At Mix on Tuesday / Wednesday

I’ll be at Mix in Vegas on Tuesday and Wednesday — drop me an e-mail (chadd – at – yahoo-inc.com) if you’d like to meet up.

Every time I go to Vegas, I’m reminded of a passage in Jean Baudrillard‘s America (one of the books I read back when I was preparing for a career as an academic, and one of the books that made me think that wasn’t such a good idea):

. . . what is absurd is also admirable. The skylines lit up at dead of night, the air-conditioning
systems cooling empty hotels in the desert and artificial light in the middle of the day all have something both demented and admirable about them.

Kids Day at Yahoo: what I learned

Bradley invited me to join him in speaking to two groups of kids today at Yahoo! The first group was 11-12 year-olds, and the second was all 8 year-olds. Bradley and I talked a little bit about what we do, what it’s like to work at Yahoo and what we wanted to be when we grew up (me: architect, Bradley: something with computers), and then we answered a bunch of questions while asking some of our own.Kids Day @ Yahoo! All I can say about these kids of Silicon Valley is: WOW! Here are some relatively unstructured notes.

What some of the 11-12 year-olds said they want to be when they grow up: large animal vet, photographer, pediatrician, Egyptologist (!)

When Bradley asked the kids if they knew what “innovation” meant, one of the kids said, “inventing new stuff.” Not bad.

When someone asked how much I worked every day and I said a lot of my work doesn’t feel like work because I enjoy it (but in a more rambling way), a kid interjected, “Find a job you love and you’ll never ‘work’ a day in your life.” Very succinct!

Bradley mentioned in passing the company he started before Yahoo, and one of the kids asked, “Is your old company still alive?” (Yes.) Then, “Who bought it?” (Autonomy.) I think we were about to get into preferred stock or accelerated vesting schedules before another kid rescued us with the question: “how many interviews did you go on before you got your job?”

When we moved to the group of 8-year-olds, things got even more interesting. When we asked them how many had cell phones, 50% of the hands went up (at least) — and we weren’t talking toy cell phones. When Bradley asked them how old they thought we were, we got answers ranging from 28 to 100.

In both groups, the kids were amazingly well-traveled. No one seemed all that excited about the places we had been because many of them were born in those places and travel regularly (although the wannabe-Egyptologist had not yet been to Egypt!)

We’re always looking for product feedback, so when asked what Yahoo! should be doing, one kid said: “Yahoo! Robots would be AWESOME!”

I’ll see what we can do!

While I was out. . . .

. . . a bunch of good things happened (besides a wonderfully relaxing honeymoon — thanks to everyone who asked!)

(Me, I was sitting by a pool in Mexico practicing my Spanish (primarly Tecate, Negra Modelo, and Dos Equis).

Getting hitched

NancyI had been planning to write something really profound about my impending nuptials on Friday (and it is definitely profound in so many ways), but a moment last night really brought it all home. After a late night of doing some last-minute wedding preparations and errands in which copy machines played a critical role, we were driving when I cued up a Silver Jews album in the car.

(For those of you not familiar with the Silver Jews, their Wikipedia entry reads in part: “The Silver Jews were always a conduit for David Berman’s brand of sardonic, countrified indie rock.” Hmmm. . . . “sardonic countrified indie rock” is about as close to my ideal as one could imagine, suggesting the perfect mixture of Stephin Merritt‘s raised-eyebrow lyrics, Gram Parson‘s “Cosmic American Music,” and a nice dose of Bakesale-era Sebadoh thrown in for good measure.)

So, it only makes sense that when I put on track one of the Silver Jews’ excellent 1998 record American Water (9.9 from Pitchfork — whoa!), an album we had never listened to together or even discussed before, we sang the first wonderful sardonic-countrified-indie-rock line in unison, completely unprompted:

In 1984, I was hospitalized for approaching perfection

In that simple shared moment, I experienced the powerful feeling of knowing that things were just plain right.