Mike Bland

Happy Days

In the middle of moving to Boston, I find an old email to friends sent at the beginning of my adventures with the Testing Grouplet at Google.

- Putnam Valley, NY
Tags: Google, Testing Grouplet, grouplets, personal

Indeed, I am in the midst of writing my next “whaling” post…when I’m not distracting myself with coding or planning my imminent move to Boston this Friday. Actually, doing a bit of personal research inspired by the move led me to dig up the following gem: An email I sent out to friends after my first five months or so at Google. Though a departure from both history and technicality, mayhap some of y’all’ll find it charming in its enthusiastic, idealistic naïvete. Others of y’all may want to kill me…

Consider this proof I’m alive, and thinking about this blog, or perhaps a cute break from all the drab technical blathering of late.

Date: Sun, 12 Feb 2006 14:17:56 -0800
Subject: Hello from Mountain View

Hello everybody,

It's been a long time since I've been in touch with most of y'all, and
for that I apologize, and apologize further for sending out a mass
email.  'Tis one of the pitfalls of moving a country away from all of
your friends, that you don't get the chance to stay in touch on a more
regular basis, and you find yourself spending most of your time
getting your bearings such that when you do stop to think of those you
care about, you feel like you've got to do all your catching up with
all of them all at once.

Life has been good out here in Mountain View.  Challenging, lonely,
but good.  This place has definitely exercised parts of my brain that
I either didn't know I had or didn't know I needed, and starting from
absolute scratch to build up a new social network has been a hotter
hell than I imagined at times, but things are on the up-and-up all
around.  There definitely isn't anywhere else in the world I'd rather
be nor anything else I'd rather be doing at this point; no matter how
down I may get temporarily, this sense of appreciation never fails to
lift me right back up again.

As for work itself, well, as intimidated as I might've been at the
beginning, it really is a dream come true.  Google truly is beyond my
(and likely most people's) wildest dreams.  It's not that the company
is without its problems and challenges, but they really do seem more
like opportunities to do something great that can positively impact
the company and, ultimately, the world.  And there are so many great
people working there, and having the opportunity to work alongside
them, to become familiar with them, learn from them, and contribute to
*their* productivity and quality of life as they do mine, has been the
most humbling-yet-uplifting experience.

Yeah, and the perks are pretty good, too.  ;-)  In addition to the
day-to-day perks and amazing goings-on, in the past week-and-a-half, I
got to enjoy the company ski trip to Squaw Valley (my first time
skiing ever) and a smaller trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (my first
time out of the country ever) as a bonus for my participation in an
extracurricular group called the unittest grouplet.

I opened a Flickr account and put up some pics from the ski and Cabo
trips, along with a bunch of others from across the country during the
course of 2005, many of which feature a number of you.  If you're
interested in checking them out, here they are:

Though I'm looking forward to traveling more and getting back in touch
with each of you face-to-face, I don't have any hard-and-fast plans
yet, EXCEPT for the last couple weeks in May or so, when I'll try to
arrange to work out of the New York office and, in the intervening
weekend, participate in my second AIDS Walk in Central Park.  Also,
since I brought it up, I should mention that, if you're so inclined,
you should feel free to sponsor me in this year's AIDS Walk by signing
up here:


And if you want to learn more about the AIDS Walk and get to know more
of Team Supersnack, you can do it here (which also has the above link

I hope all of you and yours are well and would love to hear about
what's been happening with you lately.  Write me back if you'd like,
and I'll do my best to make sure my response is far more personal than
this generic broadcast.  Better yet, feel free to drop by the Bay Area
sometime.  Either way, let's not be strangers.  :-)

Take care,