Three Years of Misery Inside Google, the Happiest Company in Tech

kakaman's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 713

https://www.wired.com/story/inside-google-three-ye...
This is a pretty long read, but after reading the full article, I think we need to be concerned with the future of the company. Every company is diverse, but I've never heard of companies literally killing off strategic initiatives due to protesting by its employee base. What's next, employees protesting Cloud because of privacy issues?

Comments (21)

Aug 15, 2019

It looks like Google was destined to rot from within from the very beginning. Can Silicon Valley survive if they try to marry capitalism with social justice? Too idealistic?

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the former Montessori kids who founded Google as Stanford grad students in the late '90s, had designed their company's famously open culture to facilitate free thinking. Employees were "obligated to dissent" if they saw something they disagreed with, and they were encouraged to "bring their whole selves" to work rather than check their politics and personal lives at the door.

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Aug 15, 2019

I think Bridgewater does something similar and they definitely have a unique workforce to say the least. But still, the CEO is the CEO and if you are changing the direction of the long term future of the company based on protests, the company is not going to survive. Google had to sell Boston Dynamics because of the gov't link. Imagine if they still had it in their portfolio, the company would be so much stronger than it is now

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Aug 16, 2019
Bizkitgto:

It looks like Google was destined to rot from within from the very beginning. Can Silicon Valley survive if they try to marry capitalism with social justice? Too idealistic?

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the former Montessori kids who founded Google as Stanford grad students in the late '90s, had designed their company's famously open culture to facilitate free thinking. Employees were "obligated to dissent" if they saw something they disagreed with, and they were encouraged to "bring their whole selves" to work rather than check their politics and personal lives at the door.

From the article, the problem seems to stem from Google moving away from their "obligation to dissent" as opposed to "rotting away from the beginning."

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Aug 16, 2019

Correct, the issue is that it's an echo chamber.

Aug 15, 2019

Every successful company has a strong culture, but big tech is a unique breed.

I used to work at a FAANG firm. The culture there was non-stop liberal virtue signaling. Employees constantly talked about politics at work, made jokes bashing Republicans (and obviously Trump), and discussions frequently veered off into whether a project was targeting the "right" demographics. Most of the people were unpleasant to work with, as they saw themselves as morally superior to those who disagreed with them. Could not be happier that I left.

On an unrelated note to MBA students: DO NOT work at FAANG.

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Aug 15, 2019

Well the biggest reason MBAs shouldn't work at FAANGs is because developers run the company. MBAs will never be in a position to make decisions at FAANG. Also they are pretty expendable, as shown with what happened at Amazon a couple years back

Aug 15, 2019

Pretty sure people in product run things..

Most Helpful
Aug 15, 2019
kakaman:

Well the biggest reason MBAs shouldn't work at FAANGs is because developers run the company. MBAs will never be in a position to make decisions at FAANG. Also they are pretty expendable, as shown with what happened at Amazon a couple years back

Correct. I did not want to get into a long discussion in this thread since that is a bit off topic. But here are my thoughts in a nutshell.

  1. As you said, FAANG is run by the software engineers. MBAs with technical background can have influence as product managers, but that is dependent on the role and group. But even within FAANG, there is variance. FB+Google are extremely developer centric while Amazon+Microsoft+Apple is where MBAs can have more influence in shaping projects. A good example is the corporate development team at Amazon, which is quite important, as it does not report to any engineering team and is responsible for all acquisitions.
  2. FAANG comp has limited upside compared to banking/PE/consulting. The engineers are the ones who make insane amounts of money, not the MBAs.
  3. You don't acquire transferable skillset. You work on a narrow product/feature and become a micromanager. Or if you are in finance or marketing, you may get to manage a P&L or a marketing project, but you certainly don't get the comprehensive exposure that you would in banking/consulting.
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Aug 16, 2019

Agree

Aug 16, 2019

it is always difficult for business grads to figure out really what to do at tech companies.

Only so many product manager / corp dev roles around.

Aug 15, 2019

It is called Silicon Valley for a reason.

Aug 15, 2019

If you're that concerned about discrimination about your political views, couldn't you always just not express them in the office?
All of this noise is just a manufactured distraction to cover up the more alarming issue: There is a very real risk that Google's advances in AI will lead to Skynet!

Array

Aug 16, 2019

1

But look at our smile.

Come on, who loves ya baby?

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Aug 16, 2019
reformed:

If you're that concerned about discrimination about your political views, couldn't you always just not express them in the office?

Read the article. It's quite good, IMO.

Google had a culture in which they supported you bringing your political views, as well as your other personal viewpoints, to work and explicitly expressing them. This worked...until it didn't.

Aug 16, 2019
CRE:

This worked...until it didn't.

Same thing happened with Skynet, Irobot, Westworld, 2001 a Space Odyssey, the Matrix... the list just keeps going... There is so much historical precedent, that it's just flat out disturbing that Google isn't treading more carefully.

Array

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Aug 16, 2019
kakaman:

https://www.wired.com/story/inside-google-three-ye...
This is a pretty long read, but after reading the full article, I think we need to be concerned with the future of the company. Every company is diverse, but I've never heard of companies literally killing off strategic initiatives due to protesting by its employee base. What's next, employees protesting Cloud because of privacy issues?

I read that two days ago and thought it was one of the more interesting articles I've read lately.

I have the opposite takeway though. If anything, the article talks about how Google is making a harder press toward the bottom line and away from left-leaning politics.

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Aug 16, 2019

ok

Aug 17, 2019
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