Nowhere was Google's innovation and generosity more visible than at an event they hosted this morning at Clive Coffee.
Sure, they lavished guests and reporters with free coffee, orange juice, and a magnificent breakfast spread. They even gave us embossed moleskins and big thick Google pens. But that's missing the point. The point is what amazing things they've done for small businesses.
Tucked into the warehouse of the SE Portland coffee roaster and equipment dealer were Google execs, bloggers, reporters, and public-relations people. I mingled with these ad-world power players while wearing my shiny new executive nametag
, which made me feel like a real reporter. Clive Coffee owner Mark Hellweg spoke about how the California-based benevolent search deity helped him earn money to sell his incredibly good coffee. Later, I got a bag of it for free.
"We started our business in October 2008, just as the economy was really getting bad," said the handsome and eloquent Hellweg. "Cook's Illustrated recommended the Dutch Technivorm coffee machines that we sell, and people went to Google to look for them. We spent $1,000 on Google AdWords, and started selling a lot of coffee makers."
Hellweg has benefitted so much from Google's services—on which he spends 75% of his marketing budget—that he's opening Clive Coffee's first retail location this summer. I hope he does incredibly well. My gift bag contained a handwritten thank-you note from Hellweg, which I'm magneting to the file cabinet as we speak.
Alan Moss, Google's superhero-lookalike Director of Online Sales, spoke at length about the great company. "Google has become indispensable in people's lives," he said. "For the first time ever, Google is releasing data that shows our economic impact on businesses across the country."
He then shattered a vase with his piercing good looks as I distributed the capers on a complimentary smoked-salmon bagel.
"We also provide in-kind donations in the form of free ad credits to non-profit organizations," he added. Thank you, Google. Thank you so much.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!