Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Google Irvine Open House

There's that one saying: 'If you can't beat 'em, join em'. Well, I knew I certainly couldn't beat 'em and as you know I couldn't join 'em, so what was I left to do? At least try to get some free food out of them, right? A few weeks ago a friend at Google invited me to an open house at the Irvine campus. It would basically be an information and Q&A session about what's going on that office. He also said that it would be a chance to network and most importantly: eat free food. Well I was still bummed about the whole situation, I mean, what kind of networking could I possibly achieve? 'Hi, I failed the interview, but...." well it would end there, but he told me to think about it, and I did. Yeah, I was disappointed, but that still doesn't change anything about Google. I'd probably want to go to it even if I hadn't interviewed of course just to check out the offices.

So after work I drove out to the Irvine campus and needless to say, the facilities were keeping with the standards which we know Google holds. Irvine itself is a well-kept, upper class area so I knew the offices would be really nice. Once inside, I was promptly directed to the cafeteria where indeed, gourmet caliber food was being served. There was a delicious assortment of finger foods, kabobs and beverages set beside an open area where a large mass of people were gathered talking, eating and networking. After having a few things to eat and enjoying the primary color coated surroundings, a few speakers came up to speak. The first speaker gave a short presentation about Google at a high level, including its services, acquisitions and main business. The second speaker was a product manager at the Irvine office. It seemed like an interesting role as he described product management at Google as similar to the entrepreneur role. Lastly a Google Engineering Director spoke. He spoke a lot about the real fascinating aspects of the Google organization including how they employ 'Anti-Strategies'. I think this is kind of a play on the 'anti-patterns' term we have in engineering which describes how we derive solutions to problems which themselves become problems. Google seems to confound a lot of analysts with their business practices because they go against normal business principles. For example, he shared how they decided to reduce the amount of advertising Google was showing but that in turn seemed to increase revenue. Lots of seemingly backwards thinking actually led the company forward.

Once the talks were done a couple of my Googler friends took me upstairs to their offices where I could be privy to the actual office space. Lots of money was poured into the engineers which is something you really don't see anymore. Walkways were lined with scooters, every junction had a snack bar and drink fridge. Open areas with couches dotted the floor providing a relaxed atmosphere. A brand new Wii was out as well as an awesome x-mame arcade station. The cubes/offices were decently spacious and one thing that I noticed was that every desk had either a 30-inch display or two 24-inch displays, a linux box and a macpro. This place was really awesome to say the least.

Overall, it was a really enjoyable night, but at the same time kind of bittersweet because of the opportunity that fell through. As I talked to the Googlers, I was still encouraged though as they said I should prepare some more and try again in the future. Apparently it isn't uncommon for some Googlers to have not passed the first time around. That was pretty good to hear. Well as one door closed, I will definitely be keeping my eye open for the next one to open.


Channon said...

Good words.

Anonymous said...

well said

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