A Can of Coke with Phil Verney

Phil is a Google veteran, with over 10 years with the Google Earth & Maps team being a key advocate for GIS technology and geo-web-based marketing. His work holds communities at the core, managing one of the world’s largest online communities including super-user identification and engagement, social media communications and developing content strategy for one of the world’s most recognisable brands.

But what’s his beef with Donald Trump’s mum? Which Eastenders cast member would he like to share a flat with? And how does he know all of the moon’s secrets? We trapped him with a can of coca cola (using a paper straw!) and forced him to answer the questions that matter. Brace yourself for some hard-hitting journalism.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: Well, the complete honest answer is that according to my Mum I wanted to live in a tower block in Sheffield with Sharon from Eastenders. But that’s not exactly aspirational.

I actually do remember wanting to become an air traffic controller, but I can’t as I’m colour blind (apparently they like you to be able to tell the difference between up and down!)

Q: You’re a keen photographer – what’s your favourite subject to shoot?

A: Landscapes definitely. Nature, especially sunrises, but I also enjoy capturing the skyline of London. Also getting quite into astrophotography too! (Check out Phil’s photography here)

Q: If you could go back in time and change history, what would you change?

A: Good question! Hmm, staying away from the obvious topic of Brexit/Trump’s Mum conceiving, I think I’d say that I wouldn’t change anything, because everything that has happened helps us learn, and maybe the universe needed it to happen this way (if that’s not too philosophical)

Q: Do you listen to any audiobooks or podcasts that you’d love to recommend?

A: Yes! I’ve recently started listening to “13 Minutes to the Moon”, all about the drama that unfolded in the final 13 minutes before man landed on the moon, some 50 years ago next month

Q: You played a huge part in making Google Maps (and Earth) the tools they are today – what’s your favourite feature?

A: I think Street View is my favourite feature. I often use it for planning my photography.

Q: What are you reading right now? Is it any good?

A: I’m trying to work my way through Stephen Hawking’s “The Grand Design”, but it’s taking me some time as it’s pretty technical!

Q: If you had to delete all but three apps from your phone, which ones would you keep?

A: Google Maps, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Q: What’s your favourite word, and why?

A: Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis – as it’s the longest word in English. I like it so much, I memorised how to spell it.

Q: Which social media networks do you regularly engage with?

A: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are my daily choice of social interaction!