Google is a bit… over the top.
It seems like they do everything in their power to make engineers (well, really, any employee) feel like gods. The first day I walked in they handed me a plain black backpack. I thought it was strange, because it didn’t even have the Google logo on it. I didn’t even realize until I was poking around inside that there was a laptop in it. I asked, quite often, for a laptop at Microsoft and they just didn’t seem interested in giving me one. Googie just toted in three giant carts to the first day orientation and just handed them out like notebooks. Notebooks of the non-electric type. (On a side note here, they also have vastly nicer office supplies. Many years ago, in high school, I wanted a good but not showy pen. I picked out a “Dr. Grip” and a few friends and I decided a pen that nice, a pen that cost $5, well, she needs a name. Rosalita Parkinson Epherson Saulito John Silvers was a good pen. I was pleased to see a slew of Dr. Grips in the supply cabinet, along with some rather nice composition note books which are vastly superior to most things which can be written upon)
Anyway, the second day was pretty much similar but with books. After a training class, they took us to these cabinets and they were stocked with a bunch of copies of very good books. I grabbed a few different – a test book (written by my manager, I realized), a copy of Joel’s User Interface Design for Programmers, a book on Design Patterns I’ve been meaning to buy, and one or two others). Just like a candy store, except much more nerdy.
Walking down the corridors it seems like everyone has at least two large LCD monitors. I was envied at Microsoft as I had a 17″ flatscreen. I was clearly pampered and favored.
I don’t mean to put Microsoft down here (actually, maybe I do) but from my experience they try to save money in the most silly of ways. Cutting back on a few hundred dollars of equipment is pointless. It makes employees less productive and less happy (which makes them even more less productive [yes. More less]). Aside from that, it doesn’t really harvest much loyalty.
The food is ample and delicious in Mountain View. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner at a variety of cafes. The things I’ve tried have been great, probably at least in part because they are free. They even have little baby Ben & Jerry’s with a tiny spoon inside. The selection of free drinks is insane. I keep thinking I have tried everything, but I keep finding something new. Heck, they even had a bunch of baby coconuts. One thing I was excited to try was a soda made with real sugar, as opposed to corn syrup. Aside from that, Orangina is good but strangely named, and I was pleased to see they also stock another strangely named drink. I have been trying to reach full potential by drinking “Smart Water” but I’m pretty sure that’s just a scam.
So if I can move on and stop swooning over Google, let me tell you a few things about California.
California is home to “In N Out Burger” which Aarthy (and popular media) suggested I try. I don’t know how but they make french fries that experience severe structural issues once placed in the mouth. It’s somewhat unsettling, and I’m not sure it’d fly in any other state.
One thing I like about California is their embracing of the U-turn. I can’t get home without U-turning, and I like that. It makes me feel more secure being able to drive both sides of the road before getting home. Just making sure it’s all still structurally sound. Comforting.
I leave you with this comforting picture:
PS – did you know pineapples are ridiculous? More on that in the future-promised Hawaii post.
PPS – you know you’re using a good word when the first result is a dictionary page