On March 25th, 2013, I kicked off my first day here at Google. I remember sitting in a big conference room with 70 or so other Nooglers, taking in all of the basic information about Google and its culture. I remember feeling my jaw fall open at the influx, deluge really, of new data being presented to me. I remember Josh Haftel picking me up from orientation like a proud papa would with his kid’s first day at school. On Day 2, I remember squatting at Dave Cohen‘s desk while he was on vacation and pelting a thousand questions at my two new colleagues, Vincent Mo and Aravind Krishnaswamy. I still get a chuckle at the rate of questions that I asked them. Since then, I’ve made it a point to offer the same patience and guidance to Nooglers who are in the same need of answers. Everything beyond Day 2 has been a blur of whimsy and amazement.

This year has easily been the most eye-opening and productive year of my life. There is nothing that can quite prepare you for thinking in terms of Google Scale, putting yourself in a mindset to think about how we can help do things better and positively impact millions upon millions of people. Getting in this mindset was, admittedly, very tough but once I started seeing the research and data yielded, as well as speak with countless people during my travels, it was clear that there is so much more that we can do with pictures and photography beyond what will benefit me or my particular ilk of social photographer.

This first year has very much been about setting the foundation and letting it settle in place. Now it’s time to grow. I am so lucky to be surrounded by so much brilliance and talent and passion. It is something that I never want to take for granted and it is why I am so very, very proud, humbled and thankful to be a Googler.