I first came to visit America while working for a British division of an American multinational company called Burroughs which was founded by a Scotsman who emigrated to the States to start his own company in the late 1800's. I was sent on an extended support trip to AAA headquarters in Detroit in mid-winter.
Before I left Burroughs to work for a small British company my boss offered to try and get me to the states to work in their California main frame plant. But it came to naught as I didn't have a degree which complicates the immigration process.
I next came to Oakland California every year for six or so years with my new company to attend a conference on computer security research. This was a three day conference for which it was cheaper for the company to fly me out to for a week. So I had four days to take the hire car (no mileage costs in America) and get lost in California. This was where I realised that I had been born in the wrong century on the wrong continent.
When this company was brought by a US company I again had the opportunity to transfer to the States. But I also had the chance to continue doing the research work in Britain running my own company. Since the transfer was to Santa Monica in Los Angeles and SoCal didn't appeal like San Francisco did I instead teamed up with another colleague to form Capella Research. I hoped to get to the States under my own steam as a security guru. But then the Berlin wall came down and defence work dried up.
So cap in hand I begged my old boss for a job in Santa Monica and here we are. The first few years were hell for my family, me a Green Card slave, no work visa for Alison and two pre-school kids.
But after I got my green card and the company went into terminal decline I had the opportunity to join a start up. This was a great success.
Then I was a junior co-founder of another startup, which was not a great success. You gotta love this country.