I Had Lunch at Google Yesterday

I had lunch at Google yesterday. I mention this only because everybody else does. But it was really the news that PE professionals make more from fees than from carried interest that got me to share my schedule. I’ll explain shortly.

For now, the item I’d like to share is that I had lunch at the googleplex yesterday. For whatever reason, Lunch at Google comes up in VC conversation frequently. Just last week another VC told me: “It’s been a crazy week, I’ve had four board meetings, our partner meeting which always takes too long, and I had lunch at Google.”

Most VCs are secretive types. When a meeting is over, there’s a race for the doors. Busy, busy, busy. You don’t hear “I gotta run, I have a lunch meeting at HP.” HP is buying one of your companies? Which competes with one of my companies? I’ll race you to their office! 

Lunch at Google is different. It’s worth a name-drop. It’s a visit to the Playboy Mansion. Something to brag about. At least to some people. 

This was not my first lunch at Google. But until now Google was not the IT place to have lunch. That, plus I wasn’t coy enough to mention it. 

The bikes are new. Because the Google teletransporters are still in development, free bikes now litter the campus to allow employees (and their guests) to move about easily to meetings or to lunch. Someday googlers might beam each other from building to building, but for now, I met my host and together we rolled over to lunch. 

Passing Pacific Cafe (just had sushi day before), we converged on Charlie’s Place, where fresh oysters on the half-shelf greeted us knowingly. Choices got more difficult in the seafood area as the baked salt-encrusted options included salmon, cod, and another few species, none of them more than a Prius-ride away from home. Quick Google of the Monterey Bay Aquarium safe selections: yes, all good, none evil, no mercury, i’ll take one of each. A few more stops at the Chinese, Indian, salad stops and the tray was ready for checkout. Or walkout. It’s all free. Oops, i forgot the all-natural cola. I should have brought a bag, like we did in college. Hate to be empty-handed for that mid-afternoon snack-attack. Note to self. 

Some people crack open their iPods to figure out the Bill of Materials. How much would it cost to make. I did the same for lunch. $30 at Whole Foods? $50? $5 for an espresso drinks at Peets? At a restaurant? Forget it. Back of the envelope: $50 each day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks: $13,000. Not bad. That’s after taxes. And before the snack-attack. 

So PE professionals are making more from fees than from carried interest. And that doesn’t even include lunch at Google. Next thing some congressman in DC will want to tax our lunch at Google. Now that’s reason for us to be alarmed.