So, here’s the entry for Monday (which was yesterday. bad start already).
Rarely does a day work out much better than you think it will (at least in my experience). Yesterday, however, was one of those days. Oh, backstory: I’ve been invited out to Napa Valley for the week (Tuesday – Friday) to hang out with some folks in the Restaurant/Hospitality industry. It sounded like a good opportunity to chill with some really cool people, and I could use a vacation, so I accepted. I then got in touch with my good friend Jenny Blake to see if I should come out a day early and say hi to her and a few other people in San Francisco. She squealed with delight (I’m not totally sure about this, but knowing her I could see it happening) and told me to come on out. So now you’re up to speed. This is Day I of the Napa trip, which takes place entirely in San Francisco.
Jenny and I had planned to meet up for lunch at Google headquarters, where she works. She emailed me to say that she had invited a couple other people along as well. My very first instinct, since I’m a card-carrying introvert, was one of slight disappointment. Sometimes it’s hard for me to meet new people. We’ve discussed this. But within three seconds I told myself, “Self, you’re always reluctant to meet new people, or go to group meetings, and things like that. And then afterwards you’re always really glad you did it. So shut up and be happy.” And so I was.
One of the people Jenny invited was J. Money, a financial blogger from D.C. Just for the record, J. goes incognito. I’m not kidding – I don’t even know his real name. He goes by X or J. He puts a lot of his personal financial stuff up on his site, and he doesn’t want everybody knowing his business. I agree.
I knew that J. had already rented a car, so I called him when I landed and asked if he could pick me up, which he graciously did. We arrived at Google at 1:00, right on time. Then we looked for parking for 4 minutes. Not quite on time. Da well.
I’m a fan of good campus layouts already, and when you combine that with the fact that I live in Wisconsin, and hadn’t seen the sun combined with a temperature of over 40 degrees in close to 6 months, I was ecstatic to be wandering around the Google campus in shorts and a tee shirt. A tee shirt from Teecycle.org, by the way. The day before I had gone over to Tim’s house in Milwaukee and picked up a few to take on my trip.If you want to get a feel for what the campus looks like, you can check it out here. It’s just a fun place to be – lots of creativity all around. One very cool thing that I never knew existed was a small circular room with a joystick standing in the middle. The room panels were all monitors, and it was hooked up to Google Earth, so you could fly around the world and feel surrounded by the terrain, 3D buildings, etc. Very cool.
We were joined at Google by Jun Loayza and his girlfriend, Kim. Jun has done more things than I care to list here, so you can check out an interview with him if you want to learn more.
So here’s where we get to the really good stuff. We had lunch in one of the cafeterias . . . hold on. Before I go further I want to say that everything you’ve heard about the amazing food at Google is absolutely true. There’s food everywhere. And it’s good food, too – much of it fancy restaurant quality. It’s like being in the college cafeteria, with all the different stations, you know? Except each station is like a mini specialty restaurant, and everything is free. BAM.
So anyway, we all sat down to lunch, and it was so cool to hear what everyone was up to with their respective projects, talk about plans for the future, bounce ideas off of each other, etc. I know we were at Google, surrounded by a lot of great minds, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that we were competing for Most Interesting Table Discussion in that cafeteria.
I have to throw out a big thank-you to Jenny Blake for getting us all together for lunch yesterday. I feel that the ideas and knowledge shared at that table jumped me ahead a couple months in my project planning, and helped me think about some things in new and different ways.
After we left Google, J. and I took care of some of our respective business stuff, then headed up together into the city and over the Golden Gate Bridge to a tweetup at the Pacific Catch Fresh Fish Grill, co-hosted by the fantastic Amanda Hite, founder and CEO of Talent Revolution.
It was a lot of fun being up there and connecting with some of my old friends (including running into Kacy from People Report, yeah!), and meeting new ones face-to-face for the first time. First and foremost among these new people was Tom Hanson, COO of Pacific Catch, and one of our newer team members. He was a gracious host and a very cool, down-to-earth guy. Good times.
Remember how in the beginning I said that some days just seem to work out better than you expected? Well, the biggest reason yesterday turned out to be one of those days was because of the conversation J. Money and I had in the car on the way up to the tweetup. He and I share a lot of the same ideals and have a lot of passion around what we do. We both want to be able to help others give back in new, unique, and meaningful ways. My focus is on micro-giving, and his is on personal finances. Those two areas are teeming (yes, teeming) with possibilities for a joint project. There’s nothing set in stone yet, but we had a great discussion, and will have more in the next couple of weeks. So watch out for that.
Big ideas, guys. Big ideas.
Oh, and another thing. I LOVE seeing unconventional people making a difference in this life. We’ve reached a point in our society where you no longer have to wear a suit and work for a large corporation to get big things done. The web has leveled the playing field so much that people like us, if we use the tools well, can truly change the world.
Let’s get it done.
- Napa Valley Trip (Part III)
- Napa Valley Trip (Part IV)
- Guest Post On “Escaping Mediocrity”
- Surprised By Joy: My Introduction To The Service Industry (Part I)
- Three Things I Learned On Vacation