An excited group of twenty youngsters rose to the thought of visiting one of the other tech giants of the Valley, Google. Travelling through Mountain View, it was immediately obvious where we were as we started playing 'spot the Google self-driving car.'
After a short stroll around the campus, we entered one of the Google Developer’s buildings to meet with Googlers Ian and Wayne. Ian is the Engineering Manager, Security & Privacy and Wayne a Senior Developer Advocate - IoT, Living Room, Android, and Wearables. We discussed security in a globally connected world as well as Android Wear and the implications that has on developers and users.
Following the meeting, we were taken on a tour of the Android Statue Garden and then visited the nearby march store. The excitement was real as we were faced with the daunting decision of what hoodies, shirts or other branded gear we wanted to purchase.
After leaving Google, we visited a nearby In-N-Out Burger. For me at least, it was my first time trying this famous local delicacy. And might I say, it actually tasted pretty good. We consumed this and then headed for our first and only hardware stop on the trip, Boosted Board. I will admit, I’m not a skater or hardware enthusiast, but Boosted turned out to be one of the best stops on the trip.
We were met by the cofounder and CEO, Sanjay Dastoor. He took us through the production process, working as a hardware startup and the benefits of an incubator like Y Combinator. Given the timing, he also gave us some insight into how to deal with product failures and safety concerns. John is clearly a switched on person who has a clear vision for the company and future prospects of not only it, but human travel and technology. On that note, during the Q&A, I asked whether product influencers could have a positive or negative impact on a small startup- meaning they would have huge orders to fulfil in a short space of time whilst scaling and if the influencers had anything negative, this could greatly impact sales in the reverse. John’s response was mainly indicative of the positive influence and ability for them to market without having to pay for someone to say they liked the product.
And of course, they wouldn’t let us leave without trying out a board. This was my first time, and given my track record on skate boards, I wasn’t overly confident. But alas, I managed to ride at a snail's pace whilst some of the more experienced cohort raced passed me. But, hey, I had achieved something!
That afternoon, we had been tasked with putting together our own meeting with someone who would be of assistance to us and our future goals. I managed to line up a meeting with Dustin, a developer advocate at Uber. Dustin and the Uber office were absolutely awesome. It reminded me of the Death Star, with a dark interior and white strip lighting. And it was fitting, given the meeting room we met in was named The Galactic Empire. Dustin gave me some awesome insights into how Uber is leading in its developer advocacy, both inbound and outbound. We talked about the numerous API’s available, including newer ones like Trips. We then got down to the nitty gritty of what Uber was built on, and I was surprised to find Uber has its own data centres.
I had a nice walk back via some of the public buildings, UN Plaza and the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.
We then all met at the hotel for a dinner and chat with The MitchelLake Group cofounder Greg Russell. The idea behind this session was to reflect on everything we had learned over the last 9 days and bring in another perspective to identify our next move. It was quite enlightening and enjoyable.
If you want a job here, you’ll have it in two weeks. Uber wanted to hire 2,000 developers this year.
Josh is a product design leader based in Melbourne, Australia. He has been working in the design space for 7 years across various industries.