Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Googlicious time

For a lot of us who work here, there's one thing that defines the culture more than anything else: the food. We have a passion for every edible item offered, from the ubiquitous organic fruit to the rotisserie leg of lamb with smoked shallot marmalade, mahi-mahi with coconut milk & lime in banana leaf, or the oysters with cilantro mignonette (and yes, the meals are free). But we're also accustomed to having our amazing culinary team do the work while we try to deploy our ingenuity in front of computers (and in devising new ways to work off the extra weight).

So last week some Googlers decided to see if the creativity that they bring to their jobs could be applied to other arenas. Charlie's Patio on our Mountain View campus was the site of the first-ever Google (Free) Bake Sale. More than 30 teams used the cafe kitchens and worked with our chefs to create delectables in five categories: cookies, cupcakes, confections, dessert bars, and pies. Everyone who stopped by was given 5 marbles to vote for their favorites.

What did we discover? Most Googlers prefer a hands-on approach to their endeavors. Some put their efforts into looking the part, whether that meant dressing as the bakers or as the food, while others chose to focus on the presentation of their creation. Pastry designs ran the gamut from the elemental to the slightly fishy, from the basic to the elaborate. It can never be said that Googlers don't eat our own dogfood. At the very least, the people who attended the event left with a smile on their faces and enough ingested sugar to turn their blood to cola.

More importantly we learned that, even in a skittish economy, it's possible to find ways to keep morale high -- and nothing does it as well as chocolate. With a little creativity, some motivation, and a culture that embraces fun (and food!) as a necessary component of our work, inspiration will flow, and spirits (and blood-sugar levels) will run high. One proof point: Recession-Proof Brownies.


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