SINGAPORE’s very own Google bigwig was in town yesterday, to speak at an IDA conference. The Straits Times caught up with him after the talk, to get his thoughts on the future of the Net, and he let on that he has a new role within the company.
Whether it says so on his name card is another thing. But Tan Chade Meng, who officially works in a human resources position* at the online giant after cutting his teeth at the engineering side, now considers himself an evangelist of "Googlelyness".
Ask him what it means, and he shoots back: "It’s about being 'Googley'."
Press him further, and back comes the answer: "Thinking big, changing the world. Openness to new ideas, possibilities. Open to sharing information with each other. It's about being nice," said the 37-year-old, with obvious pride for the company that he watched grow up into a giant. (He joined the company from scratch eight years ago, just after graduating from NTU).
When he elaborates, you get the sense he's the perfect person for the job. Google is, he says, "really the first corporate institution to develop humans, emotionally, spiritually and mentally".
What Google staff need is "emotional intelligence, to be equipped for in the tech jungle out there".
It's a point of pride, really, that a homegrown Singaporean is the brand ambassador for the world's biggest Internet company.
And yes, he will be doing it with a Singaporean accent. Eight years in America, and he hasn't lost the ability to say "lah".
* About that name card: Mr Tan's official namecard lists him as a "Jolly Good Fellow (Which Nobody Can Deny)". Don't ask.