Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My Google Visit

When you have “chutzpah” you have chutzpah and chutzpah, I have a lot. So last week I called E. an MBA student I met while working at Wharton and invited myself to check Google. You do need chuztpah to invite yourself for lunch but like I said, I have chutzpah galore. I left home around 10:30 am. E. mentioned "if you don’t find parking give it to valet parking, it is free." Well all began well, I found parking, too bad because the young man doing the valet looked like a sexy GO from Club Med, tanned and all.
I arrive in front of building 43 where the restaurant is. A lot of people: a lot of races, mixed and different looks, a lot of young people around 30-35 years old but some old ones too. I registered my name on the computer and all and here I am, ready to eat and visit the Googleplex. A bit disorienting these buildings. Google more or less 10 buildings, lego color, we think of the colors of the brand. The restaurant is enormous, buffet style, you don’t even see the end of it. Why did I want to eat at Google? I have been “fed” for the last 6 months at the Wharton Business School and I read lately, that Google was looking for a new chef for his kitchen and that he needed to know Chinese, Indian, Italian, and Californian cuisines if possible. Well, obviously this chef just out of a major culinary academy met the criteria of Google. You can see the cafeteria look. But we ate outside, under the umbrellas of course, in the Google tones. Today the choice was Thai, Italian, India (compulsory, the Indian presence is felt together with the number of vegetarians), Chinese and an enormous salad bar with every vegetable or fruit (cooked or raw) you can imagine. I counted 48 dressings plus some balsamic vinegar from Modena and extra virgin olive oil. Everywhere around Google, you can see free drinks: fruit juice, water, coffee machine (cappuccino I should say) but remember not without any kind of coffee: Illy please!!
Today’s desserts: fruit like pineapple, strawberries, cut apples. Cookies with white chocolate and hazelnut, chocolate chip cookies and a pudding cake with a passion fruit sauce. I do think that at Google, no one is hungry.
I was very interested in the organization of the company hence my visit. Some numbers. At Google 8,000 employees (from every nationality possible) in the Silicon valley and 800 in New York. Google spends around 30 dollars a day per employee for meals. So being open 251 days out of 365, that is 73,000,000 (no typo here) per year. Now Google net profit in 2007: 4 billions 200 millions. So 73,000,000 is nothing isn’t ?
Ok let’s talk about what I saw re. organization: in the lobby of each building, there is a long screen which let you know about who is googling what around the world, randomly. I read “musees de Paris” Fantasy jewelry, arabic things, all the searches you are all doing are randmly put on the screen and put on this screen. Then a big map of the world with “live” languages people are googling in. Red was English, Blue was French etc. You could see the planet googling at the same time and in color. Unfortunately the African continent was all dark, overthere, poor communication except from Morrocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire. In other words, in Africa, it was “pitch black” (bad play on words I know) It is sad isn’t it?
Then we walked from one area to another. An organic vegetable garden (picture on the left above) was growing in full sun..why not use the Californian soil. A lot of boxes where employees could play cards, chess etc. Two swimming pools with waves, an enormous fitness center, bikes and bike trails. A volley ball court.
Then everywhere little areas for snacks : fruit salad, cookies, cereal bars etc. Leather armchairs et reading area. Who wants to read during the day? Well obviously the employees are encouraged to read, relax if they work too much. Imagine if you say this to the French!! There will be no one in the office.
Google have washing machines on site (free) a dry cleaner (low price) a medical center, a massage parlor, a hairdresser, a supermarket and even a bike repair area. You can leave your car to have an oil change or have it washed. Remember that at Google, comfortable shuttle busses take you to and from work. Only follow the rules for low voice, quiet computer use and cellphones in quiet mode. Busses are on highways from one area to another and today, the parking is full!
So will you say, is it a dream company? Well according to E. at Google’s one can only do what they have been employed to do. So you have to follow your job description and that’s it. Check more Google pictures in the French version.
Next week, Apple, Microsoft, Genentech, France Telecom, Yahoo! Come and read the comments again.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

j'ai choisi. Je vais a Google.

N'empeche ca m'aurait plu de travailler dans une telle structure