Vincent Cheung

Vincent Cheung's Blog

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Thursday, July 27, 2006


It's the magic code that causes people to just appear outside my cubicle. With my lead, the interns I started with quickly started using the Google chat in the internal version of Gmail. By quickly, I mean like the first day. I soon somehow became known as the "food god", as coined by Mark, as I was responsible for organizing people to go for lunch and dinner. As I was the one organizing it and my cubicle was in a rather convenient location, I started telling people to meet me at my cubicle or just outside of it so that we gathered everyone up before heading out to one of the cafeterias.

Organizing everyone for lunch and dinner quickly became difficult and time consuming. I would be messaging like 7 different people and then walking to some nearby ones to talk to other interns. It wasn't scalable.

Then came the era of status messages. In Google chat in Gmail, you can put in a custom status message that appears underneath your name. Michele had the idea of putting "L-1-VD" in my status message and that he'd do it too.

Lunch at 1 pm, meet at Vince's desk.

Once displayed, people will just magically appear outside my cubicle at the right time. Sometimes there is a bit of haggling, because of meetings or other things, but it's been found to be quite an effective means of spreading the word about meals and gathering people together.

The code has stuck now for like two and a half months and is used daily. There are several variations, L-12-VD -> Cafe 150, indicating that we will be going off the main campus to Cafe 150 for lunch, or L-12:45-VD -> Seville, to note that we will grab lunch to go and eat at a talk in Seville. There has been some attempts to change the code to make it more efficient, like removing "VD", as it is pretty much redundant since people always meet outside my cube, even when I'm not there :p. However, tradition is hard to break.

People don't really seem to understand this role that I play at Google and how much time it takes and how much negotiating there is.

One time I had as my status message:

"(On the phone) L-??? Adam is in charge, bug him"

I had like 7 chat windows open and there was a period of half an hour where I couldn't do any work.
  -- Adam after I put him in charge of organizing lunch one time

It's not always that bad, but we were going off the main campus for lunch that time (to one of the 4 cafeterias outside the main 3), so more organizing was required.

I like to think that all my peons have a say in when meals are in our GDemocracy, but sometimes a hard stance has to be taken, resulting in me being the GDictator, which I think is a term coined by the dissenting citizen, Mike Perrow. (I am trying to make it so that when you google "Mike Perrow", you get to that picture :))

It's been more difficult recently to organize everyone b/c several people have moved off the main campus across the street to a new building, plus Mark left, a key member of the original crowd. Today was probably the last of the "classic lunches" as this is my last week and people are leaving tomorrow for weddings and conferences. We even got Heidi out one last time.



Jill Barrott said...

L-1-VD--there's a cream for that y'know. Glad to hear that this actually has to do with lunch and not some unfortunate medical condition.

Looking forward to seeing you again :)

Anonymous said...

Vince's desk, eh?

Yeah, I'm sorry, but my whole time there I never quite got to the point where "VD" automatically associated in my mind with Vince's desk...

Vince said...

Hahahaha, I never thought of that.

Blame Michele for that. I think I had voted for VC, for Vince's cube, or Vincent Cheung :p

Bob said...

Wow.. you guys waste even more time than I do at work... and I'm a city worker.

Vince said...

Tell me about it...


Sarah said...

When you get back it will be:

Vince said...


You <3 CFT

Sarah said...

i <3 <3 now.

Sarah said...

lol i like how u link to the google intern characters' photos when you mention them in your posts. but how can i comment on your photos?! damn picasa is like a fortress...i cant figure out how to do it.

Vince said...

My blog has good page rank. Very soon "L-1-VD" will link to my blog. After all, when people search for gay pictures, they get to my blog. I'm not very comfortable with that...

We should totally all get L-1-VD shirts to commemorate the summer!

Yes, I thought the linking of peoples' names to pictures was fun, esp. when I link to them in compromising situations without any context ;)

Like Sarah (a)

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