Meet Geoff Goodfellow, who may be the world’s happiest refugee from Silicon Valley. He moved here to Prague two years ago, and he’s convinced he landed in heaven.
Goodfellow had a long track record in Silicon Valley and the technology business, including a stint at SRI and as the founder of a company called Radiomail, a wireless communications service. He left the company in 1996 after disputes with investors. It was on a subsequent visit to Prague that he decided this was the place he should stay.
He arrived with a nest egg from selling a loft in San Francisco, plus savings. It wasn’t all that much in the hyper-attenuated Bay Area market, but it was a king’s ransom here. He rented a loft from which he can see the imposing, world-famous Prague Castle, made friends, began trading stocks using the Internet for research, indulged his passion for good food and being a music DJ — and settled into a life he visibly loves.
In the picture above, Goodfellow is almost literally in the shadow of the famed Charles Bridge. He’s at one of his favorite local restaurants, Kampa Park. The chef, Alex Freij, a native New Yorker, worked at San Francisco’s famed Aqua restaurant for several years, and the food shows it. The seared yellowfin tuna is amazing.
Goodfellow, still somewhat bitter about his experiences with venture capitalists and investors at Radiomail, is moving back into the technology business in a small way. He wants to start an Internet radio station featuring the kind of music he plays as a DJ — a variety of whatever appeals to him from the new-music arena. He’s also an investor and partner in a soon-to-open bar in Prague where the music will be one of the main attractions.
Net radio, he discovered, isn’t as easy as putting up a stream-able audio file. The bandwidth requirements can be awesome if you want serious quality and a large audience. So he’s rethinking the way he’ll do it, and is looking toward Internet multicasting and other technologies before he launches.
It all plainly agrees with Goodfellow, who’s 44 but looks years younger.
“I live in Heaven,” he says. “This is the most beautiful, civilized, cultural place I’ve ever seen. Tell me a more beautiful city than this.”
The Czechs are part of the appeal. “They’re highly curious, intelligent people,” he says. “They’re practical and logical but also very non-conforming. That’s how I am.”
Tech Share Implosion Follows Techies
The fear and loathing sparked by the current rout in technology stocks followed the tech executives who’ve traveled here to the annual ETRE conference. At dinner last night, the conversation included a discussion about whether, not when, technology would lead the markets up again. It’s surely leading the markets down at the moment.
The conversation, mainly among journalists, also got around to our frequently unseemly role in the Internet bubble. We celebrated the founder of every two-bit startup that had no serious business plan but incredible market capitalization, pretending that anyone could make and keep such loot.
It will be useful, the next time we see such a bubble, if journalists remember history. I doubt we will. I fear it’s not in our nature.