One of the advantages of working in the Bay area is you tend to run in to tech celebrities every so often.
I was working in Palo Alto (late 2015) on a previous startup (Wedding Party). My colleagues and I decided to get coffee at the nearby cafe. I saw Andy Rubin sitting outside casually talking to two other folks. I was certain it was him and told my buddies, “Hey, I think that’s Andy Rubin”. My colleagues (the lovable jerks that they were) said: “that’s the Android fanboy in you seeing things”. I obviously protested (with some casual bashing of their own phone choices).
As we grabbed our lattes and headed out, one of my buddies told me, “if you’re so sure, why don’t you just go up to him and ask?”. To which I replied: “you know what? I bloody well will! just to prove you jerks wrong”. They thought I was being my kooky self and went back to the office.
After making sure I wasn’t intruding his conversation, I walked up to him and said, “I hate to bother you but would you by any chance be Andy Rubin?”. Seeing the giant Android developer tee I was wearing, he let out a small smile and said, “that would be me! I’m Andy. How are you doing?”.
I was so elated and star struck that speech began to fail me. I don’t recall exactly what I said but it was along the lines of “thank you so much for Android! Your work has made such a difference, more so than you can imagine, you’re awesome, i’ve seen some of the code you wrote, it’s also awesome…etc etc (facepalm)”.
He was incredibly humble and asked me to sit down and join him while we talked. He asked where I worked and what our startup was doing. You could tell the dude was incredibly smart; 5 minutes into the conversation, he had some really great questions, thoughts and insights. I was truly amazed how someone so incredibly intelligent and smart, could also be so humble and hold a conversation with a joe like me. It definitely left a mark.
I walked back to the office and triumphantly told my colleagues they were dum-dums and I was totally right and I had the most awesomest conversation with Andy Rubin. They were pretty excited too and one of my pals, H asked:
H: “Oh cool! so did you tell him you just started an Android developer podcast?”
me: “arr… no, that… oddly… didn’t come up”
H: “did you tell him that our last office was the one where he started Android?” (this was true and probably a fantastic conversation starter)
me: “no… but i told him where our current office is and what we did” (sheepish smile)
H: “jeez KG! did you atleast tell him you were an Android developer?”
me: “i think he might have figured that out from our conversation… or my tshirt”
My colleagues were facepalming and laughing so hard that my announcement didn’t seem so triumphant after all. Sigh… to be star struck.
I still fondly remember the memory and am now fully armed with conversation points, for that next time I run into Andy.
Andy Rubin just announced Essential and I’m super excited to see where this goes.