Archive for the ‘Doing Business in Public’ Category

Programming and development that doesn’t suck

Andy Parkhouse - August 5th, 2013

This position has now been filled but thank you for your interest 🙂

We’re looking for a Developer to work with either Viral Ad Network or Delib. These companies are part of Team Rubber; you can find out more from our blogs. We think we have a pretty good environment in which to write software. We have a big airy studio in a listed building in Central Bristol. It’s not perfect; it’s a bit busy, but we care and say thanks, and we go out for lunches and drink together after work and I reckon that counts for a lot. We’ve got pretty good at using agile development processes like Scrum and Kanban. We also have version control, testing, and decent chairs (or sofas to work on if that’s more your style). Bring your own laptop or we can supply one – you’ll get a decent quality Macbook Pro.


Typically we work well with people who’ve got a Computer Science degree and have been coding since at least their early teens. YMMV. We prefer people who can write.


We need to get some web app and operations stuff done, here’s the outline:

– We generally use XHTML, CSS and Javascript. There may be other ways to do it, but we’ve found these ones are pretty good and not too much hassle. We have to support a wide range of browsers including, increasingly, mobiles and tablets.


– We generally use python. Generally python doesn’t suck. We work with python frameworks including Pyramid, Zope and Plone. You don’t need to have used these, but experience with a web framework might be useful.


– There are some database things to do. Sometimes in various flavours of SQL or NoSQL or whatever.


– We have lots of devops things, including deployment automation for servers around the world; sysadmin and shell scripting ftw.


– We’ll like you more if you can combine programming and UI/UX; we try to avoid silos, I prefer working with people who can solve an interesting computational problem and put together a good GUI to hide the computation from the humans. Being a photoshop guru is not essential though.


Could be full-time, part-time or freelance scenario. There’s a bunch of things to get done right now. They’re usually interesting. There’ll probably be some more things to do after that. Sound interesting? Senda cover letter and your CV to We don’t place too much faith in CVs, the covering letter is really what we look at. If we like the look of yours we’ll get you in for a standard hiring interview. No applications will be accepted via recruitment companies.




Andy (Director) and Jess (Developer)


VAN’s American adventures (part 1)

Chris Quigley - April 23rd, 2013

The more observant of Team Rubber will have noticed that I’ve been around even less than usual for the last month – which is largely due to the fact that I’ve been travelling around the US, on a magical mystery of a VAN tour – spreading the good VAN love and running #KittenCamps across the country with Liz and Catherine (my girlfriend).

To share some of our experiences, here’s a few tidbits from the various places and people we’ve stumbled across:

SXSW (Austin)

The key to SXSW’s awesomeness is its mix of awesome speakers, awesome attendees and beer, giving it a university-type of feel – with a healthy mix of learning and LOLZ. The most inspirational talks I went to this year included hearing Elon Musk openly talking about his work, from founding and selling PayPal, through to dedicating his life to electric cars (through his Tesla Car company) and space exploration (through his Space X company). Given his track record, it was easy to impressed by him, however his dedication to huge ideas matched by his intelligence (during the talk he gave a comprehensive explanation of battery technology) was truly inspiring. Possibly the most interesting question he gave an answer to was a question about his biggest mistake – which he said was *hiring people based soley on talent and not character*, which I thought was a fascinating response (and one to which I’m wholly signed up to).

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New York

New York was the true start to VAN’s US adventures. Given the size of the city and its reputation as a hard-working / hard-nosed city it felt like a bit of a baptism of fire – however, from the very first meeting we had Liz and I were very much welcomed with open arms by all agencies we met. Testament to the good will for us was the turnout at our New York #KittenCamp event – which was a complete sell out (180+) and a huge success. Special thanks goes to Mark Fallows @ McCann for his heroics in a cat suit, along with Faris and Rosie for their heroics in horse and dog suits 😉

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Along with the title of the Windy City, Chicago’s best known for its amazing architecture, extraordinary deep pan pizzas, home of ad agency DraftFCB (whose founder Howard Draft has a whole Chicago street named after him) and the home of the Chicago Bulls basketball team. What we also discovered was that Chicago is perishingly cold in March, which made experiencing all of the above a little bit more of a challenge. I’m pleased to say that we did manage to experience all that Chicago offers, highlights including watching the Chicago Bulls end Miami Heat’s 22 game unbeaten run and see modern day basketball legend Le Bron James in near tears. From a work perspective the number of meetings was less intense, however we did meet some great people doing awesome viral stuff (including this corker from Draft) and we finally had some time to dedicate to organising our San Francisco #KittenCamp extravaganza.

Screen Shot 2013 04 23 at 12.16.31 300x195 VANs American adventures (part 1)

Screen Shot 2013 04 23 at 12.16.05 300x196 VANs American adventures (part 1)

San Francisco

Having spent the previous week in sub zero temperatures in Chicago, the sun and pleasant spring clime of San Francisco was a relief; and so was the laid-back and assured self-confidence that life on the West Coast brings. San Francisco again saw an intense number of agency meetings for both me and Liz, with Catherine starting to get a better understanding of the Silicon Valley investment space. An interesting trend we noticed across San Francisco was a love of awesome offices and dogs – and in Zynga’s case, a good mix of both (I particularly loved their *barking lot* concept!) Another standout office was Monkey Inferno’s, which included their own in-office chef, and boutique-hotel styled over-night bedroom.

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Running #KittenCamps in new cities is always a daunting prospect, however San Francisco seemed to come together easier than most – to the point that in the end we were turning people away for the fear of being over-booked! The only challenge we had was in finding a LOL Puppy to battle against, however in the end all came good with Ken Pontac (of Happy Tree Friends fame – Andy’s favourite web series and inspiration for Team Rubber’s DudeCorp) stepping in at the last minute to save the day (and lose the meme battle).

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Screen Shot 2013 04 23 at 12.17.151 300x195 VANs American adventures (part 1)

Aside from the obvious fun that comes from experiencing new cities, the last month has been pretty exhausting, so I’m pleased to be off to South America travelling. I’ll be back in New York for mid May to continue VAN’s US work – living in-between there and San Francisco ’til the end of July when I’ll be back in London. A huge thanks to everyone from Team Rubber who helped organise the adventure so far, especially Matt for the late nights organising meetings and Liz for enduring 4 weeks of travel with me. And as a final note, I can’t imagine traveling for a month without the help of AirBnB hosts to provide awesome accommodation. My favourite of the trip was our San Francisco SoMa loft apartment . . .

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Rubber meet Monkey

Chris Quigley - April 13th, 2013

Last week I had the (random) fortune of meeting the team at Monkey Inferno in San Francisco. The encounter was sparked by an invitation to our San Francisco #KittenCamp event, and, through the intrigue of their CEO Shaan, led to an invitation to meet and chat.

Screen Shot 2013 04 13 at 10.43.53 300x201 Rubber meet Monkey

Over the last month I’ve had 40+ meetings with a whole host of interesting companies across the US, but Monkey Inferno stands out as a company that chimes most closely with what Team Rubber is about – and felt like a Team Rubber twin 1000’s of miles and several time zones away from our Bristol HQ.

And by twin I don’t mean the Danny Devito / Arnold Schwarzneggerkinda twin, but more like Jedward i.e. equally awesome and dedicated to creative excellence (LOL). Here are some of the similarities I pulled out of my time hanging with the Monkey guys:

Investment in ideas

Monkey Inferno are dedicated to ideas. They call themselves an idea incubator and are set up to invest in good ideas, and learn from failed ideas. They run 3 ventures at the same time (similar to Rubber’s 3: Delib, Rubber Republic and VAN). Past ideas that they’ve trialled include Jolitics – a Delib type venture designed to change how people interact with democracy; and new ventures include Beer Hunt – a beer discovery and tracking app.

Screen Shot 2013 04 13 at 10.26.20 Rubber meet Monkey

Small smart teams with centralised support

The way Monkey Inferno runs also has similarities to Rubber. For each of their ideas, they put together a small team – usually a pair of developers, dedicated to building a v.1 of the app. Each individual team is then supported by a central team which provide project management, front end development, design and admin – as well as an awesome office environment (and team chef). Rubber runs in a similar way – with the Team Rubber group providing centralised admin, finance, office and management support to each of the Rubber companies – with levels of support depending on the needs of the company. We sadly don’t provide a team chef ;-(

Random but fun company names and ethos

When I asked Shaan where the Monkey Inferno name came from he pretty much shrugged and said *it just sounded fun*. But the name / brand of a company is super important to its ethos – i.e. characterful sounding companies will attract characterful people – and . And as Elon Musk pointed out at SXSW this year, character is hugely important in a successful team.

Screen Shot 2013 04 13 at 10.30.07 300x222 Rubber meet Monkey

Lunch Club vs in-house chef

Possibly the biggest difference between Rubber and Monkey lies in the way our lunch is prepared. Whereas the guys at Monkey Inferno have their own in-office chef, Team Rubber (or at least our London office) run *lunch club* – where members of the team prepare lunch for the rest of the team on a daily basis.

Screen Shot 2013 04 13 at 10.33.59 300x206 Rubber meet Monkey

Screen Shot 2013 04 13 at 10.40.55 300x170 Rubber meet Monkey

It’s always nice to meet kindred spirit, and if there’s one thing our fortunate meeting reiterated is the importance of *generosity* in life (and work). The whole encounter started with us inviting the Monkey team for free beers and lolz at #Kittencamp SF, and led to Monkey giving back with an invite to their Beer tasting evening – good rubber karma begetting good monkey karma . . .

TeamRubber does *Cribs* – London office special

Chris Quigley - February 21st, 2013

As the TeamRubber team grows with new people and offices being added around the world, I thought I’d go all MTV and do a London office cribs special.

So, here’s a quick tour of our (relatively) new London office which is deep in the heart of Soho’s Berwick Street market:

Our kitchen table (and LunchClub HQ)

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Somewhere to relax and kick-back

Image 1 225x300 TeamRubber does *Cribs*   London office special

The team hard(ish) at work

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Office motto

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And the view of Berwick Street market (during Friday lunchtime prayers at the mini-mosque next door)

Image 4 225x300 TeamRubber does *Cribs*   London office special

The London office is open for anyone to come along and work. There’s generally a couple of desks free + always the kitchen table and sofa available – so we look forward to seeing you!


Say hello to VAN – our newest company

Chris Quigley - February 17th, 2013

TeamRubber companies have a strong history of innovation, always making sure we’re at the cutting edge of every field we work in – and changing quickly when we’re not. One of the reasons we’ve been able to innovate and change, as the market changes and evolves is a mix of lean teams, agile thinking and strong leadership.

Of course we haven’t always got it right, but in the last 18 months more than ever across all Team Rubber companies we’ve put a real focus on making sure we’re in a position to grow valuable companies with long term visions.

And the latest company to evolve is VAN. VAN started out life as Viral Ad Network, an ad network dedicated to distributing viral videos, and has grown into a suite of apps dedicated to helping brands and agencies with every part of the viral video-making process.

VAN logo 300x120 Say hello to VAN   our newest company


As we put it *VAN is a suite of apps for makers and marketers*. The main driver behind the evolution of VAN from the Viral Ad Network came out of two things – a matching of market opportunity with team capacity / skills. Looking at the evolving digital marketing space it has become clear that *content is king* and an ever-important part of the marketing mix. Alongside the importance of content is also the rise of the use of apps / technology in facilitating various parts of the marketing process – the most obvious being SMM (Social Media Management) apps like Buddy Media and Wildfire.

So using Rubber Republic’s heritage in making awesome content and Viral Ad Network’s content distribution experience, VAN is designed to bring technology and content to help agencies and brands around the world make better content and get the most value out of their content.

On launch, VAN is made up of 3 core apps: TubeRank (helping make viral videos), Viral Ad Network (helping distribute viral videos) and #KittenCamp (for IRL LOLZ and learning).

To make the most out of each of the apps users need to sign up to a VAN account. A main focus for the next 6 months is developing the VAN account system, which will become a hub for people in the content making and marketing communities to manage, make, market and monetise their content campaigns through.

To better explore what VAN’s about, check out VAN’s website, read Forbes’ profile of VAN or check out the promo videos for each VAN app below:

TubeRank – helping people make viral videos

0 Say hello to VAN   our newest company

#KittenCamp – IRL LOLZ and learning

0 Say hello to VAN   our newest company

Viral Ad Network – video distribution

0 Say hello to VAN   our newest company

Delib’s down under tour reaches the halfway mark ;)

Rowena Farr - February 8th, 2013

Delib’s third Australian tour has just reached the halfway mark. Here’s a snapshot of what we have been up to so far 😉

Stop off numbero uno – Singapore

After *just* about managing to take off in the snow we spent a grueling 13 hours getting to Singapore. Only to be greeted by the one and only Angry Birds 😉

Angry birds in Singapore  225x300 Delibs down under tour reaches the halfway mark ;)

Ben posing with angry birds "Row take a photo, take a photo ;)"


Stop off numero dos – Brisbane

Home of Delib AU – well Dan and James that is (Craig lives in Canberra which is A.C.T territory… yes Ben A.C.T – Australian Capital Territory) & our shiney desk space in Reading Room Brisbane. After another 8 hour flight we were finally re-united with the Delib AU team:

The Delib AU team reunite  300x225 Delibs down under tour reaches the halfway mark ;)

The Delib AU team reunited for our first lunch together

Stop numero tres – Adelaide for the day

Yes that’s right we flew 2.5 hours each way for a client meeting…! Portugal and back anyone?!

Tea Tree Gulley Council  224x300 Delibs down under tour reaches the halfway mark ;)

Dan catches up after a meeting with City of Tee Tree Gully


Stop numero cuatro – Perth

5 hours from Brisbane and another mildly delayed flight later we land in Perth. At the weekend I went cycling in 36 degree heat whilst Ben decided to adventure round Freemantle prison. You can imagine who was a little more burnt of the two! After some useful meetings, Dan and I head up to King’s Park whilst waiting for Dan and Ben to wrap up a last minute appointment:

Dan and Rowena in Perth  300x224 Delibs down under tour reaches the halfway mark ;)

Rowena & Dan head up to King's park post client meeting

Stop numero cinco – Adelaide

Once Dan had retrieved his bag that was 😉 yes it got stuck on the conveyer belt! Ask Ben about how much he loves his really handy (but slightly broken) small suitcase – he really loves the useful handle on it…!

Dan retreiving his bag 224x300 Delibs down under tour reaches the halfway mark ;)

"Nope that is the last bag & yes it is stuck"


Stop numero seis – Melbourne

After a slightly bumpy landing coming in, we’re now in Melbourne for a few days. Today we’re catching up and prepping for more adventures next week. My inner transport geek is mildly excited about hopping on a tram over the weekend 😉

Melbourne trams  225x300 Delibs down under tour reaches the halfway mark ;)

Ben watching out for trams..


Watch this space for more adventures from Delib AU down under.

Account Management that won’t suck – Delib, Bristol UK

Rowena Farr - June 15th, 2012

(This is an ad for a job at Delib, part of Team Rubber)

I need someone to talk to our government and public sector customers a lot, helping them get the most from our digital democracy apps, and helping them engage and consult citizens well.

The most important goal for Delib is to have happy customers who keep using our apps (which are typically used on an annual subscription basis); great account management is vital for this. It’s about retention retention retention, and if we get it right it’s an all round win: our customers are happy, we’re happy, and together we’re helping citizens connect better with decision making.

We work in Bristol and London (UK), and Canberra (Australia); this job is based in Bristol, working with customers around the world. The job doesn’t suck; well maybe it does sometimes (mostly because our customers are in different timezones which can sometimes mean early starts or working late, but not usually because we screwed up), but generally it’s pretty good.

The people here are smart, demanding and have each other’s backs. The products are awesome, and we do something worthwhile. We work with government at the highest levels, and we work with local neighbourhoods and niche communities that are just as important.

We share studio space with Viral Ad Network and Rubber Republic (I’m a co-founder of both), which makes the place varied and interesting, but this job is very firmly with Delib. The challenge is to build a world-wide community of customers who are delighted with our democracy apps, and I need someone who will thrive on that (and not just for the short-term; we make long-term hires and aim to keep people learning and rewarded).

The account management role is well defined. It’s a vital connection between the work of our sales team and the work of our production team who build, maintain and support our apps. It also involves working with our studio services and financials team.

The work, in bullet points

  • Be responsible for a specific set of our customers; and also assist other account managers (currently one-and-a-bit) as needed, to cover absence, holidays etc.
  • Work with sales team to pitch and win opportunities, then take those customers through our on-boarding process (meh, buzzwords), and then maintain the account relationship and ensure we retain the customer.
  • Communicate with customers by phone, email, and face to face as needed; (this is not a job for anyone who’s afraid of the phone or meeting people).
  • Identify and grow opportunities within existing accounts where additional products/services can be useful to the customer (you’ll need to be comfortable selling to people you have relationships with, but this role will never involve cold-selling, that’s a promise).
  • Manage feedback on product improvement and proactively identify possible new features.
  • Help resolve support and account admin issues.
  • Work with the production team to get customers’ needs met.
  • Help keep the studio running smoothly by keeping paperwork and admin moving, and being involved in managing scheduling, planning etc.
  • Seek references, recommendations & case study opportunities from customers.
  • Share news and thinking with our customers and the wider digital democracy / gov community (mostly via Twitter, sometimes blog posts).

Requirements / experience

  • A will to win. Winning is best.
  • Strong writing skills; this job involves a lot of writing and it needs to be done well.
  • Happy talking to people on the phone, and in meetings / presenting.
  • Initiative: the cliche is ‘self-starting’. You’ll drown in our environment if you can’t just turn up and work well without prompting or constant prodding. We work flexible hours, and we don’t have time to arse around chasing people who are AWOL or shirking.
  • To have an understanding of business, professional and account management fundamentals. This role is not suitable for people starting their career – genuinely sorry about that, we do hire a lot of fresh graduates at Team Rubber, but I don’t have the time to house-train someone for this role.
  • To thrive on building and maintain relationships with our customers, and also to be able to maintain strong productive relationships with the rest of the team. The role is demanding in this respect as you have to move frequently between different sets of problems, reconcile multiple points of view, and sometimes you’ll have to tell people things that they don’t want to hear; you have to do that well and come out with a win.
  • You’ll need to be able to soak up technical knowledge; you’ll need this to deal with admin tasks that have technical aspects (such as getting domain names set up correctly). You’ll also need it to communicate fluidly with our customers; to do this it’s essential to build an understanding of software engineering fundamentals (not how to program, but the production and operation of software – we can teach this if you have the interest and smarts for it). To help our clients directly, you’ll also need to learn some html and things like embedding rich media.
  • Knowledge about public policy isn’t essential, but you’ll need to cultivate an interest in this. You need to be able to understand the different levels of government and public bodies around the world, and their different functions and needs. You’ll also need to engage with things like data protection.
  • The job involves collaborating to write tenders and pitches. These can be a grind; I won’t pretend otherwise. The solution to this is to get them done well, and take pleasure in winning them.
  • The job is in Bristol, UK. Don’t live here? Relocate, Bristol is awesome.

We also do all the standard tech-company stuff: Mac laptop, second screen, good chair, nice office, nine kinds of tea, company events, and training as you need it. We hate to waste money, but we invest heavily in the things we value: good tools, supporting people and rewarding success.

Who are you? I don’t know. I’ve got no pre-conceptions, only the requirements above. It’s an extremely demanding job, but done well, it’s also enormously fun, challenging and rewarding. Money isn’t mentioned here, but I’ve got some figures in mind; they’re not excessive but you can live on it. Grow with us.

Send a covering letter to Alex, and yes, a CV, tiresome as they are. We don’t place too much faith in CVs but the bad ones help us choose who gets routed to the no pile (we don’t enjoy saying no by the way). The covering letter is really what we look at. If we like the look of yours we’ll get you in for a standard hiring interview. Fancy that? Drop us a line.

Hiring: Software Testing / Test Automation

Andy Parkhouse - May 21st, 2012

We’re rebuilding a big web app and I need someone to take care of testing and engineering test automation.

We have a decent environment (in Bristol) where we write software. It’s not perfect; it’s a bit busy, but we care and say thanks, and the people are ok and I reckon that counts for a lot. We also have version control and testing and decent chairs and lunch, a lack of fear and no pissy politics.

This job will work better if you’re in Bristol, face to face communication is valuable for this role, but we can also work with you remotely. We have irc, and a ticketing system and version control, and we’re used to working with people around the world (we have staff in multiple locations; some of us also contribute to open source projects). We can also overlap time zones (within reason), but you’ll have to provide your own chair and lunch. 😛

You’ll be testing software already, and familiar with tools similar to Selenium and Hudson, as well as being technically capable of talking to our programmers, and solving engineering problems. We’ll be doing interesting things with automation for deployments and system management, and you’ll need to be involved with this. It’s a fun challenge because mistakes cost us real money 🙂

It’s probably a full-time permanent position, but we’ll consider flexible ways of getting stuff done.

Interested? Drop me a line:

WooCons #1 Extras

Andy Parkhouse - May 20th, 2012

I really like the WooCons #1 icon set from WooThemes (drawn by Janik Baumgartner). It’s a great set, with a clean style, and is licensed under GPL(v2). Janik and WooThemes seem like nice people too 🙂

For one of our apps, I needed a couple of extra icons (‘Add Contact’ and ‘Boxes’).

‘Add Contact’ was pretty easy, I take no credit for that. ‘Boxes’ was a hack on Janik’s work, and I’m not totally satisfied with it, but I ran out of time to spend on it.

woocons1 tr extras WooCons #1 Extras

These extras are downloadable here as a zip, licensed under GPL(v2).

Planes, trains and trams (from Austin to San Fran)

Chris Quigley - March 23rd, 2012

Over the last few years I’ve kinda perfected the art of work travel, however the last few weeks taught me a few new lessons. Here’s what I learnt:

Don’t miss your flight (or listen to Tim)

The first plane I’ve ever missed was from Austin to San Fran (thanks to Tim). Unlike in Europe where if you miss a plane you have to buy a new ticket, in the US if you miss your plane they just put you on stand-by for the next flight(s). What we learnt was that lots of other people are put on stand-by too, which means lots of waiting. With 8 hours of waiting for airplanes practice under my belt (special thanks to Tim for that) I now consider myself quite an airplane-waiting-expert. FYI I don’t recommend Austin airport for waiting experiences 🙁
6862797676 a07ac2b7d9 z Planes, trains and trams (from Austin to San Fran)

Sending emails at 10,000 feet is pretty slow
American Express not only put on free Jay Z gigs at SXSW, but they also give you free wifi on American Airlines. The trick is the wifi only works at 10,000 feet, and when your flight is only 40 minutes long – as it is between Austin and Dallas – that means you only have a 10 minute window to use the service, which equates to pretty much x1 email download. Nice idea Amex.
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San Francisco airport is the best (and most mediocre) airport in the world
San Francisco’s domestic terminal is possibly the best airport I’ve ever been in. With it’s white interior, open spaces (with jelly fish sculptures) and selection of *egg chairs*, I was pretty impressed. In fact, I was so impressed that I decided to get to the airport 4 hours early so I could enjoy it on the way back (to London), only to find that the International terminal wasn’t so good. Oh well . . .
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Stay in Airbnb wherever your can is a real travel game-changer. Since using the service, I’ve stayed in some amazing people’s houses / flats across the world, as a posed to spending endless nights in mediocre business hotels.
The place we stayed in in San Francisco is pretty high on the awesomeness list. Perched on the hills next to Twin Peaks (of TV series fame) Tim and I stayed at a pretty pimp modernist house with amazing views across San Francisco. Sadly due to clouds and rain, the view on most days was obscured. The nighttime view was pretty epic though.
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Americans can do trains surprisingly well
I’ve always associated US travel with cars. However, from my experience travelling out to Silicon Valley from San Francisco opened me up to the joys of American trains – which were surprisingly good. The Caltrain, which heads up to San Jose from San Fran is a (and efficient) service, which beats the trek up the freeway any day.
7008915691 d0cbf02804 z Planes, trains and trams (from Austin to San Fran)

San Fran-ers love their trams
San Francisco has lots of (very steep) hills, so very early on the San Fran-ers (thanks to an Englishman called Halliday) designed a revolutionary tram system. Most of the old system is now gone, however there are still 5 or so routes you can take around town using the old-style trams. I now know a fair bit about trams, thanks to the Tram museum I stumbled across. Impressively the whole old-school system is powered from one set of motors, linked together by an ingenious network of underground cables.
6862801538 44a74188a7 z Planes, trains and trams (from Austin to San Fran)

So there you go. My top business travel tips are: ignore Tim’s advice and trains are good 😉