2008-04-04

Five Years - Next!

(this is an abridged version of the email I sent to my co-workers)

After college I spent all of 2002 backpacking around the world, logging into Internet cafes in different cities to update my weblog about the trip. In early 2003 I'd just gotten back online in Thailand after spending a month without Internet access in Burma, and I read news of Google's acquisition of Blogger. This'll sound way geeky, but it really felt like one of those, "Where were you when ___ happened?" moments. Overnight it legitimized and validated what a small-but-growing number of people like me were doing back then - publishing and sharing our thoughts and lives on the web.

My friend Katie was working on AdWords at the time, and I emailed her right away. "Katie — lemme know when Blogger starts hiring! It doesn't matter what for — I just wanna work on it!" I'd been a Blogger user since 2000, and had just moved to my Aunt's couch in Woodside after my travels wound down (meaning: I'd spent all my cash on the road). Katie invited me to lunch at Charlie's (at the original GooglePlex), and showed me the little room in Building π where the Blogger guys were hacking away on their laptops. We bumped into Shellen in a snack room, and I interviewed with the team a few weeks later.

I joined Google in April, 2003 as a member of Blogger's Support Team — we answered lots of email tickets, and built out a fantastic Help site. I took on additional responsibility whenever I could though - Jason Goldman asked me to help with some project management, starting with our first pass at localization. I lead the testing team when Kimmy went on leave. I made lots of mocks with Biz. I helped with several acquisitions, and liaised with Karen to help with PR's corporate-blogging efforts. I represented Blogger and Google at several conferences around the world, speaking about the democratization of the web and our efforts to spread web publishing far and wide.

I became Blogger's Product Manager after Goldman left Google in August, 2006. I'm rather atypical as far as Google PMs go — I studied Classics in the mid-west, and aside from the learning-by-doing I'd done thus far at Google, I had no prior experience with software engineering. I'm incredibly thankful to have been given this opportunity, and trusted with the role.

April, 2008 marks five years for me at Google, and it's time to move on — April 11th will be my last day working here. I've worked with an amazing group of people, and couldn't possibly list them all here. Y'all know you who are — thanks for your mentorship, excitement and energy! I'm especially proud to have been involved with a few specific projects:
  • i18n: Blogger is available in 40+ localizations, including three Right-to-Left languages and transliteration in 5 Indic dialects. Given that at heart I'm a backpacker, global reach and accessibility was always near and dear to me.
  • Play: an incredibly simple yet slick photo scroller, showing in real-time the photos people are sharing on their blogs. It's a fascinating way to observe humanity's pulse, as events happen at micro- and macro-levels around the world.
  • OpenID: Every Blogger-hosted URL can be used as an OpenID anywhere on the web, and Blogger can accept OpenID-signed comments from any other service. Commenting is just scratching the surface of what OpenID will ultimately enable.
  • ???: all the awesomely exciting stuff that's currently in the works, due to ship throughout 2008 and beyond!
What's next for me? I enjoyed (beyond words) the freedom I experienced during my Jan-Feb sabbatical, as well as hearing about all the neat webby things people are doing. New web APIs seem to be popping up every few days, and they're just itching to be tinkered with. I'm looking forward to collaborating with friends on interesting projects, and I'm available for consulting. Eventually I'd love to settle down again with a small, focused team to build something nifty, but there's no rush.

Fred Brooks sums it up well:
"Not only is the end not in sight, the pace is not slackening. We have many future joys."
As do Stewart Brand and Steve Jobs, as my Mom thinks I'm crazy for leaving one of the best companies the world has ever seen:
"Stay hungry, stay foolish."

114 comments:

  1. Awesome! Best of luck with your next adventure.

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  2. Sweet! Can't wait to follow along on the next leg of the journey!

    Congrats!

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  3. Good luck Eric! And thank you very much for all the help you've given for the Filipino bloggers! Hugs.

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  4. you are awesome. thank you blogger team. :) God bless you on your journey.

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  5. I was backpacking in that part of the world, too, fairly recently (well not Burma - 'cause I couldn't get in for various reasons, but Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam). Did you visit any of these other countries when you were in that part of the world?

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  6. You dont know me but I came upon your blog and I want to wish you good luck but I cant believe you are leaving google. I have stock and just think they are an amazing company. Would love to be a nurse for them. Maybe you can answer a question. I cant seem to post any pics on my blog, any suggestions. Hope its okay to leave you a comment. Thanks for your suggestion.

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  7. Congratulations!! You made "Blogs of Note" today;)

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  8. whoo-hoo! best wishes on your new adventure(s)! :-)

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  9. i hate ppl like you, i so should've gone travelling after college!!!!!

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  10. As a newcomer to the world of blogging, I felt compelled to thank you for all you've done for the blogging community and to wish you luck on your future endeavors. You make me so happy. (:

    P.S. I love the name you chose for you blog.

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  11. Eric,
    congratulations for everything you reached by Google and being a blogger.

    I love to write a blog - I have heard about blogger.com from my friends and now I am glad to know it.

    I like to introduce some foreign countries - although I am not that lucky to see them personally (I live in my home country).
    Thailand and the Filippines must be beautiful.

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  12. And good luck for your journeys, too.

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  13. it's April 11th today - good luck! My friend has been to Thailand, it sounds amazing!

    I love the "stay hungry, stay foolish" quote. I'm going to google it to see who the source is, haha.

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  14. Good luck to you Eric! You're living my dream life!

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  15. Eric -

    I just found your story via the blogger admin page and wanted to drop a quick note to wish you the best of luck. It's really inspiring to see someone taking risks and living life to the fullest.

    "Stay hungry, stay foolish." What great advice. Amen.

    Best of luck to you.

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  16. hey man... i read the farewell message to you on the blogger dashboard and got the feeling you were a great dude ;)

    the "thanks for all the zen" thing caught me. and then i saw "insight into the impermanent nature of all things" and thought "here's a fellow gravitator towards the truth!!" we all are but each in their own way and time huh?

    i swear this is not to do sheisty promotion but if interested check out my blog... it's about truth, freedom, natural happiness! i was a big studier of buddhism as well until i realized it's something way more personal than any 'ism or external study, and following an impacting changing of the balances figured i'd share info that at least i think would have been helpful for me to get here... anyway, check it out: it's at

    http://nerodha.blogspot.com/

    i haven't been writing there much lately but plan on picking it up again.

    peace bro ;)

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  17. you were awesome dude. best wishes on your journey and same here i've ejnoy whenever i took an a adventure :)

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  18. keep it chilled

    all about is peaceful
    whilst within
    is in turmoil

    "Understanding Nothing is Today."
    (backtothewoods.blogspot.com)

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  19. I know i hvaen't been here that long, but thanks for being apart of the site. I wish the best of luck in all that you do and take care.

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  20. I want you to know thank you for knowing what you know and I hope you know that.

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  21. Here's another quote that seems apropos to the occasion...

    "When you follow your bliss... doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors, and where there wouldn't be a door for anyone else."
    --Joseph Campbell

    Best of luck!!

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  22. thank you for all your input in blogger and for making it such a nice place to hang around.
    all the best in your future life!

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  23. Good luck. I have been logging as I left a great job at the NBA in NYC to move to Boston and start fresh. Five years on the job, then moving on is SMARTER than 25 years on the job and moving on!

    Good luck.

    Check out my site and blog at www.terrylyons.com

    I would love some feedback and suggestions from a pro.

    Nice work with google and blogger. It is really great that you have contributed so much to the medium.

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  24. Thanks for helping us out Eric!

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  25. all the best for your future undertaking eric...always be your blog silent reader

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  26. Good luck on all your upcoming ventures!

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  27. your not that crazy... im shure things will swing

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  28. good luck!
    and thanks for making blogger a cool place...:D

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  29. I think you've done a wonderful job at blogger. I love the way it's so user friendly. Thank you.

    Good luck on your next endeavor - maybe stop by Maui on your next Sabbatical :)

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  30. hey man ... best of luck to you! You don't know me, but you think you can get me into Google NYC? I'm dying to work there and I don't care doing what! :)

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  31. I don't know dude. Maybe your mom is right...? Just sayin'...

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  32. At last! I discovered one important person who made my dream of "becoming a writer of my own site" come true! I thank you very much and God bless you more!

    Good luck!

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  33. good luck, eric

    thanks for all you help

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  34. We could learn a lot from you :-)

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  35. best of luck in your next adventure! had fun reading your blog (but never commented til now, hehe) & i cant wait to read what's next in your life! =)

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  36. yay for your new adventures!
    i LOVE blogger!
    thanks for making it better :)

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  37. Congratulations
    I am so happy for you and for your good work.

    Greeting and best wishes in everything you end ever

    Rebecca from Kenya

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  38. Hey :)
    I'm just a random blogger, and I found out today that a lot of that is possible only because of you, so thanx :)and the very best of luck for whatever you do next.

    Congrats!
    Never loose the insanity.
    Hugs.

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  39. Blogger is great. Good luck to your next steps :)

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  40. "Stay hungry, stay foolish."
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    great Tag line...Live on Bro!

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  41. Congrats on your journey. I'm sure you'll go far.

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  42. Good luck in your future endeavors!

    (whenrockattacks.blogspot.com)

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  43. I'm sorry that I have only now stumbled upon your blog... I wish you all the best in your next adventure and look forward to more musings!

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  44. Good luck, Eric!
    I'm brand spankin' new to Blogger (and blogging in general) and I can't tell you how much your efforts are appreciated. Are you crazy for leaving? Strangely I don't think so. I can relate to the thirst for exploring new possibilities. And it's a good thing we have people like you... or where would we all be?
    And we'll be right here waiting to use your next achievements to our advantage!! Rock on.

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  45. you're cute! at least your picture says so... the weather looks to be fantastic today! you must enjoy it... luv--> your resident SF computer/music nerd

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  46. That's cool. I mean the adventures... Can you list down the track you had travelled? I think that will be fun...

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  47. stay young and foolish. amen!

    some day you may wake up and that isn't an option any longer... do it now.

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  48. When I was working in the business market place, I heard many times, three years is the most you should stay with any one company. You have stayed five......so you are two years over due for a move. But I personally think there is a lot to be said for staying at one job until you begin to feel you are stagnating. But never leave a position for a lateral move, if you aren't moving up, what's the point. Hope that blogger won't suffer, it has enough problems. haha

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  49. i read abt u while i was trying to log in to my blogger website. then read u up. some people wished to be like u while others will envy you.

    i just wish i could be you - give up everything and just move on.

    good luck with everything.

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  50. Good luck with your endeavors!

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  51. Hi Eric,
    I'm so glad I accidentally signed up for whatever it was that alerted me to your departure and, thus, your blog...what a fun read!

    Best wishes to you; I hope I find out about the creative things you do in the future -- what a cool guy!
    Best,
    (Probably the only meteorologist to comment on your blog),
    "Weather Kim"

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  52. It's nice to see a fellow graduate of the Miami Classics Department making good.

    Cura ut valeas

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  53. Best Wishes on your new career!

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  54. You seem to know a lot about blogging. I am trying to get traffic directed to my blog. The site is www.pitchingideas.net, it's a sports blog. Any suggestions let me know. Thanks.

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  55. Thanks to you and your team I've met amazing people all over the world through Blogger. Best of luck on your next adventure. I'm certain you'll achieve much success and happiness.

    =)

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  56. nothing tastes as sweet as freedom :D

    good luck! and thank you SO much for helping make blogger.

    cheers,

    lucia

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  57. ......it's time to change the world......step up.

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  58. You have a great life and attitude, Eric! Love your final quotation: "Stay hungry. Stay foolish." I'll have to add it to my list of mottos. Enjoy your current and future adventures, Eric! I'm going to add your blog to my list to follow your journey and live vicariously through you.

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  59. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  60. Just a random blogger wishing you the best of luck and thanking you for all you have done to make blogger what it is today.

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  61. nice !

    earn money sleeping by joining this 'myspace' community, they share their profit with there users, check it out : http://r.yuwie.com/basilratbone

    grtz

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  62. nice !

    earn money sleeping by joining this 'myspace' community, they share their profit with their users, check it out : http://r.yuwie.com/basilratbone

    grtz

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  63. Eric,

    heard this saying once and it helps me practice the art of allowing and approach every situation with enthusiasm...
    "Relinquish your attachment to a specific result and live in the wisdom of uncertainty."

    thank you for being REAL and forging ahead, sometimes its just time to BOUNCE. we got your back...link!

    Peace!

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  64. you could come and live with me in my grad dorm at ucsb and i could brush your beautiful teeth every morning....
    peace,
    tyler

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  65. Good luck in your new job, and I might borrow your last post to show kids that studying CLASSICS can get you to some great places! :)

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  66. you'll be missed on Blogger, that's for sure.

    /Kim, Aland Islands, Finland

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  67. You're a real hero, and a very brave guy. Let us know how it goes!

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  68. i'm new to blogger and loving every minute of it!! it is so cathartic to put my thoughts down and send them out into the world. thanks for all you did to make blogger a great place. i love your blog!! good luck in the next chapter of your life!

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  69. Dude, well done.

    Save up some dosh and come to Australia. We're the most laid back country in the world, and I reckon you'd fit right in!

    Cheers
    Miss Smack!

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  70. Hey Eric...I went to the dashboard to write another one of my mundane posts and saw you were leaving. I don't know you but you look like my son so you must be a great guy (and very good to your mother)---good luck, change is good :)

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  71. Eric, I don't know you but I just wanted to say "THANK YOU!" If not for people like you & the Blogger world as a whole, I would not have had the inspiration to create bookmyblog.com

    I'm a single adoptive mother to a beautiful little girl who was born in China, and I always felt that I wanted to one day, take my blog from the computer & put it into my hands for those in my family not so computer savvy... the dream is now a reality & if not for the work of dedicated people such as yourself, perhaps I would not have been moved to do something myself. So, again... THANK YOU ERIC! Ruby & I wish you much success in the next chapter of your life!

    *hugs* from Boston, MA.

    -Amy & Ruby Cate

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  72. I'm fairly new to blogging and after looking at all of my options I was overjoyed to find Blogger. I love it and now that I know it's partly due to your efforts, just wanted to stop by and say thanks and best of luck in your new endeavor.

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  73. Good luck in the future and in all that you do.

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  74. Groovy! best of luck to you and thanks for all you've done for blogger. I'm sure you'll kick ass in your next adventure

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  75. Hey, dude! I live and work in Antarctica and use this site to keep my friends and family back in the States updated on what's going on down here. Thanks for any contributions you made to the site. When you're this remote, it's nice to still feel connected.

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  76. Congrats.. you've accomplished much and deserve some time off...

    Just tell someone before you leave to improve the blogger help area... I find it to be brutal...

    thanks :)

    Greg

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  77. Applause to you for following your gut! That's the difference between success & the complacent majority of "average" folk -- most people would have stayed put, even if they weren't totally happy. That's something I struggle with myself.

    Good luck & best wishes!

    Julie

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  78. How much did they pay you at Google? I've always been curious....

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  79. An INSPIRING VENTURE and A REALLY COOL PART OF THE COMMUNITY FABRIC!
    I'm new at blogging too, yet reading the latest Blogger Buzz post and following links over by the threads and comments so far has even given me a sense of community...I think I will start a blog just for the occaision!
    And I will watch all the progress!
    Thanks for all your help to Gooogle!

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  80. I knew there had to be a reason why I liked Blogger better than others--they had a fellow Classicist on board! All the best on this new stage of life; enjoy freedom and whatever comes next.

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  81. Hi there Eric...Gr8 blog you have!!! And in malayalam Vedana means pain:) That's why I decided to check out what it was all about. & bcoz it's a blog o' note .I understand how yr mom feels about u giving it all up. I would simply love to be on the Google team:)I love gmail and blogger. They are so user friendly.. May good fortune shine on you in whatever you decide to pursue next. After all we only have one life to do everything we want to...

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  82. I hope (and, from the evidence, believe) that you've got a bright future. Go forth, sunshine, and enjoy the journey!

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  83. Good luck and Go For It! Sounds like you've got some pretty big balls and a nice sized brain to boot! :-) Suzy

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  84. As one who benefits daily from the use of blogger, just a simple thanks for helping it become the tool I learned to handle so easily. I read some of your blog posts and your farewell was inspiring. Here's a cheer to never letting that hunger which takes you places abate. Good luck.

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  85. Thank you Sir for your time and effort!

    Alid from Brunei Darussalam
    http://zenith-empire.com

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  86. Eric,
    Thank you for all.Especially for the Malayalam transliteration facility. I am a Malayalam Blogger from kerala, India, and we all salute you and wish you a happy future.

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  87. I love that quote
    "Stay hungry, stay foolish!"

    Nothing beats the excitement of starting ones next adventure.

    There are seasons for everything, and I guess the trick is knowing when one is over, and the next is about to begin.

    Kia kaha (Stay Strong)

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  88. Dear Eric,
    Best Wishes..!

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  89. Hey, The Pope is in America! Maybe the Pope wants to kiss your dumb ass too!! Get a backpack and go walk through China and maybe you'll get lost in a mountain. Except for hyping yourself to the nth degree, your contribution to Google seems to be that after a million updates and software upgrades it still sux butt.

    So stop patting yourself on the back for doing nothing, and tell the truth for once that you are the world's greatest bullshit artist.

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  90. Dear Eric!

    Best of luck with your next adventure

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  91. Follow your (impermanent) desires, Sir Eric. Blogger has benefited much from your care and feeding. You've strengthened it for continuing on, and the world will be a better place from what you do next.

    See you 'round the BA. Bonne chance!

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  92. I will miss you! Recent news says that you will not be apart of the google team. Farewell
    Can't wait to read your next adventure! Thanks!
    Hugs

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  93. I will miss you! Recent news says that you will not be apart of the google team. Farewell
    Can't wait to read your next adventure! Thanks!
    Hugs

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  94. THANKS FOR MAKING BLOGGER SUCH A HIT ERIC!!!
    More vedana to you in future!

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  95. ¡Buena suerte, Enrique Case! Cuando estés en Marietta la próxima vez, llámame. Me encantaría hablar contigo.

    Sra. Wilder

    PS: Just went to Chuck's weblog from your blog...Tell all the crew from MHS I send my regards!

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  96. You seem like a pretty awesome person! Thanks for working so hard on something so spectacular....Good Luck in the future....I am sure anything you will touch will turn to gold!

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  97. Good luck with whatever's next, Eric. And thank you for your help with my Blogger problems last year.

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  98. This is for the first time i am visiting this blog and cannot not just leave without leaving a comment.... You seem to be amazing personality. I wish to be ur friend....

    (Vedana leads to Sahaanubhuti, Sahaanubhuti shapes our Vyaktimatwa (character) and character is everything..... Namaste!!!!)

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  99. All the best with your new venture. You little star!

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  100. thanks for all your work and wish you the best on your future adventures !

    you are part of web history :P

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  101. thanks a lot and good luck! God bless too

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