I recently attended the g|South Africa event – the second of its kind, this time held in Cape Town. It was two days choc-ful of presentations, discussions and proud geeky-ness. I only attended Day 2 though, which was geared towards marketers, and business-ey folk, and focused on how Google products could work to promote businesses.
Now, I’ve attended a few of these events before, but was really impressed by the atmosphere and general vibe at this one – there was a certain energy in the room; no matter who the speaker was, people were genuinely excited about what was happening. Thinking about it now, I realise that I was experiencing the ‘fun’ culture which is almost synonymous with the Google brand. It was everywhere – from the quirky photo booths where you could pose with your favourite Angry Bird character, to the augmented reality game, to the fact that the assistants were called ‘googlers’- through all of these little quirky things they manage to convey their company culture and allow you to experience it with them. Why would they do this, how does this help them as a business? Well, it makes you excited about being there, about interacting with the technologies they’re so proud of sharing with you, it inspires you to go out there and use it (and maybe even to improve it, make it your own and keep those Googlers on their toes!).
The other thing I noticed was that the speakers were really open to sharing information, and not really biased towards Google products. They openly admitted where Google apps were lacking in features and offered alternatives when asked. The guys at Google South Africa in particular seem to collaborate with a number of local companies to produce apps relevant to the local market in SA. Ultimately, this is the type of culture – collaboration and knowledge-sharing – I’d like to see us build within e-magination. We already have a great knowledge-sharing ethic going in the team, but we also need to extend that to the broader IT community within Cape Town, SA, the world 🙂 Does anyone else think this is important; as an IT company, why would it matter? (Not only am I trying to get you to comment, but really would like to hear your opinions on this!)
Ooh there were also some really cool demos on the day, check out (made possible through Google’s collaboration with different institutes):
Google Art Project: Access thousands of works of art online – images are extremely detailed!
Google Cultural Institute: Access national/cultural historical archives.
Google Public Data: Access datasets from different public institutes, e.g. latest data from the recent nationwide survey by StatsSA
Head over here to download the presentations.