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Technology Immersion in San Francisco

Along with some my colleagues from the SC Johnson Cornell College of Business, I recently had the opportunity to visit the San Francisco Bay Area. The four-day visit included meetings with the following companies:

  • Airbnb

  • Cipher Health

  • Docusign

  • Facebook

  • Google

  • IBM

  • Infosys

  • Salesforce

  • Uber

  • Wealthfront

One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to Google. Much has been written about the company’s interview process. The list of qualities Google screens for is often quite long, so I appreciated learning about the four things they look for when hiring.

  1. Cognitive Ability: They want smart people that are curious and understand the importance of learning new things.

  2. Role-Related Knowledge: It seems that they value generalists over people with deep specializations.

  3. Emergent Leadership: Google wants people that know when to lead and when to listen.

  4. Googleyness: My sense was this is about culture fit. They want people that are fun, humble, conscientious, comfortable with ambiguity, and interesting.

The roof at Facebook offers a winding walk through nine acres of green space.

We met with Jennifer Dulski, head of Groups & Community at Facebook, and others from the Facebook Core Ap Team. I'm looking forward to reading Jennifer's book Purposeful when it is released in May.

The meeting rooms at Airbnb are designed to look like the site's rental listings.

We met with the Chief Economist, Head of User Research, and the Data Scientist Lead for Policy. They shared the results of a report from STR that compared hotel performance data from its global database with Airbnb-sourced data in 13 markets.

The report includes some interesting findings:

• Airbnb occupancy generally was the highest in markets where hotels had high occupancy.

• Hotel occupancy was significantly higher than Airbnb occupancy.

• While Airbnb’s share of total accommodation supply (i.e. Airbnb units and hotel rooms) was growing, its share of market demand and revenues still was generally below 4% and 3%, respectively.

You can download the full report here.

Uber's Advanced Technologies Group is working to develop self-driving technologies. In fact, they've surpassed 50,000 autonomous paid rides in Pittsburgh, PA and Tempe, Az.

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