Off-Duty: Google Underwhelms DUMBO Partyers


ADOTAS – Perhaps my expectations were too high for the Digital DUMBO: Get Nostalgic event sponsored by Google Places. But come on, it’s Google! The perks peeked my interest and put my imagination to work. I pictured walking away with swag that rivals that of the Academy Awards.

Instead, I left with a pair of Google socks and a foam Statue of Liberty crown. It’s like Christmas arrived and instead of getting a new toy, I got a stupid sweater from grandma.

As I was walking into the DUMBO loft, a steady stream of people were walking out, looking less than enthused. I figured the place would be happening by this time — an hour in. “Not much of a party, is it?” said one of the ditchers after noticing the confused look on my face. He wasn’t mistaken.

The first thing I saw was a table littered with blue, red and yellow name tags. How cute; Google colors. I didn’t find out what blue meant until someone approached me to ask if I was hiring. Red meant you’re looking for a job and yellow was strictly networking. Who knew? Not many.

A projector posed some trivia questions to the partygoers that went along with the theme of New York City, past and present. Q: On 3rd December 1961, Henry Matisse’s painting Le Bateau was put the right way up after hanging upside-down for 46 days without anyone noticing at which museum? A: MoMA.

If you showed the Place page with the answer at the nearby Google Places table, the first two people with the right answer won a prize: some Google Places stickers, a t-shirt, sunglasses and the socks. Everyone did a good job of containing their excitement.

I figured I could at least count on the free food. After all, Google dishes out big bucks to give its employees complimentary lunch/dinner that’s a five-star dining experience. I tried sniffing out the snack table to no avail and couldn’t even see anyone with grub to ask. When I heard that Pretzel Crisps were all that was being offered, I regretted eating an early lunch in preparation for what I thought would be Google’s delicacies.

At least the crowd didn’t disappoint. I had a chat with Matt Wilson from Zaarly, an app that lets you list whatever it is you’re looking for, the price you’re willing to pay for it and the distance you’re willing to go to get it. Wilson, the creator of Under30CEO, was brought on board to launch the startup in NY.

Although Zaarly’s been around for just 13 weeks, I have a feeling that it’s here to stay. As for Wilson’s energetic and entertaining (he can juggle) intern nick-named Pocket, it’s back to L.A. he goes.

Also in attendance was Malick Cisse, part of American Express and Mindshare’s media team in brand management. Cisse, originally from west Africa, told the story of the time a job offer of his was sent to the wrong Malick Cisse by mistake. Malick Cisse #2 (also from west Africa) later forwarded the message to Malick Cisse #1, along with a Facebook friend request.

The owner of Shark Party Media, Kathryn Musilek, did a little namedropping when I inquired about her campaigns. Turns out, the Beatles LOVE was her first. Talk about setting some high expectations!

Summing up the disappointment of Google’s party efforts is a comment from Cisse’s childhood friend, Karam Hider: “What is this? An Ask Jeeves party?”





  1. It could also be due to the hurricane craziness that’s encapsulating the city. I have gone to several Digital Dumbos with an amazing turnout! I didn’t go to this one due to a work event but I plan on going to the next one. Hope you will give it a second chance

    Stay dry!!

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