Miranda Zhao, Class of 2020
With just one backpack, comfy jeans and a T-shirt, I started my 3-day journey at Google Cloud Conference, named “NEXT ‘19” at downtown San Francisco. My purpose of attending the conference was to learn more about the Cloud, including the latest tools and packages, trends, and key industry players; and connect with Cloud leaders.
The content appealed to a variety of audiences with a range of topics, such as ML & AI, Architecture, IoT, Security, and many more. In addition to the keynotes, breakouts, there were also opportunities to get hands-on experience as a developer in the labs. I got a chance to speak to a few Google AI experts and learn about their auto-ML tools that allow business analysts to run models without training in Machine Learning. One of the most exciting products was the integration of Google AI and Salesforce Einstein to improve contact center performance. For example, when a customer calls Hulu and asks to add the live stream sports option to watch the NBA, a news article about the games would pop up, allowing the agent to better engage with the customer. When the customer decides to add this option, Salesforce automatically takes the agent to the appropriate workflow so the task can be completed in a split second.
What I also appreciated was the focus on diversity and inclusion. There was even a “Diversity and Inclusion lounge” where anyone can get a professional headshot, talk to a confidence counselor, or chill and recharge your batteries (literally and figuratively). My favorite event was “Women of Cloud.” Featuring six amazing technologists from Google, this session was an open dialogue to ask hard questions and puts diversity, equity, and inclusion at the forefront from a technical perspective. It was even more interesting when I learned that these speakers were present at last year’s conference in the same panel, and a year later, they shared their experiences of growth and development at Google, and three of them got promoted!
Outside of the more educational and inspirational sessions, my stomach also had a blast. My daily routine would consist of snacks (kale & banana chips + sustainable beef jerky), followed by whatever-you-want lunch (ramen, poke, protein bowl + passion fruit juice + sesame ice cream + bubble tea), and concluded with afternoon snacks (chicken skewers, hummus, frosty beverages). The sky was the limit when it came to food options, all for free! I had to add another bag coming back with all the swags from Google and partners: fancy water bottles, an automatic cellphone cleanser (a mini version of rumba), a company branded lightsaber, and, of course, a Google T-shirt.
Those three days spent in San Francisco was definitely inspiring and fun. As I am organizing the inaugural Booth TechCon held this Friday, I can imagine the huge amount of effort that went into NEXT ’19, but I hope that one day, I can also stand on the stage to introduce my product to a room of audience, or share my journey in tech with the next generation of technologists.