Day 8 started with an early rise to be on the bus to Equinix at San Jose. The Startup Weekend, coupled with the prior week of non-stop learning and tripping around, had certainly taken its toll.
The bus ride out was quiet. Arriving at Equinix, you would be forgiven for thinking we were arriving at a fortified maximum security government facility. It turns out, you wouldn't be far wrong.
I've written an extensive post on Equinix over on the Startup Catalyst blog, check it out.
Following Equinix, we made a quick pitstop at NASA's Ames Research Center. This is the home of Hangar 1, which I discussed in a previous post.
The sheer size up close is mind boggling. The complex is also home to a number of other institutions, such as Singularity University.
We then headed back to San Francisco, checked back into the hotel and then headed off to Airbnb. I think this office goes down as the most incredible I've seen.
Each of Airbnb's meeting rooms and other spaces are based on actual customer listings. This provides for some amazing spaces, like meeting rooms in the form of English castles, Chinese houses and wooden cabins.
The thing that most struck me about Airbnb was their absolute focus on product design. This isn't just about looking pretty, but also the entire guest experience. This thinking permeates all the way through the business.
We completed a fun exercise in thinking abstractly about someone's position and how to best make them feel comfortable. This was a great look into the mindset of Airbnb.
This was followed by a tour, where we happened across a kitchen that was based on Sydney. Makes you feel at home.
The hospitality and friendliness was also felt throughout Airbnb. It just feels like such an awesome work environment. The importance placed on staff wellbeing is absolute paramount in the Valley and it shows with every new visit.
Following Airbnb, we headed over to coworking space Covo for a networking night. I spoke to some cool people, as well as connected more deeply with some of the other participants. It was a great night, which showed as we headed around to a local bar and food place.
With burgers and brew in hand, the conversation continued between the few of us remaining.
All in all, it was a great day and night, with some interesting caveats causing us to feel right at home.