Spring Break in the Valley: Days 4 and 5

Author: Notre Dame ESTEEM

Sean McGee is reporting from ESTEEM’s Spring Break trip to Silicon Valley each day this week.

Students enjoy learning from IDEO speaker, Dennis Boyle

On Thursday, we visited SAP, including a tour of their AppHaus, a boutique business software solutions provider that has served a Chinese fashion magazine and the German national soccer team. The firm has undergone a cultural shift, becoming less like a conventional corporation and more agile like a startup. Michael Brown, the Vice President of Global User Experience and Design, talked to us about SAP Ventures, their investment side.

We also visited IDEO, where we toured the main offices and talked with Dennis Boyle, a co-founder and General Partner, about how design can be used to help people in the developing world.

Afterwards, some of toured Intuitive Surgical, a medical device company that creates robotic surgical systems, while others visited Plug and Play Tech Center, a global tech accelerator that has been involved in more than 300 startups and was one of the founding investors of Google.

Later, we attended a networking event at the home of Richard and Barbara Pivnicka, the honorary consulate of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. Buddy Burke, a communication instructor and specialist for Apple Inc., gave a talk on public speaking. ESTEEM students James Sallee, Derek Athy, Ben Hoggan, James Hodgens, Chris Genco, and I gave impromptu speeches to demonstrate his techniques.

On Friday, we wrapped up the trip with a visit to the Tesla Motors manufacturing plant in Fremont, Calif.