Wrap up New York

New York – established and still growing business hub

With a meaningful historical background (e.g. the wall street etc.) New York is already well known and one of the most famous (business) cities in the world. Anyways, there is still a lot of demand for office spaces in that area. Corporates still consider it as important to represent their firms at that popular place.

One good example is Google. Their office building has the same amount of square meters as the Empire State Building and we had the chance to visit it. The office tour gave us an impression on how they got the award of being the best employer in the world. The following event “Sprinting for innovation” showed us how one can shorten the innovation process. This full day visit was an amazing experience for us.

Alex Goldberg, a venture capitalist, and the invited two early-stage start-ups gave us an insight on how to decide whether you should invest in an company and which factors are relevant for start-ups to be successful during the funding process.

To be at the Consulate General of Switzerland and visit the Ambassador André Schaller was a great honor and of course also a valuable chance to ask questions about the relationship between Switzerland and the U.S. Did you know that according to statistics Switzerland is the country with the 6th best image in the U.S.?

The tour at the Brooklyn Grange was something completely different. The urban gardening institution tries to provide green spaces in urban areas and furthermore supports the usage of local products and therefore reduces the environmental pollution.

The firm Livestream hosted us for an absolutely interesting session. Their core business consists out of two parts. One is responsible to build the live videos, while the other distributes them. The high potential in the live video market is their main advantage.

Now the connectUS onsite seminar 2017 is over. But this does not mean we should be sad about it. The valuable experiences we gained have such a great value and we are lucky enough that we could be part of this amazing adventure

Many people supported us on our journey and this definitely deserves a big THANK YOU. You gave 24 students and 4 lecturers the chance to further broaden their horizons and make unforgettable experiences!

Day 12 – New York

Our twelfth day was fully booked with a visit at Google in New York city. Chantrelle Johanson, Caitlin Boston and Maria Grach welcomed us at their huge office. An incredible fact is that the office has the same space like the Empire State Building. Furthermore, about 7’000 employees work for Google in New York.

First of all, we got an absolutely amazing tour through the office. The view of the rooftop is stunning. Afterwards, Chantrelle told us something about the design sprint process. It is a five phase framework – unterstand, sketch, decide, prototype and validate.


Then, it was time for us to explore this process in real. We had the task to design an app for students which makes the life for them easier. With several contraints we knew what we have to do. So, we did some user interviews, put some ideas together, did the design principles, defined the user journey and in the end, we had to present our idea.


It was really interesting to learn more about this desing sprint and to get some first-hand experiences.

Third day of the preparatory seminar 2017

Today the motto was “expand your mind”.  the whole delegation went to Zurich and Berne to visit Google and the U.S. Embassy.



Dr. Javier Bargas welcomed us at the Google campus in Zurich. He holds a PhD in Cognitive Psychology. Since 2012 he leads the Video Ads UX research team at Google in Zurich and San Francisco. Before joining Google, he was the manager of the HCI lab at the University of Basel (Switzerland). He published over 25 peer reviewed papers in HCI journals and conferences, covering topics such as user satisfaction, mental models in website perception, website aesthetics, webform usability and internationalization of products.


Firstly, we got a tour through the office. We saw a lot of interesting way to design a special workspace. Fun fact, every employee in Zurich needs to be within 100 feet walking distance to the nearest coffee and snack bar. To enable and encourage the work-life-balance, Google provides hairdressers, massages, fitness centers and playing rooms for their employees.


After the coffee break in one of Google’s many coffee bars, Dr. Javier Bargas talked about what makes a product great and how important a user centered design is. The product needs to be accessible, usable and understandable for a lot of customers, thus, the design of a product is essential. Lastly, he presented us the process of how a real case project at Google is started and how the corporate culture is lived.

© Google

We thank Google and especially Dr. Javier Bargas for their time and effort to show us their work environment and giving us a glimps of how it is to work for the tech giant.


U.S. Embassy

In the afternoon, the delegation visited the official United States Embassy in Berne. We were welcomed by Stephanie Morimura, Alexander Sigrist and Kim Hunziker. During an introduction, we learned what the main tasks of an Embassy are. These are the followings:

  • Official representation of the U.S. government
  • Diplomatic relations between two countries
  • Protect and help U.S. citizens
  • Represent interests of the United States regarding education, development, political and financial affairs
  • Explain U.S. policies

It was very interesting to hear how the diplomatic system in the U.S. works. For example, there are two different diplomats in the State Department: Career Diplomats and political appointed Ambassadors. After 3 years in one country, a career diplomat must change the country and task. So, you should love changes!

Thank you very much for having us at the U.S. Embassy and answering all our questions.

Tomorrow we will have an interesting day with talks from Autexis, Swissmem and Credit Suisse.

San Francisco – Day 6

Ecosystem Venture

On our last day in San Francisco connectUS went to visit Ecosystem Venture. Alexander Fries welcomed the delegation in Tim Draps Hero City where Ecosystem Ventures as well as other companies are located. Alexander is a Swiss citizen from Davos who founded and cofounded several companies. He explained to the delegation the different stages of investment when a company at series A or B and what that means for an investor.


Secondly he introduced the different sources for funds you can approach namely; Microfunds, Angel Investors, Accelerators or Crowdfunding. Ecosystem Venture focuses on seed or early stage investments.


Finally he listed 81 facts of what happens to entrepreneurs if they start a company and showed us the biggest mistakes that can kill a start up.

During the onsite trip we had the chance to listen to a big variety of entrepreneurs working in different fields. Once again it was very interesting to hear another perspective and Alexanders honesty was very refreshing.


Afterwards we went to the Google visitor center where we explored its campus by bike.



The last stop of the day was the Intel Museum where we got an isight about the development of computers.