Wednesday, November 07, 2018

On my own in California

The Google Product Expert Summit is only 2.5 days. It just seems silly to fly across the country and back for that short a time - even if I'm not paying for it, or maybe especially when I'm not paying for it - I want to take advantage! So I arranged to rent a car and drive south to Morro Bay / San Luis Obispo where I lived in 1980-83.

Then - 1982


I didn't make the trip just to see Morro Bay, although it was stunning. I got there just at sunset and immediately found a place to park the car and take pictures.

I made the trip to visit with my friend Liz. She and I practiced law in San Luis Obispo. She was experienced and I was just out of law school. She took me under her wing and taught me how to deal with each of the judges, where to file my paperwork, and what lawyer groups to join. I convinced her to play hookie and go to the beach occasionally. Great memories.
We talked and walked and talked some more. She quit law just a few years after I did, going on to work with major environmental protection projects. She was always a gourmet cook ... still is.
SO good to see my old friend.

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Monday, November 05, 2018

I am a Google Photos Product Expert

When Google Photos was introduced in 2015, I knew I wanted to know as much about it as possible, so I jumped on the user forums and asked questions, and answered questions. When someone asked a question, I answered, and they came back and said, "That worked, now I understand!" I felt good that I know what I'm talking about.
After a while my answers caught the attention of the Google Photos team at Google and they invited me into the "Top Contributors" program. Top Contributor is the term they used for people who voluntarily answer questions in the product forums. They recognize you with a badge, and they give you a perk of flying you out to a meeting each year. I've gone to that meeting for 3 years now.
This year they renamed us from Top Contributors to Product Experts (PE).

Product Expert is sure a lot easier to explain, and, even without explaining, it gives me more credibility. Don't think that they test us Product Experts however. We prove that we are experts simply by answering users questions.
I remember when I was a WordPerfect Certified Instructor - WordPerfect gave us a test that took multiple days. We had to answer questions and perform procedures in the software while software was recording everything we did! I almost said, 'every click we made' - then I remembered that computer didn't have mice back then :-) I found this old newsletter from my Computer Training business in 1988 - I haven't changed a bit have I?
A 1988 newsletter from my first Computer Training business

 Anyway, back to the present :-)
I always look forward to these Google meetups. I love getting a little bit of an inside look at the Google work process, the gourmet cafeterias, and open office systems. I really enjoy meeting with members of the Google Photos team. I learn what they're up to, and I get to tell them what's on my wishlist for product features. But best of all, I get to meet with other people of my Product Experts team. This year the meeting brought PEs from all over the world (the last 2 years was just North America.) I was thrilled to see Paolo again, who I met up with in Milan, Italy when we traveled there, as well as Alex from Berlin. There was a fairly large number of people from Australia. I even got to know some of the Googlers (that's what you call people who work at Google) from the Blogger team who work out of the Sydney, AU office. We plan to visit them when we're there in February!

My Google Photos Product Experts team from all over the world.

David Lieb is the guy responsible for Google Photos. I felt like I was meeting a rock star!

The whole group met for keynote speeches by leaders at Google
The conference began on Oct 31 - there was lots of fun for the Halloween holiday.

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