Although I’m still in the United States, San Francisco’s organizational culture feels very foreign and unique. I have been working for two weeks at a software startup called Gigwell. The team is comprised of 7 people in a small office in the city. The space has a lot of character with brick walls and natural light coming from the ceiling.
As you can see, the stereotypes of life in Silicon Valley are real. A big bean bag chair in the center of the room, a mini fridge stocked with beer and healthy, San Francisco like snacks and an open layout designed for collaboration and transparency.
It is very casual here but inspiring at the same time. I wear jeans and a t-shirt to work and we have music playing on the speakers throughout the day. Some people might find it distracting but I enjoy it a lot. I’m relaxed and comfortable and it helps me be more productive.
Passion for the music industry is the reason the company was started and thus it only makes sense that its part of the culture. This common bond allows for friendly relationships among coworkers, both inside and outside of work. The quality of collaboration is strong and I think it is a result of these relationships. There are very little boundaries in the organization, innovative ideas and feedback are welcomed and encouraged. As an intern, this has been the most valuable aspect of working here. They value my opinion and trust me to communicate with potential customers and even potential employees.
On my 4th day of work, they sent me to a career fair at UC Berkeley Extension to recruit future interns. I was nervous that I would have nothing to say to them but, I knew a lot more about the product than I thought. I’m glad I was pushed out of my comfort zone so quickly and it ended up being a very helpful experience for me. Below is a picture of my coworker and me at the fair.
Marcelo is the Business Development Manager and I spend a good amount of my time working with him on various projects. He is from Brazil and moved here a few years ago. He is one of a few employees that are foreign born actually and it has been really cool to collaborate with people from all over the world.
Here is a picture of our upstairs conference room/kitchen/living room.
This is my favorite part of the office and not just because an awesome painting of The Notorious B.I.G. is hanging above the couch. It is a great place to brainstorm away from the other employees. Marcelo and I spend time up here when we are crafting outbound emails and other marketing materials. We also have our weekly sales meetings up here.
Overall, the culture has been very different than I am used to but in the best way possible. I’m grateful to have this opportunity!
Thanks for reading.