Day 4 – San Francisco

We spent our fourth day in the Silicon Valley. So, everbody was really looking forward to this day.


Swisscom Outpost

Our first stop was at the Swisscom Outpost. Lukas Peter, CEO of this outpost and a Swiss guy, welcomed us at their office. It was founded in 1998 and has nowadays 10 employees. He told us that each start-up from Europe has to go to the USA for going globaly in the future – otherwise they would fail.




Furthermore, Lukas spoke about the difference in doing business between the USA and Switzerland. For example, you only have plans for the next 2 weeks and not any longer in the USA. Whereas in Switzerland, you have plans for the next 2 or 3 months. Another example is the risk aversion. In Silicon Valley is the motto „do new things – you can fail, but you will fail forward“. In Switzerland, you want to stay by the traditional way and you do not want to fail at all.




We had the great opportunity to have lunch at Microsoft in Mountain View. Paul Singh welcomed us again, together with Jarek Kazmierczak and Rajya Bhaiya. After a great lunch, we heard a presentation about Artificial Intelligence from Jarek. The most interesting point was that the digital revolution is the next industrial revolution. That means, the digital revolution is more powerful than all others.

Afterwards, we could try out HoloLenses. These are augmented reality lenses which combine the virtual world with the real world. Due to these lenses, virtual objects can be placed in three dimensional space. It was absolutely fabulous and something unique.

Stanford University

Our last stop was at the famous Stanford University. We could walk around by our-selves and see this enormous campus which is like a city.


We are very happy to announce that we published the second Nexus Newsletter today!

The FHNW International Student Projects Insight ChinaFocus IndiaconnectUS, and exploreASEAN have created a corporate newsletter to share the highlights of the onsite seminar.

Fifteen years ago, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) pioneered with International Student Projects (ISP). The ISPs are organised by students for students, which enables more students than ever to travel abroad and get first-hand experiences as well as insights in what we did this year.

We hope you will enjoy reading through the Nexus Newsletter.

San Francisco – Day 4


This morning connectUS 2016 went to YouTubes headquarter. Rodrigo de Oliveira who works for YouTube since two and a half year works in the field of user experience research guided us through his workplace.


Rodrigo gave us some insight about how YouTube wants to achieve its mission that is to create a platform for people around the world to share their stories. He introduced to us the three major players in the YouTube environment that are creators „YouTubers“, viewers and advertisers. YouTube is constantly working on improving its products and overcome challenges by understanding the behavior and needs of the consumers. After Rodrigos presentation we had the opportunity to walk around and see peoples workplace at YouTube.



We have been really excited about our second company visit of today! We had the great opportunity to visit the outpost of Swisscom in Silicon Valley.


Gregory Leproux, VP Business Development Enterprise, welcomed us warmly at the office of Swisscom. He started his presentation with an overview about the ecosystem of Silicon Valley with its major players thar are university like Stanford or Berkeley, enterprises and governments.

There is no magic recipe for big companies to be innovative but that is why most big corporations have spin offs that focus on developping new ideas. In comparison to the Boston area, the number of startup spin offs within the same company are way higher in Silicon Valley.


Swisscom has a competitive advantage as they are the only Swiss telecommunication company that has its outpost here. Swisscom established its US outpost in Menlo Park in 1998. The first mission of the outpost was to observe and to know where the trends are going as well as knowing where the company wants to be in the future. Their key to success is a close collaboration with the business unit in Switzerland when introducing a new and innovative idea. Their approach is structures into the following phases following a flow: Preparation in Switzerland, incubation and solution design in Silicon Valley and finally acceleration in Switzerland.


Their working culture is highly influenced by a huge sense of collaboration. Their work in a collaborative environment, whether it be in the sense of co-creation with startups or coopetition with big corporations in the market by exchanging best business practices.

The main reasons for Swisscom to have an outpost in Silicon Valley are observing the area to find the unknown, to be ahead of the competitor as well as exploring new territory that can bear new business opportunities. Swisscom sees the Silicon Valley as a source for value creation.


The last company visit was at Coinalytics a Silicon Valley startup operating in the Bitcoin and Blockchain ecosystem. The company was founded by Fabio Federici and James Edwards two years ago. Fabio welcomed us at his office in Silicon Valley were he works with his team composed of 6 members.


Their vision is that one day no banks will be needed anymore because there will be public financial networks were no cost of entry will be needed. Being part of that change is their drive while developing their product.

Coinalytics enables enterprises to derive real-time business intelligence and risk assessment from blockchains and decentralized applications.


They can be perceived as game changer in their specific work environment because they had a very focused and horizontal use case. Last but not least one of the most important thing are the people that are able to execute the idea and are the magic sauce.

San Francisco

Only 3 days left until we are heading to the U.S.!

The last city we are going to introduce to you is SAN FRANCISCO and we are really proud of it since it is the first time in the history of connectUS that a project team could manage to bring the delegation to the west coast!

San Francisco, with its famous cable cars (in the picture below), is located in the state California and is right on the pacific. San Francisco is known as the cultural, commercial, and financial center of Northern California and is at the same time the smallest city within the state California.

San Francisco

A highlight for the whole project is of course Silicon Valley which is located at the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area. Silicon Valley is home to many of the world’s largest high-tech corporations like Apple, Google and Facebook as well as of thousands startups. Therefore we are really excited to go and visit there some great companies like Youtube, Mozilla, Zynga and of course the outpost of Swisscom.

Another great opportunity we got is to visit Swissnex again in San Francisco and we really look forward to it.

The members of the delegation could decide if they want to participate in a guided city tour or a visit to Alcatraz to get some closer insights and spend some leisure time in San Francisco.

If you are interested in getting some more and detailed insights into our project and the On-Site trip check our blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to be updated.

Third day of the connectUS 2016 Preparatory Seminar


On the third day of the Preperatory Seminar we have been on the road to visit the US Embassy and Swisscom (Headquarter).

Importance of the US – Swiss Relationship (Suzan G. LeVine (Ambassador) // Embassy of the United States)

Today we had the great opportunity to visit the US Ambassador Suzan Le Vine with her husband Eric in their residence at the Embassy of the United States in Berne. Suzan Le Vine took up her position as the United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein in June 2014.

Suzan started her talk with a focus on the currently running presidential elections – obviously one of the most important topics in the United States right now. She focused on how the election system works, also compared to Switzerland. She additionally explained in detail what the important factors are to really make an advantage to other candidates. One of them is to successfully start and continue grassroot movements: Build small communities of candidate supporters which then spread the candidate’s message to as many people as possible.„It’s a marathon, not a sprint“, as US-ambassador Suzi LeVine says.


Further the ambassador highlighted the importance of the economical collaboration between Switzerland and the US and answered question regarding her work with the elaboration of apprenticeship programs in the United States.

We really want to point out that it was a honor for us to visit the Embassy of the United States in Switzerland and we are sure the connectUS delegation will remember this morning as very inspiring and we feel humbled to had the opportunity to meet such an experienced, energized and powerful woman with a great husband at her side.

Human Centered Design with Company Visit (Alexander Farga and Sabine Hug // Swisscom)
In the afternoon of the third day of our preparatory seminar we were warmly welcomed by Sabine Lengacher at the Swisscom headquarter in Bern. Sabine works as an Intern at Swisscom’s HR & University Marketing department and led us into the holy halls of creativity, more exactly into the brain gym. The brain gym is one of the creative meeting rooms on the „Human Centered Design“ floor. Their employees have the possibility to discuss, present or exchange ideas in a very pleasant environment.


The following company visit with an introduction into the „Human Centered Design“ was hold by Alexander Farga and Sabine Hug. They showed and explained us how the philosophy of the Human Centred Desing has influenced the arrangement of working areas for the employees. The tour gave insight into a culture which is highly influenced by the values of an open communication, being innovative and creative with the import principle of giving constructive feedback.

But being innovative and seeking for creative solutions that are based on the needs of the consumer, go beyond the borders of one department. They have one big meeting room that is designed to offer workspaces so that project responsibles of different departments can work together. They are also free to rearrange the rooms, depending on their needs. Offering such an working environment helps that employees are able to be close to each other, increases their exchange and fosters innovation.

The concept of Human Centered Design where first applied at the Swisscom office in Sillicon Valley and we are absolutely excited now to have the chance to do a second company visit during our onsight trip in San Francisco in March.