NYC Tech Talks MeetUp: Google 20% Projects

I don't mean to be bragging about it, but I walked two hours to the venue. And I walked back.

1400 situps Friday, 1500 tummy muscle bicycles Saturday, 1500 pushups Sunday, 2000 situps Monday. #hellomichelleobama than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Tuesday. Walk from Union Square to Woodside to Sunnyside to Jackson Heights to Forest Hills to Sunnyside #hellomichelleobamaless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

This was at Google. The Google building is the Empire State Building lying on its side. It is big. I think the last time I was at this particular venue was the second day of Social Media Week back in February. It is a nice venue. And they had food. I really like that part. Especially when it is healthy, as it was today.

Three Google engineers talked about their 20% projects. They were prominent examples. One guy had turned Google Spreadsheets upside down. Another had got Google to get into doing the Google Street View thing inside museums and art galleries.

I jumped at the chance to ask a question. I was in a little bit of mischievous mood.

"Hi, I am Paramendra, and my question is, what if you get so carried away by your 20% project that you feel the need to drop out of Google and launch your own startup?"

I got boilerplate corporate answers. But you don't have to worry about paying rent. There are contracts you have signed with Google and your work is Google property. But look at all the resources you can leverage inside of Google.

The real action for me was after it was all over. I think I might have recruited a few associates for my tech consulting. They are going to find projects for my teams in India and Nepal. One is a tech student in Westchester. Another, from Nigeria, is a fresh graduate looking for work. I found a guy who said he was doing "marketing." Well, now you do marketing for me, I said, and exchanged info. Finally I found a guy with all grey hairs who was a developer out of New Jersey who claimed he had zero interest in networking.

And I got one Google engineer in the audience to take me on a tour of the Google building in about a month, French dude. A Sri Lankan in the search division I met at this party said he could do that for me in six months since you can do only one tour a month, and he had six months booked up already.