1

I'm a norwegian, headed for the 2015 CES show in Las Vegas in january. We're landing at LAX and we're renting a car. I'm VERY interested in software, hardware and everything that has to do with computers, phones, tablets, etc.

I was wondering if there was a few companies that develop software - for instance games, apps, desktop software, etc that there might be a chance we could visit?

I've been mailing Activision and DICE but I couldn't find an email address to Activision and DICE has yet to answer.

It would be of huge help if you can list the companies you know in LA, Silicon Valley or between those two.

closed as too broad by Gagravarr, Mark Mayo, Karlson, Dirty-flow, VMAtm Nov 23 '14 at 17:31

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • @pnuts sorry, but what do you mean by trade directory? – Erik Nov 20 '14 at 18:39
  • 1
    Wow, yeah, that list could be hundreds long. Sorry, too broad a question for SE rules under help center. – Mark Mayo Nov 20 '14 at 21:03
  • 1
    @Erik Unless you are planning to spend an extra 4-5 days to make this trip, may I make a friendly suggestion to reconsider the plan? The drive from LAX to LV is about 4-5 hours, LV to San Jose is about 7-8 hours, and San Jose back to LAX is another 5-6 hours. Most of the drive between those cities is extremely boring (through desert or farmland/ranches— unless you add an hour or two in order to drive Pacific Coast Highway), and I-15 and I-5 are subject to heavy traffic. A one-way flight LAS-SJC or from SJC-LAX starts at around 70 USD. – choster Nov 21 '14 at 2:28
  • 1
    @Erik Perhaps more to the point, consider attractions in Las Vegas or LA, and forget about the Bay Area. Zappo's isn't a tech company per se, but they're at least a famous Internet company, in Las Vegas, and available for public headquarters tours. Further afield in San Diego, there is the Qualcomm Museum, if you have any friends who work for Qualcomm. The biggest-name tech firms in LA are Hulu, Snapchat, Machinima, eHarmony, and LegalZoom, and none offer public access. – choster Nov 21 '14 at 2:36
  • 1
    I don't think the question is so bad, it's not asking about software companies in general but software companies that organize visits for the public. Some industrial corporations do offer such tours of their facilities (power plants, car makers, food industry…) but at the same time, most do not. So the question is reasonable and pointing to a business directory or the fact that there are many companies in the area does not address it at all. – Relaxed Nov 21 '14 at 8:11
6

None of the major software companies based in the San Francisco Bay Area (including Silicon Valley) appear to offer tours to the general public; I looked up Google, Facebook, Apple, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, eBay, Symantec, Intuit, and Salesforce.com.

The larger firms like Google and Apple have campuses, parts of which are open to the public; however, you generally would not be allowed inside the buildings except as part of a prearranged visit such as a job interview or vendor presentation. Organized tours are only offered in a few circumstances; Oracle offers them to prospective employees, for example, but HP has no such thing at all. The Silicon Valley Guide will tell you where you can find things if you just want to take a picture next to a sign, or next to Google's lawn sculptures

As someone who has worked in software for some years, there is not much to see inside the buildings. Yes, the big firms have some impressive breakrooms, but the buildings, ultimately, are offices, not playgrounds. And for that matter, the buildings are not much to see on the outside, either— utilitarian, modern and postmodern office blocks surrounded by lawns, shrubs, and parking lots.

The most-recommended "geek" attraction is the Computer History Museum in Sunnyvale (though I myself have never been); some others are listed in Computer geek tourist attractions in the San Francisco Bay Area & Silicon Valley? There is also the Intel Museum in Santa Clara, and Apple has a store on its campus, if those companies hold any particular interest.

  • 2
    @neubert I mention the Apple store in my last sentence. – choster Nov 20 '14 at 22:51
  • I dunno. Both Apple and Microsoft in Silicon Valley used to allow visitors if they were accompanying an employee. I know this because I went with friends I met on my last trip to the US to each of them back in 2000. Rules may have changed since those days. – hippietrail Nov 21 '14 at 10:30
  • @choster is it possible to visit the Facebook HQ and the Facebook datacenter there? Even though we may not get inside, do you know what the address is? – Erik Nov 27 '14 at 12:05
  • You can visit the Facebook campus; the headquarters building is at 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, CA 94025. I cannot imagine you would be allowed inside any data centers. My company is less than one ten-thousandth the size of Facebook and we have armed guards at our data center; after all, what is inside is far more valuable than gold. – choster Nov 28 '14 at 5:44
4

Blizzard Entertainment (known for Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft and other games) in Irvine, CA, offers tours, but only on a limited basis. If you're interested, you should contact them as soon as possible, as

Spots are limited and booked months in advance, so we recommend signing up on the waitlist for more information on availability and dates.

  • I once took a tour to Blizzard as part of a summer game developer "camp" of sorts. Definitely worth the visit! – Thebluefish Nov 22 '14 at 1:15
  • @MichaelHampton is it possible to visit the Facebook HQ and the Facebook datacenter there? Even though we may not get inside, do you know what the address is? – Erik Nov 27 '14 at 12:06
2

You could try doing meetups. For example...

http://www.meetup.com/sfhtml5/

There's a Nov 24 meetup at the Google San Francisco offices and another on Dec 12. January is probably a bit too far away for meetup's to be currently scheduled so maybe check the closer to CES that you get.

Other examples:

http://www.meetup.com/TechXploration/

They have a lot of meetup's at PayPal Town Hall (whatever that is).

http://www.meetup.com/gdg-silicon-valley/

They don't meet up at the Googleplex but they do meetup at one of the many Google offices in Mountain View.

Anyway, you get the idea. Just look for meetup groups with lots of members in cities with tech companies you're wanting to visit

  • yeah, thanks;) We've ordered our airline tickets, so it has to be between the 2nd and 9th of January – Erik Nov 21 '14 at 11:23
  • is it possible to visit the Facebook HQ and the Facebook datacenter there? Even though we may not get inside, do you know what the address is? – Erik Nov 27 '14 at 12:06
0

If you're in university, you could try contacting HR/Hiring departments about internships--you'll be in the US for CES, would it be possible to interview or least tour the company while you're there?

Search 'company-name headquarters tour' to see if the big companies already have something in place. Look, giving tours to anyone who shows up means someone isn't doing their regular job--unless the company already makes allowances for it.

This local tour company discusses the issues a bit (most major companies do not offer tours) and suggests other geek destinations.

  • I see, are there are other cool and/or interesting geek places in Silicon Valley that we can visit on our trip? – Erik Nov 21 '14 at 11:25
  • is it possible to visit the Facebook HQ and the Facebook datacenter there? Even though we may not get inside, do you know what the address is? – Erik Nov 27 '14 at 12:07

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.