Tuesday, February 15, 2005

networking in real life

soon after news of this blog first broke, it was said that i might become google's scoble or zawodny. of course, at the time, i had no idea what people were talking about. soon, it became apparent to me that while it was neat to be in the same sentence as these blogging legends, i've still got a long way to go before i can truly measure up to them...

last tuesday, i was looking around at stories about other bloggers who had been fired and i ran across troutgirl's story. i read through her blog and thought, wow, this is kinda similar to what happened to me. i saw she had posted about a new community meeting she was in charge of planning and it was happening that night, so i decided to show up and try to chat with her a bit about her experience.

when i arrived, i the scene was pretty chill and i immediately found joyce (troutgirl). we chatted for a bit and she ended up introducing me to a few blogging celebrities.

first, i met niall, who works at technorati as the community manager. we chatted for just a bit and he mentioned all the different blogging/techie community meetings that were happening in the bay area - obviously, niall is a great fit for his job :). he's been a great contact and is really getting me plugged into the different groups in the area. he also records these local events and posts them on his blog; if you're interested in the latest buzz in the bay area, be sure to check it out.

then, the meeting got under way. david sifry, founder and CEO of technorati, was the guest at the meeting and it was run as an informal q&a session (i believe niall is currently working on posting the audio from this session up on his blog). for me, the session was awesome; i was riveted to my chair for 2 hours while dave talked about technorati's vision, his entrepreneurial experiences, and general commentary about building relationships on the internet. it was a great experience - if you get a chance, definitely find an excuse to chat dave up, he's a goldmine.

after dave's talk, i met russ. he apparently had been doing contract work at yahoo and just recently joined there full time. i took the opportunity to chat with him a little bit; mostly, i wanted to know why he chose to join yahoo out of all the other companies in the area. immediately, russ focused in on the culture and working environment. i thought, wow, a place that's working on bringing revolutionary web technologies to the masses and a great atmosphere? sounds like a dream come true.

then, i met jeremy zawodny. since my story had started making rounds with the press, i had been compared to jeremy and scoble, but i had never expected to meet them in person. we got to talking and he shared with me his experience at yahoo, which also sounded great. jeremy told me that yahoo is extremely blog friendly and that posting their personal work experiences was perfectly acceptable - given, of course, that confidential information and NDAs aren't breached. i left with his contact info and an invite to tour the yahoo campus.

to top it all off, two nights later, i met robert scoble at a geek dinner he put together in san jose. my conversation with scoble was quite refreshing; he has a ton of perspective on how to deftly handle blogging in the corporate space. it sounds like scoble has a pretty great gig, running msdn's channel 9. makes me kind of jealous. but then again, i suppose you could say that i'm slightly jealous of all those who are employed ;). either way, i'm really looking forward to reading that book he's putting together, i think it's going to be hot.

also in attendance was dennis cheung, a microsoftie working at the mountain view office. he happened to snap a photo of me at dinner and also got one of my "expired" google business cards. after the geek dinner, i had some time to kill, so i visited the local microsoft office with him. the insides of the microsoft offices here look remarkably like the ones in redmond - in fact, the only difference i really saw was that there were lots of macs around :p

chatting with all these guys was great. they are true blogging veterans and i hope to get chances to talk with them more often. in the meantime, i'll be trying to attend as many of these meetings as i can; hopefully, i'll continue to meet cool new people in the area. if you know of any really interesting get togethers (and by interesting, i mean nerdy), send me an invite please!


Blogger me said...

Good to see that you are socializing w/ the right bunch. The more contacts you have the higher the chances of landing up in a job. I somehow get a feeling that you are aiming for Yahoo!

Good luck.

2/15/2005 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

can i get one of your expired google biz cards? j450n@cox.removeme.net

2/15/2005 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger Toria said...

I was sorry to read about your termination from Google. I wrote about it briefly on my blog. There are places to bitch, and there are places not to bitch. I'm sorry you found out the hard way where not to. I know you must feel a bit sad inside. Let your lesson please become a lesson for others. Help to spread the word that blogging is GOOD, done in the right way. Your meetings sure sound interesting! I wish you the best of luck in finding work again quickly. I'd love a expired Google card :) toriauru@gmailNOSPAM.com Thanks and hugs sent across the miles.

2/16/2005 12:10:00 AM  
Blogger TuckerMax said...

Well Mark Im glad you and the rest of the trekkies are hanging out on planet Klingon. Let me get one of those business cards so I can whipe my ass with it.

2/16/2005 05:21:00 AM  
Blogger lak said...

Yesterday I started blogging and I told my girlfriend - who is like me from Germany - "Hey, I started a blog!". So she told me about a (now former) google guy called Mark Jen who has a Blog, too. Amazing, the word spread even to Germnay!

As to your job problem: I have plenty jobs to offer in Louisville Kentucky. Nice E-Commerce company, grew without funding to 50 people within less than 3 years in Germany. Just opend in the US - anyone here Louisville fan? :) Would be a nice adventure and the culture still can be shaped and everyone is having an impact in such an early phase lak@spreadshirt.com

2/16/2005 06:05:00 AM  
Blogger Jarkko said...

You have a wonderful environment to do all that networking. You already know more important people on the field than I ever will (just objective notion, no jealousy here). If nothing else, some small net company wants you, because of your PR-value :) Based on comment from jason, I foresee growing market for Google memorabilia. Take care.

2/16/2005 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Jarkko said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/16/2005 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

You're not the only one that's gotten fired for blogging. Don't you hate it when a company has no policy about blogging and then suddenly fires you for blogging about work? It's not nice at all.

conference calls

2/16/2005 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

What's up, Mark? A Google-employee friend of mine told me about your site as a cautionary tale... This week, I was certain I was going to be fired for blogging about work. I'm at a tiny company of 30 employees and somehow my boss found out I had posted a photo of an object in the office. He flipped out. A boardroom meeting ensued but I still have my job... I guess my story is not as good as yours! Anyway, take care.

2/18/2005 09:37:00 AM  
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Mark, thanks for this awesome writeup about 106 Miles.

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