O-Hoy! Shane Went Cruisin’ on a Google Pirate Ship

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Shane O’Connell, co-founder of Hacktivate and Auckland Dojo resident, flew over to Sydney at the end of February for a two-day Google Student Ambassador Summit.

“It was an annual intensive summit where they taught us about Google products. There are sixty Google Student Ambassadors in Australasia, who all came together for the summit,” Shane explains, “In total, there are around 1,500 Student Ambassadors in the world.”

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The purpose of the summit is to make the ambassadors familiar with the Google brand and products. The students then act as liaisons between their universities and Google, organizing student events and sharing information about Google products. They then report back to Google with feedback from the students about the products.

Last year was the first time the programme was run in Australasia. Shane has been a Student Ambassador both years.

During the first year he ran events and workshops with other Student Ambassadors, some of which had Google engineers from Sydney come and speak to the students about what was happening at Google. Here he is caught on video last year.


On the first day of this year’s summit, after checking in to a hotel booked for them next to the Google office, they met up with a bunch of “Googlers”. That’s what they call Google employees. Google marketing and product management employees held presentations for the ambassadors about the company’s marketing angle, and a wide variety of products, such as Google Apps for Education.

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“One of the most interesting things for me was to hear from the product managers, who are in charge of managing teams of Googlers who are making a difference on a large range of products. They also went through the experience of what it’s like to work at Google and the awesome culture there,” Shane says.

On the last night of the summit, the ambassadors were taken out for a sail around the harbour on a pirate ship.

“On the back of the pirate ship were laser shotguns and we shot flying claybird targets with it. There was an open bar and you could climb up the mast to see the view,” Shane says, “It was a really nice ending to the event.”

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Now – not that getting to shoot lasers into the Sydney night sky from the deck of a pirate ship isn’t pretty sweet – what else is in it for the ambassadors?

“You get a really good community of talented people that you can access. I’ve got friends all over the world now through the programme. It’s grown my network exponentially. Wherever I go, I can just ping the Google Ambassador in that city, and I’m instantly tapped into the local likeminded community,” Shane praises, “I also got given a Chromebook!”

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P.S. Hey, Dojoers!

Shane also has experience with Google Apps for Business, and is working toward becoming an authorized reseller. He is happy to run free short training / consulting sessions for residents who want to effectively streamline their business practices through Google Apps. If you’re interested, hit him up at shane@summerofdev.co.nz or tap him on the shoulder at the office!