As the saying goes, “Save the best for the last.” Our concluding journey on the sun drenched West Coast visit ends up at the technological company giants: Intel and E-Bay. In my perspective, this part of trip was interesting because we, as students, will have a peek at the leading compaies in two different industries at the same time. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, one mission of this trip is to give opportunities for students to gain a practical case study of companies in a variety of industries.
As I went down to the hotel lobby, I was greeted with the glimpse of sunray passing through the window. Few familiar faces were already sitting on the sofa, eagerly waiting for the bus to come. I quickly fell into the conversation of the visit and how the last three days has been intense yet enriching experience. Just as we ended the conversation, Mandy came by to notify us that our bus had arrived. Almost instantly, everyone rose and alighted to the bus.
As soon as I reached to my seat, I fell asleep and just woke up by the time we arrived at the Intel Museum. As soon as I went down from the bus, my eyes laid on the blue logo of Intel, erected right in the middle of headquarters. It was a strange mix of feelings of being familiar yet there is a tinge of distance with a product.
When the group slowly entered the museum, we went to the routine of badges collection and short introductions from the representatives. This tour was slightly different because we did not plunge straight away into the talks by speaker. We were given a quick tour of Intel Museum instead. In here, we gained an idea of the innovative spirit of Intel’s founder, Robert Noyce, embodied his famous quote, “Don’t be encumbered by history. Go off and do something wonderful.”
After the tour, we met our next representative that brought us to different building. As expected, Intel was very professional and organized. I was very impressed by their attention to detail as they hosted us. We were ushered to an executive meeting room and four panelists, all UIUC alumni, introduced themselves. I was quite taken aback by their friendliness and willingness to open up on topics and share their experiences. I would expect them to be very technical and distant, although I realized that it is the humility and willingness to learn that drives Intel to reach the top position they are sitting in the current industry.
If Intel gave a feeling of professionalism, eBay oozed out a totally different impression. eBay prioritizes in the spirit of freedom and a degree of entrepreneurship in their culture. This was deeply reflected in the architecture of eBay. The buildings are named after the category of products that they are selling, there was a cafeteria with rich combination of playful colors and there was a display of candy sticks on one side near the front desk. However, as Jeff mentioned, “With size, comes structure.” eBay values hierarchical structure and assembles different departments with specific purpose to integrate its business development.
During our wonderfully catered lunch break at eBay, very friendly staffs dined with us. This goes to show their effort in making a connection in hosting us and gave a platform for a more intimate discussion. My group was very fortunate to be able to speak with one of the senior managers and we were able to gain valuable insight into the company. Two things I admire from eBay are that it is very goal-oriented but there is no restriction on project development. Thus, eBay employees are motivated to develop their side projects and this allows diversification and a pool of creative ideas within eBay.
Shortly after our lunch, we went to the meeting room where we had a chance of interacting with few eBay executives. All of them share their unique experiences before coming in eBay and how it contributes to the development of eBay culture. I found out that there is very little intersection of backgrounds, culture and expertise between each speaker, however they are able to see the vision of eBay and form collaborative effort to reach the goal. This reinforced my appreciation towards this great company.