It was a glorious summer's day. I was vacationing in Muskoka, Ontario (approximately two hours north of Toronto, Canada). The sky was blue, a smooth breeze off the water. I was lounging outside on what's referred to as a "Muskoka chair," feet up, as happy as could be. As I was relaxing I was startled by a boat rushed back, yelling, immediately gaining the attention of the marina personnel. "Get me a back board and life vests quickly. Someone is down out in the water."
I was always a great swimmer but it had been about 10 years since I last had training in CPR. The weird thing about CPR is it always seems to change. So as the boat and the fire boat rushed out to save the troubled individual, I decided to look up CPR in my phone to make sure I was up on the latest directions.
While I was attending University a brother in my fraternity lost his father due to an incident where a defibrillator could have made a huge difference. A charity was founded in his father's memory called "The Mikey Network" which raises money to purchase defibrillators to put in public places. In my mind there is no doubt that CPR and defibrillators are important and saves lives.
I pulled out my phone and searched "CPR" on Google. Being as I was in Canada the Canadian Pacific Railway popped up first. Page after page there was nothing. I was finding courses on CPR and comments on CPR. There was quite literally everything except directions. It seemed bizarre, it's Google. And as you'll find out Google is committed to having a great product.
I had emailed with an executive at Google as part of my business dealings in prior months. (You know he has clout when his email is his first name at Google dot com.) I told him what happened. He forwarded my inquiry off to the head his search team.
I received an email from a Senior Vice-President responsible for Google's search algorithm. He replied with a message, "Thanks for the message Mr. Kosiner. I will look into why a good page like ...[I'll save you the long domain example provided]... is not coming up for simple queries like 'cpr'."
I received an update a few days later. Success. Google doesn't typically like to change the algorithm but for this it was something they saw the impact a slight tweak would make. It's also the information logically a user would want. They let me know that when searching CPR, a link with instructions should now appear within the top three results on the first page when searching "CPR" depending on where you live and what you're searching for. This is far better than having to dig eight or nine pages in and still come up with nothing.
It amazed me than an email conversation that took less barely five minutes could have the potential to save countless lives. It started as an idea with me, but it took a company with the innovative thinking such as Google to respond and act swiftly and in a responsible way.
I'm sharing this with you so you look out for these sorts of things. Anyone can do what I did. It doesn't need to be hard or big, just something that would make a difference for yourself and others. Who thought some guy could write Google, potentially save lives and cause the change of the search algorithm internationally? It just goes to show you that anything is possible. It's taking the action the enables the idea. Ideas without action disappear.
Make a difference for people and put your ideas to good use. When you do, share it loud and proud. People enjoy hearing about this sort of thing. That's why you're reading the end of this article and didn't stop half way. You too can inspire others to make a positive difference for your environment and the people around you.