We arrived at Tech Crunch Disrupt this morning filled with anticipation. We were excited to explore the dozens of new companies that had set up booths in Startup Alley, to listen to amazing speakers, and to take a road trip to Mountain View to visit the offices of Google and Facebook.
The most memorable speakers of the day were Nikesh Arora of SoftBank and Andrew Bozworth from Facebook. Nikesh spoke about SoftBank’s strategy, which is to invest in great companies with strong leadership, as opposed expending capital trying to build out the same competencies inside SoftBank. Andrew, or Boz as he is called, was questioned quite extensively about Facebook’s relationship and attitude towards companies who want to advertise on the FB platform. In the past, the relationship had turned contentious when companies felt that Facebook was not upfront about advertising policies.
By far, my most favorite part of the trip has been visiting the Google and Facebook campuses. At Google, we got to ride around on the company bicycles, eat in their cafeteria (the ice cream is delicious!), and speak to three people who work in different areas of the company. We learned about initiatives at Google Play, Google Search, as well as the difficulties of building and managing the Google server farms.
At Facebook, we got to tour the vast campus and write on The Wall. The Facebook campus had a very small town feel to it with a main street and small shops with everything from a barbershop to an ice cream parlor. Facebook emphasizes community and family by offering exercise classes and weekly movie nights in the summer.
To me, the difference in West Coast vs. East Coast companies comes down to an emphasis on the quality of life. Googlers take time out of their day to sit in the courtyard or to play on their beach volleyball court. Facebook employees bring their families to the campus on Wednesday nights to watch movies together. It’s about working hard, shooting for the moon, and enjoying your life.
By: Lana Bronipolsky
Prior to starting her MBA at Smith, Lana spent 7 years in the financial services industry, most recently at PIMCO in Southern California. Originally from the DC metro area, Lana was excited to return to the area and through the Dingman Center participate in the local startup culture. At Smith, Lana has focused on entrepreneurial finance and is especially interested in financial technology. Her team was awarded first place in the Leadership Under Fire case competition and her team was runner up in the Venture Capital Investment Competition in November 2014 team. She is most interested in helping early stage companies raise capital, develop growth strategies, and run efficient operations.