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How Google Gave Us Confidence To Start Our Own Company

Having lunch at the Googlplex is just as fun as you might think
December 23, 2009 By Gus in Miami: Local NewsTechnology  | 6 Comments

Michelle Moore, founder of Miami Beach 411, standing in front of the bike rack at Google.

Miami Beach 411 received an early Christmas gift this year—a meeting with Google at the Googleplex. We had a fantastic time. Google took us to lunch at The Alley, which is one of about 10 cafeterias they offer to the Googlers.

Now, I’ve been around celebrities, but I must confess, when I get around Google, I become as starstruck as a 13-year-old girl at Miley Cyrus concert. Even though I had visited Google before, I was worried that during the meeting I would just sit there in awe, not knowing what to say. So, I asked our members for some input on what they’d like to know about Google.

I asked coach’s question, first:

“Why don’t you just go ahead and change your name to ‘The Borg’?”

Looking back, this was probably not the best question to lead with.

In case you’re wondering, “The Borg” is a cyborg character from Star Trek who ruthlessly seek to incorporate all life into itself; their slogan is ‘Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.’ In tech-jargon, the Borg is usually Microsoft, which is thought to be trying to just as ruthlessly assimilate all computers into itself.

Although Google is a big company, with over 20,000 employees, they have feelings, just like you and me. I can honestly say, they looked hurt by coach’s remark. I assured them, coach was probably joking, but they looked saddened, nonetheless. It seemed like they wanted to know why a human with Google ads on their website would say such a mean thing? I didn’t have a answer.

Personally, Google has made my life so much easier, with their search engine and free tools. If using their products is assimilating, count me in.

This is Google’s official response to being called The Borg too big:

Because of our reach, technical know-how, and lust for big projects, we can take on big challenges that require large investments and lack an obvious, near-term pay-off. We can photograph the world’s streets so that you can explore the neighborhood around an apartment you are considering renting from a thousand miles away. We can scan millions of books and make them widely accessible (while respecting the rights of publishers and authors). We can create an email system that gives away a gigabyte of storage (now over 7 gigs) at a time when all other services allow only a small fraction of that amount. We can instantly translate web pages from any of 51 languages. We can process search data to help public health agencies detect flu outbreaks much earlier. We can build a faster browser (Chrome), a better mobile operating system (Android), and an entirely new communications platform (Wave), and then open them up for the world to build upon, customize, and improve.

We can do these things because they are information problems and we have the computer scientists, technology, and computational power to solve them. When we do, we make numerous platforms – video, maps, mobile, PCs, voice, enterprise – better, more competitive, and more innovative. We are often attacked for being too big, but sometimes being bigger allows us to take on the impossible.

Thankfully, Google was a gracious host and smoothed things over by sharing a piece of cheesecake with us.

I asked Maria’s question, next:

“How much money do they make from Google ads on blogs?”

These are the revenue statistics they disclosed:

Revenue for the third quarter of 2009 was $5.94 billion. Google’s partner websites (such as,, and over a million other sites) generated revenues, through AdSense programs, of $1.80 billion, or 30% of total revenues.

For those who don’t know, Google’s AdSense program lets you sell advertising space on your website. What’s cool is, the ads are relevant to your site’s content pages. The service is free, and you earn money every time someone clicks on an ad. The ads look like this:

We went on to talk more about the Google AdSense program. I shared with them, if it wasn’t for AdSense, Miami Beach 411 would not be here today. The program gave us the confidence (and the revenue) to leave our restaurant jobs and focus on growing the company, that I am proud to say, supports 18 people.

Google, thank you for believing in us!

Related Categories: Miami: Local News, Technology,

Gus Moore heads up Miami Beach 411 as site administrator. You can reach him at 1-305-754-2206.

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6 Comments on

"How Google Gave Us Confidence To Start Our Own Company"

Maria de los Angeles says:

This was awesome! Thank you for sharing, Gus.  I hope to visit the Googleplex someday as well.

Posted on 12/23/2009 at 5:30 PM

Gus says:

Thanks, Maria.

Sounds like you’re having fun at the Dolphins football game! Thanks for tweeting about your day. It’s amazing we can share experiences with each other, like we do. I can only imagine what the future will be like.



Posted on 12/27/2009 at 2:23 PM

Sungal says:

What was The Alley like? They had a great response to Coach..what about Jess’ question about how they decide which calendar specific image to use everyday? I enjoy them!

Did you get to see rooms where employees can nap and playrooms for kids of employees? Don’t they also have sports teams for employees?

I’d like to thank Google as well for believing and supporting MiamiBeach411!

Posted on 12/29/2009 at 5:15 PM

Gus says:

Thanks for commenting, Sungal. Here is what Michelle had to say about The Alley:

“Our host arrived and led us to one of their many restaurants called The Alley, known for serving street fare. That day, they served 2 different salads, Stromboli with mushrooms, spinach, and ham, as well as tuna tar tar, chicken, salmon and rice. Drinks are available from the fridge, fountain, or water is available in a glass pitcher placed on each table - very environmentally friendly. During our visit, we learned some interesting facts [...]”

If you continue reading the link above, I answered Jess’s question abut the Google doodles. In short, the doodles, as Google calls them, are designed by Dennis Hwang.

Across the street from The Alley, we saw a baseball diamond and a soccer field. So, I assume they have sports teams.

We didn’t see any rooms for sleeping, but we did walk past a very cool looking meditation chamber.

We also saw lots of Googlers, bringing their dogs to work.

Everybody we met was very friendly and seemed super stoaked to work there.

Posted on 12/30/2009 at 9:09 AM

martine_aimee says:

I’ve been thinking about starting a….I’d even do it with zero income, just for fun, but I have zero internet knowledge! 
Congrats to Gus and Michelle for a very informative and entertaining website!

Posted on 01/10/2010 at 9:14 PM

Gus says:

Thank you, martine_aimee. As you know, it’s a group effort. You’ve really seen us grow. Next time you visit, I’d be happy to walk you through the steps of setting up a website. smile

Posted on 01/11/2010 at 11:33 AM

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