Seattle, Washington Pt. 2, Company Visits (September 2017)

If you’re an entrepreneur, in practice or at heart, I implore you to set apart time for company visits when traveling. Stretch your mind to a completely new dimension of doing business and discover opportunities to tweak yours for the better. The least that can happen is that you bring along a bright picture of the future to draw inspiration from.

GATES FOUNDATION

Bill and Melinda Gates are two of the world’s most passionate philanthropists, supporting numerous causes to elevate lives and create a sustainable future for the world’s population.

The building housed an interactive installation, designed for the visitor to walk out empowered, humbled and inspired to make the world a better place. Each exhibit asked you to participate: I contributed an idea to improve education, wrote a letter for the women who suffered abuse, helped bag a medical-supply kit. I understood so much about child trafficking, gender inequality, lack of quality healthcare, and more deep-rooted, age-old issues in pocketed parts of the globe. Forgive me for being ignorant, but here are few of the things that were so new to me:

  • In Africa, mothers don’t have access to maternal care and delivery, and babies are seldom vaccinated for protection against harmful diseases.
  • Organizations specialize in training midwives, empowering mothers in impoverished countries.
  • In a study by The Girl Effect (girleffect.org), young girls in poverty get married at 12, get pregnant at 15, and if they survive childbirth, sell their body to make money.

I often saw documentaries, news stories and award-winning movies about the situation in Africa but I always felt detached, helpless in thinking about ways to really help out apart from sending in a donation. That day, though, I felt more involved, more responsible, more driven to be part of the solution. I am now one step closer to achieving my UN-ambassador dreams. Nyaha, I kid.

To this day, I won’t forget the one-of-a-kind experience that struck a chord in my being to stay aware of the small activities that make a big difference when done consistently.

 

THE AMAZING WORLD OF AMAZON

I wanted for innovation to sprinkle itself upon me, like pixie dust.

This facility happened to be the origin of a new era, the birthplace of Amazon, as it first held office in a spare room in a state hospital.

Look at what stands today: this is just one of the many structures on a chunk of land that makes up ‘Amazon Town’, and also, one of two ‘spheres’, resembling the Flower Domes of Singapore, only, private to Amazon employees. Ugh?

Beside the domes, I got to see the inside of the flagship Amazon Go! Store before its official launch. I talked to the gatekeeper (lol, as it wasn’t ready for the public yet), asked them when they plan to expand to the Philippines, and concluded with a chuckle as I suggested it might take about ten years for that to happen.

That is just 1/100th of Seattle’s creative magic.

 

Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)

If you arrive in a museum an hour before closing, chances are you would go straight to the most exciting attraction in the building. But not me. I would casually stroll through the exhibits orderly fashion, read up every description there is to be read about the town’s rich history (and forget all about it an hour later) and run to the Bezos Center for Innovation with just fifteen minutes left to spare. Bad. Idea.

Nevertheless, I managed to take pictures of the descriptions for me to read on my way home. My mind exploded, much like it did when I went to Silicon Valley a month before. There exists innovative cities, ways to keep innovation alive as a company grows, unconventional processes that spark wonderful ideas and spur collaboration, restless minds who came up with brilliant solutions to big problems. Allow some of my pictures to take you through it (click on the thumbnails to zoom in):

As I live in a third-world country, it’s easy to sink deep into the old thought process, “if it isn’t broken, why fix it?” Though I believe that plenty of the country’s problems could be solved with creative thinking and attention to data.

 

BOEING @ EVERETT PARK

Boy, did I know nothing, and I mean NOTHING about aviation before I participated in this tour.

You know how it is when you learned about something that blew your mind that you temporarily become the thing’s biggest fan for about thirty-minutes. I contemplated buying out the store. Thankfully, I put down most of what I got as I approached the till–something that often happens when shopping: emotions die down when my wallet cries out.

The fandom wasn’t over when I left the gift shop. My aunt and uncle probably didn’t expect their overly-curious niece to read about different types of propellers, and spend over ten minutes in an exhibit trying to differentiate carbon fiber and other mixes for airplane parts, like a five-year-old at a playhouse for the first time.

 

IMPACT HUB

I signed up for a tour at a local co-working space with an international network. I wasn’t new to the concept but it was my first time to visit a shared office of this size, with almost five floors for independents and small companies to spend most of their time. Conference rooms, phone booths, event spaces, and common areas filled the building, each designed with attention to functionality, ergonomics, and aesthetics.

If you find this interesting, I wrote about a recent trip to Silicon Valley, too.

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