Tech Trek: Google & WeTravel
Each semester, Babson ugrads visit tech companies and hear from company representatives to get an “insider’s perspective.”
It’s been a busy week here at Babson San Francisco with the undergraduate cohort visiting both Google and weTravel. We were able to gain insights into what it’s like to work for a big, established company such as Google and a young startup such as weTravel.
First Stop: Google
Right when we arrived, it quickly became apparent that Google was one of the most unique (and fun!) places to work. With quirky work spaces, spa, gym and an arcade room, Google SF felt more like a playground than a typical ‘office’. There was even a hidden bar inconspicuously located behind a door marked ‘broom cupboard.’ The rooftop offered a stunning view of the Bay Bridge and at the cafeteria, we had a delicious lunch, complete with their famous salted chocolate chip cookies. While Google SF definitely disrupted conventional images of what a typical office is, when we talked to our hosts James Lancelot (Babson MBA) and Daniel Peters, it was clear that working there was unconventional too. Despite it’s size, Google strives to be innovative and flat. This means that employees can work on a variety of projects and also move across functions. Daniel highlighted how it didn’t feel like working for a big corporation. We learned that Google is one of the few large companies that have managed to achieve this culture and structure so successfully.
Second Stop: WeTravel
When we visited weTravel, they were renting a small co-working space in SoMa with other entrepreneurs and startups. We met the founders Zaky and Johannes, who gave us a very honest and informative presentation about their journey in the startup world and how they came up with the idea of weTravel, a platform aiming to simplify the process of organizing group travel. Because we are starting our own ventures in our Silicon Technology Ventures class, getting first-hand advice and tips were very helpful. Our questions ranged from the use of market research to just how important is it to use your own personal network. We were surprised to hear about the fast paced nature of working at an early stage startup. We learned that it is really important to be able to always bring value and be ready for change, constantly. It was also clear that having a good relationship with your co-founder and having different skill-sets was vital to the company’s progress. Undoubtedly, weTravel was a great contrast to Google and shed light on the realities of working at a young startup.
Thank you to our hosts for making these treks possible!