The Digital Campus

The Digital Campus

Fall 2011 Study Tour: Day 3

On Wednesday morning, Vincent Borel of Webdoc gave us a demo of his company’s innovative technology, which allows for rich conversations that go way beyond links and photos. One of the guest bloggers for the day, Anne-Dominique Salamin, Responsable Centre e-learning // HES-SO Cyberlearn, actually created a webdoc (click on the screenshot below to view the full document) to describe another product and company we visited later in the day, Wildfire. I’m loving her creative approach to blogging. Thanks Anne-Dominique, and Webdoc!

Day three also included a stop at the San Bruno headquarters of Google-owned YouTube. Sara Fedele, Marketing Communications Manager for the Executive MScom Program at the Università della Svizzera italiana, gives us her thoughts:

All you need is… Google!

“People don’t work at Google for the money. They work at Google because they want to change the world!” Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, has said. In fact, today when visiting the YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, there was the impression that we’d landed on a different planet where employees were sort of super heroes with super hi-tech powers ready to save us from some kind of cybernetic war. But, was it like this or it was just an impression? Or maybe it was just an amusement park?

Certainly Google is not a conventional company, and as they affirm, “we don’t intend to become one.” Everything in Google is about creating an experience and, as a consequence, a strong loyalty to the brand. Employees are not simple employees…they are Googlers , they are cool! Google wants them to be part of the community, more than that to feel part of the community, creating a voluntary commitment to the brand.

“At Google, we know that every employee has something important to say, and that every employee is integral to our success,” according to Schmidt. “…Googlers thrive in small, focused teams and high-energy environments, believe in the ability of technology to change the world, and are as passionate about their lives as they are about their work.”

And this is the point: I am not sure there is someone at the employees’ backs with a shotgun ready to fire them if they leave their desk at 17:30. I’ve heard of people sleeping overnight at Google, and I think they voluntarily did it. Walking into Youtube I was stopped by an employee and when I asked him if he was an engineer he told me “well, I am a Google Engineer.” Not a surprising answer! Google created the sense of community by giving employees the instruments: they are free to use them the best they can if this helps them to be productive. This is the deal. And I think it is a quite clear policy inside the company, indirectly written everywhere.

I am not saying this is the best strategy or that it is correct but, as a matter of fact, Google is successful. Every book of brand management tell us about the commitment to the brand, and I was happy to finally experience the theory.


Our last visit of the day was at LinkedIn. I’ll shut up and let guest blogger Hans-Dieter Zimmermann, of FHS St.Gallen, Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften, inject his impressions. Read more about the study trip on Hans-Dieter’s blog.


Our final visit on the third day of the Social Media Study Tour led us to the LinkedIn HQ in Mountain View.

Here Christina Allen, Director, Product Manager for the University and Student Initiative, presented the latest developments of LinkedIn for universities, colleges, and students. The overall goal of the initiative is to make LinkedIn more relevant for all stakeholders in the education sector – and thus to develop a new market. Some major developments will go online shortly or have already been released.

For students LinkedIn shall serve on the one side as a safety net providing a network. On the other side it shall be something like a lottery ticket as students could be found by interested employers searching for a specific profile. Students will be able to request a profile review in order to present themselves in the best way possible. Through the LinkedIn network, in which students will be able to indicate whom they know within an organization, they shall find their first job after having finished their studies.

Following the student’s lifecycle from getting into college until having their first job LinkedIn shall support them accordingly. For example, the network allows students to gain insight where they might find a future job or what kind of internships might be possible.

For colleges and universities LinkedIn will introduce respective pages in the system. Based on the information already given by users prospective students get an insight into the institution or former classmates could be found. A ranking of institutions based on current career outcomes will be provided as well.

For companies LinkedIn will provide targeted search functions in order to search for student profiles.

As students are used to social networks they shall be motivated easily to register their profile which then can be integrated into the institution’s LinkedIn page.

Covering the whole life-cycle LinkedIn might have the potential to serve as the institution’s Alumni site as well.

And finally we met the three language localization teams which cover the French, German, and Italian language versions of LinkedIn.

In summary, LinkedIn will roll out some very smart solutions to integrate students, universities and professionals. From all the three groups we learned about the localization challenges and could discuss further issues about more localized versions of the service.

Author: Megan Williams

Megan Williams is swissnex San Francisco’s Head of Communications. She likes to write about science and culture. A marine biology nerd and a dedicated science communicator, she also loves to hunt for design treasure at thrift stores.