Age Engage Diary from San Francisco
Last week, our Digital Futures winners, Age Engage, jetted off to California for the trip of a lifetime, visiting some of the biggest names in technology and taking in the sights of the tech capital of the world, San Francisco.
Read on below to find out how they got on during their time on the west coast;
We are Noah and Daniel from Age Engage and this is a summary of our fantastic trip to San Francisco.
On the first day we arrived at Dublin airport at around 9am after a few hours getting through the checkout and security we boarded our gate and we were officially on our way to America!
After a 10 hour long movie marathon we touched down, the excitement of being in San Francisco blocked out all signs of tiredness and we made our way to the city centre. When we arrived at the hotel we dropped our bags in our rooms and quickly left to explore downtown San Francisco. While we were walking we were astounded by the height of the buildings, the busyness of the streets and the size of the food. After a long day we returned to the hotel and crashed on our beds, ready to recharge the batteries ahead of a busy couple of days.
The day after was our first full day as tourists in SFO, we walked through the famous Pier 39 and visited the equally as famous Fisherman’s wharf where we went to souvenir shops and the world famous sourdough factory called Boudin.
In the afternoon we hired some bikes and started the cycle to the Golden Gate Bridge and on to Sausalito. The cycle was very fun and definitely worth it by the time we reached Sausalito, with some amazing views over the San Francisco bay and downtown.
The next day we headed south towards silicon valley and Palo Alto where we visited some of the biggest companies in the tech industry including Google, Instagram and Facebook. The scale of each company was indescribable.
Out first visit of the day was to the Googleplex at Mountain View were we learnt some of the history about Google and got to see first hand the impressive campus many Googlers call their office. Then it was on to Stanford University were we meet Stuart from the D school. Stuart spoke to us about empathy for end users and how to go through a design process. Following a tour of the main Stanford campus, we made our way to to Instagram were we talked with Mel and Sarah. It was also amazing to meet Sarah who herself attended Dalriada School and is a former Head Girl. Both Sarah and Mel were able to give us some very valuable information about how to successfully build a functioning app and to always be one step ahead to be able to cater for your users. Sarah and Mel then gave us a tour of the main Facebook campus at 1 Hacker Way, where we got our picture taken at the famous “thumb” sign, played some video games and even had time for a game of pinball with Mel. We finished the day off with dinner at one of the many Facebook cafeteria’s.
On Tuesday we visited another 3 awesome companies including Salesforce, Uber and Nextdoor. Firstly we visited Salesforce Tower which is the largest skyscraper in the SFO skyline; we learned how important data is and how to use it to create a rapport and connect with your customers. Then we visited Uber where we learned about the importance of testing new products and features. And finally to top of the day we visited Next door and we met the co-founder Prakash and heard the importance of being able to get your product on the market as soon as possible we also learnt how important it is to have core values and something sets you apart from competitors.
Our final full day started with us visiting the 5 Northern Irish start-ups who are in San Francisco as part of the Propel programme in Belfast. They are out there to try and boost their companies by meeting investors and potential customers. Speaking with the founders we learnt that persistence is very important to be able to overcome obstacles and to always follow your passion and dreams. Meeting other founders from Belfast was the perfect way to complete our meetings in San Francisco.
After a brief stop off at the Hotel we made our way to Alcatraz and found out more about SFOs heritage.
The following day before leaving to go to the airport we visited some more tourist attractions and topped off our action packed week on a high.
What a week! And thank you to DigitalDNA for the amazing opportunity to discover the insights of the tech industry and to all the companies who gave us so much valuable advice to help our dream. It really is the trip of a lifetime and we encourage any secondary school age to enter this competition.
And finally to find all the pictures from this trip and to follow our journey please follow @ageengage on Instagram, Facebook and twitter.