Last week, googlers had the good fortune to host the last (or first, depending on your perspective) great leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev. Our CEO, Eric Schmidt, had a conversation with Mr. Gorbachev in front of all the assembled google staff.
Every Friday, google puts on what we call a TGIF (guess what that stands for), where new googlers (nooglers) are introduced and company news is disseminated to the gathered troops. We often have high profile guests, it just a really nice side benefit of working there.
A lot of people state, authoritatively, that "Reagan won the cold war.", which has always rung false to me. Don't get me wrong, he definitely had a role in it ending, but I truly believe that Gorbachev deserves the lion's share of the credit of taking a despotic, totalitarian regime and, through the twin policies of perestroika and glasnost, bringing the soviet union out from behind the veil which it had huddled for so long.
Some scholars believe that Mr. Gorbachev had a definite choice. He could either choose to become extremely repressive in the Stalinist way or he could attempt to open the USSR up via democratic reform. He chose the latter. This is what made him a good speaker.
I'd write more, but I'm not really looking to turn this into a political blog, and you can't really talk about Gorbachev and Reagan without inviting lots of exceptionally boring flamewars to start in comments (not that I'm that popular). Regardless of all that, it was very cool to hear him speak at the Google café.