Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"At Work in the Googleplex" -- what an amazing difference ten years has made

What a Difference Ten Years Makesj
Ten years ago I was editing a magazine called Workscapes that we published on behalf of a group of Steelcase office furniture dealers. It was about office design and productivity, and many of the stories we did were about high tech companies (this was just before the dot com bubble burst).

I just came across a note I wrote to myself back then after talking to the San Francisco Steelcase dealer about some story prospects in Silicon Valley.
Later, when I talk to the dealer, it turns out that both AltaVista and Google are customers of theirs -- AltaVista with 600 employees and really fancy offices -- "they brag about being the best-financed IPO in history" -- while Google has about 60 people and is still buying the cheap stuff -- but they're growing fast.
Hard now to imagine that a mere decade ago, Google had only 60 employees -- about as strange as recalling a time when Alta Vista was the biggie, "with 600 employees," and Google was the upstart.)

We did a cover story on Google a few months later, and I went to their office to do the story and take the photographs. By then they were up to a couple hundred employees and growing rapidly. The design was colorful, youthful and unconventional. The small lobby of their cramped quarters -- already known affectionately as the "Googleplex" -- featured this Lava Lamp collection that belonged to one of the owners. Behind the receptionist, a continuous series of search words was projected as they came in from around the world.

I was an early adopter and confirmed Google addict, and I was in heaven.

1 comment:

Cybergabi said...

I still remember Alta Vista. Was that only ten years ago? Amazing. And yes - Google with 60 employees! Time sure flies.