Google visit

welcome to Google

I’m not sure how many people go beyond using the search tools and maps and earth and docs and gmail, but have you ever read about Google? I mean, read articles about the coolness of Google? I get that some people hate “mainstream” entities because they are the monopolizers of our creativity and leave no room for small business….blah blah blah. Only hipsters and closed minded people think like this.

If you have ever read about Google, you know that the reason they are number one in the world of business is because they invest in the happiness of their employees. Tony Hsieh of Zappos surely read something about Google when he started his vision quest for an online shoe retailer to end all shoe retailers. In doing so, he became the coolest shoe dude there is, trumping Lebron and Kobe (besides, neither of these guys is Jordan). Tony started a happy company and I would bet that he learned a thing or two from Google.

I have read a ton of articles on Google. Everything from their earnings reports to blogs about Groupon turning down their $6 billion buyout proposal. Must be nice to turn down $6 Billy. The one thing that always stuck out to me was the fact that Google bred creativity. I don’t mean, Googlers (that’s what they are called inside the Google-talk) standing up on a pedestal and preaching to the masses about how to be creative. I mean that they actual breed a culture in which it is IMPOSSIBLE to not create! I have seen a couple of pictures of the inside of the “campus” before but never dreamed I would get to walk through the golden arches, shit I got MickyD’s on the mind, I mean those pearly gates to a heaven of creative powerhouses. Well folks, today I did just that and it was everything I dreamed it could be. You know how I know that it was everything that I ever dreamed it could be? Because there was a laminated painting of Michael Jackson set in an 1800’s ballroom on a table in a microkitchen (tiny kitchen with all the necessary amenities). MJ in white opened button down, black gloves and hair blowing in the wind. The people around him in puffy ballroom garb and top hats. (UPDATE! See below – Thanks CL)

HEE HEE, Hell Yea MJ!

When I walked through the doors from the elevator, I was greeted by a gingerbread house made of cardboard that served as the reception desk. This was complete with snowmen riding Razors who had badges and hipster glasses on. Typical New York Snowmen. Just as the icon of Google changes online most days, so does the decor of the company. As we crossed into the badged areas, I immediately became a kid again. I mean they have a Lego room where you can have a meeting while building something out of Legos! WHAT? A working erector(ha)set ferris wheel that stands at almost eye level. Tables and comfy chairs riddle the landscape of halls, meeting rooms, and open office space as far as the eye can see. I mean this literally too because Google takes up several floors of a building that is one city block large. They ride Razors around inside because there is so much area to cover (now if I can get them to buy in on some Bustin Boards Longboards. I happen to know the owners…).

Everything about this place screams “THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX! DO SOMETHING THAT HAS NEVER BEEN DONE! CREATE!” The walls are littered with interesting murals, paintings, Google adaptations, story boards of new products/ideas. The insides of office spaces are personalized. There are funny quotes, drawings, pictures, posters all over and you can sense what each person is about and what fuels them by looking around their area. It’s a hyper-creative atmosphere that just got my heart pumping. It’s EXACTLY where I would want to work. Let me rephrase that, it’s EXACTLY how I want my business’s environment to be. No 9-5, no cubicles, no over watch. Just open, free air workspaces filled with what each person in the team needs to be creative AND all the tools imaginable to make those ideas come to life.

Another thing that was great about the space was the fact that information was all around you. It was like swimming in a lake of knowledge and creativity. Every turn of a corner revealed some new revelation or thought pattern. Every wall had something stuck to it, pinned up, or written on it. White boards are posted throughout and every random idea, thought, drawing lead to new ones or expanded ideas. White board paint is going to be used not only in my next work space, but in my next apartment as well. Yes folks, Home Depot now has black board paint AND white board paint so that you can write on your walls at home. BET, I am going to have a whole wall for me to doodle on in my new place bc like the child that I am, I need to see things to make them happen.

hello Empire State

The whole building is so well thought out that even the cafeteria inspires. The view out of the caf is of the NY skyline. Empire State shining in the sun and rooftops for miles are just absolutely breathtaking. I wish I had a view like that, but then again, this dude doesn’t have Google money. The food was out of sight (braised pulled pork, cheesy grits, risotto, some other fixins and a chocolate milk) as well. All free I might add. All free just like breakfast, lunch, dinner, beer, and snacks are. Yes, I snuck beer in there. Apparently there is a lot of beer present in Google. They are obviously doing something right. Beer will always be welcome in my place of work. So will bloody maries, but no tequila and no jager. You can keep those trouble makers.

I went to Google discuss a new project for veterans that they are hoping to produce and I have to say it sounds amazing so far. I’m just glad to be a part of the discussion and I hope that I can add any kind of input that will help to fuel this project forward. I know the main brain behind this project is a go-getter and passionate about vets so I can see no better person to bring it to life.

After all this excitement and creative overload, I skated back to IAVA to finish out the night. Some proposals tweaked, ideas a flowing, and a great team of ladies that are making big waves for the nonprofit. To top the whole day off, the Strat P team ate an authentic mexican dinner (sin cilantro por favor) with unas bebidas alcoholicas. Some great conversation and a chance to start really getting to know the coworkers. The final upside for the day was that I finished my book “Making Ideas Happen” by Scott Belsky on the Path ride home. I may just start reading it again because it was so good! Review to come this weekend.

All in all, an incredibly inspiring day. I hope to have thousands more like this in my lifetime. Thank you again Mr. Cube for writing the soundtrack another my 24. “Today was a good day.”

One final thought: What do snowmen eat for breakfast? Snowflakes, silly.

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