If you're an innovator, Google can hear you

Have you ever had an innovative business idea and wondered whether Google would be interested? Usually, this doesn't go much further than a simple blog entry or a comment left on someone else's blog. However, one 25-year-old from Idaho decided to go several steps further, so convinced was he that he had a business idea worthy of pitching to Google directly. He created a web site, Can Google Hear Me, documenting his communication with the company and flew out, unannounced, to the Googleplex in Silicon Valley, armed with nothing more than a laptop PC and a Flash presentation. It was, quite simply, a spontaneous adventure for Google's attention:

A couple of years ago, he made some half-hearted attempts to reach

Google by telephone and e-mail. But he

got nowhere. Then this past Christmas, his father got sick and nearly died, and

Stanton, 25, of Boise, knew if he was ever going to make his dad proud,

he'd better make his move soon. He decided to go to Google, show up

unannounced and make his pitch. He bought a plane ticket for a flight

on Feb. 11 and the die was cast. "I figured the worst that could happen was I got down here and found

myself spending a week in Mountain View," Stanton said in a telephone

interview from California.

Once he was there, he would pitch his idea to the folks at Google.

It's an idea he thinks fits right in with the Google spirit and

business model. "So I figured I'd get down here, walk in through their front door,

ask for a meeting and one of two things would happen: They could give

me a meeting and five days later I'd come back and make my pitch and

then I'd go home, or they'd turn me away at the door."

So how did it all turn out? Well, he finally ended up getting a business meeting with Google to discuss the idea. Since then, he has become a minor celebrity on the Internet, thanks to his spontaneous adventure and inner conviction:

"Since his site went live, Stanton has become the talk of the blogosphere. Some famous bloggers, including Microsoft's Robert Scoble, who met with Stanton in an Apple store, and AOL Inc.'s vice chairman Ted Leonsis have blogged about his improbable quest.

He has received e-mails

from around the globe offering good luck. "Fascinating story. If your

idea is half as good, I'm sure you'll go far," was one e-mailed

response. "Wow ... ur really inspiring dude ... I wish you all the best

... hope ur all dreams come true :-)," said another. Someone even wrote

a theme song for him. And last week, he had a nonbusiness lunch with a

number of Google staffers."

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less