Aaron Stanton had a plan. A crazy plan, some might say, but still a plan: In a nutshell, he wanted to pitch a business idea to the folks at Google — the world’s largest search engine, a $130-billion colossus with 10,000 employees, etc., etc. — so he decided to get on a plane, fly from his home in Indiana to the massive, sprawling “Googleplex” in Mountain View, California and sit in the lobby of the Google headquarters until someone agreed to listen to his pitch.

As part of his plan, he created a website called Can Google Hear Me, where he has posted regular updates on his progress, including video clips — one of which involves reading some of the thousands of encouraging emails he has received (he even creates a stack of programming manuals about six inches thick to give an idea of how many messages he has gotten in just an eight-hour period).

His plan went into action on February 11th, and on February 14th — after getting kicked out of the building — he got an email at 1:30 in the morning from a Google address saying: “We can hear you  :-)”. That day, he had a meeting with a Google employee named David — a meeting Aaron says was rushed, but otherwise went well. He says David was interested, and didn’t dismiss his idea, but we don’t get a lot of information other than that. Obviously, we’re supposed to stay tuned to cangooglehearme.com.

Is this the next Red Paper Clip? This commenter at Digg thinks he knows what Aaron’s idea might be, and that it might have something to do with a previous business venture involving something called “the Novel project.” And this may be Aaron’s blog — where he talks about his divorce, and his pending bankruptcy. He also apparently writes about games for About.com and GamesFirst.com.

(Note: If you’ve never heard of the Red Paper Clip story, it involved Kyle MacDonald of Montreal trading a single red paper clip for a variety of bizarre and humorous objects and services, including a motorized snowglobe featuring the rock band KISS, and eventually concluding with him receiving a house for a year in the small Saskatchewan town of Kipling).


Scoble says he’s taking his 13-year-old son to the Apple store to meet Aaron.

Update 2:

10 Zen Monkeys has an update to the Aaron Stanton story. He’s returned to Boise and hired a programmer and says he may — or may not — return to Mountain View to work with Google in some way. Very mysterious. He’s also collecting all the emails he received (more than 2,000) into a book.

About the author

Mathew 2430 posts

I'm a Toronto-based senior writer with Fortune magazine, and my favorite things to write about are social technology, media and the evolution of online behavior

7 Responses to “Google heard Aaron — so now what?”
  1. This is probably obvious, but the “novel project” on the digg thread would be an interesting fit with Google’s initiative to scan in all those library books.

  2. reminds me that hooke…. errrr actress in Hollywood who plastered herself across billboards to get film exec’s to notice her.

    IIRC she wasn’t successful.

  3. I thought the same thing, Jason — and I’m sure that occurred to Aaron too.

  4. That blog can’t be him … if he was a sophomore in 2003, he’s only mid-20s now. That blog guy was 38 and (from tone) seems considerably older.

  5. I’m the Aaron F Stanton of the blog in question, and I’m not the Aaron Stanton of “Google can you hear me” fame.

    Just to clarify. :)

  6. Thanks for pointing that out, Aaron.

  7. Not a problem at all. I suspect there are other Aaron Stantons floating around out there, too. :)

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