Here’s a story about a young, smart and ambitious person who always goes an extra mile to achieve his goals. After an hour’s conversation earlier today I was truly inspired. Read on to see how this person got into Google, why he inspired me and what kind of present I received in the end.
My trip to Google’s HQs
Earlier this afternoon I visited one of the best places to work for in the world. Just over an hour-long train ride south from Downtown San Francisco and a short bike trip away from the Mountain View train station is the place where the most valuable tech company in the world Google has built its headquarters.
Thanks to a great guy Manfredas Zabarauskas, I got a chance to have an insider’s view into the so-called Googleplex.
And I wasn’t disappointed.
Despite getting lost on the way from Mountain View station and asking numerous Googlers for directions, I finally felt the privilege of meeting this smart and ambitious young man.
I was greeted by Manfredas just outside the Lobby 43 Building. “This cafe right here was one of the first ones at Googleplex and has the highest probability of spotting execs on campus”, started conversation Manfredas while we were on the way to get some famous Google lunch.
The Top 1%?
“I’ve been here for just over a year”, explained Manfredas, after listening attentively to my story first. As we were destroying our lunch plates full of crunchy burritos, organic salads, delicious Japanese Miso soups and couscous, I realized there is no ordinary guy in front of me.
Manfredas had no ambitions of being the top 1%.
“I decided that programming is not for me because I could be among the top 1% but never among the 0.01%” – commented Manfredas when we talked about his engineering internship at Microsoft.
For someone holding probably the most elite tech entry-level position in the world, Manfredas struck me as a really sincere and humble person. “I just want to see what a guy from such a small town as Utena can achieve”, said Manfredas. Far away from being cocky or arrogant. And I loved that.
How Manfredas got into Google
However, the path to Google’s Associate Product Manager (APM) role has not just been burritos-and-rainbows all the way (trust me, the food at Googleplex is amazing).
After spending a year at Vilnius University, Manfredas tried to get into Oxford, England. Despite being rejected, he went on to do an exchange in Germany. Next year he applied for a Computer Science major in Cambridge.
As you can guess, this time successfully.
However, getting into Cambridge was not the end goal for a soon-to-be Noogler (i.e. a new Google employee).
Manfredas worked hard every summer.
Before starting a degree at Cambridge, he became an intern in a microchip company at Edinburgh, helping to create drivers for iPhones. Somehow disappointed about the lack of challenges at work, next year Manfredas found himself wearing a suit at Morgan Stanley’s headquarters in London.
Finally, for the next two summers, he moved to Seattle (USA) in order to try engineering and program manager internships at Microsoft.
Natural drive to learn more led Manfredas to do his Master’s degree at “another place”, as he said (afterwards I learnt it was Oxford).
While considering various job possibilities after finishing his impressive academic career, Manfredas accidentally came across Google’s workshop on Product Manager’s role in London. And tried it.
Being somewhat intrigued, he decided to apply for an Associate Product Manager’s role with Google.
“I was lucky the interview process ended just before April 1, which is the deadline for applying for an H1B work visa for USA”, explained Zabarauskas. As a result, he smashed his five rounds of interviews and was able to get his work visa in Autumn 2013 to become one of a few Lithuanian Nooglers in Mountain View, California.
According to him, the best thing about working for Google is that 90% of people here are smarter than him. “This definitely drives me forward”.
“What’s the worst thing then?” I asked, but after careful consideration he failed to give me an answer.
However, we were short on time. Manfredas had only one hour for lunch, so we wandered around having a quick glance at different parts of Campus. He pointed out places where such massively popular products as Chrome, Android and Gmail were born. We also took a selfie next to the Android symbols:
The secret present
By the way, startups was not an uncommon theme. It is no secret that many of Google’s employees drop-out to start their own companies.
“That’s definitely something I may try in the future”, admitted Zabarauskas, while I walked him back to his office. Previous Google APM’s have built some impressive companies so I’m definitely looking forward to what this ambitious Lithuanian comes up with.
After quickly dropping into his office, Manfredas comes back with a present.
“That’s in exchange for your visitor’s card”, says Manfredas smilingly. I gladly accepted his present. It was a brand new Google product that has not launched yet.
What was it?
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