Today we had two business visits, Google in the morning and Cochlear in the afternoon.
We left for Google at 10:30 and it was just a 10 minute walk across the harbour to get there. The lobby of Google was an experience itself. You walk in and are immediately hit with the pleasant aroma of tangerine and your ears are blessed with a soft swingy jazz. The back wall was covered all in plants with Google spelled out in big wooden letters and on the front desk sits a parrot that will sit on your shoulder and gently nibble and chirp at you. Then we actually went in.
If you've ever seen the movie "The Internship" you would have some idea of what Google has for facilities. It took about a half hour for us to actually see an office. Everything they have is built to be a casual business encounter where Googlers can collaborate together and shape our future. Every part of the workplace is built with a specific idea in mind. They like to keep everything seeming as un-corporate as possible. So for example one of the offices was just paint splattered all over the wall, done by Googlers, so it's there own space. The culture of Google is really unique in the way that there's less of a corporate ladder and it's more of a flat line, where everyone is trusted to make their own decisions.
In the afternoon we visited Cochlear, a company that designs and manufactures different kinds of hearing aids. This visit was very different from the others in the fact that it was more about seeing the design and manufacture process that about the business side of the company. This was also very interesting because of the high level technology that we were seeing produced and the nearly perfect process that the product has to go through. All of the units are hand made, they produce around 350 units per week and they only have a 15% reject rate, which is quite good for such a high tech product.
They also showed us a sound testing facility, where they have a ring of speakers surrounding a test subject with an implant in a soundproof room. They play the subject sounds all around him and tell the subject to focus on one speaker and repeat what it says. They have a prigram that automatically makes it easier or harder depending on how you answer to pinpoint a level of what the subject's hearing is. Then they compare it to doing the same test with different units on the same subject.
Quite an interesting day of business visits for us today