I had a few miscellaneous notes on Google I/O that I wanted to share, including a few anthropological observations best made with pictures.
- I thought it was really interesting that there were more registration lines for Academia than there were for general admission. Google knows the same truth as Apple, that students are the future. They are making it really easy for students to get on board with their developer platforms. (I believe that there was a much lower student rate for Google I/O admission.) Good on them. (Note to self: we need a really good student rate for O’Reilly conferences too.)
- Google was having a bit of fun with their Streetview technology, with a bike riding around the conference creating a Streetview style experience of the event. Don’t know if the view is up yet. If so, someone please post a link!
- I loved seeing the bike parking area, manned by a volunteer from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, who said that they were glad of the chance that Google was giving them to get additional visibility. (Again, note to self: we need to work with sfbike.org to do this for the Web 2.0 Expo, or just handle the bike parking ourselves. It would be great to do the same for Expo NY.)
Taken together, these images show a company whose unique culture shows through in small ways. This isn’t marketing that you can fake; these small touches are a reflection of who Google is as a company.
As John Cowper Powys said, in one of my favorite books, The Meaning of Culture (1929):
Culture is what is left over after you have forgotten all you have definitely set out to learn…One always feels that a merely educated man holds his philosophical views as if they were so many pennies in his pocket. They are separate from his life. Whereas with a cultured man there is no gap or lacuna between his opinions and his life. Both are dominated by the same organic, inevitable fatality. They are what he is.
Great companies always have this sense of authenticity, while “me too” companies have a culture made up of the latest management fashions.
I like to think that O’Reilly has an authentic culture. Our idiosyncracies are our strength, leading us in unexpected directions that is somehow true to something we might not recognize if we were following a map laid down by someone else.