I recently had the privilege of spending 2 days at Googleplex in Mountainview, Silicon Valley. This was part of the Wisdom 2.0 conference and consisted of 2 days of an un-conference where participants shared ideas, collaborated and connected around the topics of technology and mindfulness or social change.
Now, before any Google lawyers get on the phone to tell me I’ve signed an NDA…..I Know! I am only sharing information that is publicly available (and have referenced it for good measure). So sorry folks…..any juicy secrets from inside the vault will have to stay there.
Here were the highlights!
100 Feet of Food
Vegetable gardens are littered around for staff to take fresh produce home. Not that they need to take food home! No Google employee is ever more than 100 feet away from food when they are at work. Which meant we were far from hungry as we gallivanted around Google.
Outside the building that houses the Android engineers they have massive statutes of each edition of the platform (I’m an iPhone user – so apologies if my terminology is wrong!).
There was the Gingerbread Man, the Donut, the Ice Cream Sandwich, Honeycomb, a Cupcake and a few more. I’m sure I’ve got that wrong and look forward to some of my Android using readers, setting me straight in the comments:)
Feeling rather tired one session a few of us ducked out and jumped on one of the many Google bicycles available on campus.
This was great fun,
we found every round about and rode round it twice, we visited each of the main buildings to get a glimpse of their unique decor and followed a black squirrel who was a little camera shy (I have a squirrel obsession!). Kinda felt like we were in a crazy film clip. Great fun!
Expecting Mother Car Spaces
Expecting mothers are well looked after at Google with their very own car spaces. Women get 18 weeks maternity leave at Google and fathers get 7 weeks paid maternity leave. They certainly look after their staff when it comes to things like benefits.
Wall of Meng
The Wall of Meng is just inside the main foyer at Google. This amazing man (worth watching his Ted talk below) is Google’s Jolly Good Fellow. Yep – it is on his business card. Celebrities, world leaders, sports people and anyone who is anyone travels to Mountainview to get their picture taken with Meng. The photo wall is filled with luminaries and celebrities all wanting their picture with this humble and humorous man. I can’t wait for his book, Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace), to come out next month.
So while I am sure I won’t make it onto the Wall of Meng, he has made it onto my wall!
My only criticism would be to say that I think they should raise the benchmark on the vision statement: ‘Do No Evil’ is just a little easy as far as I’m concerned and Google could have a much jucier vision!