Google, 3 Hours Behind

blog20160108_135954If you google, “3 Hours Behind, you’ll probably come across a group of 15 students from East-Coast’s very own Villanova University in the Silicon Valley. Somehow, maybe destined, these students got more than a peek inside Google, they’ve got the experience of a lifetime. Please allow me to explain.

We arrived in Mountain View, CA around 9:00 AM PST, the 15 of us students had our Googley faces on. Our host for the day was John Igoe, Google’s Director for Design & Construction. John had several real estate leadership positions in the Bay Area prior to joining Google. John earned his MS in Civil Engineering from Stanford, his MBA from Drexel, and his BS in Civil Engineering where it all started, Villanova University.

John jumped right into Alphabet by saying Alphabet is a collection of companies. The largest of course is Google. John went on to say how alpha-bet is a bet on alpha (which is investment return above the benchmark).  He said Larry and Sergey wanted to challenge the CEOs of their smaller companies, by doing so, they could focus on higher level things.

John then welcomed Gina Rosales, a Google X employee. Gina spoke about X’s mission, “Launching moonshot technologies that make the world a radically better place”. Google X dreams up impossible ideas and make them possible such as the Google Car (Self-driving vehicle) or Project Loon (hi-altitude balloons that beam internet to people not yet online). Gina left us with 5 things to remember:

  • Have an inspiring mission
  • Build a team of Peter Pans & Petra Pans who believe in the impossible
  • 2/3 Yes AND 1/3 Yes But…
  • Prototype & fail fast
  • Think 10X, not 10%

John then took us to Google’s recently purchased Hangars or as locals call them, Silicon Valley landmarks. These 3 massive hangers are 8-acres in size and one was even constructed with wood from WWII days. Seeing these structures were amazing, being inside was surreal. They are currently under reconstruction to make their 1k-acre land ready for labs developing robots, rovers, drones, and other cutting-edge technology.

We then went to a Google Café where we had delicious meals and saw some more “Cool as ICE” work spaces. The day at Google was concluded with a huge thank you from John Igoe and a stop at the gift store. If you see me walking on campus with my Google socks, please ask about the trip! It was “3 hours well spent behind the East Coast”.