Tagged : San Francisco

Look left! … No, look right!

My summer holiday of 2012 was a 3000 mile road trip in the United States. It was one of my best holidays ever. So, how come I never wrote about it here? The answer is simple. Since I arrived back in the Netherlands, I’ve been quite busy creating something (more on that in the future). Surprisingly, I finally found some time to write about the USA trip… Today part three; “Look left! … No, look right!”.

Earlier, I wrote about two amazing places, San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Today, I write about… wait for it… a road. Highway 1 to be more precise. “Why?”, you might think. “What’s so special about this road?” Well, Highway 1 is famous for running along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the USA. The scenery is simply breathtaking.

The following is a random scene, while driving on Highway 1. I am driver, my brother called shotgun. For quite some time already, we enjoy the beautiful views over the ocean. Suddenly my brother yells “look left!”. We simultaneously turn our heads to the left and see some really beautiful hills. The view is amazing. Nonetheless, my brothers interest is short lived. His eyes glance to the right… “Look right!”. That view turns out to be even more impressive. During the next few hours, this moment repeats itself waaaaay too many times, which definitely makes this highway a true highlight of the USA road trip.

My next stop: Los Angeles

Previous posts

Part 1: Exceeded expectations
Part 2: Google vs. Apple

Google vs. Apple

My summer holiday of 2012 was a 3000 mile road trip in the United States. It was one of my best holidays ever. So, how come I never wrote about it here? The answer is simple. Since I arrived back in the Netherlands, I’ve been quite busy creating something (more on that in the future). Surprisingly, I finally found some time to write about the USA trip… Today it’s time for part two; “Google vs. Apple”.

Second stop, Silicon Valley, California. It’s the place where companies like Google, Apple, Facebook and thousands of small technology startups have their headquarters. Since I’m interested in technology and use Apple and Google products every day, I decided it would be great to visit these two companies in their real Silicon Valley habitat.

Apple

Apple is well known for its vertically integrated products. It is impossible to (legally) install an app on my iPhone without using the Apple App Store. And their operating system (Mac OSX) only runs on Macbooks and iMacs only. They simply want to be in control of everything. The same applies to their Cupertino headquarters at One Infinite Loop.

Outside, the grass is mown with greatest precision, bushes and flowers are aligned perfectly and the building looks very ‘introvert’. Apple is in full control. Nonetheless, it was possible to go inside and take a quick look at their courtyard.

The same desire for control is apparent here. The courtyard is designed with ‘oversight’ as purpose. There are not trees, no hidden corners, there’s nowhere to ‘hide’ for its employees. But at least they tried to make it look a bit more fun by adding the parasols.

Google

Google’s next. It’s the company who brings us software like Google Search, Gmail, Chrome and Android. Their software, contrary to Apple, can be used by nearly everyone on almost any device. Google believes in an open society, which can be seen in the way they set up their Mountain View headquarters.

There are no fences to stop tourists, they even allowed us to walk among Google staffers in the courtyard at the Googleplex.

There are Google bikes everywhere. These GBikes are used to pedal from one building to another and are free of charge for employees.

Also, Google staffers can use many recreational facilities, like a volleyball court. How cool is that!

And what to think of Stan, the life-sized T-Rex skeleton that lives in the middle of the campus?

But Google definitely won the cool-factor for their headquarters when I saw the driverless Google car which drove around on the parking lot.

It will be interesting to see which of these companies will ultimately win the software battle. Google (open) or Apple (closed). Meantime, based on my visits, Google decisively won the real-world headquarters battle. But how long will their victory last?

Update: In November 2013 I wrote about the new Apple Headquarters. Click here for the article.

My next stop: Highway 1

Read part one of my USA trip here.

Exceeded expectations

My summer holiday of 2012 was a 3000 mile road trip in the United States. It was one of my best holidays ever. So, how come I never wrote about it here? The answer is simple. Since I arrived back in the Netherlands, I’ve been quite busy creating something (more on that in the future). Surprisingly, I finally found some time to write about the USA trip… Today it’s time for part one; “Exceeded expectations”.

The word ‘exceed’ can be applied to both good and bad experiences. It can refer to something that was supposed to be very bad but turned out a bit less bad… in other words, it exceeded the (very low) expectation. Or it refers to something which should be great, but turns out to be even better. In that case, it exceeds the (already high) expectation. Obviously, the latter is the best… but it doesn’t happen that often.

Fast forward to July 2012. I just arrived to San Francisco International Airport, ready for the first part of the trip. I was in awe of the steep streets, old classic houses that spread out over the many hills of San Francisco, the cable trams which move up and down these hills and a beautiful harbor with views over Alcatraz Island, which completes the already perfect picture. It’s easy to see why some say San Francisco is the most beautiful city in the world (my brother is one of them). Others say it’s ‘just’ a very, very beautiful city (I’m one of them).

As a true architecture addict, I was specifically looking forward to seeing and crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. In my dreams, I made the bridge bigger and more beautiful than anyone can probably ever imagine. My expectation of this bridge was so big, that it’s impossible to meet this expectation. This meant, the moment I finally saw the Golden Gate Bridge for real, I…

[speechless]

[still speechless]

… Yep, the Golden Gate Bridge exceeded my expectation… by a huge margin.

My next stop: Google and Apple