My first year in Google

Paul Kinlan

That went by a lot faster than I thought it would.  Today (February 1st) completes my full first year in Google.

It has been a crazy ride. Google is like no place that I have worked before, and I can honestly say it has been an amazing first year, I have met so many amazing people that I can’t count.  It is pretty amazing that I work for a company that is talked about everyday by billions of people on the planet.

How I came to be at Google

I had built a Twitter based web-app that was pretty damn popular, I sold it and quit my job full-time job (I still had to work a 3 month notice period).  I had some ideas for a start-up that I wanted to pursue (it was a good idea - honest).  A couple of days after I quit I got a call from one of the PM’s on the Google App Engine who I had been talking too quite frequently over the previous months about a job opening.  It is probably worth explaining that all of my apps were built upon the App Engine, and I was quite active in the App Engine forums and Twitter Developer forums (see my rant about Re-tweets ;) and I was implementing a lot of the latest features in my apps.

My onsite interview was on the 8th of December, and I believe on the 15th I was offered the job as long as I got over the final hurdle (final sign-off). By the 23rd I was properly offered the job - contract and all.  At my interview I was “advised” not to take the first offer and hold out for a better packet….. however once the call came through with the terms, there was no way I was going to say no :)

At Google

My entire first month was spent in the Mountain View campus.  It was awesome.  I met so many amazing people. I can’t really say much about what happens in a Nooglers first month - other than you are overloaded with information.  If you have ever seen the Matrix when Neo learns Kung-fu in 5 seconds, it’s like that (without the brain plug).  Oh and yes, you do have to wear the hat!

I joined as a Developer Programmes Engineer for iGoogle and Google Chrome; I didn’t realise it but I had joined a team with so many industry experts, people like Chris Messina and Tim Bray. These were guys that I had followed for a long time, and now I get to work with them.  When I started, I was the 2nd person of a two man team in London it made sense to cover two products.  The team has grown a lot over the year and now I solely focus on Chrome (HTML5 and the Webstore).  We have an amazing set of developers on the team now in London (@reto_meir - from the start, @mahemoff, @crafty, @ade_oshineye, @tekgrrl and @ccherubino).

Google IO - I joined after all the talks had been decided, so it was not possible for me to do one.  I helped out on two hack-booths and at one of the stands.  It was a pretty amazing experience, it the first time that I stayed in San Francisco (I probably won’t be doing that too often).  An event with so many massive announcements and so many developers. I have never seen anything like it, plus everyone who attended got two phones, unless you were a Googler and all you got was a yellow t-shirt.

I have travelled so much this year, actually, I quickly calculated that I have travelled more this year than I have in my entire 29 years of life before Google.  I have also given quite a lot of presentations over the last year too (http://gdd-2010.appspot.com/ and http://londonwebstorenight.appspot.com/ are just a few).

Around late June, I shifted roles slightly; I became a Developer Advocate.  The distinction between the roles is not great, DPE’s do more behind the scenes work and DA’s will engage with partners more, potentially at an earlier stage.  But change in role reflected the outreach work that I have been doing for most of the year.

In late October we went on a massive Road Trip around Europe giving talks to thousands of Developers in Munich, Moscow and Prague for the Google Developer Days.  We didn’t get to stay long in Munich or Moscow, but we managed to stay the weekend in Prague - it is one of the most beautiful cities that I have ever been in (and the beer was good too).  All the events were IMO very good, even the wifi held up in many places.  It was quite interesting to see the organisational differences between countries, for example the Munich event had 15 minute breaks between each talk (which worked really well) and the Moscow event was HUUUUUGGGGEEE and held in a massive arena - through my british eyes, some of the stereotypes that we see portrayed played out amazingly well - and that is a good thing because each of these events were amazing.

In December we launched the Chrome Webstore.  I had worked with the team on this pretty much since I joined Google.  It has been an amazing project to work on and to see the genesis of a movement towards an app-centric view of the web.  There is a strong future for web-apps as developers learn to move away from some of the traditional web-isms that we see in websites and build apps and not sites with a bit of functionality in.

Throughout the year I have worked with hundreds of developers helping them build awesome web-apps for the open web.  It has been an amazing experience.  Oh and I got my first commit in Chrome ;)

The Future

I honestly have no idea what this year holds, other than being twice as big as the previous year and I now that I know a little more about how everything works I should be a lot more efficient.

I am hoping to be talking at Google IO.  

I will be working with more developers and helping them build awesome web apps.

I will be spending more time working with people outside of London.  My focus this year has been very much focused on the capital, but the development community isn’t just based here.

I will be spending more time at home in Liverpool :)

Paul Kinlan

Trying to make the web and developers better.

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