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Wait, our CEO has a vision?

Google company culture strongly erodes for two reasons:

De-facto retirement of Larry and Sergey and significant deepening of the reporting structure in the last few years (ie endless layers of middle management).

Both of these make consistent vision and values much harder to achieve. Recent Googlegeist just reflects that.




Honestly as a Googler I neither saw nor needed the vision of Larry, Sergey, Eric, Sundar, or anyone else except maybe Urs, Jeff, and Sanjay. I mean I worked on the C++ toolchain. Making a bitchin' compiler is its own reward. I guess things are different on product teams?


Your work is crucial for the foundation of whatever Google builds. Unfortunately just like in construction, having a good foundation doesn’t mean that what gets build on top is the right thing.


Well I think of it more like carpentry. I can build a beautiful house and not get upset later that the owner sits on the couch watching game shows on tv all day. Similarly it doesn’t have to bother me that the result of all my optimizations at Google was they had more capacity to let a computer play Starcraft against itself for fifty million CPU-years. Just does not concern me at all as long as my paycheck didn’t bounce.


Are you saying you have no ethic at all ?

Are you comparing yourself to an independent carpenter ?

An independent carpenter would be like a mercenary, who first works to earn money, and then eventually selects his/her clients according to his/her own vision.

A carpenter working for a big corporation would wonder what is the vision of the company, what is he contributing to, beyond the delivering of the building, imo


No, but I am saying that I don’t need any executive “vision” to motivate my work, especially when the executive vision is obviously insipid, like it was with Vic Gundotra and G+. It is motivating enough for me if search gets 10% faster every year. If you hook your motivations to corporate figureheads then you’ll eventually find yourself without any reason to go to work.


If you are a Google employee and you don't care about the executive visions, you are a living proof that Google is made of people who don't even understand what they are working for, beside having a good salary imo.

When you work for a corporation, you are supposed to embrace (and consent to) the company's goal, which is defined by the top level.

Having a search "10% faster every year" looks like a narrow-minded KPI without awarness of a greater purpose.

If you are happy, fine, but I think some people would trade your happiness for their freedom and privacy


There is absolutely no requirement for adoption of any ideology in an at-will employment environment.


You obviously have some kind of very very dull axe to grind. I happen to think that universal search of all knowledge is a thing of significant benefit to humanity.


I feel it's my duty to insert this here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQdDRrcAOjA


I work for cloud products. I cannot say much about others, but at least urs is the best technical infrastructure leader but not a good choice for cloud leader. Many people on customer engineering side also share the same feeling with me.

Business is complicated. You cannot be narcissus forever.


I'm considering applying there. Any hint/help? username @ gmail. Thanks.


Read cracking the coding interview and do a few problems from each section. Make sure to cover dynamic programming. I spent about a month and I was very well prepared.


You'll need to do significantly more than just that.


Really, downvoted? What the crap is going on?


Urs and Jeff were amazing. Something has changed though. Granted it’s been 15 years since I worked there, but some of the incredible spark that used to be there seems to have gone out.


Urs is good engineering manager, but bad business manager. So while he was managing TechInfra, it was ok, once he started to manage Cloud, it wasn't. Interestingly, he is smart enough to realize it, this is why he hired Diane, who managed business side at least more competently. But it looks like Diane didn't demonstrate enough liberal virtue with her support for DoD contracts and got kicked out. Now they hired Oracle dude to replace her, most likely not a great culture fit.


Honest question: does the current Google have the environment to innovate on the next generation of compilers/PL/program synthesizers?

I would have definitely said yes back in the day; but not so sure now.

(Admittedly might be biased. I'm the founder of Synthetic Minds. We're building program synthesizers; basically all compilers work: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19059922)


No I don’t think Google is on the forefront of that type of thing. It’s more of a practical craft. There may be people doing interesting PL research at Google but they aren’t in the language platform team. That said these are probably some of the tightest, safest, and best-tested large-scale C++ programs ever.


Agree with the scale. But do you mean the compilers toolchain is the largest/safest; or the overall C++ codebase. No questions about the latter, but would be surprised if you meant the former.

Out of curiosity: if not the language platform team, then which team does PL research? My email is in my profile of you'd rather ping there.


Also, Larry and Sergey got obsessed with useless and irrelevant things. (Flying cars? Robot butlers? Airship yachts? Glass?)


Those were pretty much the only reasons I continued to admire Google for as long as I did. They gave hope that the company might one day have a meaningful consumer revenue stream that isn’t advertising.

They’ve gone for “cloud services” instead. Drastically, drastically, less inspiring — and also pretty competitive. What happens if Amazon drop their prices a bit?


AWS accounts for something like half of Amazon’s operating revenue. It may not be exciting but it is a license to print money. Why wouldn’t google (and MSFT, and anyone else with a big sunk investment in data centers) want to monetize their investment too?

Originally bezos was pissed off that Amazon’s excess capacity for the Black Friday/Christmas surge was going to waste the other 50 weeks of the year. I suspect that’s a pretty powerful motivation. But google absorbs huge spikes too (9/11 was one of the first harbingers of this) so it seemed inevitable, even back then, that they’d do it eventually.

Fighting the momentum of entire markets and hoping a muse settles on your shoulder isn’t a sustainable business strategy for most companies, let alone very large public companies.


Cloud for Google is like Internet for Microsoft - was in great position to take advantage of and entirely missed.

There was a hard pivot in TechInfra when Cloud became a priority. And there is a business reason for it - if was estimated that with other cloud providers growing and consolidating Google will cease to be hardware buyer #1 and thus will not get best hardware discounts, affecting profitability of Ads/Search. So there was no choice but to get serious about cloud.

As for dropping prices, nothing will happen - clouds already run on relatively small, albeit oligopolic margins. If one provider reduces price, other providers will follow, with a bit less profit for everyone. This happens from time to time.


>>Robot butlers

This is actually pretty cool. The butler part makes it sound silly but if you were able to pull it off it would mean that we have reached a technological breakthrough. It would be very close to a technological singularity.


Speaking as someone who was the caregiver for both my parents as they aged, good lord would it have been wonderful if I could have been able to offload some of those tasks to a 'bot while I enjoyed the remaining time I had with my folks.


forgive me for asking, but why not hire a caretaker/nurse?


Those are expensive. And their presence compromises your family's privacy.


Exactly. We were already hemorrhaging money, and skilled nursing care for even a few hours a week is incredibly expensive. Not to mention you now have a stranger in your home, and without going in to details, we caught some very unsavory behavior via IP Camera with one of the caregivers we'd hired early on.

It's just an incredibly stressful time in a family's life, no matter how you cut it.


Robot butler != skilled nursing care, though.


Who made the claim otherwise?

A butler to handle taking out the trash, cleaning the house, cleaning after your parents while you did the other tasks is already s big help.


I'm afraid having Google's robot butlers around all the time wouldn't do wonders for privacy either.


Better than an actual person though, at least for now.


Is it? The privacy effects of a person are fairly localised, while the effects of having a spying, data collection machine are potentially unbounded.


Are we saying Google's robot butlers won't work without an internet connection? That would severely diminish their value.


Knowing Google, they probably will work, for some definition of work. However, you'll get a lot of extremely convenient online-only features around which an ecosystem will be built, such that ever more people start turning it on and it stops being controversial. They'll also instruct you to connect them to the internet during the initial setup procedure.

At first they'll promise they won't collect a lot of data and you'll always be able to opt out. However, increasingly more data will start getting collected, you'll start having a hard time finding the option to opt out and even if you manage to do it, the UI will progressively get more deceptive and annoying at trying to get you to turn it back on.

Next thing you know, almost everyone has them connected, you're a weirdo if you don't and Google is even more powerful than before.


Glass was interesting product that died on the hands of outrage journalists.

It's possible they Google release another version when technology will be ready (better battery, camera, sound packed into much smaller form & size)


I don't think that's true. Glass died because nobody could think of anything to do with it. Talk about "glassholes" dominated the conversation because there was no other subject to discuss. The explorer program was supposed to let people come up with cool ideas for applications and nobody ever did.

This is broadly true of wearables so far: nobody has come up with a use case for them more compelling than, "shave a few seconds off checking notifications on your phone."


Also Waymo, which seems promising.


one of the reasons I own google/alphabet stock.



Layers of middle management always sucks the life out of companies. And indeed governments. Try working for a bank, and you'll see exactly what I am talking about.


Sure, but just try to make career progress in a flat organization.


How important are vision and values in a situation where not hitting revenue and earnings targets can destroy hundreds of billions? With some of those billions belonging to Google employees...




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