Mike Interviews the Googleplex…

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Hear me! For I have been to the mountaintop

Tuesday night’s SES mixer in San Jose was highly anticipated by most attendees. It was, after all, the Google Dance -being held at the Googleplex no less. At roughly 6:30, the tour busses started to line up outside the main convention center to begin shuttling attendees to the land of the giant. Needless to say, I think everyone went.

When my bus turned off the main road and started making it’s way back to the Googleplex, there was apparently some confusion on the driver’s part and we spent a few minutes in what appeared to be a closed outdoor concert venue. When the bus initially pulled into this deserted, out of the way spot and parked, it briefly occurred to me that perhaps the entire event was a ruse. Perhaps it was some clever deception designed to round up all of the pesky search engine people and be rid of them in some Machiavellian bid to clear the way for their ascent to power. Fortunately, the driver quickly realized his navigational faux pas and we were soon on the road again.

Once we safely arrived and disembarked, I braced myself for the inevitable stream of bad, (open bar bad) jokes about search engines, IPOs and the ever amusing prefixing of common words with a Google’ (Google-grub, Google-drinks, etc). Then, as I stood in line to be checked in, I noticed something. It was almost imperceptible at first, but as I looked around became more and more obvious. Soon, there was no doubting it. The Googleplex itself was speaking to me.

Even as I reeled in stark disbelief of my own faculties the message became louder and undeniable. The Googleplex was indeed communicating with me on a level that even now I struggle to understand. It was waving to me with its signature colors projected onto its stylized architecture. It was saying hello’ on the faces of all the Google staff in the form of the wide grins it had tattooed onto their faces. Truly I was dumbfounded.

As I made my way across the grounds through the throngs of revelers I saw video games, air hockey, a regulation sand volleyball court and the voice became deafening. “Do you see?” the Googleplex boomed, “Cast aside your doubt my friend. The bubble that once was burst has been re-forged”. Needless to say, I was suitably awestruck.

The Googleplex had chosen your friend and humble narrator as a vessel for its message. I was simultaneously honored and more than a little afraid. I am but a small, bald man aimlessly wandering the expanse of a strange land full of hope and promise. How would I find my way without my tech-sector cynicism to guide me? The Googleplex quickly assuaged my fears and comforted me saying; “Fear not my friend. Be at ease. You cannot be lost here. We are Google, after all. We can find most anything in about 0.18 seconds. It’s what we do.” Of course, I was immediately relieved and a bit embarrassed for not realizing that myself. So, after a few more minutes of exchanging pleasantries, the Googleplex provided me with a cold drink and we sat down for an impromptu Q & A session.

Mike: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me. I realize you must be busy.
Googleplex: No problem Mike.

Mike: It really appears as though you pulled out all the stops tonight for the SES attendees. Are you pleased with the turnout?
Googleplex: Well the Google Dance is a fun event. It lets some people come in and have a bit of a look around. Folks seem to get a kick out of it. I hope everyone is enjoying themselves. They seem to be.

Mike: I’ll say. This is my first trip to SES in San Jose. Did you host a big party last year as well?
Googleplex: We had a party for last year’s SES but it wasn’t on site like this.

Mike: I see. Was there any special effort/attention paid to Google dance this year? I mean, did you kick it up a notch or two to generate a little buzz and good sentiment for the IPO?
Googleplex: Mike, I can’t talk about the IPO. You know that.

Mike: Well, yeah but technically you aren’t an employee or anything. You’re a building and we aren’t really talking you know (I’m making this up).
Googleplex: Good point. OK. Here’s the thing. There’s nothing wrong with being a multi billion dollar company. People are so jaded in the post bubble market that lots of them automatically assume that we’re just the next in line to go down. It’s unfounded. A wise man once said history can teach us nothing’ you know.

Mike: Well, actually I think that was just Sting paraphrasing Hegel, and I don’t think-
Googleplex: Whatever. Anyway, Google is about fun. We believe a company that provides a key service and does it better than anybody else has a great future. It’s got nothing to do with yesterday, Mike baby. We’re all about the now and moving forward. And we’re not evil.

Mike: Who said anything about being ev – Wow, you have a dunking booth over there even.
Googleplex: You know it.

Mike: What about the detractors and naysayers out there that talk about things like the upper limits of technology. Yahoo has a pretty fast search too you know. Some people say your focus is too narrow and that you’re kind of a one trick pony when compared to some of your more diversified competition. Certainly, your technology is impressive, but what happens if the competition catches up with your technology?
Googleplex: Mike, please We are definitely more than just technology. What an absurd notion. We have email now, we have search appliances, news, images, blogs. We have a little thing called AdWords. Oh, and don’t forget the algorithm. Who else has one of those – as good as ours I mean. We’ve got plenty of stuff in the ol’ cooker too. Just you wait.

Mike: True. AdWords is doing well and blogs are certainly big. I like my Gmail too.
Googleplex: Thank you.

Mike: But what about the whole click fraud thing? I’m hearing things like 5-15% of paid clicks could be fraudulent these days. Given the percentage of your revenue that is bound to come from paid search, it seems like that could be the kind of problem that investors might be a bit skittish about.
Googleplex: We take click fraud very seriously and you can rest assured we’re taking appropriate measures. No, I can’t tell you more. It’s a secret. We’re on it though.

Mike: OK. Well, that’s good.
Googleplex: Don’t worry about it. We’re Google. We’re strong. We have established ourselves as an innovator and an industry leader.

Mike: Without a doubt. You throw a nice party too.
Googleplex: Thank you. We have Donkey Kong over there you know.

Mike: Saw that.
Googleplex: And we’re not evil.

Mike: Yeah, I read that on your site. Good to know. Well, you’re a spectacular campus Googleplex – top notch all the way. I can safely say you’re easily the nicest inanimate object I’ve had an imaginary conversation with all day.
Googleplex: You’re too kind. You should come back by here in the next couple of months if you can. We’re going to be making some landscaping changes pretty soon.

Mike: Really? Well the grounds are already fantastic; I don’t know what you’d change.
Googleplex: We’re going to be getting rid of all the mulch.

Mike: I see. Going with a little more color maybe? Some lava rock? Decorative gravel?
Googleplex: I’m thinking $20s.
Mike: Nice.

With that, the Googleplex excused itself and we both went back to the party. Unfortunately, I had been away too long and missed out on the cool glow in the dark Google cups they were giving away. Oh well, maybe next year I hope so anyway.

Mike is a manager at iEntry. He has been with iEntry since 2000.

Mike Interviews the Googleplex…
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