So a few months ago, I got a call from Jordan and he was like, "I got this email from 'Google' today, and I almost deleted it. I looked the guy up and... I don't think this is spam." If you don't know me well, or if you don't know me at all (hi!) here's the short version of this backstory: My husband works for his family's business where we live, and he rocks it, to say the least. A few years ago, the business launched their first transactional website (a website Jordan and I were both very involved in), and it's been a wild ride. Google reached out via their Small Business team to do a story on the business's success with the website/digital marketing. And then, a few months later, they reached out again...
We were SO honored to have the opportunity to come out and visit Google in Mountainview, CA. Their facilities alone are really phenomenal, and obviously touring Google was a huge highlight for us. More importantly, however, we got the chance to listen to tons of talented speakers present on digital marketing, Google tools, and video. We also met with Googlers and fellow business owners who shared their struggles and successes. There were endless talks about marketing, but I won't bore you with those details. What I will bore you with are some fun facts we learned while at Google. Google is obviously known for how well they treat their employees, and it was really fun to see exactly what that entails.
- Living in the Midwest, there's not many electric cars in our area. Google parking lots are full of charging stations and signs noting designated parking spots for electric cars.
- There's tons of cafeterias all over the Google Campus, and we ate at one called "Pear." I grabbed some tofu poke and made my own salad from rotisserie chicken and a few other veggies. I maaay have had a little fro-yo as well (with sprinkles). They also donate leftover food to communities in the area, which is awesome.
- You've probably seen the Google Bikes before, but did you know that Googlers also have access to cars on campus? Apparently they just tap their badge on the windshield of Google cars, and it's theirs for the day to run an errand, go to a doctor's appointment, etc.
- Google is big into health and fitness. We saw tons of gyms, locker rooms, exercise pools, workout groups, and yoga. The AdWords rep we met with even said he'd tried out a Jiu Jitsu class during the work day! Some of this stuff is covered by Google (like access to pools and gyms) and other things can be extra (like the workout group we passed - that was a third-party vendor on campus.)
- We saw (and took pictures with) quite a few unique sculptures on the campus, and there are many more that we didn't get to see. If you're ever in the area, be sure to check out the different sculptures at Googleplex. My favorite was the T-Rex replica - it serves as a reminder to Googlers that "Even big things can fail."
- Nooglers (or new Googlers) really do wear those horrible propeller hats - we saw one in person... Hilaaaarious.
- Tons of Googlers drive in every day from San Francisco, which is an hour drive from Mountainview where Google is located. The bus driver on our tour told us that Google has their own bus system that drives people to and from the city. Of course, it has wifi and other small comforts so employees can continue to work during their commute.
We spent a day and a half at Google, and it was truly a one-of-a-kind experience. I'm not going to lie, the best part might have been the snacks. I need to seriously up my snack game here in Wichita - there are zero excuses ;). After we were done in Mountainview, we extended our trip a day to drive up to Sonoma County, and I can't wait to share all of that in another blog post!