Meeting Chewie at Google HQ
I must say, it has been a very “Googly” month!
It all started with an internal Slack announcement about our brand new Arctiq and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) partnership. Arctiq is a modest size consultancy, but as I mentioned in my previous post a well respected one. Nevertheless, Google reaching out to us makes one feel great!
Arctiq needs certified technical professionals as part of the partnership. The Slack message asked for volunteers. One of the certifications was for the Professional Cloud Architect. I figured it has a nice ring to it and raised my hand. I had my eye on the cloud for years now and GCP certification would give me a great start. The choice between three major vendors Google, AWS and Microsoft was a tough one. Originally I come from the Microsoft background starting my career as a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. But, I was leaning towards Google Cloud. The partnership direction made the choice more clear. Then the meeting with Google confirmed that it was a great choice!
What followed was an abundance of training courses, online study, videos, quizzes, labs…all in all, 62 hours of study! It took a lot of effort, and well planned days. I had a reasonable understanding and some working experience with Google Cloud, but there are a lot fine points to learn in order to deliver the best solution possible. Their program is extensive as far as vendor certifications go, so this was a real test!
With most of the struggling behind me I scheduled my proctored exam. It was an interesting experience. I was told to leave all my belongings in the locker, turn my pockets and Arctiq hoodie in-side-out and pull up my sleeves to prove that I am not stashing any cheats. I was not allowed to bring anything into the examination room. Even a paper and pen are not allowed!
The exam was a tough one alright. I had just enough time to finish it (only 5 minutes to spare!). The incredible relief came when I saw a small word “pass” on the screen.
Thursday was a great day! Not only did I get my official certificate in email first thing in the morning, I was also going to the Google Headquarters in Toronto. We were invited to meet Pete West, National Partner Sales Manager and Chewie - one of the original Google Cloud team, and hugely influential in Google’s go-to-market of their Cloud offering.
Chewie did not end up being the wild haired 7 feet tall dude, I somehow pictured him to be. Once I learned that his name is Choon Aun Quek, things made a bit more sense. A very impressive dude nevertheless!
We had a lunch meeting in the famous employee Google cafeteria. It’s quite an amazing setup…and I can’t wait to eat there again (hint, hint).
All of this was nice and impressive so far, but what happened next continued the trend. We were asked what we need from Google and how can they help us. This was not at all what I was expecting. By their own admission Google sees us as a boutique shop, yet they ask us what we need from them. It’s nice to feel loved!
Thinking it over on the way home, I have come to the realization that pretty much no large company I have ever worked with asked me that question. Not in a truly sincere way like Chewie did anyway. Perhaps this is one of the things that makes Google the successful enterprise they are today. The ability to listen rather than dictate, and to feed their staff (and visitors) well!
There is more “Googliness” coming to Arctiq and I am looking forward to it, now with even greater enthusiasm!