Thursday 2 November 2017

#300 Google for nonprofits

What lovely golden carpet. That was brand new. I could smell it. I was sat next to a socket on the floor of Google's UK office next to Paddington, holding my faulty Primark charger cable into the bottom of my phone with my little finger, trying to look preoccupied.

Twelve minutes to go until the next talk. No phone signal. Here. There'd be a reason for that. It was lightning fast in the toilets.

I'd received an invite on Monday to the nonprofits conference quite by surprise. It was a day designed to explain how to get the most out of their products. My volunteer group leader hadn't been able to attend so I got to do some of my favourite things. Taking notes. Eating free food. Pretending to be a woman named Elizabeth.

The office was nothing like I'd expected. I'd assumed corporate policy would have somehow halted or at least diluted the manifestation of the typical tech scene stereotype. Yet upon my arrival, I was instantly greeted by a platoon of jeans-wearing, coffee-slurping North Americans, all of whom had exactly the same personality.

Having only been volunteering for a mere three weeks, I wasn't ideally placed to be attending. The talks were aimed at people who'd been using Google products for while and were looking to get more out of them. I was a veritable master when it came to watching YouTube videos. Making them not so much. I had very little idea of the team's budget, experience and existing usage. So I just sat there, writing frantically to get everything down and praying there'd be no group exercises. One was mooted but fortunately there wasn't time for it.

The six talks I attended were educational and some. I came away with thirteen pages of notes, some of which had to be useful. Making notes was how I retained information. If I'd been asked to speak about a subject without looking at what I'd written, I'd struggle. Even if I'd just come out of a talk on it. My pen captured everything though. All of the points from the speakers' mouths and all the info from their slides. With none of the accents.

My phone had been charging nicely but I was fed up of the lack of signal. I unplugged it and got up to try some of the strange purple tortilla chips that some dick had put out instead of real crisps. I needed the sustenance. When I got home that evening, I'd spend two and a half hours typing up what I'd learned, inserting questions in red periodically to assess how key parts of the advice applied to the organisation. I'd then attach that to an email, in which I'd include a short summary and a much more polite joke about the crisps.

I could go to events and write about them every day and would never get bored.


Fizzfan said...

Well you’d kept quiet about that! Is Elizabeth your alter ego and did you dress up?

I too have to make notes to remember practically any new information. I’ve got a frame of sticky notes round my computer at work that put anyone else off from hot desking in my absence.

Sounds like you had a good day and if nothing else, at least the purple crisps brightened up the lack of those nerdy N American Googley personalities:)

Profound Familiarity said...

It would've been so funny if I'd turned up in drag. I'll have to remember that for another conference.

Have the sticky notes found their way into your home or is it just a work thing?

Fizzfan said...

I have two printed signs that I had to make up after just too many laundry mishaps.
One says “I’m all washed up” which I leave on the worktop to remind me to take the washing out. The other says “All dried out” for the tumble dryer.
If I need to remember anything in the morning I throw a cushion in front of the bedroom door. Trouble is I still sometimes forget what it was I done it for.

Other notable memory lapses have been going into work an hour early when the clocks have gone back (twice) and one year when I lived alone, I even forgot it was my birthday until I went to leave for work and discovered some cards in the post. I still have trouble believing that. I am an airhead and I used to party a lot.

You had any good forgets?

Profound Familiarity said...

The cushion thing sounds like a good idea.

Mum's birthday when I was a teenager. Keys, wallets, trains. A can of coke last night.