Besides eating incredible food and being accommodated in a lovely hotel with a hot tub and pool our week a google proved to be quite the experience. The first two days were spent riding bikes and taking googles lazy river around the campus on tubes (just kidding! however, I did suggest to many google employees the idea of a lazy river surrounding the google complex might not be a bad idea). In reality, we spent the first day learning about googles for non-profits software package which is offered to non profit organizations that qualify free of cost. We spent the afternoon working with google employees who showed us how to use different programs that were offered in the google for non-profits package including adwords, google docs, google analytics google sites and google plus. On day two we heard from various organizations (google maps, youtube, microsoft, linked in and sales force.com) that also offered discounted or no cost software for non-profits.
Wednesday was a day informing us more in depth about the book we received on Monday titled "switch." (Google Books: Switch) Switch gave us insight into 9 basic steps on how we might help convince in our case NPO's to change up their organization. During the year we are going to be suggesting different and new concepts using technology to non-profits. Some of these NPO's are going to be resistant and unwilling to change. The book suggested different ways in which we can help these organizations embrace and accept change as well as how we can help them change.
Thursday I think by far was the most informative and productive day at google. We started the morning hearing from Mark Ball a very zened out transcendental kinda of guy who gave us excellent ways in which we can help organizations change. He used terms from the book switch as well as put them into play showing us how appropriately and correctly address situational change. After Mark spoke Gunner spoke with a somewhat similar message but with a completely opposite approach. Using his non-stop ranting as well as humorous analogies Gunner wooed and impressed our fellow vistas with his ideals on how to approach organizations who are in need of change and problems you might face while doing so. He explained how its not all about tech but more about people and listening. Often non-profits don't care about necessarily the best practices of technology but more about saving the world. It is important to speak their language rather than tech talk to help them achieve and succeed in the direction that will be beneficial for their organization. Finally, in the afternoon we formed four different groups that each met with a single non-profit from the bay area. We listened to the tech issues each organization was having and then formed up suggestions on what they could do to resolve these issues based on what he had learned from the week. I think this activity was very resourceful yet still seemed a little bit too much for what we had just learned. I think many of my fellow Vista's were very reluctant to suggest software/tools that we had literally just learned about when they had never used it before in their life. Going back to what gunner was talking about before never suggest anything unless you've test driven in one full cycle with an organization. I think overall the idea of the activity the ability for us to talk to real life non-profits was great, however I still feel we weren't completely ready and a lot of us thought that just because we had been taught about new tools that week at tech camp we should automatically suggest them to non-profits. This is kinda of a scary thought for the year. I'm afraid that just because we learned about certain tools/"free" software at this training camp many Vista's are going to assume that it is the best. I think other options need to be explored and not just main stream software. Overall, the week was very informative on the side that we learned excellent ways to speak listen and carryout our mission for the year. I'm still a bit apprehensive and weary for what the year has to offer but that is me being me..however it still should an experience that I wont' forget...
p.s. my posts will be shorter and more concise in the future..it is just that these first few weeks have been filled with copious amounts of information that I find hard not to leave out