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I’ve traveled all over the world, to some truly hard-to-reach locales, but one destination right here in the US had eluded me until recently: the Googleplex. The tech company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, is made up of a sprawling spread of buildings, bicycles (more on that later) and busy people — and feels more like a college campus than a Silicon Valley business operation. But it’s not open to everyone: you need to know someone inside to get a tour.
Luckily, I was invited to speak at one of the company’s “Talks at Google,” a series of speeches and casual interviews inside auditoriums in their Bay Area, New York and Cambridge, Massachusetts offices.
I’m in good company: Google has hosted talks with all kinds of authors, artists, activists, filmmakers, chefs, musicians, politicians, scientists — and and apparently points and miles experts — including Salman Rushdie, Bill Nye, Lady Gaga, Conan O’Brien and Stephen Colbert.
You can watch the entire talk I gave in an auditorium full of Google employees in the hour-long clip, below. I touch on many topics: mistake fares, keeping track of miles, the value of elite status, the advantages of last-minute travel, how loyalty pays off, where to find great offers, manufactured spending, how our Points for Peace and PeaceJam charities work, why I love South Africa and why I won’t be flying Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines) anytime soon.
Here are some more highlights from the tour:
The famous multicolored bicycles; there are more than 1,300 located throughout the campus.
Ultimately, I was honored to be invited to give a Google Talk and I think of it as just one more indication of how much TPG has grown over the last few years. Follow me on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to see what I’m working on next.
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