My visit to Google Mountain View


Chatting outside a google. Shot this with my iphone.

So better late than never right?

At the beginning of the May I had the good fortune to attend the Digital Summit hosted at Google Mountain View. Big thanks to +Jeff Kershner from Dealerrefresh for the invite. Also big thanks to Haystack, DealerOn, Kenshoo, Edmunds for sponsoring and Google for hosting this great event! I had a blast and learned a ton to take back to the +Colonial Automotive Group.

I don’t leave Massachusetts much and was really excited to meet some of my peers and hopefully some folks from G+ I have met along the way. I also wanted extra time to acclimate and HIRL a little so I left a day early. I arrived on Sunday May 6th and promptly met up with +Johnny Roquemore +Farran Lee and +Raleigh Burke. It was great to see parts of San Francisco ( including some naked folks walking on Market St. don’t get to see much of that here in the North East) as we headed over to Johnny’s place before taking in an afternoon at the horse track. Beautiful weather, cheap beers and good people made for a great first few hours in SF.

I was stoked to hear that dinner plan were in the works for that evening. We went to Buca di Beppo and met up with +Mohamed Mansour, +Carter Gibson, +Andy Bohm, +Josh Armour, +James Williams, +Lucas Johnson.

Dinner was great. It was a great experience to meet and chat with everyone. Although this was only my second +HIRL I have to say that it was much like my first where it was very easy to chat with everyone. The conversation felt comfortable and natural. That said, I was running on fumes after a long travel day and admittedly wasn’t my normal chatty self but had a great time nonetheless.




The next day I woke up and drove up to Johnny’s place to pick up Farran. Josh had invited Raleigh, Farran and I to meet up with him at Google for lunch. Farran and I drove down to Mountain View and I was able to hear about some of Farran’s adventures during his time here in the states. Sounded very much like he didn’t want to leave. I told him all the great experiences would serve as motivation to come back again.

Meeting Andy and Josh for lunch

We arrived at Google around noon. Raleigh was working on getting a rental at the airport and was running a little late. After parking Farran and I met up with Josh and Andy and joined them for some lunch. We ate outside, the weather was beautiful.

After lunch Andy was kind enough to show us around the campus and give us some history of some of the features around the main buildings. We were also able to visit the Google store. Raleigh arrived shortly thereafter and it was time for me to head out to check in for the Digital Summit. I was thrilled and thankful to have been able to spend time at Google with everyone on Monday and was looking forward to the Summit on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Monday night kicked off with an excellent cocktail reception at Tied House Brewery. Great beer, food and conversations and more! I was glad to have+Chris Fousek from another Boston based dealer group there to hang with and introduce me to people. In my 11 years in the auto business I have not attended a conference or training summit like this, so I did feel a little bit like a fish out of water initially. After dinner everyone headed back to the hotel where the conversations continued.

Tuesday we started the day early and took the bus over to Google. It was a great day. It seemed I could not take notes quick enough. Beyond the presenters from Google who shared some incredible information that covered a variety of topics, we were able to listen to presentations from +Guy Kawasaki and +Grant Cardone. Each brought their own feel and flavor in educating us about better connecting to our clients and delivering upon higher expectations and quality customer experiences.

That evening after a brief cocktail hour at the Big Table at Google where I did briefly did a G+ hangout with +Hermine Ngnomire, +Eric Rice and +Tzafrir Rehan to unlock my hangout while at google achievement, we boarded the buses to head off to dinner.

We had a great dinner at Zibibbo and I was thrilled to make some additional connections with some top automotive e-commerce minds that I have followed for a while now but never had the opportunity to meet or interact with.

Wednesday we had a few more sessions including the G+ section which I was eager to listen in on. Hangouts seems to be the centerpiece of the presentation from +Lauren Kelley and considering that is where I spend a fair amount of time here, I was happy to see that…. After that we had a tour of the campus and were able to have the Google store to ourselves to pick some google gear. Which I did. 🙂

After the summit wrapped I drove back up to San Francisco to see the Golden Gate Bridge. I had told my son that I would get some photos for him to see and wanted to make sure that I did. I had an awesome tip navigating the city and taking in some of the sights.

All in all it was very much time well spent. I was able knock a few things off of my +Schemer and a couple more off my traditional bucket list. I was able to visit California, Visit google, see the pacific ocean and the Golden Gate bridge. I am truly thankful for the opportunity to meet the folks that I did along my journey and look forward to attending more conferences and such in the future to learn more. Onward and Upward!

Write it down and stay organized

Write it down and stay organized

Business today is so closely tied to technology that most of us will use digital calendars, task lists and notes to stay organized throughout the day. I know I abandoned my paper and pencil Daily Action Planner about 2 years ago.

For years before I would leave for the day I would write down a list on a standard legal pad of what I had planned the following day. I followed the ” do the worst first ” method and it worked for me. I didn’t always fully complete my D.A.P but it really kept me on track throughout the week.

When I got my EVO 4G I started using Google Calendar and a note app to manage my days. Although it was easier and readily available when I was away from my office, it diminished my overall organizational effectiveness.

From the EVO I went to the iPhone 4S. Between my iPad, MBP and my iPhone and the Cloud and dropbox I was able to better manage my daily tasks. Even though I had better device integration, my system apparently was lacking as I was running into situations where something important would be missed or overlooked.

Back to Basics

Sometimes it makes the most sense to use K.I.S.S. I say this because about two months ago I decided to buy some legal pads and start using my basic, simple Daily Action Planner again. At the time there was a ton going on and it seem that I was letting tasks slip through the cracks left and right. Once I started using  ” old faithful ” my workflow improved and although I did use my iphone/ipad to manage some of it I felt I was getting more done and in a more timely manner. Something about physically crossing something off a list was rewarding for me. More so than checking a radio button on my ipad or even crossing it out digitally using a stylus and NotesPlus.

Since then I have relearned how to write it down and stay organized. Most days I am in the office, I spend the last 10-15 minutes planning the following day. I normally carry over what wasn’t accomplished or is awaiting an answer first, then tasks that I deem to be the ” worst ” and then any additional items that need to be addressed.

It really has made a tremendous impact and I am thankful for having returned to my old ways. I do feel like I should work and find a better way to manage my days affairs via technology and find a system that works for me but in the meantime I am embracing good old pencil and paper!