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Laszlo Bock: Dance Record Holder

This article accompanies Building a New Breed, a profile of the 2010 HR Executive of the Year -- Google's Laszlo Bock.

Saturday, October 2, 2010
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Until a few months ago, Laszlo Bock's resume contained one particular item that most likely set him apart from other HR leaders in the business world: world-record holder for group Greek dancing.

Despite his low-key demeanor and reluctance to join the corporate-lecture circuit, Bock is no stranger to the limelight. Before ultimately deciding on HR as a career, he got his Screen Actors Guild card and spent part of the early 1990s in Los Angeles as an actor in syndicated shows, films and music videos, including brief appearances on popular TV shows such as Baywatch and Diagnosis: Murder.

But it was in 2008, when Bock was attending a Google global sales conference in Greece, that the organizers decided "to go for the record for the largest simultaneous Greek Syrtaki dance" and he decided to join the assembled crowd of 1,670 other dancers in an attempt to enter the history books.

"We filled up a stadium and we all stood in a circle and put our hands on one another's shoulders and they started up the music," Bock fondly recalls.

"And in order to get the record, you had to do it for five continuous minutes, so they had monitors roaming around making sure everyone was doing it correctly for the whole five minutes. It was wild," he says, before adding: "And I'm a terrible dancer."

But his moves were more than enough to keep him from earning the wrath of the judges, and the record was won.

"I was just a lucky participant," he says. "I was just one-1,700th of the record."

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Unfortunately, this past August, a group of more than 150,000 Greeks set the current Guinness World Records mark for group Syrtaki dance.

While he may no longer be part of a record-breaking effort, Bock says the experience was another example of how he chooses to live his life.

"With all modesty, I have a lot of life ahead of me and a lot to learn, but you sometimes in life get these opportunities to do something crazy or wild or unusual, and why not just try them if you're lucky enough to be in that position?

"Just go and see what happens. Go talk to a group of strangers. Go try for a world record, travel to some place you've never been and just try to experience it. The worst case is you mess up, but at least then you're surrounded by strangers and nobody knows what happened," he chuckles.

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