So I walked up and there was a steel door leading to another alley (to the back of the storefronts I assumed), and then a doorbell next to it. Next thing I'll mention is to assume nothing when you're looking for an address in the city, because I thought "storefront", "windows" and "logo," none of which I found the first time around.

I called Jason, and thankfully he was at the office. I requested the tour that he had offered and he said he'd be right out. "So, test time," I thought, "if he walks down that alley, bingo, mission complete." So about 2 minutes pass, and I saw a man a little taller than I, white and surfer-looking. The man in front of him opened the door for me and I walked in. "Jason?" "Yep." Bullseye.

Conversing as we walked in to the Media Temple "Lair", he introduced me to pretty much every employee that was working that day. The sales managers, the support techs (who for some reason worked without the lights on), the admins and the designer. To tell you the truth, I was amazed, I never thought I would actually see the place that contained the staff of one of the largest and most respected hosting companies in the world, let alone in our community. Although Jason had said that they were already in the process of moving out, which was backed up by the huge number of boxes lying around, it was still a great feeling to be there.

Moving Out

Sadly, the excitement had to come to and end, as people there do work, so we made our way out and ran into a few other employees (Ryan, Edward and David). I think you'll remember David from the prior article:

The stripes on that mailbox look surprisingly similar to the stripes at the top of mediatemple's navigation bar. Coincidence? I think not =)

What amazed me even more than the building were the employees. They were like people I wanted to work with, fun, outgoing, great senses of humor. As this was the first time I had ever met the employees of a company I did business with (excluding personal clients of mine), it was great to know how involved they were with their clients and how excited they were to be helping out the CSS-generation of sites, such as my own and Binary Bonsai. Which brings up another point, talking about websites online is one thing, but when you hear somebody say "Oh, I've been to your site," it's a totally different feeling. Ed tried to talk to me in Tagalog (the Filipino national language), and I borked, because I don't know a single word. He also said I looked Chinese or Cambodian--thoughts? Well, we moved on to talk about some future developments coming up, such as Ruby on Rails (for the shared server line) and a redesign for mediatemple.net... wait, am I allowed to say that? Oh well, hype can be good I guess.

So sure, I got a t-shirt, some lanyards and a few mugs, but that's not the point. The point was never to expose them, I just simply wanted to meet the people who were taking care of my site, just as anybody would want to gain that level of comfort by actually seeing the people at a company doing their job. With all the scams and garage-based operations, it's nice to know that some of the smaller companies on the internet are actually legit in more ways than just the way they do business. Media Temple has proven themselves in my eyes to be a business that has done it all and wants to do more, and that really appeals to my entrepreneurial side. Keep an eye out in the blogosphere, because we're the company's next target.

So is that the end? Not by a long shot. This story is not over. I took a trek that night to their new HQ on National Boulevard in Culver City and I have to say the architecture blows away anything I've ever seen before, and they'll be AOL's neighbors as well. They have invited me to their launch party, and when that happens, you'll finally have your pictures. Until then, the case is solved, but the aftermath has just begun.

Avalonstar is the 22-year-old personal website of Bryan Veloso: content creator, retired professional user interface designer, and compass of purpose.
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