10 years at Google

I started my Google job 3654 days ago.  10 years at the same company is rare these days, however, just as rare are companies as renowned or historic as the one I work for.  

Here are 10 random thoughts about the last 10 years working at Google:

1) After 10 years - I'm still impressed with the food perks this company gives.  I still love telling people what I was deciding between that day (the duck or the skirt steak as an example).
2) I believe I was the first "Brett" at Google.  There are now apparently 46 others.
3) Almost all of the people I work with are incredibly impressive and smart.  I've worked at companies where you feel like not everyone is on your "same wavelength."  Not here.  That's an amazing thing and only a company like Google can continuously pull it off.
4) I sell digital advertising but I really don't consider myself a "saleguys sales guy."  I feel very fortunate that I truly believe in what I talk to advertisers about every day:  I can help improve their business.  Google's ad solutions is one of the most "relevant" targeting around today - and it should only get better in the future.  When I ask customers for more money (which is what all sales people do) - I don't feel bad about it because I genuinely think it's the best choice they can make AND in my 10 years here I have yet to feel like an advertiser is giving us the right share of their advertising budget.  I really enjoy this aspect of working at Google.
5) I'm a rare employee at Google.  10 years here and 10 years working with retail advertisers.  Most people who've been here for a while cover many different aspects of the business.  I've had 3 different jobs and gotten promoted several - but all of them covered retailer advertisers for the most part.
6)  (Common question) After 10 years here -- I still have no pull in hiring processes.  Sorry - I can't talk to someone to help you get a job.  I'm happy to talk to you about the company culture and beliefs, though.  
7) (Common question) On a similar topic - Sorry - but I can't tell you how to get to #1 on the Google search results of the keyword of your choice.  I can tell you how the ad system works, though.
8) (Common question) The founders have no idea who I am.  I've met them each a couple of times but I'm not in any of the same meetings they are.  I'm OK with this.
9)  I'm a pre-IPO employee but that doesn't mean that I made millions.  People assume that I've been at Google for 10 years and so I must be "loaded."  Not true.  I'm not complaining about the financial benefits of being here 10 years - but the perception is vastly exaggerated.
10) There is still a great sense of pride telling people that I work at Google.  I'm very proud of this company and the mission it's trying to accomplish and the way it's attempting to do so.  The fact that my soon-to-be 97 year old Grandma talks to me about what she read in the paper about Google (and she has no clue what the internet is) is amazing.  I love that.  

In 2003, it was very different than it is today.  Some things good and some things not as good - but again - I feel very fortunate for having worked at this place for the last 10 years.  Who knows what the next 10 will bring - but if it's anything like that last 10 - I'll be really happy.

Thanks Google.


Cold Calling should die

I'm a manager within a sales organization.  I think of myself as a sales guy.  I very much believe in talking on the phone with customers and prospects.  I still think cold calling should be left in 1987.

I work at Google so I guess people assume I'm rich.  I probably have one person a week who calls my office asking if I want them to manage my "portfolio" or invest in their firm...  I also have head hunters calling me about "can't miss opportunities" regularly.  I can't imagine, in 2013 who this cold call tactic works on.  Conversion percentages have to be less than banner ad click-thru rates.

Why do I think cold calling should die?  
Here are my top 5 reasons:
1) Phone calls are personal.  They take time and demand concentration.  These are limited aspects of everyone's day.  Respect that!
2) Cold calls are "tricks."  No one in the world actually is hoping that someone is going to cold call them (maybe except this guy).  I can't see a sales call starting off worse than someone being annoyed or disrespected.
3) There are better ways to communicate today.  Email and social networks in particular.  If I really am a good prospect - then you should be able to give me the opportunity to engage on my terms.   I talk to my clients on the phone regularly, but I can't tell you the last time that I called one blind and actually had them pick-up with a productive conversation.  I email them, send a calendar invite, etc.  They come into the conversation with the right expectations and frame of mind.  It benefits everyone.  This is just the new reality.
4) There's no way to stand-out (in a positive way).  At this point - every trick in the book is a negative cliche'.  "What would you say to 30% returns? - Huh? huh?"  (CLICK).
5) It makes people resent picking up the phone.  As sales people - we don't want that.  Because I get these random cold calls - the odds of me picking up the phone for a number I don't recognize rise.  This is bad.  On time, I had a CMO leave me voicemail when I sitting at my desk.  This drove me crazy because it took another week to get them on the phone.  I blamed cold callers. 

If you're a good sales person than you've done some research before picking up the phone.  I'm hoping that cold callers have done some research on ME before calling me blindly, seen this post, and decide an alternative form of first contact... Thanks for listening.


Why I Don't Like Live Concerts

Last night I went to go see the second live concert with my wife in our 10 year relationship (thanks Blake!).  She loves concerts; Me - not so much.  Even by typing that I feel like I should be embarrassed somewhat by that statement.  "Who doesn't love live music?"  (ME!)

Here are my reasons why:
1) I grew up loving Hip-Hop.  
Live Hip-Hop isn't even close to as enjoyable on your ears as produced Hip-Hop.Freestyle battles aside - there is far less quality of music in the execution of the lyrics, rhythm, etc.  I've seen every rapper you'd want to see live (Biggie, Wu-Tang, Jay-Z, Eminem, Nas, Vanilla Ice) ;) and none of them conjure any kind of over-the-top memory.
2) I've never really fantasized about being on a concert stage
Watching people at the concert last night, you see the passion when they know every word or stare enviously at the stage day-dreaming about them being in that position.
3) Logistics and cost
Getting concert tickets are never easy or always expensive.  Do you ever really get the seats you want?  Traveling to a concert is never stress-free.  If you're driving you're not drinking and if you're taking mass transit - you're a cattle who has better had taken their patience pills.  I'd personally rather save this type of over-priced, logistical nightmare for sporting events.
4) Restrictive Fun Zone
If I wanted to hang out with people who liked the same music and knew the same songs as me - I'd much rather go to a club and hang out with these people in that setting/venue than some enormous stadium that may or may not have people sitting/standing who each get a 10 inch seat to sit on.  If you've seen me dance - I need more than 20 square inches of room to let break it down.
5) The Always Scripted "Encore"
Seriously - don't say "Thanks so much for coming out - Drive Safe" and then play 30 more minutes afterwards.  The first 20 times someone did that -- fine -- it was decent shock value in 1974.  In 2013, it's just lame and for me it's a sure-fire way to leave me annoyed at the end.

I'm sure there are bands or groups that defy my rationale.  I have a lot of friends who probably can't understand why I feel this way.  I, personally, just don't happen to be into those groups or music genre (again - outside of freestyle hip-hop -- Shout out to FreeStyle Love Supreme who I've seen over 10 times live and enjoyed every time).

This all said -- I can tell you from going to concerts when the performer is crazy-talented.  I have now seen Bruno Mars twice in concert - and he definitely is crazy-talented with a great voice.