This is part of a monthly series in which we get to know Sifties.
Bret Blount is our Director of Communications and has been with Sift Science for 11 months.
If he could eat just one style food for the rest of his life, it would be Mexican. He feels the cuisine is incredibly versatile and can be accessorized to be breakfast, lunch, and dinner-appropriate. To him, it’s about the variety (no one wants to get sick of the one thing they’ve chosen to eat for the rest of their days!).
As the only human left on earth, what would you do?
No power. No internet. Oh boy. I would have to find a space, hopefully near the ocean, and make that self sustainable. Perhaps a warehouse that I could power by scavenging solar panels and stock full of canned food, cars, motorcycles, gasoline, wood, and books. Everything would be in one place so I could spend my remaining days doing all the things I love — diving, reading, writing, cooking, and road tripping.
What’s something that someone said that changed how you view the world?
“Responding and reacting are different. This applies first and foremost to your own thoughts, the things you tell yourself. Slow down.” A wise woman once told me this and I keep it in my phone.
What’s the best concert you’ve been to?
Day on the Green, 1992, Oakland Coliseum. It was effectively Guns N’ Roses’ tour, but Metallica opened for them and it was the first time I’d ever seen them live. My mind was blown by Metallica’s power. It was less about the volume or the metal and more about how connected these guys were and how much energy that created between them.
This night was also memorable because GnR frontman Axel Rose took so long to take the stage, a riot broke out among the crowd during the set break. The spectators literally ripped up the lawn. The event became known as the Turf War and there was loads of press coverage that referenced the damage.
What was your first job?
I grew up in the East Bay where my family maintained a massive vegetable garden. We often had an excess of food, so my dad encouraged me to start a business in the neighborhood. I was about six years old with a milk crate attached to the handlebars of my BMX bike and I pedaled around selling tomatoes fresh off the vine.
Business was very good. I had loyal, repeat customers and I would ride to their houses and deliver in brown paper lunch bags that I weighed out at exactly one pound. For each bag, I made a dollar. I had no expenses, so there were no margins to share (thanks Dad!). I think this was his way of teaching me the value of work.
To this day, an old neighbor still refers to me as “Tomato Boy” when he sees me.
What’s the best vacation you ever had?
I was gifted a Euro trip which was my “leap month” between college and work life. I explored Europe from West to East and back by train. It was an amazing and epic personal journey filled with self discovery, culture, art, food, etc. The experience itself was so significant, it triggered my move to SF the following year (from LA) . I still argue that SF is the most European city in the U.S.
What songs hit you with a wave of nostalgia every time you hear them?
Anything modern rock brings me straight back to when I was in that awkward preteen to teen stage. It was the 80s and I did almost nothing but listen to music — boombox, Walkman, MTV. The Cure, Depeche Mode, Violent Femmes, The Smiths — any of them bring me right back to that peaceful time when I had absolutely no responsibility. It’s like a yawn reflex: one beat and I’m right back there. Romanticizing pegged acid-washed jeans and girls with sky-high, ozone-killing hairstyles.
Where’s your favorite place to take a ride on your motorcycle?
You might think this is a softball question, but having organized a monthly ride for a few years here in SF, I take my routes and recommendations seriously.
First of all, we’re lucky as hell to have such great and accessible scenic roads nearby. If I had to recommend one specific ride, I’d suggest a loop to the world famous Alice’s Restaurant. It’s easily the most entertaining and mind-blowingly scenic ride around (imagine miles of great pavement flanked by equal parts redwoods and ocean). So, South on 101, West on CA-92 towards Half Moon Bay, South on CA-35 (Skyline) to Alice’s. After a snack, some coffee and browsing the car and bike show, follow this specific route West until you hit the coast at Pescadero. Stop for a beer or lunch at Duarte’s Tavern, then proceed North on 101, back into SF.
If you’re safe and you ride within your abilities, you will enjoy an epic experience that includes a variety of sights, sounds, smells, and emotions. You might also find yourself alone and incredibly present; easing into sweeping turns with the sound of the ocean crashing to your left, cliffs carved out on your right – a heightened level of awareness that’s a bit hard to express. My friend Matt came close to explaining this in a micro doc we produced on the topic a while back.