2007 Personal Highlights

It’s a bit late for this, but oh well. Here’s my list of 2007 personal highlights.

Moved into a huge house in Cupertino with 6 friends.
Seven people in one house sounds kind of crazy, but it’s really more like a family than a frat house. We have a chore rotation and eat dinner together 5 nights a week. We only threw one party, but unfortunately it ended with the arrival of the cops and the arrest of a drunk belligerent guest.

Launched My Maps.
This project was my baby. We had a great team that felt like a tiny startup within the larger Google Maps team, and it was a lot of fun designing the UI. It was also really rewarding to see My Maps being used in situations like the Southern California wildfires. When we first started the project, there was no user-generated content in Google Maps, so it boggles my mind that people have created well over 7 million maps. We also added other social features like collaborative editing, profile pages, star ratings, and comments.

Launched draggable driving directions.
This was probably the most practical, useful feature I’ve worked on in my 3.5 years at Google. The draggable directions YouTube video is now Google’s #2 most viewed video with 10.5 million views, despite my terrible acting.

Did an interview on live radio.
I used to be terrified of public speaking and presenting, so being on live radio was a big deal for me. It was supposed to be an interview about user-generated content on Google Maps, but I ended up getting grilled on Street View privacy issues. I used to avoid opportunities to speak to the press, but this year I decided I ought to do it more. I was on NPR twice and spoke to fair number of reporters, including folks from the WSJ, NY Times, AP, Reuters, SF Chronicle, Washington Post, and USA Today.

Trip to Zurich.
I don’t go to Europe very often, so it was nice being able to take a trip to Zurich. Even though it was a business trip, I managed to find time to go sightseeing and meet new people.

Christmas and New Years in Hong Kong and Osaka
Eddy and I took 2 weeks of vacation and spent it in Hong Kong and Osaka. It was really relaxing being at home with my parents in Hong Kong and hanging out with old high school friends. Osaka was fun too, because neither of us were very familiar with Osaka. We spent a lot of time wandering around Namba, went to the aquarium, and took in the views from the Umeda Sky Tower. But the best part was probably the food!

Anime Expo.
Lots of photos of crazy cosplayers.

Blizzcon FTW!
In August we went to Blizzcon, the conference held by the makers of World of Warcraft. It was fun even though I had already stopped playing WoW due to RSI. We got to play the Starcraft 2 preview, watched a Video Games Live concert, and heard announcements about Wrath of the Lich King and the upcoming WoW movie.

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