Trendy tech companies in Silicon Valley are renowned for their hip and funky office spaces.
Typically staff with the big players like Google, Facebook and Apple go to work in sprawling complexes where they are surrounded by artwork, fun stuff like ping-pong tables and where colleagues zip around on roller blades, scooters or Segway machines.
In the heady tech bubble in Silicon Valley, the plentiful and exciting new start ups seem just as often to be judged on how cool their offices are, as much as how useful their software or hardware is likely to be.
However, the grandaddy of office cool remains Google, which has managed to export its love of quirky, fun and colourful workspaces to its New York base, the search giant’s second biggest global office.
Tech-followers have been salivating over the latest picture from inside Googleplex 2 – which seems to include a passionate love affair with the multi coloured plastic building bricks from Danish toy mesiters, Lego.
What really caught my eye was the Lego portrait of Google Chairman, Eric Schmidt (see photo at the top of the page) who ran the company as CEO for 10 years, before passing over the reins to co-founder Larry Page earlier in 2011.
Schmidt was right here in Edinburgh during August, when he became the first person from non-traditional media to give the keynote speech at the Edinburgh International TV Festival, known as the MacTaggart Lecture after Scots TV producer James MacTaggart.
You can watch the speech on YouTube or read it at the Media Guardian among the huge selection of online coverage. From that commentary you can quickly tell that Schmidt talked about the UK education system, media regulation and the convergence of TV broadcasting and the internet.
What this wonderful Lego portrait tells me, though, is that Schmidt’s Edinburgh visit must also have turned him on to Scotland’s ‘Other national drink’, Irn Bru, which must surely explain the use of ‘Phenomenal’.
Funny thing about ad agencies is that they also favour funky offices populated by trendy young things is artfully-frayed street chic who play ping pong, adorn their walls with self-ironic artwork and spend their days admiring each other’s Apple Mac products (at least, that’s what I imagine!).
Indeed, I blogged about the Leith Agency‘s nearest rival, Newhaven, way back in 2007 – and I suspect the two agencies spend considerable amounts of creative time and effort trying outdo each other on the ‘coolest offices’ front (maybe the Leith Agency could purchase the Lego portrait to steal a wee march on their rivals?).
Perhaps it’s a bit of whimsy on my part to imagine the smart and erudite Mr Schmidt developed a taste for Scotland’s favourite sugared water hangover cure during his whistlestop Scottish sojourn.
Whether or not Scotland’s orange coloured fizzy drink is available in Google’s near legendary canteens, the Google Offices seem pretty Phenomenal.