The Digital Campus

The Digital Campus

Digital Campus Study Tour – Day 3

Facebook HQ

By Irène Brunner, Online Manager at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences, School of Engineering (@ladycomanche)

Today was the day with the big names: LinkedIn and Facebook! And a not as well known but good, established startup called Gigya.

First we drove to Silicon Valley and met with Ada Yu and Farid Hosseini from LinkedIn. We talked a lot about the new university pages they launched about two months ago. On Monday and Tuesday, we had already discussed these new university pages with Christina Sponselli from UC Berkeley and Adam Miller from Stanford Alumni.

Ada and Farid were eager to hear what we think about their new product and asked us a lot of questions. They talked about the new things they already have planned for the sites and what feedback has been mos common. As far as we know, only five universities of Switzerland have a university page – one of them is Reto’s from the University of Basel.

After we hear more details about the product, how we can use it, and what the benefits are, we all can’t wait to start our own page. And I really have to say, this meeting was great because we saw the people behind the product and they were quite normal.

Well, mostly. Ada Yu had a sticker on her laptop which said “eat, hack, sleep – LinkedIn”.

LinkedIn HQ

Next we drove to Willow Road and Hacker Way – mostly known as Facebook’s headquarters. I was really excited about this visit because you hear so much about Facebook all the time and I really wondered what the campus was like. We had a meeting with Cathryn Yongue from Hot Studio, who works on the ads team, and with Alok Mengrajahni and Rodrigo Schmidt who are engineers.

Alok has worked there for five years, since the days when there were only 200 employees at Facebook. We had an informal lunch together and enjoyed a really nice dessert from Facebook’s own candy store – all for free. And we made a little stop at the gift shop – just in time to see that FC Basel won against Chelsea! Congrats! But we also got a lot of time to talk with our hosts about anything we wanted to know, and they answered all our questions. It was really inspiring to feel the spirit of the Facebook campus. By the way, Alok and Rodrigo both studied at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland.

Basel's soccer team wins against Chelsea

Afterwards, a complete change of scene: We went over to Gigya, a well-known startup doing connected Consumer Management. They connect brands with consumers by helping them access, manage, and leverage first-party consumer data to increase marketing campaign performance and social engagement on websites and mobile applications.

Gigya was in a little building with one big office room and lots of people working, without all the LinkedIn or Facebook bells and whistles. It was quite interesting to see such a little company for a change, however. Jared Worley told us all about the company and answered all our questions. He told us interesting facts like that 58 percent of people have “password fatigue” and this is one of the main reasons why social Login works so well. And also the people who log in with their Social Media account are much more engaged.

Gigya offices

Already half of the week is over. It’s incredible how fast time flies here in the Bay. But we’re getting so much information and insights every day and I have many new ideas that I can’t wait to implement at our University.