Monthly Archives: January 2010

To be Googled – Kavi

1:00 pm

Kavi, the only product manager that will interview me today. He was sharply on time.

This morning I was watching this guy’s talk on one of Google’s new product releasing presentation online. He gave a talk on rich snippets right after Marrissa introduced this tool to the press. I couldn’t tell if he’s from India or Mexico, no heavy accent of either places, but dark skin, and he does look a bit shorter compared to what i’ve seen in the video.

He didn’t even have my resume (maybe it’s just because product manager is busier than marketing people at Google, which I have no doubt at all), so I gave him one copy of that, he politely said he would return that to me after the interview.

I couldn’t remember if he introduced him first or he just went straight to the interview. The first set of question he asked is how to introduce the “quick answer” function in Google search.

What he mean by “quick answer” is that when you type in “US Airway, 1501”, Google will automatically pops out the information of this flight: on time or delay… when you wanna check the weather info of some city, u don’t have to type in the whole sentence too, only “ithaca, weather” will do. Hundreds of engineers and product managers are working behind the search engine to make it smarter so that it can answer a lot more questions without actually let you going to specific website to find it yourself (another way of killing other websites…)

So think of a way to promote it.

I don’t think I offered a creative enough answer to this, probably it’s because I’ve seen that little green Android robot too many times these days, I had this idea of creating a cartoon character for this function too, just whenever a customer typed in a relevant search inquiry that can be answered by this “quick answer” function, there’ll be a little button (sort of like that “Google checkout” one) to redirect the customer to a page with more detailed information of this function. Also on the introduction page, use youtube video, or an interactive interface to let users input and get real-time feedback.

I don’t know how he’ll value my answer but i saw him busy taking notes…

The second set of question was related to the snippets projects he’s been working on “compare the pros and cons of using webmaster self-defined snippets and Google automatically generated snippets, how would that influence the search click rate, the website as well as the customer”

Thank god I watched that video, or else I wouldn’t even understand what a snippet is when he raised the question.

The strength and weakness of these two approaches are mostly obvious. The misuse of webmaster and how the important information will be missed by search algorithm.

He asked what could be a potential advantage (not misuse) for webmaster if they would have opportunities to generate their snippets. My answer was when there’s new information updated on the website or some specific info webmaster wants to emphasize, say when a big sale is coming on some online store, or the site is currently offering some promotion on one specific product, they might want customer to read that when the search results pops up, as opposed to the snippets for shoebuy.com is always “shoes”, in winter it should be “boots” and in Christmas it should be “holiday sale”.

He does seems to be more quite than other marketing guys throughout the whole process, he’s more focused on letting me answer the question “how can u promote the product produced by engineering teams to the general public”, which is not an easy question to answer. There’s plenty of things to be taken into consideration: the technique or the new product itself, the marketing campaign, consumers’ needs, etc. which is exactly what makes this product marketing job challenging and interesting to me.

If I won’t be able to get this job, at least I know better where and how the generalist knowledge I learned from my 18 years of schooling can be applied.

To be Googled – David

12:05 pm

Not until my interview with Aman has finished, David, an American-born Korean guy has already waited outside of the conference room to take me to one of the legendary cafeterias at Google.

We briefly greeted, and he started to lead me straight to one cafeteria which is just next to building 41. I obviously didn’t quite “recover” from that tough interview Aman just gave me, and boldly asked: why you are taking me to this one, i mean this specific cafeteria? (i was just wondering if there are other options). His facial expression’s saying: “what?” LOL, and he clarified to me that, obviously, this is not the only cafeteria that we can go to, there are more options: a vegetarian one, a Vietnam one, some other grill places on the other side of the campus, but I just figured this one, Charlie’s, is the biggest “dining hall” on campus, it has more selections, so you might want to…” “Sure, let’s go” I wouldn’t want to wear my awkward business casual and high heel shoes to walk a few more steps in this campus where everybody else’s wearing t-shirt and jeans, and walking out of the building definitely made me feel less worried of that bothersome “Gmail revenue” question.

It’s indeed a college dining hall, similar to trillium in Kennedy Hall, except that it’s much bigger and has a much higher ceiling. It was very crowded inside, long lines in front of every section. David went straight to the Asian food section and disappeared in one of the long lines there. There are way too many Asian and Indian faces that I expected, and the Indian food section was very popular too. I stopped by the sushi place, simply because it’s less crowded and I don’t really want him to see my month full of fries or hamburger. Sushi definitely seems to be a safe choice.

The only difference between Charlie’s and an university dining hall is that, there’s no cashier, at all! You just get your food and walk straight out to find a table to sit and eat. Oh, and there’s coconut macaroons besides the drink section. (I totally fell in love with this dessert in Orlando, and Chen just brought some from Wegmans this afternoon.) I got two of those on my way out.

It was too crowded and noisy, indeed an university dining hall. I remember those moments when I had lunch at trillium I would be so bothered by those undergraduate girls’ chit-chat and loud laughs. Finally, we find two seats after a group of Indian engineers have left, and soon after that two female Indians sat beside us… see, the density of Indians and Asians in Google.

It wasn’t really a great place to talk, cause… everybody else is all talking. I have to nearly shout at David in order to let him heard me… but the good thing is, it makes the whole situation become very casual and easy. There’s no like questions or anything, mostly just him telling me about his previous experience in general, not necessarily the experience in Google.

So he graduated from Berkeley in 06 with a major in economics. He started by working as a marketing staff in MS and he had one of the toughest jobs to promote Windows Vista system, when back then, was a product heavily scolded by customers. “Yeah” I smiled, “I remember those commercials, with those black box experiment, you let customers use operation systems without any brand tag, and after they commit that they were satisfied with the system performance, u let them know that it was actually Vista they were using” “Right!” David laughed, “that was when I learnt, as a marketing people, sometimes your job is really to promote something that can be hardly accepted by the public, but you still have to do it.” He got excited and went on talking his experience in MS as if MS was not (one of) the major competitors his company’s facing now.

“So why did you decide to join Google as oppose to keep working in MS?”

“Emm, it’s pretty simple, one of my friends who was working at Google at that time was keep telling me how fun it was to work here, and he internal referred me, so luckily, I got the job and relocated to bay area again.”

“Mostly, I’ve been working in Google Map team, to create interesting campaigns to help users discover new features of Map.”

“Help users discover?”

“Right, say most users will first use other restaurant info website to find out and decide what places to eat first, and then come to Google Map to get the shortest path or driving directions. But in fact, they can do everything on Google map now, we have the restaurant search, rating, comments and info, so people don’t have to go to two places, Google will solve all of their problems”. (hey, btw, you guys are killing those websites which offer good restaurant recommendations…that sounds like… antitrust in restaurant search…i said to myself)

“Also, we launched a “favorite places” campaign recently”

“Yeah, I’ve heard of that, in the essay that they require us to submit before this interview, I referred to that campaign, cause it used QR code, right?”

“Haha, i know that’s how most people would perceive our campaign, in fact, QR code is only one fraction of the campaign, but the idea is to make people use the map service more intensively, but right after we launched it, the media was like, wow, Google’s using QR code too. So we were a bit depressed about that, cause you know, QR code’s not a brand new idea right? it just hasn’t been that popular in North America yet.”

“But it will, i guess, with the whole media marketing trend coming up.”

“Yeah, perhaps.”

He did most of the talking, while I was focusing on my sushi MUHAHAHA~ The fish on the sushi was very fresh, almost forgot it’s in San Francisco, not Miyaki or Jiu Zhou in Ithaca 🙂

“So Google’s like MS in early 90s, while the average age of employees here is 26-27 (i think he’s specifically referring to marketing staff), the average age of MS employees are 35-36. Smaller companies like Facebook or Mozilla are more like Google when it first started. Look at this people, it’s a really big corporation now. ”

Yeah, one of the biggest challenge that I can think of for Google now is how to preserve the originality and flexibility small companies can have in terms of innovation while the company’s increasing dramatically in size and scale.

Across the dining hall, there’s a large podium covered by black curtains with Google’s big logo on it. I can somehow imagine how Page and Brin announce the latest news of the company to employees in a casual way, but 10 years ago, i don’t think they need that podium, microphone or any loud speakers, and I bet they sounded more confident than now, cause they don’t have some 10,000+ employees to convince, back then, they only have to give motivation speech to 100 people.

After the lunch, David told me he brings RAMP candidates to lunch about 3 or 4 times a week to the cafeteria (omg… 3 or 4 times out of 5 days of work a week, they don’t let these marketing guys get too much rest, do they?), which also means there are way more candidates they bring to on-site interview than I thought.

He walked me back to building 44, where my afternoon “session” will be. It’s a much smaller room, one table, four chairs, and that’s it.

Good to be relocated in this room. I can sort of put away what had happened this morning and start all over again.

To be Googled – Aman

11:35 am

Aman, another product marketing manager, my second interviewer came in. He is obviously one of those very smart American born Indian guy who aced all his courses and exams at Stanford and came straight to Cornell.

As Johnathon, he started by introducing his work at Google. Based on his description and the research I’ve done this morning, he’s in charge of promoting the ad content network (adwords, adsense, double click, etc.) So the difference between Google marketing people and marketing staff in general is that, in Google, you are not only involved in the process of marketing/promoting a product, if you think there’s certain features of the product or service can be changed which will better serve customers’ needs, then you talk to engineers and you go ahead and change it. It’s a more interactive and iterative process of refining the product as opposed to “sell whatever crap you’ve got”.

He started by asking a couple of questions regarding my master research project. He brought in a mac book, but he was very very busy taking notes and almost writing down every sentence that I said. I remember he asked me what the project was, and what’s the biggest challenge I faced in completing the project. I guess my answer was to learn a total new knowledge (eye tracking and eye data analysis) during the process conducting experiments and confirming hypotheses.

Switching the gears, he asked how much do I know about Google’s product, and what’s my favorite one or the one that I used the most.

Gosh, I wish I have said: Google doc, rather than Gmail, cause I did such a bad job in responding to his follow up question about Gmail.

“So how does Gmail make money?”

“Through those Google ads automatically pops up relating to the content of the email.”

“So do u know how much money Gmail make everyday?”

“While I can guess, so there are 150 million people are using Gmail everyday… ”

“so yes, not a lot of them have multiple accounts, so they don’t really check Gmail everyday”

“yeah, so we can get a sample from the Gmail user database to see how many active users are there?”

“why do u need to use a sample, if you can have access to all user information?”

“Oh, I do?”

“Yes, suppose one day your boss come to you, and ask you to prepare him a report tell him how much money does Gmail make everyday by tmr, what would u do?”

“OK, then I will ask the total number of the Gmail active user, and then see how many ads they will see every day in their Gmail account”

“How?“

”So whenever you click one email, there will be some ads shown besides your email, so we can estimate how many emails people check everyday, so suppose you receive …”

“but not every page in Gmail will generate ads, half of the page view in Gmail only includes your email, no ads”

“Oh, really?… (i felt so stupid after saying that…), OK suppose not all pages generate ads, then we need to estimate, what percentage of pages generate ads…”

I went on estimating customer * page views * ads per page * percentage of people/chances they click on ads * 1 dollar per ads income …

He’s obviously not quite satisfied with my way of approaching the answer … and while i am writing this, I realized that I totally forgot that I probably should have calculated the cost of Gmail service, the cost of maintaining the server, employees… shoot…

A few more questions he asked were related to “think of a way to double Gmail revenue”

I’ve already offered so many silly answers, so I don’t think he’ll care if this one is a bit more sillier than other previous ones. I remember my answer was to increase the page views by creating a three-part mailbox view, whenever people enters their Gmail, there’s always going to be at least one email content shown, so there’ll be relevant ads displayed besides the email. The current version of Gmail will give you a full view of all the emails you’ve got, so there are a lot of times you are not viewing any emails specifically, which doesn’t generate any chances for ads.

The interview ended and I don’t think I’ve provided a well-rounded answer to his open-ended question to estimate Gmail’s market prospective. I think he must be wondering too, how can someone turned out to be so lack of problem solving skills right after boosting her so-called “analytic skills” on her resume.

Among all 5 (6) interviews I’ve got that day, this is the worst, no doubt, I will give it a score of 4 out of 10…

Aman started his years in Google in this specific program I am applying too. I don’t know if he sees the potential in me as what he has as a young college graduate three years ago…

David, another Googler is waited for me outside the conference room for lunch then, so Aman cut short the interview for several minutes (which literally saved me).

Interestingly, he’s one of the two people who actually replied my thank you note after the interview. He’s definitely a very smart guy which quick thinking and problem solving style. It must be fun and intellectually challenge to work with these people.

The Design of Everyday Things

Finally get a chance to read this legendary book by Donald A. Norman before my INFO6400 class. Dan says that’s a “prerequisite”.

Figured it might be interesting to record down interesting quotes from the book since it’s sort of the bible of HCI.

“It’s very hard to remove features of a newly designed product that had existed in an earlier version. It’s kind of like physical evolution. If a feature is in the genome, and if that feature is not associated with any negativity(i.e.: no customers gripe about it), then the feature hangs on for generations.”

从新产品中去掉一个老产品中业已存在功能是非常困难的一件事情。这就好像是物理演化。当一个功能已经存在在我们的基因中,只要它不被太多的顾客所抱怨,那么它就将一直存在下去。

“Suppose the fault really lies in the device, so that lots of people have the same problems. Because everyone perceives the fault to be his or her own, nobody wants to admit to having trouble. This creates a conspiracy of silence, maintaining the feelings of guilt and helplessness among users.”

当设计错误切实存在时,那么很多人都会有相同的问题。因为每个人都觉得这是他们自己的问题,没有人愿意承认使用上的障碍,结果便是导致了一个”conspiracy of silence”(沉默的阴谋), 使得负罪感和无助感在用户群体中无法释放。

Visible the invisibles

Print the cooking information for foods on the food package in computer-readable form.
This is a scheme for bypassing the need to make things visible. The cooking of frozen foods often requires several different cooking times, waiting times, and heat settings. The programming is complex. If the cooking information were on the package in machine-readable form, one could put the food in the microwave oven, pass a scanner over the printed information, and let the oven program itself.

让看不见的变成看得见的

让计算机识别食物的烹饪说明:这一个新的想法可能已经超越了“让看不见的变成看得见的”这一个题目。对于冷冻那个食品的烹饪通常需要好几个不同的烹饪过程(热度,时间,火力等)。这个(对食物进行)”编码“的过程是复杂的。如果食物包装上的烹饪时间是计算机可读的,那么你只需要将食物包装放到微波炉或者烤箱旁扫描一下,就可以让它们自动设定烹饪程序。

(Norman让他的学生imagine一些设计想法,从而make invisible visible,这是其中之一,也是唯一一个到现在还没有实现的。又让我想到QR code或者只是普通的bar code,应该很容易做到吧,主要是降低读码器的成本,那么就可以大批运用了,对于像我这种短期记忆力少于五秒钟,还常常搞错华氏和摄氏转换的人,这个应该会很有用)

But in the world of sales, if a company were to make the perfect product, any other company would have to change it – which would make it worse – in order to promote its own innovation, to show that it was different. How can natural design work under these circumstances? It can’t.

但在商业社会中,如果一个公司生产出完美的产品,那么其他所有的公司都会希望改变它 – 甚至在以该产品变得更差为代价 – 为了宣传推广他们自己的创意,显示出不同。设计是不可能在这样的环境下得到合理进步的。

(个性比功能性更重要?)

To be Googled – Jonathan

10:50 am

Jonathan, my first interviewer arrived. The interview room was actually a big conference room. Good, good, the unsettled setting makes me feel less nervous.

He’s a product marketing manager for Google’s Android. I saw his youtube video online, introducing a Google map application. That was back in 2007, when Android was not released. His hair definitely grows longer, other than that, he’s almost the same as the one in that youtube video 🙂

“I just got back from Beijing a week ago, so if you want, we could discuss some of that at the end of our interview as well. ” The beginning remark was pretty straight forward. He then spent 3 to 4 minutes introducing his role and his current project at Google.

In fact, I think he may be the only one who came in having read my resume and even circled and highlighted several places on it. He first question was: tell me one most important thing about your resume that could make you stand out.

“cross-over” I used the word I was intended to use in my personal statement for PhD application.

“Use one sentence to describe the research you’ve been doing at Cornell”

I am glad that I still remember the name of Jeremy and Sue’s NSF proposal, but that’s definitely too many cliche, so he immediately asked “try to describe this to your grandma” Grandma? I remember I said a bunch of things like internet, and connecting people from different country, but that’s not “grandma” enough, not what he’s looking for. OK, what does my grandma like, food and eat. Then use food as an example… I guess what i said last was make Chinese people understand why US people likes to eat hot dog…

I know, not brilliant at all, but I hope he got the idea…

(forgot some other questions he asked…)

“So here’s a question I would like to ask every interviewer. I’ll give you one minute, choose 3 adjectives to describe Google, as if it’s a person”

3 adj. words, 3 adj. words, there are definitely words like “knowlegible”, “smart”, “fast”, etc. to choose from, but i can’t just come up with words like everyone else, i need something more creative and eye catching… but i do not have 24 hrs, i only have 1 minute.

I still wrote down “fast” on my paper, thinking of explain it as both the search speed, but also the “launch often, launch fast” concept. The second one was “Genuine” to describe its stand in the Chinese censorship issue, and the “don’t be evil” motto. What else, what else… “time’s up! give me your three words”… I was keep looking at all the words that I wrote down, I picked “daily” as my third one, even though I’ve no idea whether it can be considered as an adj to describe a person (at least i don’t want to be described as a “daily” person LOL).

He directly skipped “fast” and “genuine” and asked: what does ”daily” mean. I am pretty sure my facial expression then was ”i don’t think i know more than you do” But anyway, I went on ”扯淡“ing: “So I usually start and end my day with checking my gmail account (i wasn’t lying, i actually do so everyday). To me, Google’s an indispensable part of my everyday life, it’s such a vivid and close character to me, a person like, my roommate, who I will meet everyday. Of course, this person is not perfect, sometimes you will even be pissed off by it, but I couldn’t imagine a life without him.”

God I don’t know if he’s satisfied with my little emotional speech or not. He’s mostly busy taking notes, and once he’s done, he throw out another one: “now, three adj to describe Yahoo Search”.

“But i don’t really use Yahoo Search that much.” In fact, I don’t use Yahoo and its service at all. Had one yahoo email account, but that’s all.

“Then, Baidu, 3 adj. for Baidu”

He even knows Baidu… that’s a bit surprising… Okey, I tried to imagine myself open a web browser and enter “www.baidu.com”, and see that little blue footprint like logo. “Local” was the first word that I can think of. The second one was “entertaining” as even if it doesn’t provide the perfect search service, but i did use it to search for music, songs and images a lot. The third one was… my thoughts were all stuck in there that I couldn’t think of another word…

”mix” was the third word that came to me right before he said: time’s up.

“Google has more rigid standard or algorithm in terms of providing search results, whereas Baidu seems to be more flexible in that. Baidu has this “mixed” criteria in selecting certain news or results. If something really popular comes up, it will boost it’s page rank; whereas if something political sensitive appears, the news could have been blocked even if based on search popularity or message importance it should be ranked top.”

”So think of a word that could describe the mixed character of Baidu as a person.”

“sociable” (i guess i could have said flexible instead of sociable)

“Good, good” he said, still busy taking notes.

He then asked me whether i know a marketing term or not, and i said “no” I really haven’t heard that term ever before, even if I read that thick integrated marketing book on my flight to SF, I couldn’t just pull in all marketing stuff in my head within half a month, especially when i think those knowledge are not that useful anyway.

Then he asked something about how to do a successful marketing campaign for Nook (the ebook device launched by Barns and Noble), especially for dads of the family. I didn’t quite remember how I approached the question, but two things I did mention were: to promote it to dads on their way to work, and promote it online to people who are more likely to buy the Nook as a gift to their dads, those tech savvy children.

He asked a bunch of other questions that i couldn’t remember now. He offered me a chance to ask him a question at the end, so I asked a question regarding the prospective ads market for Google. The interview ended there, at 11:07 am.

To be Googled – “foreplay”

10:00 am

Bill was waiting for me in front of Hotel Avante (excuse me if I mistakenly wrote that as Avatar :P). He’s driving me to building 42 where I will meet up with my coordinated recruiter Zeke.

When the car turns left, entering an area hidden behind rows of evergreens looks so much like an university campus, Bill says: yeah, here it is, the campus.

10:15 am

It is not as dreamlike as I expected at all. Several 2 or 3 floor middle-sized buildings are dispersed in trees, in between are roads wide enough for four cars, with crosswalks on both sides. With cars lined up in front of each building, taking almost all the parking spaces, obviously, not many people are using those wide crosswalks.

Bill drops me off at Building 42. I accidentally entered from a side door. A large breakfast area was in a lobby with all kinds of milk, cereal and bread. The working area is right next to the lobby. It’s all cubics in it. Nothing special at all. Just that the paper walls separate each cubic were much higher, so you won’t be able to see what’s on the other side at all. Some white boards (it was actually very dirty, not white at all) were full of jokes and company anecdotes written by employees. On the other side, there are posters about some social events including a recently launched yoga class called “G Fit”.

I’ve been to Google China’s office, that’s definitely more fancier than this one.

10:30 am

I waited in the lobby, sitting on the coach and looking over the notes I took this morning about the background of each interviewers. A transparent screen on top of the front desk is showing words that are mostly searched in Google search in real time.

You know how those front desks in fortune 500 companies have to be formally dressed. In China, they are mostly tall nice looking girls who speaks perfect mandarin, and make you feel so intimidating sometimes. The guy sitting behind Google’s front desk is wearing a dark jacket with jeans. I doubt if he combed his hair before coming to work today. No offense at all, it’s just his style is indeed casual.

He actually approached me and helped me get a name tag writes: “Dai Tang – Jan.15 – interview”.

An American born Indian guy came in, wearing very formal black suite. He happened to be another interviewee for the RAMP program. We chatted for a bit, so I get to know that he also came all the way from the east coast, an undergraduate from Upenn with double major in business and CS. I was like… OOOOOKkkkeyyyy… so now I know exactly who I am competing with for this position…

But anyway, I am already here, no turning back.

10:45 am

It was actually Courtney, another recruiting coordinator greeted me in the lobby. She briefly introduced me the procedure of the interview. I got a paper copy of all interviewers’ names and contact info as well. Seeing the name of Marrissa Mayer was actually written down under the title of hiring manager, it’s like finally you get a signed photo from one of your favorite movie stars, even if the star is still so far away from you, but still you feel the flare.

To be Googled – the longest morning

5:00 am

I woke up. Obviously I am still in my unadjusted Eastern Time. The interview won’t start until 10:45 am, but I figured I’d better get up, take a shower, have my breakfast, so that I could have some time to finally check out who I will be interviewed with today (Yeah, i couldn’t believe that I still haven’t done that either, LOL)

6:00 am

The breakfast buffet at Hotel Avante was not bad at all: semi-sweet oatmeal, fried eggs and light French toast. What’s more important is that it starts serving indeed early (5:30am). However, I wasn’t even their first customer of the day. Another couple were sitting next to me quietly having their pancakes with maple syrup.

I was trying to skim through my resume again while having my brewed coffee. People say on-site interviews usually won’t involve too many questions regarding your resume any more, cause you’ve already passed that “background screening” round. Especially for companies as non-traditional as Google, the chances of brain teasers would even be higher than that “walk me through your resume” But who knows, just in case I still remember which undergraduate school I went to, it never hurts to “sync” myself again with the resume which was written 5 months ago.

7:00 am

Back to my hotel room. TV news was full of desperate people in Haiti craving for food, clean water and shelters. News media all over the world have their different ways of approaching a variety of things, but they are surprisingly similar in terms of reporting situations under hazards and disasters. Their responsibility, I believe, is more of creating a campaign to raise people’s awareness which will lead to sympathy and donations, which carries with it more moral value than any ordinary news stories.

I always think what if I actually chose journalism as my major at the first place, would I be in media industry, broadcasting, reporting or even publishing already? After reading so many sad stories about the inevitable downturn of traditional media industry and how Google is facilitating this process, I think I am still respectful enough to the role that traditional media plays in this society. They put in their professional effort in collecting information (at a much higher cost than individuals or we say citizen journalists) and creating content and opinions.

I am not saying news media can’t. Reading entirely from the Internet just giving us way too much unscreened and unsorted information to digest. You will never know how much news are still out there haven’t been read. I enjoy sitting in front of computer all day long checking the RSS news feeds I subscribed which are literally updated every five minutes (sometimes even less than that). Indeed the whole world is like a giant news machine producing a vast amount of information and news every second, however, I’d rather not get obsessed with it. A ten minutes morning news show, though may be biased, would be more time and content efficient to me.

(OK, yeah, I am way off the topic right now, so… get back)

This is indeed an eventful week in news world, especially tech news. “Nexus One”, rumors of Apple’s Tablets, updates from CES, and of course, the most shocking one: Google’s “new approach to China”. It’s a bit ironic for me, as a Chinese to see how all these comments, guesses and analysis flooded on the Internet while I am actually in mountain view.

I checked a few latest news stories coming up in the last a couple of hours, both from Chinese and the US press. Not too much new comment other than a bunch of “analysts'” comments. I’d rather buy Bill’s version of explanation:” Surgery Brin is a child. If he thinks something is not the right thing to do (based on his own moral value), he feels the urge to fix it. There’s not too many political games behind all these as commented by the outside world. Business strategies? Perhaps. Chinese market won’t grow substantially if the censorship is still constraining the free speech and search results.”

9:00: It wasn’t until two hours later that I finally done with searching for all relevant info online regarding the interviewers that I will be meeting with today.

They seem to work in a variety of different fields at Google, including ad content network, android, maps, rich snippets, maps, etc. A bunch of youtube videos and Google official blog posts can be found describing their contribution to this brand and the legendary company.

The biggest finding was no doubt, the big boss shall come in at the end of today’s interview. Bobbi XXXXXX, who used to be the brand director at P&G, Marketing director of MSN and led the launch of MSN Space, is now the director of all Google’s advertising business, who (if you understand how Google generate its revenue well enough) literally controls the life line of all Google’s monetizing business.

It’s NOT gonna be an easy day for me.

9:30 am

Yeah, I do need to put on my make up and get ready in the so-called business casual that I brought all the way from Ithaca. I believe add together the top and the dressing pants, the whole set won’t cost more than 50 dollars (both of them are just from H&M). I comfort myself by thinking “hope this fits Google’s minimalist style well” 😛 The fact is, I don’t really have that much of a choice in terms of what I could wear anyway.

A new approach to China

A new approach to China
1/12/2010 03:00:00 PM
Like many other well-known organizations, we face cyber attacks of varying degrees on a regular basis. In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google. However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident–albeit a significant one–was something quite different.

First, this attack was not just on Google. As part of our investigation we have discovered that at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses–including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors–have been similarly targeted. We are currently in the process of notifying those companies, and we are also working with the relevant U.S. authorities.

Second, we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Based on our investigation to date we believe their attack did not achieve that objective. Only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed, and that activity was limited to account information (such as the date the account was created) and subject line, rather than the content of emails themselves.

Third, as part of this investigation but independent of the attack on Google, we have discovered that the accounts of dozens of U.S.-, China- and Europe-based Gmail users who are advocates of human rights in China appear to have been routinely accessed by third parties. These accounts have not been accessed through any security breach at Google, but most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on the users’ computers.

We have already used information gained from this attack to make infrastructure and architectural improvements that enhance security for Google and for our users. In terms of individual users, we would advise people to deploy reputable anti-virus and anti-spyware programs on their computers, to install patches for their operating systems and to update their web browsers. Always be cautious when clicking on links appearing in instant messages and emails, or when asked to share personal information like passwords online. You can read more here about our cyber-security recommendations. People wanting to learn more about these kinds of attacks can read this U.S. government report (PDF), Nart Villeneuve’s blog and this presentation on the GhostNet spying incident.

We have taken the unusual step of sharing information about these attacks with a broad audience not just because of the security and human rights implications of what we have unearthed, but also because this information goes to the heart of a much bigger global debate about freedom of speech. In the last two decades, China’s economic reform programs and its citizens’ entrepreneurial flair have lifted hundreds of millions of Chinese people out of poverty. Indeed, this great nation is at the heart of much economic progress and development in the world today.

We launched Google.cn in January 2006 in the belief that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China and a more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some results. At the time we made clear that “we will carefully monitor conditions in China, including new laws and other restrictions on our services. If we determine that we are unable to achieve the objectives outlined we will not hesitate to reconsider our approach to China.”

These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered–combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web–have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences. We want to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in the United States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success it is today. We are committed to working responsibly to resolve the very difficult issues raised.

Posted by David Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer

To be Googled – Done with the essay

原以为会是更综合和general的题目,来考验个人的信息积累,结果却是如此有针对性的marketing campaign分析。除了上学期在Johnson School take的那门很水的marketing课之外,别无可以拿得出手的东西了,至于经验,那更是免谈。还记得一个月前电面里,当那边的斯坦福美女缓缓扔出:”5分钟,给我设计三个marketing campaign“时,我是如何手足无措,一个月过去了,除了又往脑袋里装进了一本吹捧Google书,别无二致。

不过文章还是得写,而且24小时之后得交稿(拿到文章是中午12点):

”找一个近两年来你认为最成功的市场营销案例,为什么成功,吸引了哪些消费群体,有什么可以改进的,你认为下一步应该怎样营销,该营销方案对相关产品和市场化产生了哪些影响?“

“你要知道我们的评分team已经看过了百余份申请者的文章,所以重点在于,think out of the box, 创新是我们所看重的,奥巴马或苹果之类的例子就可以免谈了”

写文章不是一件容易的事情,费神费时费脑细胞(如果加费脂肪就好了)。好在我是写实派的,虽然没有洋洋洒洒的才气,但一块一块垒砖头还是会的,只要我知道该垒成什么样子。

8th, 12 am:
先把题目copy paste,给我认为可能有idea的人都发了一遍,至少得先找一个可以入手的marketing campaign才行。要求是,既要新颖,think out of the box,又能有改进和下一步发展的空间。需要独辟蹊径,但又必须在我可以驾驭的范围之内,才有可能anticipate下一步的营销空间。

8th, 1 pm:
Cici在UBS的朋友发过来一些关于super bowl和PC vs. Mac的想法,这都太宽泛,难以入手。Han提供了一些关于green energy的想法,google最近的确是在推power meter的idea,不过好像没有特别specific的例子。西北的笑笑姐姐黑莓过来的case是Dove的natural beauty和office Max的rubber band ball. Dove一开始我也有在考虑,但是应该也是热门话题,Officemax的那个,搜了youtube视频看了看,倒是create了话题和news,可是还不够新颖,有没有与网络更加相关的呢。

8th, 2pm:
仍然没有好的想法,在网上乱逛,发现有不少new media marketing campaign的website,24小时交稿之后真应该好好看看。

有一个burger king的案例: burger king在Facebook上打出广告,只要你愿意和你的任意10个好友解除关系,你就可以获得一个免费的whopper. 记得在Sue的CMC课上也有人提过这个,想法挺新鲜的,不过evil了。当然好友是可以解除了之后再添加的,只是在奥兰多吃的那顿半夜burger king的油水还没消,对这个没什么兴趣。

8th, 3pm:
想到上学期因为web data mining而放弃的一门integrated marketing strategy的课,于是上blackboard临时enroll了一下,这样我就可以随便翻老师上课的课件了。

前半截一直都很没意思,边看就边在心里感叹,学marketing真是水啊… 随便几个concept就行了,既不用像communication上升到理论高度,用theory development烦死你,又不像economics或者finance落实到数学模型,用公式和推导玩死你。

翻到中间,发现有一个award winning integrated marketing case:

澳大利亚昆士兰的一个小岛想做旅游推广,于是发起了“全世界最好的工作“的市场营销计划。他们向全世界发出了一个前所未有的job offer – island carer (岛屿保姆),获得这份工作的人可以在这个风景如画的海岛的上住上一年(当然,是住别墅,不是像lost里面那样…),每天的工作就是阳光,海滩,潜水,吃海鲜,发掘岛上各种新奇好玩的事物,一年可以拿到百万年薪。唯一的obligation(如果可以叫obligation的话),就是每周写一篇blog描述在海岛上的逍遥生活。

可以算是perfect job了,除了得被晒的黑点儿之外。整个campaign的核心思想在于制造新闻,而不是广告。当各大新闻媒体争相报道这份“招聘启事”时,宣传效果其实就已经达到了一大半。campaign的后期是对全世界众多申请者进行海选,这当然离不了拉票,youtube video等一系列American Idol的把戏。我记得之前在新浪上好像看过相关的报道,说明的确覆盖面还是很大的。

虽然还没想好怎么improve,不过这么catchy,就是它了。

8th, 4pm

有24小时,我可以花12小时来思考怎么写,剩下的时间再来付诸笔头,所以不急,仍然在网上逛。

又看到一个Ikea的facebook营销case:

Ikea要在欧洲某个国家新开一家分店,他们为该分店的店长在facebook上创建了一个profile, 每天这位店长的profile里都会添加一张新的照片,展示新店里的家具展厅摆设(你知道Ikea里的那种布置得很温馨的样板房间)。神奇之处在于,所有facebook用户都可以在这些照片的家具上tag自己,最先tag的人就能获得相应被tag的那个家具。然而重点不在于tag本身,在于tag了自己之后,照片会spread到自己的好友network里,就像是virus,更多的人看到并获知了Ikea新店的信息。

NOT BAD, BUT NOT AS EXCITING AS THE FIRST ONE.

8th, 4:30pm

想起来Jing之前给我提过的关于QR code的marketing campaign. 搜了下,大多数不过是把自己的产品信息做成QR code(一种通过手机拍照可识别的二维条形码),然后让用户用手机照下来,成为另一种更迅捷的获取信息的方式。的确是有新意的信息传播方式,可以预见到其革命性的未来,因为快捷,简单,毕竟不是每个人在看到地铁海报的时候都有时间和兴趣记下海报上冗长的url地址或者名称,再打开iphone上的web browser进行搜索,而且往往找到的不一定是用户所最需要的信息。

但是仍然是创意的问题,什么才是最具创意的运用QR code的方式呢

看到了巴西一家网上书店的这个case:

一家类似于亚马逊的巴西网上书店,一夜之间将印有QR code的海报贴满了圣保罗的大街小巷,好奇的年轻人醒来之后用手机拍下了这些QR code, 发现每一个code都对应着推特(Twitter)上的一条与love或者hate相关的信息。他们的好奇心被极大的激发,人们纷纷上网回复或者撰写自己的twitter信息,甚至有人在网上建立flicker相册来收集这些照片。在campaign进行的过程中,code背后的信息每七天更新一次,也就是说,过一段时间,相同的code代表的是不同的信息,时刻保持其新鲜度。

故事并没有完,该网站随后出了一本书,一本全世界独一无二的QR code book。200页的书里印的全是QR code,如同那些大街小巷的海报,200个QR code所代表的也是即时变换tweets。独特之处就在于,尽管读者拿到的物理介质-书,不曾改变,但其所包含的信息却是ever-changing的。

恩,真的有人会对这样的”书“ or so called “living book”,感兴趣吗,i doubt,不过这也就是巴西这家书店所希望做到的,在短时间内在年轻人群体积累大量的人气,并且营造出品牌富有创意的形象。试想,当大街小巷都贴满了黑白QR code,谁不想拿出手机来”解码“一下呢,这仅仅需要几秒钟的时间。而随后所出版的书籍,有很好的将整个campaign的loop完结在一个有形的物理介质上,让人们有机会去访问网站。这本动态的书代表的恰恰就是网络书店所需要传达的理念,营造网络和物理世界信息的集合和交融。10天之后,甚至是5天之后,当QR code从城市的各个角落被撤下,当手中的”living book”不再那么有趣,没有关系,因为brand awareness已经被牢牢的被young consumer所接受。

这不是一个love at the first sight的故事,不过交互的设计,与Twitter,QR code的结合,对于新的图书出版也的evision(书店提出这个想法可以运用到教育和学术领域,每次学生打开一本教科书,都有QR码link到最新的数据和信息),好比将今天的信息存储方式和明天的信息存储方式搭建了桥梁…

我需要确认自己对于这个case的喜欢不是偶然或过于少数派的意见,Ikea的案例基本可以rule out了,于是我给朋友们发去了island carer和这个living book的例子(国内的没有办法看youtube video,这个让人很抓狂)。

8th 5:00pm

收到Cici和Bill的reply,两个人都印证了我的想法。Cici的argument是,让大家都curious比让大家都明白好。当Google的logo有一天变成了UFO和火星地表的时候,用户们苦苦追寻了几个星期想知道到底是为什么,it turned out to be H.E.Wells’ birthday,在这个过程中积累起来的topic和traffic才是online business更需要的。

好吧 开始写这个living book的case.

8th 6:00 pm

不饿,中午的柚子还没消化完,但我就是本能的想吃东西了。我觉得小时候真的只是饿了才吃,长大之后怎么就没这个概念了?

本来想清淡,给自己煮了西兰花和火锅丸子之类,结果抱着老干妈吃了大半瓶。弄得胃里“火烧火燎”之后,终于开始写东西了。

8th 7:30 pm

Simon打过来电话,问我写得怎么样了。

他在回家的路上,电话里嗖嗖的是纽约楼宇之间的风响。快一天没说话了,导致我一开腔,都意识不到自己的声音这么大跟嘈杂,而且语言组织上都没什么逻辑。我试图用中文把这个case给他描述了一遍,他一边走一边给我说他的response。是我不好,对不太熟的人的意见宽容度很大,反倒对身边的人的想法非常skeptical,他说的时候,我一直忍着忍着没插话,好难… 直到他说完。常常面试对于整理思路还是很有好处的,他的想法不错,但更重要的是,比我的有条理。

然后我开始说我自己想到的improvement,感觉说出来总是不如写出来的convincing,好在他一直跟我说,挺好挺好。

8th 9:00 pm

重点不在于怎么写campaign是怎么好,重点在于为什么它ground breaking,有什么上升空间(这点在emma后来给我的comment里也有提,我自己在写的时候也一再像emphasize,但还是做得不好)

8th 12:00 pm

终于把胃里的老干妈消化完,开始吃chocolate raisin beans,我没救了,不过没办法,要不然我就睡着了。

最后写到文章里的几个drawback和solution:campaign覆盖不到没有multi-media和internet connection的手机用户,所以这部分群体被忽视了,可以在QR code旁边加上一行数字,通过text也可以让普通用户获取tweets;获取tweets之后不能马上互动的进行reply,应该有一个相应的phone application可以让人在获取信息之后马上reply,而不是让他们回到家,打开电脑再去reply,nobody would do that.

9th 2:00 am

几个将来的想法:

1. 和google map的结合,获取用户通常都在什么地方什么时候读这些living book,从而更有的放矢的进行下一步营销。
【2. 将living book的topic从love或hate进行拓展,最好是有personalized living book,一个对环境感兴趣的人,可以买一本书包含”global warming”, “Copenhagen” 等关键词的living book,而影迷则可以定制他/她喜欢的celebrity的名字(“Brad Pitt”, etc.) 包含到living book里。】这个后来被略去,有点繁琐,难得讲清。
3. 在每本该书店出售的书上贴一个QR code,链接到对这本书评论的tweets,每次翻开书,都可以获取实时的其他读者的评论信息,自己当然也可以re-tweet这些信息。当然这些micro-blogging的行为都是在该售书网站上进行,给网站同时带来流量。最终如果能形成不同的book fan community,所形成的conversation和topic将给网站带来更高的人气和流量。

重要是create platform for community, conversations and interaction, 而不是push messages to consumers.

9th 4:00 am

我实在是想不出这个campaign对于巴西的图书业会有怎样的影响了,因为丫根本就没去过巴西啊…

发了draft给一些人,然后睡觉去了,闹钟定10:30

9th 8:30 am

醒了,看表,继续睡

9th 9:30 am

醒了,看表,继续睡

9th 9:45 am

算了,起吧

收到mitch和emma的revisions和comments。

又从头来一遍,发现很多语言很不精简的地方,继续改,对于最后一个段落仍然没有idea。

9th 10 am – 12 am

Kept on revising… 幸好我9点多起了,而不是10点半,不然真不知道能不能准时交,总而言之,最后在语言和逻辑上又有不少改动,没有时间再给别人做最后一遍proof reading了,只能自己publish成pdf之后,再过一遍(这个emma教的方法很好,在word里面看不出的错误,往往打印或者在pdf格式中,会更容易看出来)。

9th 12:15 am

其实已经晚了,不过考虑到我也不是昨天12点整点收到的题目,所以,应该OK了。

9th 4 pm

居然收到chris的改稿,他以为我今天晚上12点才due… 汗他居然还花了一个小时帮我改…

下午,把Julie & Julia看完了,洗澡,手机充电,看梁静茹的演唱会,写blog…

去做french toast去…

To be Googled – 24 hour Essay

So here I have the assigned 24 hour essay topic. It’s very related to marketing. What values the most is to “think outside of the box“ and the originality of the marketing campaign.

Feel free to comment on this one if you have any suggestions or ideas. I have 24 hrs to crash this topic 🙂

– What marketing campaign or effort have you seen in the past two years that you think was particularly revolutionary?
– How did this campaign capture a new audience or more users?
– What was particularly well-designed about this campaign?
– How could it be improved and how do you anticipate this product to be marketed in the future?
– How has this campaign changed the market conditions and competitive climate in this product’s space?

OK, after 4 hours of searching and collecting information online, I am gonna go with this QR code one:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PG4thXVM2qk&feature=player_embedded]

I think it’s a brilliant marketing idea and let me know if you guys have any suggestions to further strengthen the campaign.

And here is the QR code for my blog:

To be Googled – upcoming visit

Right before i left NYC for Florida, received an email invitation of an on-site interview.

To most companies, on-site means so-called “super day”, but for Google’s RAMP, this is just a start.

Now I am a week away from the 24-hr essay test and perhaps half month away from the one full day interview by Google’s product marketing people. As I just submitted my CHI conference abstract, the preparation time to transform myself into a marketing “know-all” is actually even less than that remaining time. In fact, I don’t really know if they want me to be a marketing savvy person. I’ve never had any real marketing experience, so I doubt if those bookwise knowledge would help (I perhaps should have taken the integrated marketing class with Jing this semester, but I chose Dan’s web data mining instead). I comfort myself by imagining they are probably more looking for someone who have deeper understanding to Google products and concepts. The question becomes, do I really have that?

Been reading tech blogs and news lately, and there’s just too much new trend and product buzz to be absorbed. A lot of them are actually pretty interesting little pieces written by tech-savvy people (or we call nerds). I wish I could have more time to read through them everyday. The most important thing is not how much you read, is how much you can pull out when you actually need them in the interview, that’s the power to pull the trigger.

So yeah, if you happen to be a fan of Google too, or have your own opinion or understanding about current Google products, its social media marketing strategy, or even the fierce competition going on between G and MS, you are more then welcomed to comment on this post to tell me what you think, both nerdy and naive users are welcomed.

And the question I was asked (and stuck in) in my last interview: “pick a technology product (non-Google, non-apple), which you think it’s useful but haven’t been marketed well to consumers, design three marketing campaigns without changing the product itself”, just in case you also have something to say about that. I really cannot think of any single technology product I am using now which is non-Google and non-apple. If I am rich enough I would buy Kindle, but $259 is just too much for me right now. So, if you happen to use some particular interesting technology products, let me know.

Heard from Jason that the on-site visit will include one day visit in SF and free Google massage. Sounds fun and “intimidating” 😛

To be Googled – First dip

Hey, XX,

Finally, I’ve “officially” made my first step to RAMP 🙂

This email was pretty long, I sort of just recapped my experience in the telephone interview. You can skip most of it, and directly jump to the end if you are busy with your work 🙂 My overall impression was two telephone interviews were both interesting, but in slightly different style. I can rate my performance as 7/10 in the first one, and 5/10 in the second one.

The first one was from Ryan XXXXXXX, a Cornell alumni. He joined Google two years ago due to Google’s acquisition of his original company: Jotspot. He started directly by asking how I think of the RAMP program, and in what ways I fit in the requirement of this position. He further asked how I think of Google’s marketing strategy. I recalled the conversation we had on Tuesday about, how to first position the product, analyze the targeting consumers, in relation to different kinds of Google’s product (consumer product, business product).

And then, there came the classic question, what Google product have you been using so far, pick your favorite, how to improve it… I mentioned, gmail, gtalk, google doc, and he actually picked google doc for me (i guess due to his background in developing online spreadsheet). Easy to access without the constrain of a specific computer, easy online collaboration, easy share were several points I mentioned with Google doc. He asked me to made a few comparisons with MS excel. The question went a bit broad here, as I mentioned I would still frequently use Excel, since Google spreadsheet is convenient but doesn’t provide me with comprehensive calculation and programming functions, so he asked about in what circumstances I would use excel. I talked a bit about my master research and thesis, for which I used excel a lot. The conversation was centered on my master thesis for a while (he seems to be pretty interested in it… :)).

The first interview ended with a few questions like, what’s your internship experience in IBM, how’s your leadership skills, pick one product that’s non-google and non-apple, and try to explain it to me. I asked him a question regarding his experience in working in big companies like Oracle or Google, compared to working in the start-up companies (as he did two years ago, based on his background).

Overall, I felt like the first one went well (don’t know if the interviewer felt the same, hopefully he did 🙂 )

The second one began 30 minutes later, it was with Anna-XXXXXXXX XXXXXXX, a Stanford alumna who joined RAMP right after her undergrad. The second one was quite formal and the questions were more organized. She started by introducing the program, and her own experience in Google, and what the career path of APMM would be look like, which was quite unexpected to me. She asked about my other internship experience, I focused on an English learning software development project I worked on in my interned company two years ago. She then asked what are the three current technology trends: emm… I mentioned the increasing trend of online operation system, growing need to protect information security, and a free platform to share and create content. She wanted more explanation on the third point, the platform one, so I went on elaborating on how Google’s has been use “pull” rather than “push” marketing strategy to attract people to join the Google platform, to contribute their content, as opposed to traditional media is trying to create boundaries to get consumers to pay for the service. She then asked “Besides letting consumers pay for the service, what are other ways online service can earn money”, my answer was “online advertisement”. I couldn’t remember quite clearly, but she seemed to have asked what are a few drawbacks of search engine. I think I talked a bit about the blogs which have unique content and attract a lot of targeted audience, but can hardly be searched by the search engine.

And then she threw out a big question, which almost blew me off “pick a technology product, which you think it’s useful but haven’t been marketed well to consumers, design three marketing campaigns without changing the product itself”

I admit that I did pick a “wrong” product … I started by saying how Google check out is a useful product, but hasn’t been marketed quite well in female consumers, who are less tech-savvy, so they don’t want to spend time in exploring the product. (She didn’t talk a lot when I was talking, hopefully she was busy taking notes rather than not satisfying with my answer, LOL).

The marketing campaign I designed were:
1. Promote check-out in websites frequently providing deal news or coupons.
2. Promote check-out in relation to Gmail, when users received a promotion email from certain brands or online shopping websites, there will be related check-out advertisement on the side to lead them use the account.
3. Promote when users use search engines to look for their desired products (sort of the idea of adwords, adsense)

I am not quite satisfied with all three marketing strategies I came up either, but that’s all I’ve got in the interview. She challenged some of them, by saying why would those deal news website willing to put on google check-out ads, and some of them are not exactly marketing campaign. I tried pretty hard in “defending” my ideas, and previous statements.

Last question went much longer than I expected… when that one’s finished, it almost passed 30 minutes, but… that was not over. She threw out a brain teaser question: how many people take off in JFK each day. I thought for a while, and decided to use JFK terminals. Counting terminals -> how many trains are transporting everyday -> how many passengers are on each train, etc. I came up with an answer of 15,000 people everyday. Hope it actually make sense to both me and Anna ~

I asked two questions regarding her experience in Google as well, and that’s the end of the second telephone interview. I feel the second interview was more tough than the first one, I definitely need to strengthen my marketing knowledge and be more “savvy” in picking and elaborating on technology products. I don’t think my performance was really great, but hopefully it was good enough so they’ll consider me for another round of interview. After this first experience with Google, I knew more of its interview style and procedures, all I need now is one more opportunity to prove myself and more time to strategically prepare it.

Sorry for writing such a loooong email to “recap” what I’ve experienced yesterday. Thanks again for your help throughout this process, I will keep you updated with any further news I hear from them.

Take care!

Best,

Sally

To be Googled – the start and my (emotional) attachments

Got the interview opportunity from a friend’s friend (who perhaps is not working in Google any more). Was telephone interviewed by two Google recruiter from the product marketing team in late November. Before that was hours of searching relevant information about Google’s products, business models and social marketing strategies online. Even brought a book on Amazon named ‘What would Google do’. It was until then did i realize how powerful Google is in shaping this society, our way of thinking and living (so do Google’s peer competitors, MS and Apple) and, how little i know about product marketing, not to mention Google’s product marketing.

Though barely know anything about marketing, business or economics whatsoever, at least I am a Google fan, that’s for sure. Not as nerdy as most of the geek (guys) do, but i am definitely more fond of Google than average girls. I’ve been using Gmail and Gtalk since 2005, not long after Google launched its revolutionary email service. I was amazed by how IM can be merged into the email interface when i first used it. Ever since then, I’ve been always on Gtalk whenever my computer’s on, partly because Gtalk doesn’t have the “invisible” option at the very beginning, partly because all my early Gtalk contacts are people who are very close to me, so there’s no need to hide anything. Google to me, starting at the very beginning, is a space clean, simple and convenient. Then there came Picasa and Google Doc, which genuinely changed the way I manage and share documents online. Instead of sending those huge photo or doc files as email attachments, I import them onto a virtual platform supported by Google, and send my friends or colleagues simply a link. Those magic online data storage places has more significant meaning to me as I am being such a forgettable person (say i lost my wallet and keys three times a year). Questions I would constantly ask myself when I am looking for a specific file A or photo B are “is it on this flash drive, or that one?” “is it on my laptop or desktop?”. I am desperately in need of either one thing that could sync the data on all my electronic devices or a quick search tool that can go through all my data when i am looking for something. Luckily, Google doc combined both. So it all boils down to a cyber space which I can store on any computer (laptop, desktop, itouch, any devices that connect to the Internet) and search whenever i want. The key to that space is my Google account.

I know those dirty old tricks: they get you addict to one product, so that they can conveniently and easily persuade you to use other products as well, even though later ones are not as good as the first one, but you either don’t notice it, or you just don’t want to bother change your gears. After I’ve been “brainwashed” by Gmail and Google doc (the same rule applies to a lot of Apple fans too), I am more willing to explore and test other Google’s products: igoogle, map, voice, readers, etc. and recently, wave. It doesn’t really matter if some of them suck. The key point is, if one of your very close friends bought a new clothes, you do want to check it out, don’t you? Google is an old friend now, not an ambitious business man who tries very hard to sell its product to me. I guess that’s why it’s so successful.

Up till today, I’ve used up 5589 MB (75%) of my 7409 MB gmail storage space and have received (composed) 13054 emails, maybe more than 500 google docs and thousands of photos in Picasa. It sometimes makes overwhelmed to look back to what I’ve done in the past a couple of years by going over all the conversation logs and emails saved in Google, the very email informing me I was going to be funded by Cornell, the hundreds of chat sentences reminding me of how bitter and sweet a relationship could be, etc. It is indeed a “close’ friend, close enough that he knows my every little secrets and was there during every important moment of my life.

I tried to pretend that I am a nerdy Google girl, but it turns out my tone has gotten social-emotional again. It’s hard to not do so after being a master of science student in communication, or perhaps it’s just the fact that i am a girl. The only comforting fact that I had before my telephone interview with two sharp Google product marketing recruiters was, i am a stubborn fan of Google.