Friday, August 1, 2008

Visiting Google's Headquarters

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to personally visit the Google's HQ in Mountain View, called Googleplex. I was very curious, as this is one of the most talked companies in the world and it is ranked #1 in the Fortune's list of best places to work in the USA.

The visit was quite instructive and everything was good as expected. The buildings are spread in a very green campus in Mountain View, with a lot of open space and outdoors for employees, so you can see people having a coffee under the Californian sun, holding team meetings outside but also having fun.

You can have a look to some additional pictures here.

My personal feelings are that of a company that is really putting Peopleware as the primary asset. Walking around the building you feel that people seems to be proud of being part of the team and happy working there. Of course, Google is very rich so it is not easy for a lot of other companies to emulate the same environment, but I strongly suggest others, especially European's, to visit them and realize how it is possible to create a place which boosts productivity. For the fortunate US technology worker is not that hard to find situations close to this, but believe me American fellows: the rest of the world is not often that lucky.

I do not even mention Italian companies, because in Italy we are so far away from buildings where people can work productively. I have a long term experience of dark undergrounds barely enlightened and very uncomfortable chairs, where all you can think about is how long does it take to go back home... And when I mention my country I am not talking about small startups, where often you can find intelligent entrepreneurs who know how the working environment is important for productivity, but I mean multi-billion corporations which don't spend enough money to make their employees working in safe and decent conditions.

On my side I have been lucky in my career, my last two employers were SeeBeyond and Sun Microsystems, they have very nice buildings and comfortable offices in Italy, but anyway they are American companies...