Google and YouTube

November 3, 2011 at 11:59 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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So in my last post I sort of glossed over the exciting fact that Blake just got a job at Google. We were sort of sad to leave Amazon because Blake really liked his manager and his coworkers there. And furthermore, Blake really likes Amazon itself — how it makes decisions and solves problems and accomplishes things. So in a way we were sad to leave.

But this is Google. How can you pass that up?

We were a little wary of California’s infamous taxes, of which there are many. (Washington, like Texas, has no state income tax.) Fortunately, the salary they offered him accounts for that and still gives him a pay increase on top of that, which helped make the decision very easy. And of course the weather here is only about a million times better than Seattle’s weather, which will be wonderful. I really will miss the rain in Seattle — honestly, I’m not being sarcastic — but I just couldn’t take Seattle’s cold any more.

Blake will actually be working on YouTube, which is a part of Google. He’ll be working on the front-end user interface, which means that he’ll be directly dealing with what you see when you go to YouTube to watch a video. Everything except the actual video itself — the video player belongs to another team. His team works on everything else on the site.

Google’s global headquarters is in Mountain View, but YouTube actually has a separate campus in San Bruno. For those of you unfamiliar with the area, here is a quick primer:

Silicon Valley

In the map above, you can see San Francisco at the top of the peninsula in the upper-left corner. (That water to the left of it is the Pacific ocean.) In the lower right corner of the map is San Jose, and the area between the two is what’s known as Silicon Valley. (Silicon Valley is not an official place, it’s more like a colloquial term for this region.) On a day with no traffic, you can get from San Jose to San Francisco in about an hour.

Mountain View (where Google’s headquarters is) is outlined in blue, and San Bruno (where Blake works at the YouTube campus) is outlined in red. We will probably end up living in Foster City, which I’ve outlined in green, but I’ll talk more about that in another post. For the next few weeks we’re staying in San Bruno just a couple blocks from YouTube.

Though Blake will probably spend most of his time working in the YouTube office, he will sometimes need to go down to Mountain View for events. Conveniently, Google operates a spiderweb of shuttles that go all over this map, and so when Blake needs to do that he’ll take a comfy bus on the 35-minute drive instead of having to fight traffic himself.

Here’s a little video Google made about working at the YouTube office:

Or if you’d rather look at a bunch of photos instead, there are some nice ones here: YouTube Office in San Bruno.

It really seems like a nice place to work. They have a great cafeteria that provides free food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so I don’t make Hot Pockets for Blake in the morning anymore. The other day he had red velvet pancakes with cream cheese. For lunch it was a kobe beef burger, and all day long there is an endless supply of snacks and drinks in little bins all around the office. They even color code them — the red bins for things like Reese’s and Snickers, yellow bins for medium-healthy snacks, and green bins for low-calorie crackers or granola bars or fruit. Also we’re going to save like $60 per month because we won’t have to buy boxes and boxes of Diet Mountain Dew for Blake anymore. (He used to bring three to work every day, but now he’ll just get free ones from YouTube whenever he wants.)

In addition to the food, there’s also a nice big gym and a three-lane 25 meter pool. It sounds like a lot of the people on Blake’s team work out and swim regularly, so it’ll be easy for him to get into a healthy routine.

All in all, it sounds really great. We’re excited.

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California!

October 30, 2011 at 11:58 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I am typing this post from balmy San Bruno, California, where it is sunny and 70°. Not bad for October 30, eh?

For those of you who don’t know, Blake and I moved to sunny California about ten days ago. In August he interviewed with Google, and in September they made him an offer which he accepted. And then on a chilly Seattle morning of October 19, we drove away to warmer climes. And so here we are! My laptop is right next to the window where I can see the sun and the pool and the palm trees and the flowers. It’s beautiful here.

Where we're staying

The trip was rather long, but it wasn’t too bad. At 15 hours, we thought it would make for two reasonably-comfortable days, but it stretched a little bit longer. We really had to drive (and not fly) because of my houseplants and some leftover champagne from the wedding — neither of which the professional moving company would take. Like our move to Seattle from Texas, we knew we’d be staying in furnished temporary housing for 30 days, so we didn’t need most of our belongings. But once we decided to take the car, stuff kept creeping in that we just couldn’t live without for a month: our big flat panel monitors (two of them), the computer speakers, the gate we use to pen the dogs in places, the crates for the dogs, the little French press I use for coffee, clothes, shoes, more clothes, more shoes, and of course all the fragile or valuable things that we didn’t want the movers to take. It really ended up being quite a lot.

I distinctly remember standing outside our mostly-packed car when we were getting ready to leave Uwajimaya. Blake was upstairs returning the parking passes, and I had volunteered to put the last several items in the car while he was gone. So there I stood, with our car absolutely jammed full of stuff, and looked at the large pile on the ground: our laptop bags, the dogs’ crates, my purse, and three or four twelve-pack boxes of Mountain Dew and club soda. Then I looked at the car and tried to calm the quiet desperation rising in the back of my mind. Where were we going to put all this stuff? It was never going to fit. The movers were already gone and there was nowhere else to put it all.

Eventually I just took it one item at a time, and slowly I encroached on our “living” space in the car. For most of the drive we had about half of the passenger’s legroom occupied, which wasn’t the greatest.

In the end, of course, we got it all in, though we did have to take some of the sodas out of their boxes and jam them in tiny spaces here and there. As a result of the close confines, though, the dogs got an elevated view of the entire drive. We piled items high into the back seat, but it left them a nice little platform behind the driver from which they could look out the windows. They seemed to enjoy it.

But really it was the tightness and the dogs that made the trip a bit less than relaxing. Two people can comfortably drive a Honda full of stuff for eight hours a day and be pretty happy, but once you add the dogs you have to start making a lot of allowances. It would be terrible if they peed in the car — which has never happened but still seems terrible enough to be worth worrying about — so we’d walk them at every stop. And of course at each one there was an infinite number of fascinating things for the dogs to sniff instead of going to the bathroom, so we’d just stand and stand and stand and say “Stop smelling Oregon!” They didn’t listen, and at each stop the length of that day’s trip grew and grew.

For the same reason, we never felt comfortable stopping for a nice relaxing dinner. Knowing the dogs were sitting in the car and possibly chewing or peeing on something, we mostly did fast food. Which was okay — I like fast food. But after two days of that, we were ready to be done.

But there were no problems. They’re good dogs and they didn’t destroy anything or pee on anything or do anything gross.  Nano did bark at drive-thru personnel a couple times (and the full-service gas station guy in Oregon), but other than that it was uneventful.

So stay tuned — there’s more to come! California is interesting and beautiful and there’s lots to talk about.

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