michael naimark

My Google "Feeling Lucky" List
August 2006

For the past couple years, I've joked with my thesis students that anyone who comes up with a thesis title (from reasonably normal words or as a clever portmanteau) in which the #1 result on Google searches would be their thesis, gets an automatic "A." It was a joke but not without a little lesson.

Recently I had a high-level Google meeting. We had only one hour, I needed to present substantial material, and I very much wanted to allow at least half the time for discussion. As a way to quickly introduce myself, I put together a list of words and phrases (with and without quotes as needed) in which the #1 result on Google searches would be my work or about my work.

As our meeting began, I displayed the list, calling it my Google "Feeling Lucky" list, and asked for any requests. Everyone totally understood what I meant but, to my surprise, no one had heard of anyone doing this before.

I had first heard of this, in slight variation, several years ago from Joi Ito. The cool thing is that virtually anyone with a unique web page has their own such list.

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