Category Archives: Events

My Trip to The GooglePlex

You know, I wasn’t quite sure how to write this particular post. Originally I wanted to do a post called “What Would I Do If Google Disappeared?” in which I would describe the various facets of life that Google directly affects my life.

Then recently I wanted to write a post about my trip to the GooglePlex in Mountain View, CA. I just had to see it since I’ve heard so much about it…almost built up to mythical status in my head.

Both ideas seemed good, so I think I’ll just roll them both into one big Google-y posting:

WHAT WOULD I DO IF GOOGLE DISAPPEARED?
All the ways I use Google in life.

Boom. Something big happens and every Google service I currently use is gone. The best way for me to think of every Google service I use it by taking it step by step.

DAY TO DAY:
I wake up every day, and the first thing I do now is NOT go into the home office like I used to, but stay in bed and grab my iPhone. Almost immediately all my email from several different accounts are downloaded. Two of them utilizing Gmail.

So my day starts off without any spam mail whatsoever, thanks to Google Gmail. I later get up, then start my desktop and laptop…both of them have Google Desktop installed (which I use constantly), and then I soon after load up my internet browser, which is 50% of the time Google Chrome. The other 50% of my surfing is done on Internet Explorer since Chrome is so new and still has a few tiny bugs, but even my Internet Explorer has the lovely Google Toolbar installed on it.

BUSINESS RELATED:
I update invoices and many documents through Google Docs which is great. Many times a day I search the internet for something. The search engine I use? Take a guess…

Even though my business email addresses all have their own domains, all the mail is relayed through Gmail servers to filter out the spam.

When I look up videos or host my own product demonstration videos, of course I use YouTube which is owned by Google.

When I look at the analytics for my businesses, guess which service I use? Google Analytics. It’s by far the best website analytics service around, and it’s free.

For making money off websites I use Google Adsense.

For advertising my own products I use Google Adwords.

For accepting money on websites I use Google Checkout in addition to my merchant account.

For HouseOfRave searching, the site uses Google Sitesearch.

…and finally, as I type these very words into my internet browser, I’m using Blogger….ALSO owned by Google!

I’m sure there’s lots of different ways that Google affects my personal and business life that I forgot to mention, but I digress to continue to my next subject:

MY TRIP TO THE GOOGLEPLEX:
WOW, so Google plays a hand in almost everything I do. There’s many other companies that do this: Microsoft, AT&T, Johnson & Johnson and the list of big companies goes on…but Google is the most visible character I play with.

Myself and many others continue welcoming Google into our lives because they keep simplifying things for us, making things better and providing great tools.

Now where is all this stuff made, and how do they continue banging out such cool stuff at such breakneck speed? Well, I’m pretty sure my visit to the GooglePlex shed some light on that.

QUICK DISCLAIMER: Google, if I offend you in any way I apologize in advance. I don’t think anything I’m posting here is confidential or intrusive to Google. I might have gotten a few security gaurds on my case telling me to put the camera away, and I always obeyed, but here are the pics I have. Considering the above list of ways I use your services, you probably know EVERYTHING about me, which makes you sort of like God. Please don’t smite me.

Now keep in mind I have pretty much zero experience working for a big company, so I’m not too familiar with how workspaces are setup, but from what I know, Google seems to be on the cooler end.

I quickly realized why they call it the GooglePlex. It’s BIG. Each building isn’t particularly massive, but it’s definitely a large network of separate buildings (hence the ‘plex’). In the relatively small city of Mountain View, CA., Google’s offices hold roughly 15,000+ people and is still growing. It occupies 47 buildings.

At first I thought I was driving through a large business park, but quickly realized that every building I was passing had a Google sign. Some are buildings that existed previously, some were just recently built for Google, and more are in construction, but they’re all Google’s.

So walking through a typical building might look something like this:

Very nice, serene landscaping coupled with the beautiful year-round weather of Mountain View makes a nice combination.

But for the most part, the main attraction at Google is the food. From what I’ve read, I had this weird impression the Google cafeteria would be some crazy Willy Wonka-like wonderland with chefs sliding down poles and food being tossed into your plate by Oompa Loompas, but it was a little different.

Have you ever been to Las Vegas and eaten at one of those expensive buffets at a nice casino? It was kind of like that.

So the entrance to the main cafeteria building looked like this, with lots of people opting to eat outside:

I personally don’t like buffets too much because there’s just WAY too much stuff to eat. However there’s something to please EVERYONE at Google!

Google provides free breakfast, free lunch, free dinner and free snacks to all their employees…and they’re welcome to bring guests and family often as they wish. Many Googlers feel absolutely no need to eat anywhere else.

They have every type of cuisine you can imagine, and hire some of the best chefs around. From the main buffet area here’s what I chose:

I eat weird things at buffets, and wasn’t particularly hungry, so don’t judge the quality of the food by my diet.

What’s also cool is they have 19 other cafeteria locations, each with a theme. One of them is called ‘Seven’ or something like that….and it serves only foods made from the 7 original food groups. Near the main cafeteria there’s also a fruit smoothie bar that makes smoothies only from fresh fruits, vegetables and other stuff that was harvested practically yesterday.

There was a woman in one of the ancillary cafeterias I saw whose sole job was to grind wheatgrass into juice. It takes a huge amount of wheatgrass to make a little juice, and she puts this concentrated juice (which is supposedly full of stuff that’ll make you healthy) into a shot glass, then puts the shotglass in crushed ice. There’s roughly 20-30 shotglasses on ice full of ice-chilled wheatgrass juice which you can just walk by and drink. As for drinking pure, crushed wheatgrass….it honestly didn’t taste that bad.

Here’s me chillin’ with my Gmeal:

Another cool thing is many of the herbs, fruits and veggies used to make the food are grown on site at Google. In the same outdoor area where people sit to eat, the food is being grown. Fresh food AND locally grown…hard to complain.

Walking along one of the main buildings there was a full scale tyrannosaurus rex, one of the many pieces of funky art dotting the landscape:

Right alongside this garden were meeting rooms. Here’s an actual Google meeting taking place (with the T-Rex in the reflection):

So after taking pictures of a meeting room, I think I got a few uneasy stares and had to chill out with the camera action. In fact while indoors I wasn’t supposed to be taking any pictures at all (hence the lack of the cafeteria pictures).

This was one of the outdoor concourses of the main building. Pretty funky architecture:

Now you see that bike the guy is riding in the above picture? Well there’s hundreds of those around the GooglePlex that anyone can use. Lets say you need to go from building 25 to the building 40…well that’s a long walk. However simply walk outside the building, and you’re bound to see a fleet of these bikes just randomly parked around. Grab one and go!

I thought it was pretty fun just grabbing a bike and going, then not having to worry about securing it to a bike rack…just leave it and go, ready for the next person. By the way, I actually got in trouble for taking the above picture on the bike.

Here’s a bad picture of the visitors center:

On the walls they have several monitors projecting live Google searches from around the world. The monitors quickly scrolled keywords, maybe 1 or 2 per second. From what I understand, they’re filtered for profanity, or else it’d be a very offensive visitors center!

And finally here’s the picture I call my “SEO Picture.” Search optimization at its best, literally on top of Google!

So that was my Google trip. This was one of the first corporate environments I’ve ever stepped in (besides Take Your Kid To Work Day), and I must say one thing:

It reminded me of college.

It was a bunch of smart, young people working hard on projects, riding bikes around, working and playing in the same area and everyone lives close by and you don’t necessarily have to show up every day.

There are however some subtle differences such as you get PAID to be here, they provide everything for you completey free (gym, personal trainers, haircuts, car washing, dry cleaning, good food etc) and everyone is slightly older (but not by much).

From what I understand, this single Google location blows through $1,000,000/week on food alone. That number doesn’t include all the other amenities they provide. But considering the company brings in a billion and half dollars per month, that figure isn’t so crazy.

I definitely see why people would want to work here, and how they attract some of the best talent around. So I guess attracting top talent and keeping them very happy has definitely helped Google become such a strong, global force so quickly.


The only problem I found with Google:
was parking. I find it ironic that I can find the entire text of Moby Dick using Google in half a second, but it takes me 15 minutes to search for a parking spot. Ha! Perhaps they’ll find a solution for that too (update: I’ve been informed they offer free valet parking at buildings 40, 41, 42 and 43)!

Bill Gates Rolls in an Escalade

Kind of last minute I heard that Bill Gates was delivering a speech at the University of Texas campus to a crowd of only computer science students. I’ve already seen Steve Ballmer speak, so now I wanted to see Gates.

Problem was only current computer science students had admission to this speech, which is bad since I’m neither a computer science major nor a student….but there’s ALWAYS a way around those little rules.

A little recon showed the admission “ticket” was simply an inch wide, hot pink wristband that CS students stood in line for hours to get. They were making this almost TOO easy! After a quick trip to Office Max for some different shades of pink paper and double-stick tape, I was going to cut the paper to an inch wide and double-tape the ends to make a bracelet. However I quickly realized that two standard-sized wristbands put together looked like the real thing. Even easier.

So a strip of scotch tape plus two hot pink wristbands and voila…

…instant fake Bill Gates admission pass!

So I walk in the Texas Union Ballroom, flash the wristband and they let me in. It was a packed house, and I literally had to sit in the LAST seat at the very back.

One of the first things he did was show the (very well done) “Bill Gates’ Last Day at Microsoft” video that’s supposed to be a spoof of “The Office” ….in case you haven’t seen it:

He then gave his speech which was mostly about how software and philanthropy can help each other, it was pretty interesting stuff.

Some stuff I found interesting:

  • He was actually a really charismatic and good speaker. I was pleasantly surprised by this.
  • Instead of water at the podium, he drank a Diet Coke.
  • He never bashed Apple or Google, and in fact spoke very highly of both.

So of course I wanted a picture with him, unfortunately since this was so last minute I didn’t have a great plan to get one. As the richest man in the world, he is probably also the most bothered man in the world, so I knew his security would be really high, and since the Obama/Clinton debate was taking place at UT the following day, the whole campus was on high alert already.

So after the speech I went around the back of the Texas Union where the VIP’s leave from, and spotted his entourage. There were two vehicles which looked associated with him: one red Cadillac Escalade and one black Chevy Tahoe.

Three “normal” looking guys were standing around these cars which were obviously positioned for a quick escape out of the building. The guys were obviously his security detail…all looked tough but were dressed to blend in the crowd. It didn’t quite work, since it was three strong guys dressed in similar, gray North Face jackets. There were also several police officers positioned by the doors where he would exit from. I tried casually walking through the doors several times just to push my luck but was stopped each time.

It was funny because one of Gates’ guards looked a lot like Tim Ferris!

Once his security guys got the word Gates was leaving, they re-positioned the red Escalade right against the stairwell and opened the doors. Right then, Gates and two other guys walked down the stairs together as his security guys stood in a flanked position to block any access to him. I was about 10 feet away from Bill Gates when one of the security guys (who I was chatting up earlier) stopped me. I asked, “Is there any way I could get a quick picture,” to which he replied, “Sorry man, not today.” By the time he finished his sentence, Gates and the two other men hopped in the backseat of the Escalade.

Two of the security guys jumped in the front driver and passenger seats and drove off with the third security guy trailing them in the black Tahoe. Judging by the tires, windows and side-profile of the opened doors, none of the SUV’s looked armored.

I snapped this quick picture right as they were leaving. That’s Bill Gates sitting by that window (can’t really see him through the tint).

Attending An Elton John Private Performance

A little over 2 years ago I attended a private charity fundraiser event which included a private performance by Elton John. This past weekend I got word that this event was being held again so I decided to go. Based off the PHENOMENAL performance and “fun-ness” of the event last year, I didn’t want to pass this chance up!

Last time I went, I actually had to duck out during the first part of dinner because there were absolutely NO seats left. However this time I was lucky enough to get a seat at one of the tables they kept for last minute invites. They brought in a 5-star (or diamond) chef to cook the nights meal, so naturally every course was delicious.

Another cool thing about this time around was I got to sit RIGHT next to the stage for the whole performance. As I was holding my camera up to record some clips of the performance, it dawned on me that I was watching a private show by Sir Elton John, sitting right against the stage whilst sitting right next to Lance Armstrong and a bunch of rich & famous in Austin. Just a fun feeling :-)

The Fundraising Power of Elton:
These events always have auctions, and this one was no exception. Each of the 8 items auctioned off raised several tens of thousands of dollars apiece, but that wasn’t enough. Elton John took the mic and auctioned off a private dinner with him for you and your friends in any of his homes in France, London, Atlanta, Paris….and the list goes on (He listed like EIGHT different places he lives).

They started this item at $10,000, and it quickly escalated $5,000 higher with each bid…quickly shooting up past $50,000, then $70,000, then over $100,000! It soon became apparent that three different parties were set on winning this private dinner with Elton John, so they all went to the stage to collaborate. A few seconds later, each of the three parties agreed to get their own Elton John private dinner for $150,000 a piece! That’s $450,000 for the Andy Roddick Foundation in less than 3 minutes!

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VIDEO UPDATE: 11-12-2007
Here’s a 1min 45sec video of Elton playing Tiny Dancer I took from the stage where I was sitting. I forgot to upload it when originally writing this post. I don’t know if the sound and picture quality captures it very well, but Elton John delivered a mind-blowing performance!

I’m fortunate enough right now to have people that know about these events and even help me get in. This event was pretty easy to crash since I was helped out and given the needed wristband for entrance. However, the end goal here is to one day be in a position where I can afford to donate $12,000 for a table at these kind of events. Obviously right now I can’t drop that kind of cash on a single event, but meeting people at these places might definitely help get me there one day.

And by one day I mean within the next two years.

Painting Address Numbers on Curbs

I’ve seen people do this all day, charge up to $40 per painting and do whole neighborhoods:
Re-painting the address numbers on curbs of houses.

I always thought this was a cool and easy way to make some extra money. So in some spare time this week I bought some plastic stencils (About $8) and some black/white outdoor spray paint (About $10) and decided to see how hard it could be.

I took the materials outside and gave it a rough shot on some newspaper:

It was a little messy, and I had to end up cutting the stencils apart, but my first painting came out alright. Not perfect, but alright.

I then started using tape to seal any loose areas of the stencils together, and I successfully made a semi-neat spray of the numbers. This isn’t hard stuff, but it takes a little trial and error testing.

I’ve seen lots of neighborhoods around Austin where I couldn’t find a house because of the lack of address numbers, think of what would happen if a police car or ambulance couldn’t find your house number.

Perhaps in the next few weeks I’ll give this a shot. I tried it out on some old curbage at my apartment complex, and it turned out decent….very rough….but nothing a little practice won’t clean up.

This would be an awesome way to make a good $100+ a day for a couple of high school kids or Boy Scouts. Actually, anyone could setup this little curb painting business for themselves and make a quick income!  It involves an easy service you can sell door-to-door that people will gladly pay for.

It seems everyone nowadays is talking about “Making money doing nothing” …..which is great….but making money from good old manual labor is sometimes very rewarding!

My first tries of the curb painting were a little rough, and I wanted to actually DO this door-to-door, so I bought new materials and made my own custom curb border out of cardboard I had laying around the house.  I was surprised how cheap everything was!  Altogether my total at Home Depot came out to less than……

GO TO PART 2 –> of the experiment (I did a much better job on my second tries)!

FacebookProfile Stats, Entpr Year, New Apt

The condo I was living in with two rommates was sold, and we have now moved to a college-based community of apartments like I used to live in. These apartments are great because everyone living there is a student of some sort, they have lots of great amenities, and best of all individual leases. This means if you have four people living in an apartment, and three of them move out, the last person is not stuck paying the full rent….just their share. This way I can be very flexible about my living arrangements.

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I recently followed an idea for starting a Facebook based site which offers Facebook Tricks etc, and it’s coming along nicely. I’ve been getting some decent traffic, up to 350 unique visitors a day and growing.

Right now the site is making less than $1 a day from the one Google Ads, but it’s not even been online for two weeks….so I’m not worried yet. A problem with Google Ads is they base the ads on page content….mostly Facebook talk. Needless to say the pay per click rates are low, even though I’m getting a lot of clicks.

It’s sometimes getting above 1,000 impressions a day, so I’ll start looking for other ad systems that pay higher rates for page impressions. Here are the stats from the last few days:

This is actually turning out to be a fun little project!

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Thanks to “Bob”, I was tipped off about the Austin Entrepreneur of the Year awards last week, and I attended the event with Kunal of Grade-A-Books. It was one of the better events I’ve been to, with a great pre-event, event, and after-party. Then later out to Downtown!

This picture is a good sum-up of the night!

Texas Film Society Hall of Fame Awards

This past Friday, “Bob” once again tipped me off about a great party. This particular event was going to have a lot of celebrities, film producers and a lot of high powered people in general.

I was informed the attire was “Texas Cocktail”, and I had NO clue what that meant. I played it safe and wore a tux, until I found out I was WAY over dressed. The bow tie came off, a few buttons were let loose and my wardrobe looked decent.

I had the chance to hang out with my friend N-a.te P a – ul at this party (He’s a college freshman and has already sold six companies….a whole post will go up about this guy later).

It was quite an eventful night, but some few major points:

I somehow heard Lucy Liu was in the crowd, and after dinner I actually went up to her and said, “Are you Lucy Liu? May I take a picture with you?” She gave me the COLDEST look and said, “I’m not Lucy Liu” and her friend sitting next to her confirmed her statement.

Turns out is was Lisa Ling from the show “The View”! Obviously, Lisa Ling is not a big Neville Medhora fan anymore. I’m usually not embarrassed easily, but I must laugh at MYSELF for that slip up :-)

In hindsight it’s clear to see they don’t look exactly alike…but it person in was deceiving!

Towards the end of the night me and NP happened to stumble upon access passes laying out on the tables. I got lucky and picked up an “All Access” pass which allowed me to go in the promo picture room with all the celebs and directors. It was surprisingly strict in there, the bouncers actually made someone delete two pictures from their digital camera inside the room.

Matthew McConaughey was there being inducted into the Hall of Fame, and NP and I went through a lot of crap to get this awful picture. We FINALLY got MM’s picture while he was ordering a drink. Long story short, Matthew McConaughey is an ASS. He’s also People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive.

I’m hardly in the picture. When he finally agreed to take the picture, he said, “Fine, but I’m not moving.” So far that night I had pissed of TWO celebrities, a new record.

Lyle Lovett performed that night, and we got a picture with him. His people were trying to get him out of the venue and told us we couldn’t have a picture, however he told them to hold on and took one with us anyway. He even talked to us for a little while. He looks a bit like a rooster, but otherwise he was a great guy.

The party was great, but the BEST part of the night was figuring out where the after party was! A little asking around got us the location, so we headed to Downtown. When we arrived, NP dropped a big name he knew personally which got us past the tight security. Surprisingly, it was at a 3-storey, private condo in the middle of Downtown Austin.

THIS is where all the fun and mingling was that night! Before we left, me and NP took some “Party-Crashing” pictures by the rooftop pool to remember the good times:

It was an awesome time. Of course I wouldn’t have known about it without “Bob”, so another great big thanks to him for another party hookup!

Meeting Michael Dell and Lance Armstrong

7:00pm my phone rings and “Bob” calls me from his regular hotspot, a swanky hotel, saying he happened to notice a large number of high powered individuals heading to the ballroom downstairs. Party crashing time. I took a quick shower, threw on a suit, got my roommate to tie my tie (because I still don’t know how) and drove to the hotel.

I met “Bob” in the lobby as dinner was being served. The place was packed and every seat was taken except at one table. We went up to the table, “Bob” did a little talking, and in an instant we were having a conversation with people we didn’t know, at an event we knew nothing about, and having a delicious meal.

After scoping out the room, it became very apparent that this was a big event with big people. In fact, while opening the bathroom door, I literally bumped into Lance Armstrong!

The event was in honor of Michael and Susan Dell for their philanthropic contributions. There were three billionaires in the room, the biggest being Michael. There was a movie about the Dell charity, several speakers and then they both gave a speech after being honored.

Michael Dell’s wife, Susan, is a tri-athlete and frequently goes bike riding with Lance Armstrong. Here is a picture of Lance, Susan and Michael together….well, their backs at least:

Later in the evening I got to meet Michael Dell, the famed founder of Dell Computers who started his company from a dorm room at the University of Texas. I talked with him briefly and found him to be a very approachable and extremely nice guy.

After the event was over, “Bob” and I headed back upstairs to the hotel lounge to finish up the night with an evening cocktail. That suit cost me $200 and the drinks cost me $25, but now I had the opportunity to meet Lance Armstrong and Michael Dell.

Thanks “Bob” for another great event!

Party Crashing Fashion Show

I was informed about another charity event where many wealthy Austinites would be Saturday night for drinks, a fashion show, dinner and dancing. I always jump at chances like this to meet powerful people, so naturally I decided to crash it.

Crashing this party was a little different because it was black-tie attire only and held at a secure venue. Three days before I had a tuxedo tailored at K&G Men’s store. The entire ensemble including the tux suit & pants, cufflinks, bowtie and cumberbund cost me around $200 after tailoring. Not too bad, especially since there will be lots of black-tie events during the holiday season.

Now that I have a suit AND tuxedo, I’m properly outfitted to attend upcoming events. Looking the part really helps when attending a fancy-shmancy party. When I was checked at the front of the base, they checked my ID, saw I was wearing a tux, asked me if I knew where my table was (I said yes) and they handed me a gift bag filled with Grey Goose, assorted bottled waters, pens and all sorts of other goodies. “Bob” had given me a table name to use, I was wearing a tux, sounded like I knew where I was supposed to be and acted as if I belonged there…and it worked.

I pulled up to the event, and my car was valeted because there was no self-parking. A photographer at the front entrance took my picture by one of three huge tanks, and I asked him to also snap a picture with my own camera:

I ordered a martini, Grey Goose of course because they were partly sponsoring the party and began to mingle. I found the crowd very easy to talk to, and striking up conversations was simple, especially since UT had just won a football game an hour earlier.

After cocktails, the crowd entered a large aircraft hangar (I think) which was converted beautifully into a large fashion show runway. There was loud music playing and the whole place had a very New-Yorky feel to it.

After the fashion show, which was actually pretty cool, everyone was ushered to several enormous and connected tents for dinner, dessert and dancing. There was a silent auction, a live auction, and raffle. The main prize for the raffle was one of three Mercedes cars. I found out the event was being coordinated by the Four Seasons, so it was very nice, and MUCH more elegant than the pictures show:

I knew a few people before I came to the event, but their table was already full. Also, my whole goal of attending this was to meet NEW people, so after some mingling with the crowed I was invited to another table for dinner.

After desert, coffee and some dancing people started to leave. The valet area was around several M1 Abrams tanks….I couldn’t resist climbing on top of one and getting a picture!

I left the party with several contact numbers, new friends, some interesting business ideas, a full stomach and having had a great time.

I must remember to thank “Bob” who told me about the party in the first place. He’s one of the people “In the know” about all these events, and is always gracious enough to inform me about them and help me get in. He also introduces me to his well-established network of friends and mentors, he’s a really great guy…always smiling!

Corporate Governance Conference

My attempt to crash the I C 2 Corporate Governance Conference was very successful.

I was tipped off about the conference by “Bob” on Wednesday night.

Thursday morning I whipped out my suit and headed over to the Barton Creek Resort and found the conference. Every single person in the room was either a CEO or member of a corporate board….and often times many boards at once. EVERYONE. In fact, “Regular” people weren’t even invited.

I purposely showed up 5 minutes late so I could rush in past the registration people. It worked. Everyone had huge nametags around their necks except me…..but it didn’t really cause any problems. I was spotted talking to some prominent figures, so no one questioned me after that.

I met tons of people there….and not ordinary people. When I asked “What do you do”…the typical response would begin with :
“I own…(insert big company here)
or
“I founded…(insert big company here)
or
“I am the director of…(insert big company here)

There were LOTS of very prominent figures present, but the most well known was Herb Kelleher, the famous founder of Southwest Airlines. I got to meet, talk and sit next to Herb Kelleher.

Not a very clear picture, but that’s Herb speaking.

Here is me (with the goofiest smile ever) with Herb Kelleher:

After he was done speaking, he sat down at a mostly empty table. I left my table and went to sit closer to Herb. I snapped this quick video to prove how close I was to him!

The rest of the speakers were great, but Herb was the BEST.

“Bob” and “Vinny” were both present at the conference. They are also both board members/CEO’s of very successful companies. I can’t give too much information about them, but both of them have companies undergoing extremely rapid growth. They are both very photogeneic:

The conference went from 10:00am till about 7:30pm. It was good food, good drinks, lots of mingling, learning and fun.

When I left, I couldn’t tell which car was mine. The Camry or the Mercedes SL500???

Well it’s Friday now. ‘Tis time to party!
-Nev

I’ve Got Friends In HIGH Places

I’m attending a Texas Entrepreneurs event this Tuesday when I get an offer I COULD NOT refuse…hob-nobbing with the WEALTHIEST people all over Austin…

…..oh yeah, including ELTON JOHN and ANDY RODDICK.

I rushed home, put on nice clothes and headed over to the Four Seasons Hotel where I was helped into the this exclusive event by “Bob” and a special access wristband:

This event was an extremely exclusive, private party hosted by the Andy Roddick Foundation. With less than 400 people, the group raised over $800,000 last night.

I had the pleasure of meeting Andy, he was a really nice guy with a really great organization:

The first hour and few minutes of the event was more like a bar scene. Everyone was walking around, talking, eating hors d’oeuvres and drinking champagne. Everything was FANCY. The food, drinks and even the bathroom:

Later on I got to meet Elton John for a little while and shake his hand. I didn’t get a picture, but after dinner and auction that raised over $300,000 alone, he began his performance for a very enthusiastic group of around 350 lucky people:

This performance was taking place while I was being served a six-course meal and “free” booze.

Elton’s performance was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. He got the entire room standing up and singing along. Someone then paid (donated) $19,000 to hear him sing Candle In the Wind!!

The room looked incredible as everyone held up candles during the song:

Click here to see a small video clip of Elton’s Candle In the Wind performance (1.3 MB)

SO. Besides me showing off the fun I had last night, there is a lesson to take away from this. MEET PEOPLE. Meet LOTS AND LOTS people. Network. If it weren’t for me networking, I would have just had a plain-old Tuesday night. Instead, Bob, who I met through networking, helped me connect with some of the nations wealthiest and most powerful people (I met TWO billionaires that night…that’s right…with a capital B).

Try THAT sitting at home watching TV!

Here are some pics of Elton mingling with the crowd (Courtesy of Bob):

Lots of people were wearing crazy “Elton John Style” glasses

If you’re Elton John, it’s hard to walk through a crowd without signing your name and taking a million pictures.

All in all, it was an AWSOME night. I got to meet tons of powerful and successful people, wine and dine, meet two major celebs and get more experience on how to “work a room.”

I almost forgot….Thanks for everything ‘Bob’! Its not everyday that I go to a party that requires a 4-figure payment and an exclusive invite just to get in ;)