Feb 26, 2013

Notes on The Last Few Days: It's Been A Bit Overwhelming

It started with a video.

Then a thought process. 

Then a blogpost.

And now it's becoming a full-blown obsession.


The last few days have been amazing overwhelming awe-inspiring squeeful and as my Tumblr friends would say /FEELS. After I submitted my Glass Explorer application I wrote a blogpost on my process and pushed it to my networks. Little did I know the big G was watching. :-) 

Not only did the Glass team see my posts, but the following morning the Communications Director for Glass +Courtney Hohne reposted it to her networks. I was so thrown by this show of support for a nobody like me. It made me wish that the Glass team themselves were choosing the invitees for the Explorer program and not an independent jury. Alas, such is life.

As if the day couldn't get any better, one of my friends who works as a technical sourcer at Google, +Claire Watkins, read my post and invited me to Google's New York office for a chat.

In the spirit of full disclosure: I've never worked for Google nor have I ever been to their office, despite my having worked on 111 Eighth Avenue's 15th floor at Livestream. Claire and I are acquainted through a mutual fandom friend and are not related nor do we live together (no matter how awesome that would be). For many years, this friend spoke of Claire, who runs RupertGrint.net, as one of her closest fandom friends, but we only met a couple of years ago. Having run my own fansite and podcast for a short time, I had heard of Claire through other friends at MuggleNet, the world's leading source for Potter-related news. I now consider Claire a friend and fandom colleague.

Back to my story. Claire took me (and my large ridiculous suitcase I had to carry because I was on my way to travel by bus to New Jersey) through a quick tour of the Google offices. Keep in mind I worked in this building for almost two years and never set foot on Google soil, so I was a bit excited. The conference rooms are lush and the cafeteria is gorgeous. Lunch hour was already over, so we grabbed a few drinks and chatted on the veranda.

It was nice to talk about Glass with someone at Google who is as much in the dark as we all are. We talked about my blog, my ideas for a community of Glass Explorers and meetups in New York, and she wished she could apply to be an Explorer herself (unfortunately Google employees and contractors are not eligible). She joked that she once saw some Glass team members and begged to take a photo with them, but they declined for obvious reasons.

As someone who has always admired Google's innovation and their forward-thinking treatment of the user-creator relationship, it was so nice to walk the halls and quickly realize that this company is a lot like other big companies. In fact, walking the long corridors between departments reminded me of my days working at Walt Disney World. 

There was so much secrecy shrouded around the "magic" behind the Magic Kingdom (where I started on the property in 2003), but when you finally saw behind the curtain (or in this case "in the tunnel") you realized that companies are made up of real people working together to make magic. The cafeteria is there. The guide maps tell you which direction to what department. The custodial and security teams are sharing laughs during a quick coffee break. Things are usually just run-of-the-mill on a day to day basis. What is exciting however is the knowledge that somewhere in the building, someone is putting on a Cinderella wig preparing to change a little girl's entire world. In this case, I could imagine a Googler working on the Mirror API or debating color names for future models.

Later that same day, +Sarah Price, Community Advocate for Glass, also showed her support for blogpost and my application. Today, a community of Glass Explorers, developers, pioneers, and would-be Explorers are all showing their support & excitement about ideas I had. It's nice to be appreciated, especially after months of full-time job searching and thankless freelance work. 

There's been a few articles I recently read that I want to shed some light on as well. Chris Davies over at Slashgear recently connected Google Now and Glass much like my post, saying both "are still young, but there’s a lot about the future of Android that rests upon their reception and development." Davies nailed it. I wouldn't be surprised if Glass' success meant more collaboration between the two teams. 

Another story at Engadget, which was posted before the now infamous UI footage I'm calling "the 'OK glass' heard 'round the world", speaks to the rumor that Google retail stores will open this holiday season. For me, this was an eventuality, a "when not if" situation. You can be sure it didn't take the Windows 8 store in Times Square for me to realize that Google would be launching brick & mortar loactions by 2013's end.

I want to mention lastly how amazing it's been to connect via G+ with not only supporters of my own ideas, but also with the folks who've had hands-on real-world experiences with this wearable tech I think can change the lives of so many fans out there. Hopefully I'll get my Glass invite, make my pre-order, and attend my Explorer event in the weeks and months to come, but until then, it's been so nice to meet you all and discuss where we think Glass can go. The possibilities really are endless.

More to come, so stay tuned.