We thought we would check in on Adam Kovacevich after his first 100 days or so on the job as Google's DC spokesperson with our second in an ongoing series of three questions with interesting folks in the tech policy neighborhood.
After landing in DC from everyone's favorite California city of Bakersfield via some Massachusetts college, Adam served folks like Senator Joseph Lieberman and California Congressman Cal Dooley. Once he left the Hill, he went on to make a good name for himself in tech policy communications with stints at Dittus Communications and the Information Technology Industry Council.
1) What is the average day of a Google public policy spokesperson like?
Naturally the first thing I do is check this very blog to find out the latest news from our Washington office. After that, I catch up on the three hours' worth of e-mail from my California colleagues that accumulated after I left work the night before. After a mid-morning ritual Googling of myself (that counts as work here, right?), I field phone calls from friends who inevitably want me to remove a really embarrassing link that appears when their name is Googled (sorry, any long-lost pals who are reading this, it's the algorithms). Later I'll make a trip to our office mini-fridge (our version of the famed Google "micro kitchens") and start returning reporters' phone calls on topics ranging from net neutrality to privacy to how political campaigns are using online advertising. To round out the day I might spend some time lounging around on our office beanbag chair.
2) What is the most misunderstood aspect of Google inside the Beltway and what is the plan to change hearts and minds?
Most people in Washington are already pretty familiar with Google's tools and services from having used them, but we're working to educate policymakers about our impact as a company. Take economic growth, for example. Thousands of small businesses throughout the country are using our keyword advertising program, AdWords, to help attract new customers in a cost-effective way. And thousands of our advertising partners - including businesses, bloggers, and individuals -- are earning revenue through Google's syndicated ad network, AdSense. Last year, we paid out $3.3 billion in revenue directly to those partners.
So that's a big message we're trying to convey in Washington - Google isn't just a great search engine; it's also creating economic opportunities for citizens and businesses in every state and congressional district.
3) How does the free food in the DC office compare to what you get at HQ?
This is best answered by offering a side-by-side menu comparison for one day last week:
Mountain View Menu:
Creole Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
Cajun Bay Scallop Vol au Vent
Grilled Polenta Circles
Braised Swiss Chard
Cream of Asparagus Soup with Rock Shrimp
Hazelnut Sablé Cookies
Cosi Sesame Ginger Chicken Sandwich, with a side o' chips
In short, no comparison.