Conal’s Tech Talks

My beloved Conal recently gave talks at Google, Apple, and Intel in the Bay Area. I tagged along for the Google gig, ’cause, you know, who wouldn’t want to visit Googleland if they got the chance? Plus, I loved getting to see Conal do his thing. I had never been able to before, so it was a real treat for me. The venue for tech talks at Google was a really cool, high-tech arrangement of screens, cameras, and projection equipment in this spiffy mezzanine area. The talk was broadcast to other Google locations, as well.

Google gives its engineers 20% of their time to pursue their own projects. The Engineering Education (EngEdu) division brings in people from all over to speak about a huge range of topics. These “tech talks” are recorded and posted online. Google staff handles all the production details, editing and posting. Very cool. You can watch Conal’s talk here.

I enjoyed getting a peek at Google HQ. The campus surrounds a park-like main commons with a sand-filled volleyball court watched over by a FULL SIZE tyrannosaurus rex skeleton. There are grassy areas for hanging out and various patios outside the several cafes and restaurants surrounding the park. All the food is free for employees and guests. There is food and drink everywhere for whoever wants it. Lots of healthy and trendy stuff as well as standards. The Google primary colors are prominently in evidence, and the architecture is open and modern in feel, with white beams and glass, and is techie without feeling cold.

I had fun people-watching. My overall impression was of smart, bright, young (the crowd definitely tended toward youth) folks getting a chance to shake things up with their ideas and skill. I was fascinated by the feel of the place, which was, oh, kind of like a self-satisfied buzz of excited energy. These folks work at the center of the internet-verse, and they pretty much know they rock everybody’s world. At least, that is the underlying story I was making up about it.

When Conal spoke at Apple and Intel the next two days, I chose to goof off on my own since those were all-day engagements and I thought it likely I’d get rather bored. I had a great time exploring Palo Alto and visiting the Stanford shopping attractions.

Here is a photo of Conal speaking at Apple:

Conal speaking at Apple HQ

Conal at the podium was totally in his element. He seemed to be inspired and engaged and loving the interaction, welcoming challenges and questions, answering with grace and a depth of knowledge that confirmed my absolute awe of his amazing brain and heart. Ah, my sweetheart. ::melt::

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