5 things you (probably) don’t know about me

(I was rooting around and found this leftover post from 2006 and figured I’d throw it out here.)

It looks like blog tag has come to the search bloggers. I’ve been tagged by so many people that I yield and surrender obscure facts about me.

  1. When I was growing up in Eastern Kentucky, there wasn’t always a lot to do. In high school, we once played Car Tag. In real tag, you chase people around until you can catch them. Car tag is played the same way. In order to win, you have to touch your car to the other person’s car. As I recall, I won at car tag. Please do not try this at home. Now we have things like the web to avoid boredom.
  2. My first computer was a Timex/Sinclair ZX81 that my Dad assembled from a kit. When we maxed out the 2K memory, he bought us a 16K expansion module. My second computer was a Commodore 64. I was a Commodore fan long after it was clear that IBM PCs would dominate that decade of computing.
  3. Growing up, my mother was an evangelical Christian and my father was a physics professor. As a result, I learned to have a healthy respect for people with different opinions and perspectives.
  4. In my freshman year of college, I was the eight-ball champion for my dorm. There was another guy who was better than me, but he had bad luck in the final game. On a good day at Google, I could sometimes beat Google Fellow Jeff Dean, who is a sharp guy with a pool cue. Now I haven’t played in years, so I probably suck big rocks at pool. Huh, Danny likes billiards too. Danny, we’re clearly just going to go a bowling/pool frenzy when you make it back to the valley. 🙂
  5. One of my cats, Emmy, likes nooks and crannies. Her favorite is curling up in a box or bag:
  6. Emmy in a grocery bag

Note: Back in 2006 I was going to tag a few people, e.g. Jim Allchin, but Allchin has left Microsoft and probably has better things to do now. That’s the hazards of doing blog posts ~3 years too late!

56 Responses to 5 things you (probably) don’t know about me (Leave a comment)

  1. One thing I don’t know about you that I would like to: where you post the answers to the Grabbag questions! You should make a blog post letting everyone know you’ve published them and where – I was able to track them down last time somehow but now I’ve forgotten and wish I knew!

    I’ve never played car tag but I’ve played car sledding. One car. One Sled. Tie together with a LONG rope. Drive. Dangerous but fun… kinda things you’re only dumb enough to do as a kid I guess.

  2. Hey BuildAndEarn, for the last couple rounds of Grabbag questions, we post the answers via video. That’s much faster for me, and I can respond with better nuance than in writing. If you subscribe to this video channel: http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp you’ll get a new webmaster video roughly every day.

    I also announce when we post a new webmaster video over on my Twitter account at http://twitter.com/mattcutts if you’re interested.

  3. Matt

    The search box of this blog isn’t of much help. Lets have a Google search box, pls 🙂

  4. Indeed 5 things I didn’t know about you. except maybe for Emmy as she dominates your blog,.. 🙂

  5. Thanks, Matt. Subscribed and following, respectively!

  6. Matt,

    I found #3 to be particularly interesting. It’s almost like you were genetically engineered for your position at Google. 🙂

    By the way, I’m curious… your blog readership and your role within Google both seem to have grown significantly over the past few years. How do you balance both worlds, and how has your outlook on blogging changed since you started?

    The reason I ask is because it seems like your posts have become a bit less personal (and more politically correct) over time. Is this a result of your readers’ increasing demand for Google-related posts, or am I just imagining things?


  7. Car tag rocks! in the late 70’s my brothers and I used to play BB gun war, by putting on safety goggles and shooting BB guns at each other, the kind you could only pump once (Red Riders). Hurt like hell but not fatal. This all came to a crashing halt the day I put one through Dad’s car window via unfortunate ricochet. I bet today we’d be using paint ball guns.

  8. I was about to say: “Why is everyone talking to Matt as if this is his blog?”…

    Then I noticed the Avatar, and said to myself: “What, some scraper copying Matt’s whole blog?”…

    Then I visit MattCutts.com and then realize, wow, I’m not that up-to-date. A complete domain name change. Before I ask why… let me check if there is a blog post saying why…

  9. Darren, I definitely try to be a little more polite/diplomatic/(safe?) when blogging recently. I haven’t changed, but I think some people’s expectations of my role have, so I’m not as free to go rough-and-tumble as maybe a few years ago.

    Eric Ward, I can neither confirm nor deny that my parents’ window also got a crack from a BB gun one day. 🙂

  10. Always with the cute cat pictures, eh?

  11. I was cracking up about your old computer. I got my first in 1985. It was a Macintosh 64K all in-one with those tiny little screens. I used to do desk-top publishing on it. I switched to PC’s from ’93-’09, and now I have a 4 gig 24″ iMac. Wow, they have all come a long way.

    PS. I really liked the kitty cat photo. I have a darling kitty “Peaches” who has been my faithful companion for 11 and1/2 years! Thanks for sharing

  12. Angela Kristin

    Hi Matt,
    Nice to know these things about you…
    I always try to know more and more about you because you are one of the best blogger ..
    I like 3rd point a lot…
    Being so much popular in Internet World if you are having such a good thinking than I can say one thing for sure that you are really really a very Nice Guy..

    And Emmy is looking very cute..in this Pic..

  13. My first computer was also a Sinclair ZX81 – I thought it had a 1K memory as standard? Anyway, I also fitted a 16K ram pack but it wasn’t a particularly secure fit and if you nudged the machine, you lost your program that you were creating in BASIC. The casette tape saving and downloading was very dodgy also. Lol.

  14. Hi Matt,

    I was wondering, if back in 1999, you had a chance to join and work [do your coding Kung-Fu there] at Microsoft instead of Google, then would you have chosen Microsoft ? or You think you still were going to choose Google? 🙂

    Honest Answer Please


  15. car tag
    so do your cars have welded up doors 🙂

    re comadore AMIGA FTW the first time I got windows 3.11 I keep trying to drag the screen down like you did on Amigas (i used to be thrd line suport for the odd amiga problems bt had with telecom gold and prestel)

  16. My first computer was a ZX81 too. With a TV as monitor and a tape-recorder ..

  17. Hmmm…. I didn’t know that you played car tag either. I’m not sure if I believe that one. This “eastern kentucky” sounds like a lawless frontier. I’ll have to visit sometime.

  18. Thanks for the interesting post Matt. We have five cats now, since my fiance decided to rescue a pregnant cat, and the best toy to them is when we get a new box in the mail. The sad part is that we actually bought one of those sac cat toys for $20 and they wouldn’t go near the thing. Guess the best things in life are free…

  19. LOAD “*”, 8, 1

    (Not that I ever used a C64…or anything…not me…no.)

  20. Hey Matt, did you ever go the emulator route just for nostalgia reasons?

  21. Timex/Sinclair ZX81? Man, you are really old 🙂

  22. Going down the memory lane – My first computer was Sinclair ZX Spectrum as well – I loved that thing, rubber buttons and all. And for a while I really did not think I would ever use up all of the memory 🙂
    Was jealous of neighbor who got new and shiny Commodore 64 and fancy tape deck to load games (while I had to use old cassette player and constantly tune position of the head)….

  23. Federico Munoa

    Hi Matt,

    I think I can relate with the first computer thingy. My first was a Spectrum 128K in which I loved to play games with my family. I remember loading games for about 15 minutes with a cassette, good old days. After that I had my first IBM computer which I have to manually set different booting floppy disc in for different circumstances. I even remember playing with sys and bat files of the computer.

  24. SEFL

    LOl I still rember all the comodore diskdrive model numbers and their difernt foibles the older ones needed to have the drives running and a sharp tap to seat the floppys properly.

    we used to have a stack of all pet drives stacked up and daisy chained vi gipb

  25. Dave (Original)

    Darren, I definitely try to be a little more polite/diplomatic/(safe?) when blogging recently

    The problem with NOT being direct and calling a spade a spade, is your replies are often very cryptic and often don’t even address the question(s). “Unresponsive answers” just like Politicians.

    We NEED more people in this World to stop being afraid of hurting someones feelings and NOT sugar coat answers, or dance around the edges of the topic.

  26. “Back in 2006 I was going to tag a few people, e.g. Jim Allchin” – I wonder if he’d have appreciated that – not as fun when you have a really nice car…

  27. Crikey Matt, my first computer was a ZX81 too (with an upgrade to a 16k Rampack… and treated myself to a posh tape recorder too!). I then moved to a Commodore 64 and used a “Simons Basic” cartridge to begin my programming life 🙂

    Once I had outgrown the C64, I moved to an Atari STE with *deep breath* a FLOPPY DRIVE! I remember being amazed at the graphics and loading speed compared to the C64 and tape drive. I still use my Atari STE even these days, for midi music and sync as I find it more stable for timing than some of the fancier (and vastly more expensive) midi modules on sale today.

    Does anybody remember using the BBC Micro or RM Nimbus PC’s that were “cutting edge” in the UK, back in the late 80’s/early 90’s? I remember being completely blown away by the fish-tank screensaver on the Nimbus… all those colours!!

    Ive just realised how old I now feel! ARRGHHH! 🙂

  28. Commodore fan?

    Im a self proclaimed commodore nut, and still have a c64 and amiga a1000 at home, both still work as well as they did out of the box.

    I think that workbench (amiga’s version of windows) was the first desktop GUI to use the whole windows format of a window per hard disc directory. Also the parallel processing of the amiga platform has only recently (ie in the last three years) been userped by the PC’s parallel processing with a graphics card. Truly revolutionary machines that still dont get the recognition they deserve for kicking computers into the mainstream.

  29. My first was the similar Timex Sinclair 1000. I had to save programs on an old GE cassette recorder. I eventually took the thing apart. Next up was the C-64 with the 800 baud modem, 1541 disk drive, 32K of RAM, and a CTX amber monitor.

    My sister likes to tell people, “My brother was “online” in 1983, before anyone knew what online was.”

  30. Sweet, Maurice! I never had a C64 with the old drives, so I don’t remember that…but I do remember the ultra-awesome dot matrix printers they had and how WHISPER QUIET THEY WERE (you had to go into another room to watch TV while they took 3 minutes to print a page.)

    Did you ever get one of those disks with like 1000 Atari games on it that you could play with the old Atari joystick, too (what a piece of crap that thing was)?

    Man, this also brought back a repressed childhood memory of the mid-80s Canadian game shows and the big grand prize of the “Commodore V-I-C-20.” I never understood why they had to spell out “V-I-C”.

  31. I’d love to challenge you in 8-Ball at Google Dance (if there is one this year for the SJ SES conference) 😉

    BR from Heidelberg/Germany

  32. No car tag. Climbed lots of trees though.
    My first computer was a Commodore V-I-C-20. But never went to school for that.
    My parents were NOT evangelical Christians. I am now and so are they.
    Not bad at pool, but you would probably beat me.
    I do like cats too. But do not have one at the moment.
    We both work for Google – sorta 🙂

  33. It’s sound more branding to me… Matt Cutts… Hehehe

  34. Yahoo, we had the same first computer! It teaches patience because I had to program the game I want to play. No backup reader… sniff.

  35. Never played car tag (thankfully) but we did do a lot of desert bombing! Driving as fast as you can through the desert on a “road”. @ Eric we also have bb gun wars and bottle rocket fights.

  36. Let’s hope that Emma never gets into “car tag” since she doesn’t have the internet to entertain her…

  37. Matt, could you rename this post’s title appropriately;
    ‘5 things you (probably) don’t care to know about me’

    Happy belated cinco de mayo


  38. Sounds to me like Eastern-Kentucky and Saskatchewan (I will buy you a coffee if you know where it is without using Google Maps) have a whole lot in common. Car tag was one of our favourite ‘sports’ in high school, though it nearly resulted in my death….:-)

    Picture the scene – a pubescent Greg H (Greg Solo) and his best friend Drew (Drewbacca) were driving around in Greg’s dodgy 1989 Sunbird (nicknamed the “Won’t Make it to the Millennium Sunbird”). Greg Solo was driving, Public Enemy was blaring and the two were trying their best to be gangsta, (which was pretty hilarious considering that they were the two biggest sci-fi/computer dorks in their entire high school). All of a sudden, the two saw their friend Jeff drive by in his aged, silver Corolla. They pulled out at warp speed and began chasing him through the residential neighborhood.

    Jeff reached a red light and made a critical error – he followed traffic laws. Greg Solo and Drewbacca tapped him lightly from behind and promptly rolled their windows down to make obscene gestures of victory.

    All of a sudden, a siren wailed. Solo and Drewbacca looked to the left and realized that they had ran into the evil Jeffa Fett right beside a police car. Bigger problem – it was the RCMP, which posed a serious problem seeing as how Greg Solo’s father worked for that particular police force.

    Greg Solo pulls over and waits. After a long wait, the police officer arrives at their window and asks, “What the f**k are you doing, Greg?” Greg Solo, being well versed in police talk, realized that he was in deep trouble, so, he decided to tell the truth. Critical error.

    The police officer smiles and says, “You can go.”

    Greg Solo and Drewbacca look at each other, in surprise. They expected some sort of lecture, or even a ticket for stunting. Rather, they got a smile and an acidic ‘you can go’. Greg Solo made quips about how his Dad was pretty well known, but Drewbacca seemed uncomfortable.

    Several hours later, Greg Solo got home to find his Dad standing at the door. In the world of Greg Solo, that was generally a sign that a lecture was forthcoming….

    “So, how was your evening?”
    “Oh, not bad…”
    “I got a phone call from one of my coworkers…”

    So began The Lecture – the long lecture on all the horrible accidents that Greg Solo’s Dad had investigated. Stories of decapitations, of 4am death notifications, and of the physics behind car accidents. That lead to the worst question of them all, “Want to come to the office to see pictures?”

    And, so began a winter-long spell in which the “Won’t Make it to the Millennium Sunbird” had its wings clipped. And, the next spring, when Greg Solo was finally allowed to drive again, he still played car tag. Only this time, he looked all directions before tagging one of his friends….:-)

    Oh, the memories! Thanks for this article!!!

  39. Dave (Original)

    Matt, why not teach Emmy to play car tag? I bet she’s a natural 🙂

  40. What, no icanhazcheeseburger photo cat-ption? 🙂

  41. Matt, Why is it that your ZX81 had 1KB of memory when mine only had 1KB? Was yours some kind of special edition?

  42. Commodores rule! 🙂

  43. Greg H, right on–glad it’s not just me that’s played car tag. 🙂

  44. car tag is phenomenal!! Until you crash in your uncle’s poultry pen disintegrating every single chicken and cock he was so proud of…but even so…

  45. Hmm…I’ve never heard of some of computer brands mentioned!
    Love your cat 🙂

  46. Car tag – thats seriously cool. I’ll have to try that one day when I can afford the repair bill!

  47. Car Tag! Never thought of that one. In Burlington, Ontario where I grew up we used to play Car Hide-and-Seek in the dark with the lights off (back when you could turn your car lights off). It was so much fun, until someone inevitably called the cops and we had to race to the nearest Tim Horton’s (coffee shop)!

    Also not recommended.

  48. I grew up in the Midwest and we used to play car tag as well. We also played a version of ‘polo’ using shopping carts in a giant parking lot. One guy would drive and the other hang out the window holding the cart and ‘launching’ it toward a goal, only to have another car come and knock it away.

    Life in a small town.

  49. Commodores rule! Right on!

    Commodore made some great computers. My first was the Vic20, then the C64, Amiga1000 and the PC10.

  50. I loved playing car tag in high school! Things were great until I pierced the radiator of my isuzu stylus with my best friends trailer hitch. Nice.

  51. Saw this – http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/05/caboodle.php – and thought it might appeal to Emmy 🙂

  52. I had a cat once, and she loved to climb up my mothers curtains in the living room. Just wanted to share.

  53. car tag actually sounds epic…. if only i can find someone to play with..

  54. Yup, I STILL have a “Like New” condition system with Tape Drive, 1541 drive, 1581 drive 1MB RAM expansion 1750XL Clone. And, of course, ALL my GEOS Software. I still have it setup and it is in use from time to time.

    Transferring programs from PC to C64 Tapes is really easy, I’ve been able to add lot’s of “new” software to my library. I have a Super Snapshot Cartridge to help me get SOME programs onto disks.. (1581’s preferably)



  55. Matt:

    Sorry about some of these posts on older blogs but I’m going down the righ hand side of your site and I can’t stop!

    BTW, my first pouter was the Timex/Sinclair ZX81 as well! Built it myself. Could not afford that memory expansion but used to store all my programs on the killer cassett deck!

    I used to wite all sorts of “games” and just remember being so fascinated by that RND function. LOL!

    Hey, gimme a break, I was like 12.


  56. My first computer was a TRS-80 from Radio Shack. At the time Apple computers were about $1,400. I couldn’t afford it. You connected it to your television. I taught myself how to program in BASIC with it. The Commodore 64K was also one of the most popular brands back then. They really emphasized the 64K as I recall. 64K was big back in 1984. I can’t even imagine what things will be like 20 years from today as far as technology. Google is already working on broadband connection that downloads a gigabyte a minute. We all think that’s fast now. But probably 20 years from now when you goto download a movie..it will just come on instantly like a tv channel.