Like many Xooglers (yeah, that’s what we ex-Google employees call ourselves), I’ve got half a closet full of old t-shirts I never wear anymore. Old Google t-shirts, many of them in questionable or unwearable condition. Sure, I could throw them all out or give them to Goodwill and have space for the clothes that I actually do wear, but I can’t bear to part with them. Why? Because behind each and every Google t-shirt, there’s a Google story.
You see, back in the day, back in the Valley, t-shirts commemorated things. Important things. When your team finally launched that damned project, you printed up a t-shirt. When pretty much anything important happened, you commemorated it with a t-shirt so that those who were involved could wear it like a badge of honor. T-shirts were a mark of belonging – an embraced emblem of tech culture. When we launched Google Labs, we did it entirely off of volunteer labor enlisted with a simple promise: “Everyone who helps out will get an (as-yet-undesigned) t-shirt!”
Sure, many of those projects flamed out spectacularly. Many more of them sputtered, fizzled and died so quiet a death that no one even noticed they were gone. But the t-shirts remain, and the stories behind them are the fabric (see what I did there?) of what makes Google and Silicon Valley unique.
I envision this site becoming an archive of photos of Google t-shirts and the (non-confidential, please) stories behind them. If you’re an ex-Googler and have a t-shirt with a story to tell, please contact me to be added to the contributor list. Okay? Let’s do this, if only for the sake of future generations.