Everyone knows the company, but few get an inside look at one of the world’s most recognizable and successful sites. If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to keep YouTube’s colossal online video machine running, apparently it involves sleeping pods, slides, mini golf and lots of greenery.
Not too shabby for a company that first started out above a pizza joint in San Mateo. But those were the pre-Google days. Post-acquisition, in 2008, the company relocated to some fancy digs in San Bruno, settling into a space originally designed by William McDonough + Partners for Gap Inc. Huntsman Architectural Group in San Francisco stepped in and outfitted the space for YouTube.
You can tell a lot about a business by the workspace it commissions. Here, the open loft-like interior reflects the collaborative environment valued by the company. There are also tons of seating, common areas and even white-boarded walls, to encourage community, casual interaction and on-the-fly brainstorming. Of course, not everything is geared around work — there are snack bars, rooms filled with toys and gadgets and even a miniature golf green. Accenting this unusual place are “Energy Pods” for quick cat naps; a giant three-person, three-floor slide; and a 70,000 square foot green roof. (PG&E named it the second most energy-efficient office building in California.)
Jealous? Yeah, me too. But at least the next time YouTube hangs, we’ll know why. Somewhere deep inside the company’s HQ, the fella responsible for hitting some crucial switch is probably oversleeping in his nappy pod.