The Google APMs come to Paris

Today we had a visit from the latest cohort of the Google Associate Product Manager program. If that rings a bell, it’s the program set up by Marissa Meyer and discussed at length in Steven Levy’s In The Plex. There’s also plenty online describing what amounts to a clever program of onboarding brilliant young grads and quickly immersing them in challenging projects.

And, of course, the cool bit is the round-the-world trip that aims to expose the future product managers (and future executives/startup founders) to a global perspective on tech. I love this aspect of influential diversity as well as the chance for the increasingly larger cohorts to bond in cross-departmental shared experiences.

After all, 50 new Googlers zooming around the world together is bound to spark friendships and embed a certain culture of thinking to the macro scale. Which is the same kind of strategy that startups such as ours employ for team genesis and sheer immersion. You can get a bit of a taste for that camaraderie from one of the videos shot and edited by Eric Lu (another of the APM cohort).

What I really enjoyed was learning that there were some Australians in the team. While I didn’t bump into them on my last visit to the Sydney office, it’s a small community back home and overlapping neworks is always a given.

What I found interesting was that emerging developer talent was enthusiastic about documentation, and name checked Sarah Maddox. Sarah is a wonderful talent in technical communication that has been pushing into some interesting areas of API documentation right across Google’s internal developer teams (and her seemingly inexhaustible public schedule as well).

I first encountered Sarah in her Atlassian days, running a community docs sprint that I’d been attempting to pitch as something Red Hat should do. Since then, I’ve loved hearing where the various documentation talents end up, and what ripples they make in what I’m increasingly thinking of as a necessary focus on not just writing books, but leading the charge in terms of increased awareness of Developer Experience (DX). Something I’m thinking a lot about lately.

But for now, it’s just encouraging and interesting to meet such a diverse cross-section of tech culture. I look forward to seeing what everyone works on (and works on next… startups included).