Arather long journey comes to a cold end
The ice wind ended its long journey from the Arctic Circle by whistling around the broken street signs. Memories of tanks and machine guns, bread queues and hunger hung heavy in the air.
The odd snowflake added to the chill as Sarah and I stepped out of a taxi into a dark street in former East Berlin. Despite the weather, I felt warm inside, rounded and complete. Less than three miles from here, just 10 years ago, a winter-wrapped technologist invited me to join his new company. "Go West," he suggested. Five years later we sold out to Microsoft, which led to our current venture, and to this column.
And so, standing outside a converted tram factory, I recalled the conversation. "I've got the brains - you've got the looks," or something like that. No promises - except a lot of hard work and stress. Right on both counts, but with those rose tinted glasses it all seems worth it now.
The crowd inside were getting restless because The Pet Shop Boys were running a little late. Now don't get me wrong, I love rock music (as you know by now). But occasionally you have to try something different. And The Pet Shop Boys were good. No, that's unfair, they were very good. I explained to Sarah (a true 1980s chick) that they were not in the Deep Purple league, but what do you expect?
And of course as the music thumped and the stroboscopes played a visual vibe with my mind, I had a chance to reflect on all the changes I had seen in the IT industry.
Token Ring was a serious challenger to Ethernet back then - at home I had a 2,400 baud modem with almost no-one to talk to. There were a lot of opportunities - ways to make lots of money. Better - there were no Internet start-ups with over-inflated opinions of themselves - greedy pyramid selling by another name.
I don't want to sound like a sad, ageing trainspotter, but I guess I am feeling old - in an industry where it seems you should be retired by 45. Thankfully, I'm still a long way from 45. Honest.
For many reasons the team at Computer Weekly have asked me to stop sending them columns, so this will be my last. "Hurrah" you may shout, as is your privilege.
But for me, this is not a sad moment, just another crossroads, another junction in my life.
Karl Feilder is founder of Greenwich Mean Time, developer of the Check 2000 range of PC millennium tools