March 22nd, 2007
Aaron Stanton rose to online fame after vowing in a video that he'd fly to California and pitch an idea to Google. After they refused to let him camp in their lobby, he hovered nervously at a friend's house, recording anxious video updates at a web site — CanGoogleHearMe.com. On Valentine's Day, the story took a thrilling turn when he received a late-night email.
We can hear you : )
But what happened next? After his meeting with Google, 25-year-old Aaron returned mysteriously to his home in Boise and started rounding up programmers.
"It's related to the idea that I originally took down to Google," he told 10 Zen Monkeys. Does that mean Google rejected him? "That's a very premature assumption."
More About Aaron/Google
"I am very pleased with the outcome of the trip, and it falls very much in line with one of the hoped for outcomes before I started."
And when he returns, it doesn't look like he'll be waiting for a late-night invite again. "The return has fewer question marks about it than the original quest did," Aaron tells us. "I'll be going knowing what to expect, this time." But when it comes to the most important question, he's still maintaining the mystery. Where do things stand with Google?
Sorry, I can't really talk about Google's reaction at all. : )
One thing he will talk about is what a great experience it's been. "Independently of the actual project, I've had so many interesting opportunities that have opened up as a result of the adventure..." he tells us. When you ask him what the best part was, he says without hesitation: "The people I've met..."
And his email now ends with a grateful signature line.
"Sometimes when you say, 'Hello, World,' the world says hello back."
Aaron is filming more video updates as he puts together his team. Inspired by the story of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, he looked for programmers at a computer science club at Boise State University. Saying it went "Different than I expected," Aaron described the experience in another video. "They spent 1.5 hours teaching me how to play Magic: The Gathering." Calling it "a positive meeting," Aaron ultimately teamed up instead with Brandon Zehm, a self-taught programmer who'd sent him an email. In the video he introduces the new programmer, who he adds can also play keyboards and make his own chain mail.
"And then there were two," the video concludes.
Aaron won't say what his big idea is, but one Digg poster speculates it was tied to an old venture of Aaron's called the Novel Project
By analyzing published novels and breaking them down into detailed statistics, then graphing those statistics scene-by-scene, we allow authors to better understand their craft in a way never before possible. You already know to start your book with a high interest scene, but do you know what to do with the scenes after that?
Another Digg poster claimed that "I e-mailed him, and he sent back a note saying that it was related, but much more than that, that it had actually branched from that into separate projects."
In February Aaron himself joined the discussion, posting on another site. "The idea was actually developed (in a simple form) in 2003 and then grew and branched, but it didn't become an obvious match for Google for a while after that."
The mystery may be agonizing, but "The problem is that the Internet is a fast medium," Aaron writes, "and it's covering what can sometimes be a slow medium, which is life. Life sometimes takes time."
But even if it doesn't work out, Aaron has a reponse to people who ask: what if Google hadn't agreed to hear you out? The bright side, he said, would've been all the encouragement he received — which would give him the strength to keep trying again later. In fact, he's already collected all the encouraging emails into a keepsake book that he's titled "We Can Hear You :)"
The homemade cover identifies its author as "Aaron Stanton and 2000 friends."
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