Grand Designs: A Look Into the Business Giants of Silicon Valley

Grand Designs: A Look Into the Business Giants of Silicon Valley

With so many Silicon Valley-based companies valued into the billions, the region has become synonymous with success. It draws both plucky entrepreneurs and established business owners, and there’s a sense that setting up residence here might just cause some of the magic to rub off on those who are innovative and determined enough to make a success of it.

As well as the irresistible draw of VC investment (for both domestic business and international businesses exploring the US market with the assistance of companies such as Foothold America), Silicon Valley offers swathes of highly skilled workers with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  But, it’s a hyper-competitive place to ‘set up shop’, so to speak, and its 443,000+ employees are only interested in working for the most generous employers of all.

Here’s a top-level peek into some of the business giants of Silicon Valley, just to give a sense of scale of the kinds of business that are operating here…


Evernote is an app that serves as a note-taker, syncing up across all your devices and operating systems. It’s a popular app and an essential tool if you’re serious about staying organised, be it professionally or personally.

But it isn’t just customers raving about Evernote – its employees are very happy too. Phones are banned in the office (given that everyone has a mobile phone anyway – paid for by the company), and submarine-inspired ‘officer training’ is the norm, ensuring that everyone has a rough idea of how to do everyone else’s job. Evernote also offers a professional house-cleaning service to alleviate pressure from an employee’s household, with a cleaner coming round twice a month.

But, the most interesting perk of all is that Evernote offer unlimited vacation time, as long as employees get the job done. “We want to treat employees like adults, and we don’t want being in the office to seem like a punishment,” Phil Libin told the New York Times. In addition, employees are given $1,000 spending money if they take at least a week off at a time – showing just how dedicated Evernote is to encouraging its employees to use this kind of flexibility.


However, it isn’t just vacation time that counts in Silicon Valley. Intuit – a company that specialises in financial, accounting and tax preparation software – is home to some of the happiest employees in all of California. With a five-star rating on Glassdoor, Intuit is famed for its inclusive culture. “Being able to be openly gay and bring my whole self to work is one of the reasons I love working here,” says one employee. “I worked at a company where that wasn’t possible—I had to check that part of me at the door. I don’t have to do that here, and that makes a huge difference. I feel accepted and valued, and I love what I do.”

Intuit – a company that specialises in financial, accounting and tax preparation software – is home to some of the happiest employees in all of California

In addition, 9% of employees say that they feel good about the way the company contributes to the community, new mothers and fathers are given eight weeks paid leave when they have a baby (unlike most US companies), and employees are also given $650 a month to use towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle, putting the money towards gym memberships, personal trainers and life coaches.

With perks and a culture like this, Intuit is ranked within the Top 20 Best Large Workplaces in Southern California 2017, and ranks No.9 in the world for the best workplaces for women in 2017.


You couldn’t look into Silicon Valley’s business giants without taking a look at Google – the search engine of choice for more than 1.17 billion people. Employees give Google 4.4 out of 5 stars on Glassdoor, and it holds the No.4 position on Glassdoor’s Best Place to Work list.

In addition to overnight ski trips, access to volleyball courts and 24/7 gyms, employees are also given three meals a day completely free of charge. Google also offers free cooking classes, talks from a diverse range of speakers (including the likes of Ryan Reynolds and Lady Gaga, as well as senior Google managers for talks specifically about the company), and a ‘20% time’ policy which encourages Googlers to use 20% of their time to pursue their ‘passion projects’ on the side.

But in addition to all of this, Google’s ‘death policy’ is one of the most appealing perks to working for this Silicon Valley giant. If an employee dies, not only does their stock immediately vest, but their partner receives half of the salary for 10 years, plus $1,000 a month for any children of the relationship until the child is 19 (or 23, if they’re in full-time education). And most remarkably of all? There’s no tenure requirement – every employee is entitled to this benefit from the day they start.

Of course, all these benefits are only possible due to the fact that these companies turn over such high profits to begin with. But, they’re investing where it counts, knowing that it costs less to keep an employee than it does to find a new one. So, might you have what it takes to compete in Silicon Valley? Might your company be ranked among these giants one day?