Friends of Ben in Palo Alto and Mountain View

I spent St. Patrick’s day meeting some really cool Friends of Ben.

On the drive I listened to David Sedaris Me Talk Pretty One Day (very good, but I liked Dress Your Family better). First stop was Palo Alto to catch up briefly with my "old" friend Chris Yeh. After dishing out some top secret high school gossip, I raced over to the Google campus where I met Chris Sacca (biz dev/special projects) and Eric Case (Blogger) for lunch.

I’d never been to Google before and didn’t know what to expect. I spent 10 minutes looking for parking in their visitor lots, which I’m sure is intentional! Scarcity makes it seem like your visit is even more special and rare. Wandering through the campus, I could feel the energy and passion in the air. It really felt like special things were happening on the physical grounds. By the same token, I also sensed a slight odor of arrogance.

I met up with Chris and Eric, exceedingly kind and gracious hosts, and headed over to the massive cafeteria (where I was able to have a few words with my friend Charles Hudson, a new Google hire, who I know from my BizWorld Foundation duties). Chris originally reached out to me after reading the USA Today article, Brad Feld’s post, and my own blog. So, we all had some background on each other, which helps conversation enormously! The food was amazing and Chris gave me a tour of some of the other facilities — it’s a sweet set-up. Eric gave me a Blogger hooded sweatshirt, which will allow me to go even longer without buying a new piece of clothing. Good guys.

After Google I drove a few minutes across the way to Plaxo where I met Tod Sacerdoti, Director of Business Development there. Tod is an awesome guy; really nice, sharp, and thoughtful. He has an eclectic set of activities and interests, many of which overlap with my own. A great chat.

The last stop was at Comcate’s Mountain View satellite office, where I hung out for a couple hours. The first hour I spent doing email on his wi-fi while my colleague and friend Olivier finished a conference call where wonderful words like "integrations" and "API’s" flowed sweetly through the air. We spent our time focusing on the sales pitch for our code enforcement software and pumping up the PowerPoint to be more Beyond Bullets-esque.

I drove home, listening to Sedaris and doing a few calls. When I got back to my house at 7:15 PM I saw a new message on my home voicemail. "How odd," I thought, "No one calls me on that number." I played the message — it was from a TV producer who’s involved in a pretty interesting project. He said, "I’m looking for a Ben Casnocha…." Shit – I wonder what the message machine greeting is on the home line. I called my house from my cell phone to hear the answering machine. Sure enough, it was my brother’s recording from months ago: "Yo what up, you’ve reached John, Alex, and Ben, so um, leave a message and we’ll hit you back. Aite, peeeace!" A professional greeting, no?

After calling the guy back, I walked down the street with my Economist, ordered my favorite Bon Jour crepe and bagel, ate a leisurely dinner, and came back and fell into bed. A good day.

4 Responses to Friends of Ben in Palo Alto and Mountain View

  1. Sounds like a fun and fulfilling day.

  2. Raphael Kang says:

    VERY PRODUCTIVE! 10/10.

  3. Justyna says:

    I just read an article in Time about the Google campus. So they really do provide gourmet lunches to their employees? Too bad you didn’t have time to take a dip in the in-place swimming pool.

  4. Ben Casnocha says:

    Yes, the lunches are pretty amazing, lots of options, all you can eat.

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