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May 16

In Seminars & Workshops, Thoughts at 1:21pm

Was graciously invited by Google to lecture at their campus yesterday. Took me about .5 seconds to say yes. Googler Mike Wiacek sent me an email a while back and mentioned that enthusiasm for The Moment It Clicks was high within the organization and was there a chance I might be in the neighborhood some time or other?

Cool! Got a chance to relax and float around in the foam cushion thing filled with plastic balls. (Photo by Brad Moore.) Evidently some folks relax in here with their laptops.

The nap module was already occupied.

Made the stop on my way to my favorite DLWS location, the Redwoods. (Ahh, the mighty Redwoods! It stirs my soul! I don’t want to be a photographer anyway! I want to be a lumberjack. Leaping from tree to tree as they float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia! The giant redwoods! The larch! The fir! The mighty Scots pine! The smell of fresh cut timber! The crash of mighty trees! With my best girlie by my side!)

I digress. It figures there are photo enthusiasts everywhere in the halls of Google. Can’t imagine a better place to plug into the fast paced world of digital shooting, the discussion threads, the new tech and gear, than the home base of this internet powerhouse.

Thing is, it doesn’t feel like a big company. It feels very human. It feels like a place where people (and their pets) are valued. The array of food options (for free) is astonishing. There are more cafes and eateries per square yard than Little Italy in NY. Seems management figured out it is cheaper, happier and more productive to take care of their employees and create a positive work environment than to burn them to a crisp, make them afraid of the future, and send them off into the highways and byways of California in search of a Taco Bell for lunch.

Enlightened management is tough to find these days, but I do know of another distinctly wonderful workplace. Scott Kelby and the folks down there at Kelby Media and NAPP are a bunch of happy campers, to be sure. Hmmm. Both these places are forward looking, innovative, very creative, and use the newest of technologies. And, they value their people and treat them well. And both outfits are doing gang buster business….Geez, I wonder if there’s a connection?

There were about 100 folks at the lecture, and Google beamed it out to 8 of their other locations, domestic and international. My buddy Bill suggested that in return for doing the lecture, I simply ask Google to change a few lines of code, you know, couple of minor alterations, nothing truly significant. That way, he said, anytime anybody in the world Googles, “photography,” they get sent to my website. Just a few tweaks in the codes, and, when you type in “Ansel Adams,” it comes up as “” Or, “Moose Peterson.” You get “” If you type in, “I’m a client with a huge budget and I wanna spend some big ass money on pictures,” it connects you directly to my cell phone.

Way cool day.

Terry Reinert says:

on May 16, 2008 at 1:45 pm

Google is indeed a very cool place to work from what I hear. As a software engineer it would be a dream to work for them. I just don’t want to be uprooted from Florida. Now if they offered me a “work from home” spot I would be on it in a second! But then I would miss out on a lot of the perks their resident employees get to take advantage of.

I think gadget geeks just love anything with batteries and digital cameras rank pretty high up on that list. Seeing as how most Googlers describe themselves as gadget geeks… well… that pretty much explains it!

Great idea on the code tweaks… that sure makes driving traffic to your site a lot easier than domain hijacking and all the other crazy stuff people do these days!

Dave Feltenberger says:

on May 16, 2008 at 3:32 pm

“If you type in, “wanna spend some big ass money on pictures,” it connects you directly to my cell phone.”

Ha! That had me literally LOL’ing.

Alan Morris says:

on May 16, 2008 at 3:59 pm

One of the benefits of living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. There is a lot of electricity in work environments in this area. and how about this nice spell of weather ??

Kenny McLean says:

on May 16, 2008 at 4:13 pm

Hi Joe,
another cracking post, you crack me up every time.

I’ve got a bone to pick with you though. there is no such thing as a Scotch Pine.
Scotch Whisky, Scotch Mist, Scotch Egg(you really don’t want to know) and Butterscotch but the tree is called a Scots Pine.
As I said to Scott Kelby, “I should know, I’m Scottish.”

keep up the good work

ps, love “The Moment It Clicks” when is your next book due out??????????

Ken says:

on May 16, 2008 at 4:17 pm

Gosh Joe,

A man in demand is a man with a plan.

I tried to get attention from my wife when I told her I was a “artist photographer” when I stomped on her flower bed.

Oh well, when I grow up, I am a wanna be McNally kid even though I am 62

Ken from KY

ron hiner says:

on May 16, 2008 at 4:43 pm

Careful up there in the redwoods.. I hear the hotels are known to lock up their bed sheets when McNally comes to town.

Jan Winther says:

on May 16, 2008 at 4:52 pm

…i wanna try the nap pod….zzzzz

Nick says:

on May 16, 2008 at 4:57 pm

If you type “wanna spend some big ass money on pictures,” into google comes out as number two , shame about the top hit though.

Waldemar Chadzynski says:

on May 16, 2008 at 5:42 pm

…but how much they gonna charge you per click then?? 😉

Mark K_NJ says:

on May 16, 2008 at 8:50 pm

LOL! That top pic is HILARIOUS!

First Google, then Yahoo…next thing you’ll know you’ll be speaking at some little biotech out in South San Francisco.

I think you’ve heard this before…watch out for Bigfoot in Redwood Country!

David Hobby says:

on May 16, 2008 at 8:55 pm

I can only hope they fed you well. Great group of folks, huh? Never have I been so jealous of an “office.”

The Lumberjack song link – that was inspired…


Karen says:

on May 16, 2008 at 11:13 pm is now the only thing that comes up if you google “wanna spend some big ass money on pictures”.

CyberCarsten says:

on May 17, 2008 at 1:40 am

I am traveling through northern CA right now as well – will see you at the Redwoods DLSW the day after tomorrow :-)

Lokking forward to meet you.

Ken Anderson says:

on May 17, 2008 at 1:46 am

Anybody else find the ball in the middle a little scary? Or is it just me?

David Hobby says:

on May 18, 2008 at 12:13 pm


That is because that phrase has never, ever been uttered before in the history of the world…

Will Duris says:

on May 18, 2008 at 12:20 pm

Great stuff, I guess you know lots about SEO already cause “wanna spend some big ass money on pictures” leads to the one and only Joe McNally, awesome!

marco says:

on May 19, 2008 at 2:34 am

I love your humor, Joe 😉
I’d love to work for Google, too bad they haven’t a headquarter here in Italy.

Bob DeChiara says:

on May 19, 2008 at 7:08 am

Great story Joe!


Misha says:

on May 19, 2008 at 9:54 am

Joe, any chance we will see this lecture online somewhere? Google is usually pretty open to share such things with public. Maybe they can put this one online too.

Phil R says:

on May 19, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Fantastic post and I am jealous on many levels. My first experience of the Google food offerings was from a Flickr person who works at Google. (

Also wish I could bring my dog to work, but oh well.

And I wish I could sing back up for Joe for his version of The Lumberjack song. I have my Monty Python Sings audio up and ready for practice.

Gerry S. says:

on May 20, 2008 at 1:48 pm

This is awesome. Not one, but two yanks that know Python (Hobby as well).

Got to love it!!!

Alex Campagna says:

on May 20, 2008 at 2:25 pm

Wow. This picture of the redwoods is awesome! I thought it was a painting at first. Everything is so perfect!


Aaron D'Souza says:

on May 22, 2008 at 8:34 am


The video is being edited right now. We’re hoping to push it out to YouTube shortly :)


Harry Pocius says:

on May 22, 2008 at 7:32 pm

I just googled “need photog price no object” and sure enough your’s was the first hit. Conversely, when I yahood “Joe McNally all I got was a pic of a lumberjack in drag???

Richard Cave says:

on May 24, 2008 at 2:15 pm

Python quotes from the land of the free, you are now a civilised nation ,NEEP!!!!!

Richard Cave says:

on May 24, 2008 at 2:20 pm

Seriously I work for a large organisation that treats everybody like dirt. I wished I worked there. It would be a change to feel valued.

Google if you are reading and want to offer a talented UK photographer a job call!


PS Joe great post!

Ruben Parra says:

on May 25, 2008 at 12:13 am

Hello just want ot let you know that the video is up in youTube:



mungkey says:

on May 25, 2008 at 1:54 am

I wanna lie down in that foam cushion thing! But most of all i wanna be as good as Joe McNally! Hah!


teardr0p1204 says:

on May 25, 2008 at 8:57 am

I wish I could be as good as you. Any chance your book is going to hit the Philippine bookstores soon? I’ve been wanting to get one :-)

Mike says:

on May 25, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Hey everyone!

The video of Joe’s talk at Google is now online:

Tuomo Lampinen says:

on May 26, 2008 at 5:24 am

Immense respect for the Monty Python quote. Oh and the vid of your speech – so very, very good stuff.

Christian Wiedel says:

on May 26, 2008 at 11:24 am

Hi. Christian from Sweden here.
I just saw your speech on Google Authors. And wow! You really had an impact on me. It was really great to listen to all of the stories behind the pictures. Beautiful photos too. Thank you and thank Google!

Frank W says:

on June 8, 2008 at 7:29 pm

I was truly amazed by this video of you at Google. You are a fascinating person with fascinating photos. Simply Awesome!

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