As some of you already know, as part of the master we had a very nice trip to Silicon Valley! It truly was a great experience, and by the pictures, this post will be a bit long… but, I hadn’t written in a long time ;)
After a long night and some surprises at the Madrid airport when it turned out that Alex & Jesus had invalid passports, we arrived to San Francisco! The picture is from inside the airport, just after passing customs… and yes, policeman started to shout at us and kick us out! :S
Although all the visits were in Silicon Valley, we stayed at a hotel in San Francisco, just next to China Town… and yes, Yan felt right at home! :P The hotel was good and next to the city center, and obviously the visit to the Apple store was a must! ;)
On Sunday, we had the ‘official’ tour… we went more or less around all the city. The first stop was the de Young Fine Arts museum, which I liked, but I guess it doesn’t look that good after being compared with the museums of Europe. Still, architecturally is really nice. After lunch, we went to the Golden Gate bridge, to Pier 39, and later the official welcome dinner! It was good and definitely a fun day.
So on Monday the real business began :P The first visit was Cisco. We stayed there the whole day and was generally very good. We had several conferences, some demos of really nice future products and a tour. They showed us their mobile offices, where nobody has an assigned seat, but is a ‘serve as you come’ office. In general very good for people that travel so much. And to finish the day, we went shopping! Coming to the US, this is a must ;) so we went to an outlet.
The second day, after some conferences at the hotel by Accenture (which were really good), we went to Sun Microsystems. Although the conference was not as good as we hoped, the demos of the technologies they are developing were outstanding. From the Sun mobile desktop technology to Java real-time… definitely awesome! An example of a company that does great value creation but lacks to capture it.
On Wednesday, we went to Google… possibly the most expected visit ;) And yes, it is a one-of-a-kind company. Actually, it doesn’t look like a company, but more like a college. To Start, they have colorful lava lamps on every building reception… plus obviously colorful sofas. And everything looks friendly, full of employee’s art in every wall, free food everywhere, resting areas, cafeterias, pool tables, games, massage chairs, gym, laundry, swimming pools, beach volleyball, etc. The environment is so relaxed that is even weird… people can take their dogs to work or take a nap if they feel tired. Definitely a good place to work, but obviously all those commodities are focused in enabling you to stay at the ‘office’ 24×7.
After Google, we went to Hewlett-Packard. Very nice installations, but the complete opposite from Google. While in Google all the food is for free, at HP they have coin machines for aspirin! But generally the conference was very good and they also gave us a demo of their newest products… with HP Halo the most impressive (although I liked more the Cisco ;) ).
The visits on Thursday were Electronic Arts and IDEO. EA was good, we had a tour around the buildings and we visited the team in charge of The Sims 3. We saw everything, even the sound recording studio… which was really nice. It is impressive how they really live the game, with all the offices decorated with the theme. Ahhh and yes of course, they have an Xbox, PS3 and Wii in every building reception ;)
Ahh yes, after everybody complained with Rajesh for asking so many questions when time is so limited, he of course got quite angry. And he got even angrier when I took this picture, but it was worth it ;) Finally, to finish the week we had an innovation workshop at IDEO. It was generally quite good and lots of fun, although I didn’t like some details…
Obviously we also had some fun during the night ;) Although after being in Madrid… it definitely feels like something is missing. On Wednesday we went to Hooters, to eat some ‘typical’ chicken wings served by not-so-hot waitresses. On Thursday we also went out, but no with no excuses Ricardo (the academic director) and Eunice (the executive academic director) joined us. Ahhh and yes, Ricardo had to show an ID to get in… he is still a child, on the inside at least ;) A fun night with a crazy back-riding accident of Rajesh and heart-hopping by Anirudh.
And well, everything has an end sadly… This was a long post, but perhaps if I can I will upload later other pictures or comment on some things I found interesting. We’ll see, depends on my workload :???: which lately has been crazy.