Google Campus Expedition 

w/ Janice Lathen and Prem Pandian


Here we are on my annual Powering Potential, Inc. (PPI) business trip to the drought-stricken West Coast! Weather absolutely fantastic. Note to self: consider moving PPI HQ to California? Temperature hovering around sixty degrees, but still overheard much complaining about the cold. Trying vainly to hold in my giggles. Californians, am I right? New York would give them something to complain about!

Anyway. Thursday morning Feb. 23. Uber’d over to the Google Campus on the outskirts of San Francisco to visit Powering Potential patron Prem Pandian — equivalent alliteration unintended, I’m sure.

Prem, a Business Development and Supply Chain Manager at Google, has provided some incredible support for PPI. In 2016, he arranged for our organization to become a Google-approved nonprofit, which means Google will match any of their employee’s donations. This year he offered to donate a few Google Chromebooks and Android tablets to our noble cause, and to show us around his workplace. What an opportunity!


Prem and me in front of the Android lobby. Giant metal Android sends his love. 



Here’s a pic of me in front of a very important-looking building. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to swallow your curiosity about what’s going on inside, because the Google security team doesn’t allow any indoor photography. This place isn’t a petting zoo for programmers, folks — no matter how much fun as that’d be!


The Google Campus. Aptly named. Easy to mistake the inspiring architecture, groomed lawns, pickup volleyball, and casual dress as apex pedagogy, but no — this is just how Google lures in the best of the best. 



You want perks? These are perks. International cuisine a la front-wheel drive. Ever wondered what drives technological innovation? Indian, Chinese, Mexican, Thai, and more.

Prem and I grabbed lunch and had a great talk about Powering Potential’s growth in 2017. (Good things coming — stay tuned!) We also talked about Google, Facebook, and SpaceX’s worldwide satellite internet, and how beautifully it works in conjunction with PPI’s mission. After all, worldwide internet isn’t all that useful unless people have computers to access it with. Imagine a world built on the free dissemination of information, where all people have equal access to the sum total of human knowledge. In a way, it’d be kind of like this row of food trucks — all of the world’s best cultural offerings lined up for everyone to appreciate. Yum!



A digestive stroll after a big lunch. Noticed this bucket. Complimentary umbrellas, of all things? It appears California isn’t as water-starved as they claim! (Kidding, of course.)


And what’s this? Prem explains that Google provides complimentary Google-themed bicycles, too, so their employees can get some fresh air and exercise while traversing the complex.

Do I want to try one?


I jumped at the chance to take this baby for a spin. Here’s me prepping for takeoff.



Ah, the salt-tinged coastal air running in your hair! Is there anything so wonderful? So very jealous of Google’s bike policy!



Catching my breath in the parking lot afterwards, waiting for my Uber to return me to San Fran. Absolutely thrilled to see this line of charging stations in the Campus parking lot. So very cool!

Reminds me of PPI’s work, of course. A different kind of alternative energy, but alternative energy just the same. Maybe someday we’ll see solar-powered cars go mainstream?



Finally, here are the Chromebooks and tablets that Prem so generously donated to Powering Potential. Thanks so much, Prem! The work we do rests on the shoulders of generous people like you!

All told, I had a great time at the Google Campus. Hope to be back soon!

Prem Prandian: It was great catching up with Janice and the best part was taking her on the “Google Bike Ride.” Remember “Internship” anyone? 😁 I am extremely happy with the results of the Chromebook pilot study, and looking forward to all the cool things the students could do with the new batch of Chromebooks.