"In one incident, after receiving a complaint from Steve Jobs of Apple, Schmidt sent an email to Google's HR people saying; "I believe we have a policy of no recruiting from Apple and this is a direct inbound request. Can you get this stopped and let me know why this is happening? I will need to send a response back to Apple quickly so please let me know as soon as you can. Thanks Eric". Schmidt's email led to a recruiter for Google being "terminated within the hour" for not having adhered to the illegal scheme. Under Schmidt, there was a "Do Not Call list" of companies Google would avoid recruiting from. According to a court filing, another email exchange shows Google's human resources director asking Schmidt about sharing its no-cold call agreements with competitors. Schmidt responded that he preferred it be shared "verbally, since I don't want to create a paper trail over which we can be sued later?".
Way beyond bad behavior or accidental participant. Flat out collusion.
>there was a "Do Not Call list" of companies Google would avoid recruiting from.
>no-cold call agreements with competitors
This explicitly means that the colluding companies would not try to cold-call recruit from each other. These companies are large employers and provide thousands of jobs, cool. This does not say that they would refuse to hire anyone that worked for a colluding company.
So if someone was working for Apple for a wage they were satisfied with (after all they agreed to the wage when they accepted the position), then Google would not try to call them. If that someone decided to apply to Google and try to get a job there because they wanted a higher salary, then would this collusion work against that person? Or would Google consider them for employment as they would consider any other professional?
The effects on wages for the profession aren't what I'm asking about; I'm asking only about this situation.
The evidence states that the defendants agreed not to poach employees from each other or give them offers if they voluntarily applied, and to notify the current employers of any employees trying to switch between them. They also agreed not to enter into bidding wars and to limit the potential for employees to negotiate for higher salaries.
All this is thanks to the Microsoft anti-trust lawsuit which led Google to choose someone like Schmidt to ingratiate the company with lawmakers to prevent a similar lawsuit.
It's their business model:
More surveillance => most precise profiles on Internet users => most precise ad targeting => higher margin => more $$$
To quote Steve Rambam from HOPE: "If you're angry about what the NSA is doing, you should be furious about what Google and Facebook are doing."
IMHO the Amazon Echo and similar beyond-Orwellian devices will someday be looked back upon with the same amount of "what were they thinking?!!?!" as stuff like: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demon_core
To continue with the nuclear analogy: I've been predicting a privacy/security "Chernobyl" event related to mobile and/or IoT for many years now. It'll be something like a corporate whistleblower revealing that a company has been running all ambient sound from all customers' houses through speech to text for over a year, then putting it all in a database and selling access more or less indiscriminately. Customers, it will come out, will include organized crime, foreign governments, etc., and some of the data will turn out to be from the homes of US Government Secret and Top Secret clearance employees, CXO level corporate personnel, police, etc. Only a matter of time. I'm counting the days.
I'd say by 2020 or so there will be a major well publicized leak or scandal from such a vendor.
It'd be hard to place a bet though, since it'd be hard to decide if/when a bet were actually won.
I'm not sure how other lines of betting work, but interested in proposals.
And, of course, we would have to agree on odds. Eg, if you are really sure you could offer to pay me 5 USD if your prediction comes true, but I'd only have to pay 1 USD otherwise. (Or if I feel more sure, I could offer eg to pay 7 USD for every 4 USD you wager.)
More than corruption, my concerns would be respect and understanding of privacy, checks and balances through neutrality, transparency, and decentralization, and creation of open standards and protocols, etc.
I would not say Schmidt is corrupt, he is acting fully in the interest of his firm or organization. Like a defense attorney helping a murderer avoid jail his actions are broadly ethical, but if you consider in aggregate all of the betrayals of "don't be evil" that Google suffered under his command, it's clear that he is not in any sense a leader in any area where values or principles are important.
Net Neutrality is a perfect example of an issue where Google has a big stake in a particular outcome, and there is nothing idealistic or principled about its advocacy of one side. This is fine as an aspect of the incentives of capitalism, but the scary part is that so many people bought into the propaganda and did not see Google's true motivation.
“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”
Pentagon builds some massive surveillance program for US government which is blatantly illegal and in violation of constitution. You need someone who can get it done without leading a paper trail, help friends in government and then lie when confronted. Eric clearly has all those qualities.
His book on the Pixar team has a lot of useful info, but it's interesting to read it knowing about the collusion to depress salaries.
All I can say is humans are good at compartmentalization. Once some tactic becomes commonplace in an industry, insiders don't even consider it shady any more.
We all need to get paid, and as long as we're not the worst offenders, then at least we're not as bad as those other guys, right?
I know, it sounds paternalistic for the employer to think this and maybe it is better to let the market settle the current salaries/living costs tussle. But my argument is that maybe Catmull had other considerations aside from the business bottom line. The employee pipeline is actually more important.
BTW, how does one go about finding a developer job (not a senior role, have work experience in .NET but I'm willing to do something new) in New York City? I feel like I don't have the connections I need to land a job here. I have a BS in Mathematics and a BS in Computer Science if that helps.
Get real, no one was thinking that way.
Lucas' companies were all merging to one campus.
They later came to me to talk about setting up a design studio in Singapore... the quote from the CIO to me at the time was "Why pay these prima donna salaries for animators here in the states when I can get animators in singapore for $20K per year?"
Globalization is coming for all of our jobs. If we can just make it so that AI gets our jobs first, then maybe the AI will take care of us, 'cause the market sure won't.
That's not how 'Capitalism' (as currently practised) works - the owners of the AI reap the benefits and avoid paying taxes while certainly not taking care of you, why would Walmart AI or Disney AI care about plebs like you?
> Globalization is coming for all of our jobs
As a 3rd worlder, I say it's about time. It's unjust to have the world as your market without having to compete against everyone else. Maybe you should hire whoever is lobbying for American farmers because their subsidies are destroying farming elsewhere.
JabaAI would take care of the plebs. JabaAI loves plebs. I mean wonderful, wonderful people. JabaAI loves them. And everyone loves JabaAI. Because JabaAI is worth a lot of money. JabaAI is success. I hear it every day: "JabaAI, we love you."
Of course, animators can still be cheaper than in the America.
Google discriminating against a person for their past employment without being upfront about is pure evil.
Okay, but I don't see what an e-commerce long-term strategic partner has to do with salary-fixing...
We hire corrupt officials because people allow it. I fail to see what this defeatist attitude solves.
Apathy is the enemy of democracy.
--Thomas Jefferson to Mann Page, 1795. ME 9:306
Today, our government is huge, and has a lot of power. This means that often times the people that get into government aren't doing it as a servant to the people, but instead as a service to themselves.
We need more servants. Viewing this reality and calling it Apathy or not Apathy is a perspective. We are all free to our perspective, and I think the wider variety, the better.
In this case, it's probably best to match the malfeasance with the risk. What do you think he is likely to harm within government program management?
Edit: my original estimate of 15k was way off base. A subsequent poster has suggested it was a minimum of 64,000, probably substantially more.
edit: not really difficult to do, you can compare the salaries per region (averages, median and distributions) pre and post lawsuit.
Where does this number come from? When the wage fixing agreement was canceled, Google immediately issued an across the board raise, and compensation has increase very quickly since then. That's 15k software devs right there, not even considering the second-order effects, which are surely non-zero.
Can you discuss the second-order effects? They're not apparent to me.
Edit: HN isn't allowing me to reply to you. Thanks for correcting my estimate. I was way off.
As for the second order effects, do you know a hiring manager? Ask them about how competitive offers have changed since the no-poach agreement was canceled. The effect is much larger than just having to keep up with the across the board raise Google gave to their employees when the agreement expired, which was itself non-trivial.
Suppose Apple wants to dominate search. One way to do so is to poach every Google search engineer by offering to triple their salaries. These companies agreed not to do that.
Yeah, it's illegal, but what options did these executive have? California effectively bans noncompete clauses. And there's enough money in the system and teams are typically small enough that dismantling a competitor is feasible.
Google Engineer Sarah shouldn't be paid triple Google Engineer Jessie just because she works on a product that's valuable to Competitor X.
Edit: original post not clear enough. Reproducing a reply below:
>The problem was with using money to prevent your competitors from doing business. Doing so subverts the free market.
Suppose every time a competitor rented office space, you bought the building and evicted them.
Suppose Walmart opens a store in SoMa that sells groceries at a tenth of what surrounding stores sell, then jacks prices when those stores fold.
To ELI5: you run a lemonade stand. Your neighbor Susie also has a lemonade stand. Susie's mom doesn't like your parents and wants you to fail, so she pays the store $500 to not sell you lemonades. Yeah, the market price of exclusive lemonade rights is now $500, but unreasonable sums are being spent to prevent competition. Something's wrong.
There are laws against most anticompetitive practices, but not all.
Part of the motivation behind the poaching agreement was filling a gap. You could dismantle a competitor by paying everyone and anyone in their product's critical path to simply not work there anymore.
The solution, an antipoaching agreement, was illegal.
If they want to keep the employee, they absolutely need to match what others are willing to pay. That you suggest otherwise is nonsense in the american job market.
Cheating to get a better price is as you acknowledged, illegal, and most of the time you will find the market begins to even out those weird bumps by creating incentives for others to learn/work on that skillset (because of the higher rewards.)
This is very equivalent to "Well why should we pay engineer X more when they are working the same number of hours as marketing person Y?"
Its a comparison that doesn't make sense unless you want to pretend that the employer does not benefit as a result of the value the employee produces.
If the engineer is 3x more valuable to the other company and not to your bottom line, its an obvious time for that engineer to move, not be made a slave by anti-competitive agreements between employers.
Hopefully you will be able to find someone to work on your product at a price point that your business can derive some value from, but if not, its probable that your business sucks.
Not saying these executives' actions were right. Just that there were considerations other than saving a buck on salaries.
can you provide me an example of when this has ever occurred or are you just speaking of hypotheticals?
I'm skeptical. convince me that it is even possible to poach employees en masse.
So, instead of a Demand-Supply based free market for jobs, you want the same wages for everyone?
I’m sorry, but even for me as a left-leaning european that’s too socialistic.
The problem was with using money to prevent your competitors from doing business. Doing so subverts the free market.
There are laws against most anticompetitive practices, but not all. Part of the motivation behind the poaching agreement was filling a gap. This was illegal.
thats an oxymoron. poaching talent IS competition between companies.
Joking aside #2: could a private company like Google be acquired by US as a key security asset? It seems possible, I found this https://www.quora.com/Can-the-US-government-acquire-private-... helpful.
I've always felt that Google sees privacy solely or largely through the lens of security. You can't have privacy without security, but privacy is more than just security. Online, it's about being tracked in the first place.
Google may have the best encryption and the most secure data storage, but that security and encryption doesn't stop Google from voraciously tracking and recording as much of your online behaviour as they can.
Google has it's digital fingerprints in every corner of the web: from analytics to CDNs, to online accounts that sync your activity on mobile, desktop, tablet, TV and no-doubt more gadgets in the future. They have an entire cloud-based OS that requires immediate sign-in on start-up (and which is heavily promoted in schools).
The amount of data they capture (much of it not even anonymous) is truly staggering. And yet on matters of privacy, they get a completely free ride from the tech community.
You really ought to look into the early history of Google (particularly the Stanford years) before disregarding this point. If you're not an Assange fan, that's OK (I'm not either) -- but other people have done some pretty good research on this.
It's all there, if you want to find it. I'm sure you know how.
That may be obvious to you, but it isn't to most people. Even most people who are uncomfortable with having their "private life in the cloud" make compromises and have large parts of it there.
The Federal government can seize control of private companies through one of two mechanisms:
1. Seize ownership of Google and pay market value (the Takings Clause allows the government to seize private property so long as there is "just compensation.")
2. Declare war, and essentially draft Google's workers into wartime production. This was done extensively during WWII.
For example, Ford motor company only built about 200 automobiles for private use during the entire course of the war because their assembly lines were devoted nearly entirely to wartime production.
I've always seen "Project Zero" and such as a smart PR move: hire some security folks, pay them to break other people's software, publish the results. Improving computer security would be an accidental side-effect.
In the latter half of the 21st century, the robots and the AI will be "the guns".
Who has the AI?
At the very least your approximate location and people you talk to is definitely in there.
It is on any smart phone with GPS, or at least, one should assume it is.
> who you talk to does not have to be in there either
Really? If the number is there does it matter if the name isn't in your address book? I'm fairly tech savvy and how much confidence do I really have that clearing my call history actually removes it from the phone all together?
Not on mine.
> Really? If the number is there does it matter if the name isn't in your address book? I'm fairly tech savvy and how much confidence do I really have that clearing my call history actually removes it from the phone all together?
You don't need any confidence because it is safe to assume you've given those numbers to the phone company (and by extension the secret service of your own country and probably in some back room deal to the United States and from there to the other five eyes countries).
So you're paranoid about the wrong thing. Your cellphone 'knows where it is' but so do you and anybody looking at your cellphone, that's not exactly secret information. Where it was may be a different story. And where it is is interesting information when looking from the providers side into the network.
> If you get something you think you may want to recall later, forward it to yourself along with a few keywords that describe its content.
> This isn’t just handy for emails, but important documents too. Jonathan scans his family’s passports, licenses, and health insurance cards and emails them to himself along with descriptive keywords.
This is so horrible and wrong - and now he holes himself up in a make-believe position at the Pentagon? Figures...
"If you have private data, please put it on our servers so we can add it to our internal profile we have on you."
This is surreal.
I believe it's unintentional, but that the result is eventually very similar, if not the same.
Conference rooms with themes such as "Subway" (featuring subway map wallpaper and a decorative pipe), "Apartment" (wacky furniture and wallstickers with household appliances, 'for those looking to “work from home” at work') and "Broadway" (red carpet, red curtains, lots of velvet).
Build-your-own desks, with as much customisation as you can do in your 2 m2 cubicle. A steel slide connecting the two lounge levels!
And, my favorite: 'A green themed micro kitchen emphasizes Google's commitment to sustainability.'
The top-hat chandeliers in the "library", along with the faux-necktie armchair ornaments, are another clownish touch.
Eric Schmidt has a way with words in that he always says the wrong thing - sometimes you can see what he was trying to say, and there might be something good there - but whenever he talks he just fumbles and ruins everything.
As in, if a person is being investigated for a kidnapping, murder, and disposal of a body and their computer search history has numerous queries for "How to dispose of a body" and "How to clean blood out of the trunk of a Honda" then the self-exposure is really the incriminating factor, not the device or platform used to disclose such things.
But you are, because they can and do access that data. And pass it on to the relevant authorities.
Entire companies are built and thrive in the gap between "can" and "do" on the Internet.
Edit: not sure why I'm being downvoted; I worked in that space for 5 years. I've worked with many of the cleared employees of these companies on various projects. It's not a big secret or anything...
On HN: my original comment is almost always resurrected and eventually positive upvotes.
On Reddit: my original comment is buried even faster.
I should test using some controls (maybe post something incorrect) to see if the trend continues. My hypothesis is that HN is just a smaller, more niche and possibly better education group due to the content versus reddit.
Best link I could find on short notice: http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/185570-google-finally-pro...
Every corporation is ab initio a creature of the state.
Only after opening the next pandora's box do they realize how stupid it was to try to open it in the first place, but it is too late by then.
But we never learn, do we...
What good can potentially come out of a high tech, nuclear, AI-driven military force, ran like a software company is beyond me..
He basically claimed that Google is an arm of the US State Department.
That doesn't need to mean there's anything murky going on or that Google is an arm of the US state department. Government invests in technology; that's how the Internet started
But since you brought it up, why do you think the CIA would invest in a tech company?
(For Bloomberg, it was an obsession with becoming British aristocracy)
He's a lot more than the "soda ban guy" here.
It's a real stretch to suggest Bloomberg is somehow responsible for Williamsburg given the artsification -> gentrification was well under way by the time he was elected in 2001.
he (via his command of the NYPD) was also a serial violator of civil liberties, particularly of minority communities. he also was directly involved in the "aristocratization" of many parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn and presided over what has gone on to become a major housing affordability crisis in the city.
Schmidt knows what he's doing in this context. He already serves as one of the members of PCAST https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_President%27s_Co... , which exists to advise the President in a non-partisan way on matters of science and technology. The members of PCAST have serious chops, and serve a very useful function in helping get sane science and technology policies formulated.
(And I use the phrase "serves" very carefully: This is not a path to fame and power; chairing PCAST working groups is a pretty non-trivial amount of work, for no real reward. Most of the people I know who've been involved in the process do it because they feel like it's a way to have a positive impact in the U.S. and in their fields.)
Having said that, I'd much rather read something like "Google's Schmidt to head up program X for DoD"
Yes, I understand that his unique talents are needed at the top, but frankly you can't top-down optimize something that isn't working in the first place. My preference is to get multiple large programs that serve as an example (and no, the ACA site does not qualify as a large program, at least it shouldn't) and then work on optimizing the system. The way things are, I'm kinda left wondering exactly what he expects to accomplish and exactly how he's going to know that he's accomplished it. "Advisory boards" are the kiss of death in D.C.
Could be a prelude for more political activity. In that case, it'd make sense. He'd be a very interesting SecDef.
These public activities may not be representative of what really is happening, but trust is all the public can rely on. Very few can understand the techical issues, and very few of those people have access to the information and the time to analyzse it.
However, I'm glad the Pentagon is getting the best help available; the U.S. falling behind in military technology could be an historic catastrophe. Let's not take democracy, liberty, and all their benefits for granted.
The chairman of Google–a company which enjoys more Presidential access than any other single company–chairing a board at the Pentagon.
Hence: the fix is in, something which should shock no one by this point.
snark: The US military already know how to move fast and break things.
DARPA and the Pentagon have done a tremendous amount to move technology forward, over the decades. But, I personally would feel more comfortable if it were a non-military organization that were in the lead role. Technology should be a means to improve humanity and decrease human suffering. What the Pentagon wants out of technology, at least in a proximate sense, is something completely different.
So, what the Pentagon's R&D processes can learn from SV.
Fascism combines corporatism with militaristic nationalism and other features.
Mere business-government entanglement, even when it becomes corporatism, is not sufficient for fascism.
After working many years in the DoD contracting space bringing in almost anyone from silicon valley who actually knows how technology works should be an improvement from the terrible state it's in now.
Why is it corruption when the government tries to get top quality employees to work within their ranks?
It's impossible for him to put the interests of the citizens of our country above his allegiance to Google. This is much like when a government position at the FCC is filled by a Comcast or Time Warner employee or something. The conflict of interest here is amazing.
Though I'm not going to lie it still may be better than the current situation. I can't tell you how many times you hear "yeah setup a shell corporation and do this and that and get rich on government contracts". Maybe it's just replacing one corruption for another...
Hard for foreign business to take you seriously on having their back when the US government comes knocking when the CEO is running projects at the Pentagon.