Monday, October 29, 2007

Where we've been all week: the Bay Area

Ken & I just got back Sunday night and boy am I glad to be back in my own house and own bed with my own pillows. Is intolerance of other sleeping situations a sign of getting old? On Tuesday night while still in San Francisco, I met with my dear friend Josh to have Burmese food. He is another standout American I met when schooling in London in 1994. Josh was extremely patient as I misjudged how long it would take me to get from Union Square to the Richmond District. Being that the cab lines were quite long, I struck out on foot to find a less crowded area to hail my own taxi. Well as I traversed Market Street, I spotted a bus going in the general direction I was heading and, being the fearless ninja that I am, hopped aboard. I started to get a little unsettled as we started making turns and were clearly in the Tenderloin District area. Winos and homeless people started to get on and I clearly was in over my head on this one. At a stop where I could see a fairly busy street in the distance, I got off and RAN several blocks to it, hellbent on getting the very next available taxi. Thankfully this gamble paid off and I was only 30 minutes late for dinner. (Sorry again, Josh) But I'm so glad he hung in there. We had a great dinner with fabulous conversation. Josh now has his own company called Language in Common that helps other companies with design, strategy, branding and all sorts of other creative tasks. Josh and his partner Axel wrote a few manifestos that approach how companies can change their thinking about creativity for the better. One that truly resonated with me is called "How to be a Better Lover" described as "a definitive sex manual for good business." A snippet from the Talk Dirty to Me section: "Imagine your in bed with your lover, who turns to you and says, "Baby, I'm gonna leverage our synergy tonight." Does that make you want to get it on? If you're like most of us, probably not. And there's the rub. Using cold language to woo warm bodies just doesn't work, but lots of companies use it anyway. They're stuck in the idea that it's better to be impressive then to be approachable, that big talk is better than pillow talk. These companies fail to see that they could get a lot more love by being a little more human." And really the whole thing is fun and funny but most of all true. What a great way to illustrate how businesses can connect with their customers. It's a great read I highly recommend it.

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At the end of the week, I joined Ken who had already been down for a few days working in Mt. View and I got to see the Goog for myself. Let me just say---very impressive. Despite all the perks including the heated toilet seats + bidet and free food, it's really the vibe I found most enchanting. Within the hallways and offices you can feel the passion, intelligence and "well-meaningness" of it's devoted employees. I have never been in such a positive work environment. It is truly inspiring and stirs my own thoughts... Here are a few pics.

On campus posing with the T-Rex replica.

Heated toilet seats are heavenly. Note the control panel on the wall. Fabulous.

(This is the only indoor pic I took at the Goog.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Heated toilet seats! Yes! And thanks for the props too!