My best friend Matt D. and I have a tradition to which we’ve held since the summer of 2006. Whenever we go out to eat, to complain, to laugh, to cry, we always end up at Outback Steakhouse. There was one down the road from where we stayed during our IBM internship, and from there a tradition was born.

Since that summer the standard plate has been:

  • Outback Special ( size dependant on hunger )
  • Side of mashed potatoes
  • Bloomin’ Onion ( of which 90% is always finished )
  • Salad ( dressing is consumer dependant )
  • Coke to drink ( they never had sweet tea )

We went, and ordered the exact same thing, for the whole of the Summer of 2006. I came back out a few times for interviews or just to visit Matt, and we always went. I moved out to the Bay Area, and at our footsteps were all of the shops and restaurants of downtown Palo Alto and Mountain View, but we never broke. You can take a hick out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of a hick ( or so the saying goes ).

Alas, all good things must come to an end. And so it is for the Outback tradition. Tonight was the end of something truly special to us both. Yeah, it was just a restaurant, and not a great one at that, but we really grew up together in those oversized booths eating greasy fried onion strips, and mixing our mashed potatoes with steak. We escaped into our own world. Jobs, dreams, and heartbreaks were all up for discussion between courses. We genuinely fulfilled the Jimmy V legacy of laughing, crying, and spending time together thinking about how we were going to save the world.

So, what changed? It wasn’t the steak or the Bloomin’ Onion that’s for sure. It was us. In front of us is a brave new world filled with adventures and turns we’ve never imagined. And as we embark into this brave new world we bid our past good bye with the anticipation of building new, better and a bit healthier traditions. But at the same time we do so with a small tear in our eye.

I’m really optimistic about the future, having now looked back on where we came from. To this day, I’ve kept an e-mail I got from Matt in the Fall of 2006 after our paper was presented to a packed audience by our mentor, and friend, Eishay Smith. It’s a one liner:

Subject: Us
Body: Yeah, we kick ass!

And watch out because we’re going to do it again