Saturday, July 30, 2011

Diary of a Summer Intern - Madelaine (Google Students)

Hey guys!

Throughout the course of my internship, I’ve been learning more about what it means to be a product manager. One of the main tasks of the job is keeping your eyes and ears open for product ideas, then making them concrete by writing product design documents or designing mocks of what the feature would look like. You have to go out and find your projects, rather than waiting for them to be assigned to you. This system has the advantage of ensuring people work on something that interests them, and that they feel more ownership and investment in its success. This culture of initiative and self-direction extends throughout the entire company. Each quarter, every employee and every team sets their goals for what they plan to accomplish that quarter (objectives), complete with a measurable definition of success (key results). Performance reviews take into account not only how well you achieved your goals, but also how ambitious those goals were.

On the weekends, I’ve continued to explore San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area. I went hiking on the Dipsea Trail (near Muir Woods), watched Beach Blanket Babylon (a political satire musical that “defines San Francisco”) and did some shopping in local boutiques on Union Street in the Marina district. I’m also running the San Francisco Marathon on Sunday, July 31, and I hosted a dinner to raise money for the HALO Trust, a landmine-clearing organization. I had to be creative with fundraising ideas—I can’t tempt co-workers with a bake sale with all these free snacks around. Speaking of the marathon, I’ll be broadcasting my location throughout the race with Google Latitude so friends can find me along the course. Shameless Google product plug much? If I survive the 26.2 miles, I’ll let you guys know how it went. Stay tuned!

Madelaine and fellow Google interns
pause for a quick picture during their hike on the Dipsea Trail.

A fun story to wrap this post up: You may remember me talking about Google’s self-driving cars in my last post. Well, the other day, I was riding the shuttle down the freeway back to San Francisco when I looked outside my window and saw one of Google’s self-driving cars driving right beside us! Only this time, the driver’s hands weren’t on the wheel! While to some, such behavior might seem reckless, to people like me, it was just cool :)

That’s all for now!

-Madelaine

Fun Google Fact: Chade-Meng Tan is Google’s “Jolly Good Fellow” (official title), an engineer whose mission is to help Googlers with enlightenment and personal growth. I learned about him when browsing old TED talks. Read about his celebrity photo gallery or watch his TED talk on compassion.

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