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We Wanna Be Friends With: Chip Conley

Photo by: Garry Bowden  

Our city is chock-full of interesting people and wild personalities. Overwhelmed by the coolness? Every week we'll pick one standout local we'd love to be friends with to answer seven essential questions about their life in San Francisco.

When I was 26 (like, this past year), I was eating popcorn for lunch and working for this website. When Chip Conley was 26, he was on a mission to "create joy" and started what is now the second largest boutique hotel company in America, Joie de Vivre.

From there, his career skyrocketed. Here are a few highlights: he co-authored a NYT bestselling book EMOTIONAL EQUATIONS all about creating happiness for yourself, gave a beloved TED and TEDX Talk, received hospitality's highest accolade (Pioneer Award) in 2012, got his MBA at Stanford, and got an Honorary Doctorate in Psychology from Saybrook University while acting as the Scholar - Practitioner in residence. Phew! Today Chip acts as the Head of Global Hospitality at Airbnb, and recently launched Fest300 - a website dedicated to another one of Chip's passions, incredible festivals around the world.

As a lifelong traveler who's been a Burning Man Project Board Member for over a decade, Chip feels strongly that the human connection experienced in festivals around the world is a powerful voice that binds us together. With a professional and personal career that's all about the "magic of collective joy," Chip is a true inspiration when it comes to finding a balance between professional success and doing good in this world.

Thanks Chip for taking time out of your hectic (and fun!) scheduled to answer our We Wanna Be Friends With Q&A!

1. What neighborhood do you currently call home? Would you ever move or are you happy in your 'hood?

Have lived happily in Potrero Hill in two different homes since 1989 other than a one year stint living at the top of Mount Tam in 2000. I lived on the Filbert Steps and Napier Lane on Telegraph Hill from 1984-1989 and that might be the only other 'hood I would consider with the exception of Liberty Hill near Dolores Park.

2. What's your hands-down, absolute favorite thing to eat in SF?

I don't know if they still have it, but the decadent Bostini dessert (custard and chocolate) at Scala's has added a few pounds to my midsection over the years. I could bathe in that dessert.

3. What's your perfect night on the town?

Early dinner at Gitane on Claude Lane. Catch an art flick at the Embarcadero Cinema. Walking to the Embarcadero and out to the end of Pier to watch the Bay Lights on the Bay Bridge. Staying in a circular suite at the Hotel Vitale and taking a bath in the room while watching the lights. If I'm doing this on a Friday night, then waking early to stroll the Farmer's Market across the street.

3. When you need a low-key afternoon, where do you go for down time?

My favorite choice is Kabuki Springs and Spa for the communal baths and a deep neck and shoulder massage.

5. What's your favorite place to go on a day trip from the city? 

Big Sur, hands down. It's a long way to travel for a day trip but it can completely shift one's orientation for the following few days. Second place is Point Reyes and west Marin.

6. Quick-fire round:

Burrito or Burger?  

Burrito.

Presidio or Golden Gate Park?  

Golden Gate Park.

BiRite or Mitchell's?

BiRite.

Bike or MUNI?

MUNI.

Fort Mason or Dolores Park?

Dolores Park.

The Independent or the Fillmore?

Fillmore.

Baker Beach or Ocean Beach?

Baker Beach (was there last night walking a candlelit labyrinth and floating sky lanterns into the sky while viewing the Golden Gate Bridge).

7. Three words that describe your life in SF? 

Assuming "pretty fuckin' great" isn't usable, I'll give three adjectives: Eclectic, Joyful, Adventurous. 

Want More Chip?

Chip's Website, Fest300, Facebook, Twitter