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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Orkut Story

As many people know, Google ran an annual ski trip for employees, and by the time I joined, it was getting pretty big, with Google taking up most of Squaw Valley's lodging. I remember checking in, and then heading over to my room to shower.

When I got to the room, I noticed that not only it was a suite with separate party area from the bedrooms, but the suite had a table that was piled with Vodka and alcohol floor to ceiling! I thought to myself, "Wow. Google's incredibly generous. Not only did they book an entire suite just for 2 people, they must have also negotiated some amazing deal to give everyone enough Vodka to keep them drunk for weeks!"

I took my shower and then finally noticed that my roommate had already checked in before me and left his luggage in the room. I took a look at the name tag, and that explained everything. It was Orkut Büyükkökten. The alcohol didn't come with the room, it came with Orkut! I was momentarily horrified, since I actually entertained thoughts of sleeping at night so I could go cross-country skiing the next day, but Orkut had clearly intended an all night party. I then realized that I could easily swap with someone who wanted to party all night!

Mike Samuel came to my rescue and bravely agreed to swap places with me, so I got a good night's sleep, and he had to put up with all that alcohol. Over the years, I learned to bring ear plugs with me to the ski trip, since even if I wasn't sharing a room with Orkut, the guy next door could be a hard partier.

One note about Google parties: the music is universally set too loud. I always felt as though the parties were for people about 25 years younger than I was. I thought I was alone in thinking that, and that I was being a fuddy duddy, but then the 30-year old and 25-year old Googlers told me that too! Until the company split up the departments so each department could have its own party, I never did attend what I considered a good party: one in which you could hear your colleagues talk in a social setting.

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