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Google veterans: The company has become ‘unrecognizable’ (cnbc.com)
382 points by walterclifford 9 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 349 comments

Google could solve a lot of problems by essentially firing every VP they have.

It actually became an internal joke where you'd get these emails every 2-3 months saying your manager's manager's manager's manager now reports to a different manager, neither of which you'd ever met or even necessarily heard of.

To be clear, the executive team are ultimately responsible but Google has fallen prey to a lack of leadership (Eric Schmidt, we miss you) and an entrenched swarm of middle management. I honestly believe a lot of the bad ideas Google got involved in (like the DoD ML thing) sprang from over-eager VPs.

There's an old Dilbert strip basically saying that managers reach a point of constant reorgs and responsibilities churn to the point that no one is around long enough to be held accountable for their actions ("oh that was the last guy") and definitely not around long enough for anything to work.

This to me is what Google had become. The reorgs were constant and the leadership was directionless.

The transparency thing here is a big one. There was a culture of blameless and open post-mortems. This probably started to change in the Vic Google Plus era. Dashboards were locked down. There were some pretty (internally) famous examples of post-mortems people found that were subsequently restricted, essentially because they (rightly) made some VP look bad.

One of the most shocking things to me was a story from last year about how accessing such documents could retroactively lead to you being fired. As in Google docs were typically sent around such that if you had the link you could open it and these links might be forwarded to open groups. That's how a lot of things (internally) "leaked".

Disclaimer: Xoogler (6 years)

Personal opinion, take with a grain of salt:

Once you hear the term 'organization' used within an organization (i.e. "project alpha is moving under person x's org") there is a decent chance that Trouble Is Afoot.

The trouble is that alignment is no longer guaranteed to be around the company's stated mission. There is a good chance that it is about territory building and poaching of internal staff and competing for important projects. And even if those aren't occurring, it's hard to prove to staff that they are not.

A strong leadership team can manage these frictions carefully and turn inter-team and inter-personality competition into results, while reinforcing and repeating the overall company mission. But to an employee on the ground it may no longer be a transparent case of "we're all pulling in the same direction".

One possibility to break through this scaling barrier might be to promote smaller organizations which assemble on-demand, akin to a film production team, and work on projects which the team is genuinely motivated to deliver. That requires a strong stated vision that a team can band behind.

The next question becomes: who maintains such projects if the initial team moves on? I'm biased but my preferred response would be that open sourcing each project can lead to sufficient community collaboration and maintenance in the case of successful projects, or in the worst case (if no adoption occurs) a corpus of code which may still provide gems of value for future projects searching for snippets of functionality.

> The next question becomes: who maintains such projects if the initial team moves on? I'm biased but my preferred response would be that open sourcing

This does not seem to be a realistic option for many Google projects, due to dependencies on internal technology and hardware scale.

>One possibility to break through this scaling barrier might be to promote smaller organizations which assemble on-demand, akin to a film production team, and work on projects which the team is genuinely motivated to deliver. That requires a strong stated vision that a team can band behind.

aka strong unions.

It's interesting. Many large companies routinely fire the bottom 10% of their employees every year. I wonder if they would perform better if they routinely fired the top 10% of their employees (by org chart, not by performance ratings) and let talented new blood bubble upward. The Peter Principle says that people rise to the level of their incompetence, and in general new employees enter at the bottom of the organization, so logically you would have more incompetent people at the top than at the bottom.

There're a bunch of organizational anti-patterns that could be avoided with this scheme, too. Empire building would be disincentivized because it'd always become someone else's empire after a short period of time, and organizational politics is reduced as the players keep leaving, and you'd have to think in terms of building institutional knowledge from the beginning of your tenure unless you want everything you've accomplished to be undone by the next guy.

The "fire the bottom 10%" thing is called stack ranking, and it has been studied over and over and it never leads to good results. At this point I don't think that many companies are still doing it- the biggest example, Microsoft, killed it off in 2013.


Everyone is still doing it, they just aren't transparent about it now.

Source? I've literally never worked at a company that regularly fired the bottom X% of workers.

Large orgs regularly do this. E.g., most of the banking industry, esp. the non-wall st side, have had layoffs every few years for awhile now. It can be called all sorts of things, and it adds up.

When you think about it, it makes a sad sort of sense at scale. Hiring mistakes mean, at scale, a good number of jobs aren't fits for the people you hired, half the people out there are below average to beginwith, and a good number end up toxic (they slow down orgs!), and over time, these folks cost more money and suborgs decay. We've all inherited WTF+NIH projects and worked with people who drain energy. So even if an org doesn't do explicit layoffs or stack ranking, and hiring committees and employees have good intentions, a healthy org should be fixing hiring mistakes somehow: it can't all be retraining / reshuffling the deck. Arguably, the numbers mean most tech companies are _unhealthy_ orgs because the high demand for engineers makes the healthy level of rehiring tough to do.

The result is toxic devs get retained and the tail wags the dog from a business perspective. E.g., I bet some of the #MeToo issues in tech, deep down, relate to the difficulty of curating a top org at scale, with very few exceptions (Netflix?)

At Microsoft itself. If a manager has $100 budget for hikes and rewards, she has to invisibly stack rank to distribute it with some logic (and not give $10 to each in 10 people team)[0].

Stack ranking was not about firing at Microsoft (or any other place), it was about distribution of bonus and hikes.

[0]Spreading the peanut butter: https://www.compensationcafe.com/2014/03/spreading-the-peanu...

There are several notable companies still doing it.


Of course it’s not called that

It’s called a corporate restructuring. Or they’ll just fire a few people here and there until they get to 10%. They call it “we re heading in a new direction”

> I wonder if they would perform better if they routinely fired the top 10% of their employees (by org chart, not by performance ratings) and let talented new blood bubble upward.

IIRC, the US military follows something like that practice. It's called "up or out":


> ...the 1980 Defense Officer Personnel Management Act mandates that officers passed over twice for promotion are required to be discharged from the military.

IIRC, the idea is to prevent people who lack greater potential from hogging the intermediate positions that others need to advance.

I think it's slightly different in that it would only apply to the top 10% of the org chart. A first-level manager passed over for promotion wouldn't be dismissed; only VP or C-level executives would, and they would be regardless of whether they were recently promoted. (In fact, because the positions are periodically vacated, they are guaranteed to have been recently promoted.)

It's much closer to term limits and the elected-office/civil-servant split in a democratic government. That has its own set of problems, but is generally fairly good at discouraging empire-building. It also differs in that civil servants generally can't transition to being elected officials (despite their qualifications, they face a lot of obstacles to winning elections), while here executives would generally be drawn from the ranks of ordinary management, keeping the ranks under them dynamic.

Why not apply this to first-level managers, too? I've seen more than one first-level manager who wanted to build an empire. I think all of the issues mentioned here about VPs also apply to managers.

Why would anyone move to management then? At Google a lot of L6 swes are put in the position of TL/M due to their ability to guide technically. This would probably vanish.

> A first-level manager passed over for promotion wouldn't be dismissed

This system will encourage first-level managers to do everything in their power to be "passed over" every single time. I can imagine the ridiculous shenanigans they'd pull, walking the fine line between not being too competent lest you get promoted, without being too incompetent that you get fired outright. Sounds like the making of a truly middling culture: questionably competent-ish, but not ambitious.

I think I'd watch a Office Space/Silicon-Valley-type show based on this premise. The overachiever character perennially delegated to bug triage, doing endless interviews for a perpetually open position on the team and being sabotaged when they manage to put some real work in after-hours (for comic relief. In real life, they'd get fired)

Why would you prefer to do this rather than not up-and-out. Your original reasoning seems well-met by up-and-out. Fresh blood comes in, Peter-principle people get kicked out. Looks pretty good.

I do like the idea, though.

Lol. These orgs are often defined by great games of empire building.

There’s no meaningful pay differential for senior staff, so ass-count is the measuring stick.

When you reach term limits, you don't get kicked out of the country. It would create a powerful disincentive for people to move up at all, unless they wanted to leave the company soon anyway.

> the US military follows something like that practice. It's called "up or out"

During my time as a DoD contractor, I saw this happen.

One particular case was a mid-range officer [I'm never good with ranks so don't bother asking] who was up for promotion; it was an open secret that if he didn't get it he'd retire into civilian [and presumably commercial//industry] life. He didn't get the promotion, retired from military, and was duly replaced.

It would have the same effect that culling the bottom 10% would have. You promote mediocrity. Think of it like this: employees game the system by avoiding the "fireable" qualities and rush to the "hireable" qualities.

So everyone in the org wants to appear like a young firebrand and hide in the school of fish. As outliers are singled out, those who blend in well and play politically with their managers have the highest survival rate despite not being the most productive, as they devote most of their energy to not standing out.

In any persistent environment when you add pressure, you develop a counter-reaction. You can't change human behavior with simple levers, but you can bring out very human behavior by doing so.

Good managers are extremely valuable, and new blood is not necessarily talented.

Maybe a solution could be to make time-limited leadership positions. After you finish your time, you get another different position but you stay in the company, with the same or higher pay, so that it doesn't feel like a demotion. Permanent leadership positions will be given to those who did their best during their temporary stay. As a bonus, because these managers tried out different jobs, they will have a broader understanding of what people under them do.

The most powerful (director level & above) members of an organization would never agree to a plan to fire the top 10% of their own annually.

You'd have to encode it in the bylaws at the time of incorporation, and then enforce it upon pain of dissolution of the company (so that if a rogue CEO decides they want to stay after all, the rest of the world is like "But now there is no company. Have fun with your paper throne.")

It's a lot like how no ruler will ever abdicate and still remain ruler, so for millenia there was no way to remove a king short of death or coup. We got around that with the invention of the constitution and the definition of a nation-state in terms of that piece of paper, which states that the ruler is defined to have set terms and be subject to an election every so often, and if they don't you get undefined behavior.

They aren't as powerful as you think- it's not like they get a huge say in how things are run. If the board was a reorg they have the power to put the people in place to make it happen, regardless of what some random Director or VP has to say about it.

> They aren't as powerful as you think

It's pretty common for C-level executives, and CEO's in particular, to be pretty chummy with the board of directors. They're all in the same social circles.

Often the CEO of company A will be on the board of company B, and and the CEO of company B is on the board of company A, so there may even be a quid-pro-quo element.

While the CEO officially answers to the BoD, in reality there's a lot of "understandings" and "gentleman's agreements" going on. This is why under-performing CEOs seem to stick around so long.

Yeah, but that's a world of difference from "director level and above", particularly at a company like Google where there are literally hundreds of VPs and Directors (if not a couple thousand).

You’re just replacing one power structure with another, less obvious one that will be worse given the stakes involved.

Empire building is already dead in many ways, ping-ponging executives aren’t building empires, they are positioning for their personal benefit.

I saw the link here on HN first. Seek out the Gervais Principle. It is a more interesting view of a person’s place in a company. I have seen the Peter principle in action and have myself benefited/detrimented from it. But the Gervais principle is a whole ‘nother level.

Edit to add:


Cool idea. It would take some courage to implement this, though. A lot. :)

> Google could solve a lot of problems by essentially firing every VP they have.

What's shocking was there was a time at google where management was forced to prove their existence was necessary.


One of the problems of course is giving managers feedback. It's hard. It's ugly sometimes. It's always fraught with risk, since you are the one without typically any power in the situation.

But the true canary in the coal mine is when the good employees feel like their feedback isn't heeded, and then they leave. And they can because well, they're good. And HR, having gone through all the trouble of hiring the best and the brightest, are just walking them out the door.

If HR stands up for the employees, then that's a different story than HR being lap dogs for the powerful. Currently turnover numbers probably just sits on page 248 in a footnote of the quarterly HR report and lands on some executive's desk who may or may not care about it.

As an aside, I once told an HR director that the problem with HR is the name: Human Resources -- as in "Humans are Resources". She told me the inside joke at her company was that HR stood for "Happiness Removal".

I'm sorry, what's wrong with the notion that 'Humans are resources"?

“We need to stop confusing human value with economic value. We don't exist to serve the market. The market exists to serve us.”

The market exists to serve us? Cool. But who is providing this service?

In the US, it's the government that created the free market, and did it for the people. The US government is "of the people, by the people, for the people."

...Or at least it used to be. Now maybe in 2020 now, "people" can be replaced with "corporations".

Wow, Andrew Yang tweeted that just yesterday. Prescient. I like him more and more.

It is upsetting to some because some people assume a resource can't have feelings. Like saying "women are objects." Obviously this isn't what is meant with Human Resources but in today's world people want to argue over naming conventions as if their perspective of a name or even a definition is the only right one because it fits their goal. Make no mistake if you called Human Resources instead Team Builders someone would eventually a few years down the road get mad because you can only build buildings with objects and so the name doesn't do justice to the feelings of people again.

It's simpler than that. Things and people inherit the properties of what they're called. That's why slurs are so powerful. e.g. n-word, c-word.

I don't believe I've ever seen a post on HN about how wonderful a Human Resources department has ever been, or ever treated anyone fairly. Feel free to prove me wrong here.

If you can dehumanize humans, then you can treat them like objects. It's easier to do firings or layoffs, or cut back on pay raises and benefits.

The problem is not that human are resources. They are.

But from a production point of view, the problem is when you think that a human is equivalent to another with the same title and they are easily interchangeable.

> Google could solve a lot of problems by essentially firing every VP they have.

I know you weren't being 100% serious, but I'll say this anyway: of course they can't fire those people. They'd be buried in lawsuits.

More to the point, this is the problem with bad hiring practices. A few years (or, in this case, 10+ years) of misguided hiring practices can bury you in a cultural problem that will take much longer to dig yourself out of.

It's even worse when you're talking about top execs, who can only be fired by a risk-averse/change-averse Board of Directors and will take a massive golden parachute with them when they are fired.

In America anyway employment is largely “at will.” Is there something illegal about firing VPs?

Still better to fire them than atrophy the company slowly. Just fire your VP of legal affairs last.

I don't see any evidence that the company is atrophying based on its own measures of success: stock price and market share.

That's part of the cultural problem. You can't know if your culture helps or hurts because there's no control group.

Since Google is doing well financially, they'll have to conclude that their culture is good (or good enough) and stay the course. Firing VPs is rocking the boat, and any Board would be infuriated by it.

Google is doing good now, but they’re literally hewing down their support columns at the moment.

"The sailors saved the boys, but who will save the sailors?"

I'm pretty sure the title of VP(E) is like the Ice King's crown in Adventure Time. It makes you a bumbling autocrat driven to secure your own position. Re-orgs, re-writes, etc are great instruments for this end.

It's possible. I also wonder if often times the type of behavior necessary to attain the title in the first place, filters out the people who are not willing to engage in the behaviors you describe.

I am not currently an employee at Google but just looking at the products I have noticed for at least 3 years that something at Google has been changing... and not in the right direction. When I talked to some friends in product management that worked and used to worked there, I was told Google is stronger and mature than before.

The last example top of mind is when I saw the Pixel 3a coming out with 2 months old security patch and they tell you that it going to be updated the next month (with 3 months security update gap).

The old Google would never have compromised on security to edge instability risks during the launch of the Pixel 3a. But some people wanted to play it more "safe" for themselves than for the users.

It seems Google is quickly becoming just another big corporation where people go to make money wanting to work as little as possible and keeping their job as safe as possible avoiding risks.

I am not saying it is like that in every part of the company, but in enough places that it start showing...

No wonder the founders stepped down. Who may want to see their baby and an unique culture like Google slowly deteriorating without having anymore enough power to change it.

Can you give more example like this when you get time? Can we such things in Google Cloud as well?

I did not use Google Cloud so I cannot tell. I would not be surprised if Google Cloud is well run. Since the product is intrinsically a product for engineers, I would expect that it is run by people with more engineering background and rigor.

If you want anther example, one that come to mind is Google WiFi. When I installed it for a family member, I noticed that (1) You needed to install an app on your phone in order to configure it (2) The Google account on your phone (and you needed one) was going to be the one that "manage" the Google WIFI network (3) The phone needed to have a working internet connection to be able to configure it (4) Google WIFI lacked some standard options (5) Once the Internet connection is down Google WiFI also shuts down the local intranet.

That made me think that whoever was running Google WIFI as a product probably did not know a lot about the last 20 years of how a router has been working and has been configured.

So they ended up making a few assumptions that are problematic. For example: - My phone did not have reception where my family member lived. And since I did not have a working Internet connection I could not download the app and use it at their house. - The family member did not have a Google account, so I had to use mine or create a new one just for configuring the router. - I could not configure something (not remember exactly what) that any other router could. - When the Internet is down, and it regularly happen in that area, you cannot print.

For at least 10 years, the standard home routers have been having a web UI where you can configure them. This is a pretty basic thing. How could have Google WIFI ignoring it?

People with limited tech background that never configured a router must have been in charge.

> There's an old Dilbert strip basically saying that managers reach a point of constant reorgs and responsibilities churn to the point that no one is around long enough to be held accountable for their actions

I believe it.

During my time at Google as a TVC [recent times], whatever department du jour I was in was having a reorg about once a year. I//we had about 4 different managers in 3 years.

The proliferation of VPs started under Eric. At one point I counted twice as many VPs per capita as what we had at Microsoft. There were VPs reporting to VPs and directors reporting to directors, as well as VPs and directors with zero reports. It's nuts. I suspect it's gotten much worse since then.

Also, as the chairman of the board, there's no way Schmidt did not know the "DOD ML thing". For the record, I think the "DOD ML thing" is an appropriate "thing" for a US company to be doing, including Google. In fact I think GCP should accept (and seek out) all workloads legal under US law, same as AWS and Azure.

Disclosure: same.

Sounds like the type of creep that naturally occurs after a company has existed for a long time. They offer higher level titles so they can recruit people with experience who want a move upwards when really all that changes is their title. Look at banks where President and Vice President are so over used that basically every relationship manager is called a "VP" even though they have no reports.

fun fact, I believe that the (V)P roles exist mostly as a satisfying hack of financial software development regulations applied to public and high-revenue companies, where all software changes impacting the ingress and egress of money requires "director-level approval".

The least-burdensome solution to that regulation is to make every "Tech Lead" a director, hence the title creep! :)

Devil's advocate. What if everything Google has done and is doing is actually good for what a company is actually generally meant to do... generate revenue. The company has been growing and as it is now publicly traded, stockholder value very much becomes the drum beat.

Of course one can argue that Google is no longer the altruistic, everyone has value place it used to be, but perhaps it no longer wants to be. This is not necessarily a failure, just a re-prioritization of goals. For every story of someone leaving Google and blaming X, there are a thousand people eager to fill that now vacant role.

The stock is doing very well and the company is the undisputed king of search and actively targeting other industries. It appears what they are doing org. wise may be accomplishing exactly what it is meant to do.

Companies are meant to generate profit, not revenue.

Google generates a lot of both. It could probably double profits or more by just slashing a lot of the fat. Do they really need 100,000+ people? I feel like they used to launch amazing new products with far greater regularity when they were closer to 10,000.

BTW you say "as it is now publicly traded" as if that's some recent change. Google's IPO was 2004!

To generate revenue should be the default assumption about what companies do. And what their employees do. And what the employees believe about their purpose.

Is all the internal company discussion about people valuing and improving the culture? Or are they are just whiny self-important shits?

I literally have no idea.

(fwiw I am not and probably never will be a G employee)

I always wondered why Google needs hundreds of VP's? Is i just a scheme with them giving each other great peer feedback and promoting more to extract huge salaries from the company?

"VP" has become, not just for Google, a title you get instead of a raise. You know, to make you feel you are getting somewhere with your career without breaking the budget.

Haven't worked for Google but I worked for couple large banks (Credit Suisse, currently Citi) and VP is currently synonym for line manager. You can be Associate VP without having anybody report to you, just a senior contributor.

Banks and Wall Street are pretty liberal with "VP" titles. There they give you that title so the person you meet (to make a deal) thinks you are serious and sent a VP to sell.

Tech companies, not as much.

Can confirm. Source: American Psycho

"Let's see Paul Allen's card.

Look at that subtle off-white coloring.

The tasteful thickness of it.

Oh, my God. It even has a watermark."

It’s not the same at Google. Yes, someone 2 years post-MBA with 5 direct reports can be a VP in banking.

At google VPs have hundreds of people reporting to them.

At Google VP is equivalent to CXO roles, so it is not that kind of "fake" VP.

Are you thinking of SVP?

Even if you just take SVP don't they have like a hundred of them? I feel it would go a lot better if they put more wood behind fewer arrows (VP+ people). Then maybe a few projects would stick.

SVP is a big deal in Google actually.

Yes that is the problem, having like a hundred people who are a big deal means that the company has no direction.

The company is tens of thousands of people. At some point theres a limit to how flat one can be.

The current system is too flat, it is not like Sundar can control that many SVP's alone. Instead you have SVP's managing SVP's etc. Who is there to put the foot down ? I'd be fine with it if there was a level above that who kept them in check.

And lo the Executive SVP position shall be created!

This might be true, but also anybody who is a VP is making $1M+ a year. They're certainly in good hands.

How many VPs company with 100+k headcount should have?

Funny that you mention that but the comment you're replying to prompted me to do some back of the envelope calculations.

Things to note:

- About half Google's staff were technical

- There are ~80k employees?

- So assume 40k engineers

- Most engineers are ICs

- ICs are given levels from T3 (college grad) to T9 (can walk on water) with there being like a handful of Google Fellows beyond that (your Jeff Deans).

- Managers are M1s through M3s with M1s being baby managers. Most are M2s (equivalent to T6) who are managers of ICs and M3s (T7s) who are managers of managers (and higher level ICs).

- Higher level ICs (T7+) may well directly report to M2s or even directors or VPs but there's so few of those (~1%?) that they don't really change the math.

- In terms of rolled up head count you're looking at 5-20 for an M1/M2, 20-50 for an M3, 50-200 for a director, 150-1000+ for a VP.

- Directors have levels, D1 (T8) and D2 (T9). Sometimes you end up with 2 or even 3 directors within a management chain.

- The archetypal management chain is: CEO -> SVP -> VP -> Director -> M3 -> M1/M2 -> IC

So my opinion is the structure should ideally look something like this:

- M1/M2 average 10 ICs

- M3s average 5 M1/M2s

- Directors average 5 M3s

- VPs average 4 directors

with the following constraints:

- There is only 1 VP in a chain

- There is only 1 SVP in a chain

- There is only 1 director in a chain

- There are at most 2 managers in a chain

So 40K ICs need:

- 4K M1/M2s

- 800 M3s

- 160 directors

- 40 VPs

Now this "ideal" scenario obviously ignores some realities like a management structure built around products and infrastructure may not fit these numbers so neatly but then again some M1s could have 12 ICs while others have 8 and it all sort of works out.

I don't know what Google's numbers are here but I suspect it is MUCH MUCH higher than this.

Great job at deriving a Fermi estimate! (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_problem)

I don't know if your math is right but I enjoyed reading your comment.

It seems to me that as a back of the envelope estimation might be:

Suppose we say that an organization has n employees and that everyone in a position of leadership leads m people. The result would be a m-ary tree whose height is roughly:

h = log_m ((m - 1) * n))

If we say that there are l levels of seniority before one becomes a VP, then anyone not in the bottom l levels of the tree is a VP.

h_vp = # of levels of VPs = h - l

The number of VPs would then equal the number of nodes in a complete m-ary tree of height h_vp:

n = (m^h_vp) / (m - 1)

(Forgive me if I made any mistakes in my math, it's been a long time since I took algebra.)

How many employees should a search and recommendation engine have?

Theoretically you manage about 10 people effectively, so:

CEO: 1

CXO: 10

SVP: 100

VP: 1000

Director: 10000

Employees: 88889

Most companies have line managers. Line managers are not directors, they are managers. There are also senior managers. I think your schedule is good but I think you should add at least 1 layer maybe two.

Yeah, I just ran out of employees to cover and I worked backwards, so I didn’t get to use the term manager. I guess the system is good until the 1.000.000 mark ;)

I think line manager is a generic term for the person you explicitly report to though (e.g. the one who approves your time off), not a role in specific.

You can have higher ratios at the CXO and SVP level, and need lower ratios below director because at the higher level most people dont need as much day to day oversight.

From my experience at the bottom, it’s the higher level people that need more oversight.

5k people per VP seems reasonable, so 20? Then they can have 10 senior directors each with 500 persons under them.

two pizza team = 8 ICs max reporting

every 8 ICs + 1 manager = 9

every 8 managers = 1 director = 8 * 9 + 1 = 73

every 8 directors = 1 sr director = 8 * 73 + 1= 585

every 8 sr directors = 1 VP = 8 * 585 + 1 = 4681

every 8 VPs = 1 SVP = 8 * 4681 + 1 = 37449

every 8 SVPs = 1 EVP (c level exec) = 8 * 37449 + 1 = 299593

Clearly the problem is one of the large distribution of team sizes, rather than just "have less VPs".

Certainly an anomaly, but there's a distribution to the number of ICs assigned to the lowest level managers (M1/M2s). I've seen anywhere from 3 to 30. The people with 30 basically just jumped from 1:1 to 1:1 on repeat biweekly.

It's interesting how closely these estimates correspond to military TOEs. It's almost like we've figured out over the course of thousands of years what the most effective general-purpose hierarchical organization is.

Problem is that there aren't enough people to every VP, so they fight for headcount and projects leading to frequent reorgs or projects shuttering to make room for VP's pet projects.

Sounds like what typically happens to companies that get too big. It's just a question of sooner or later, IMO. Google has become part of the megacorp establishment and finds itself besides IBM, Microsoft and Apple. It's dead, Jim.

Sounds like BS I dealt with in defense. Lot of emails of people way up the chain moving around. Then in the off chance I see them in the halls and say hello they say nothing and look past. Also alot of large meetings where half the time is spent looking at org charts and praising some senior jackass for some minor accomplishment.

I might have misunderstood your point but I don't follow why this is a thing you would want to remedy at the business level. Has modern Google been shown to be less effective as a business than past-Google due to ideas like the DoD contract? Companies exist to service an identified demand and there doesn't seem to be a reason technology companies would be different in this respect. If people don't want companies chasing the demand for services like Dragonfly then they should vocalize those concerns as clear demands at the political level so that additional regulations can be implemented. Unless the strategy itself was unsound, which I realize might have been your broader point, it seems weird to consider these sorts of changes as a negative thing for the business.

I feel like lately Google has become more and more mission driven (organize the worlds information and make it universally accessible and useful). This is because, this doesn't require taking any risks, it is straight-forward/easy to follow and very cost efficient (a change that occurred with Ruth).

Before under Larry and Sergey there was an openness to ignore mission and take bets on interesting projects and to try things.

No one on the executive team has a product vision of how Google should evolve so it remains stuck working on old projects and fulfilling the remnants of it's old mission.

Every single time I've fallen in love with a new Google product, they have sunsetted it. It's probably not a fair comparison, but it's the reason you couldn't get me to touch Flutter with a 12 foot pole today.

I don’t know why you got downvoted. This is a very valid concern regarding any new tech, especially one that wraps every underlying platform under its own api and programming language.

For anyone who hasn't seen it yet, there's an article on the second page of HN right now (458 votes last I checked) by Google's former Head of International Relations about why he left the company. I think it's very worth reading. There's some extremely interesting (and damning) stories about his experience at Google since 2008.

Here's the article: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21935446

While this might (and almost certainly should) hurt Google's brand, I think this issue applies to any big for-profit company. I doubt that Amazon or Apple are much different.

I was thinking along the same lines. Any sizable company is going to have thousands of people quitting each year, and it would be exceedingly unlikely that none of these left on unfriendly terms.

"Why I left [FAANG of choice] / stopped using their products" is a staple of HN article titles.

But of course, none of this anecdotal evidence is proof that everything is FINE with these companies, either. Many of these complaints may be entirely justified.

To be clear, I don't think the issue is that people leave Google on unfriendly terms. I think there are a few other issues:

- Once a for-profit company gets to a certain scale, you're going to have people who care more about profit than any original noble intentions (ex. "Make knowledge universally accessible"/"Don't be evil")

- At a certain size, no one person knows everything that's going on at the company. That makes it extremely difficult to make sure everyone is on the same page. It also makes it very hard to police everything that's happening

Strangely I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Amazon one, save for Dan Vassalo which was more of a fatFIRE/entrepreneurial (folks, follow him on Twitter) article than just a stream of elitist, first world complaints.

I think I read one from Facebook that blamed the OP quitting on how parking worked (??)

There's literally entire websites and hundreds of articles written by ex-employees and journalists about how badly Amazon treats its employees. I've never worked there so I can't say for certain, but "don't work for Amazon" it's pretty much a meme at this point.

Oh? Then why do thousands of engineers do then?

Are you trying to imply something about them or am I reading too much into this?

> Then why do thousands of engineers do then?

Ignorance of Amazon culture and practices, greed, visa issues, many don't believe it's as bad as it is until they experience it. Many use Amazon as a stepping stone because it looks good on your resume and will guarantee you an interview at most places. For the fulfillment centers folks and blue collar ops; desperation.

Retention for engineers is really low, some say as low as 12 months. So thousands work there, but many do not stay. Also the reason why their compensation is mostly in stock. They know you won't last.

This is all gleaned from friends who work there or have worked there. It's a place you want to be seen working, but doesn't work out for many.

Plus it's not thaaat bad. (Eg. any big enterprise where IT is just a cost-center will be much worse.) Simply other FAANG places are more feely-goody.

Tenure at Amazon is like a battle scar that proves you are tough.

> 'Oh? Then why do thousands of engineers do then?'

Because they offered me more money than anybody else, and because I liked the mentor I had when I was an intern there. Not having to re-interview for a fulltime job after my internship was nice too. As to why I took the internship... because the money was good and I like ebooks. Not very good reasons, but those were my reasons.

(I've since quit, after readjusting my priorities in life.)

Where'd you go after that then?

The gist of the articles I've read about Amazon is:

The Amazon department responsible for AWS is awesome to work in. Amazon, the online store, is terrible.

I get this sort of advice from all sorts of career posts. Try to avoid working at a place where IT is a cost-center, a thing grudgingly needed to support the actual business.

"The Amazon department responsible for AWS is awesome to work in. Amazon, the online store, is terrible."

This isn't true. People jump between both, including me. There is variance in the culture throughout the company but the culture Amazon is known for comes from the top and is similar in both orgs.

>Then why do thousands of engineers do then?

Just because something is a meme doesn't mean it's true or true all the time.

Did Amazon put nets on the building after that one guy jumped off?


No but they did promote his manager the next promo cycle. Just normal Amazon things.

That's terrifying.

https://hckrnews.com and it’s on the Top10 of the day.

What is this site?

Aggregation from HN

Thanks for the link. I refresh the HN front-page quite frequently (too frequent, I would say) but somehow I had missed that entry.

Try the hckrnews client which is kinda of better for ranking

You can always look at the /active tab, I think it sorts by how many comments stories got the past 24 hours:


You can use hntoplinks.com

Googler here. Opinions are obviously my own and not that for my employer. Just sharing my thoughts, take it all with a grain of salt.

I've been at Google full time for 5+ years and was an intern before that. The company has more than doubled in size since I've been here, so I'm not exactly old-school but I have seen change.

When I started Google felt like one company. I was blown away that I could look at any piece of code (besides Google X and parts of Android) and file a bug against any team when something didn't work. I felt proud of other team's products and I also felt responsible for them, I filed a lot of bugs/feedback trying to make random things better.

The culture was also just fun as hell. The mailing lists and Memegen (our internal meme site) were really fun to participate in for the most part.

A lot has changed now. Each product feels more isolated and does things their own way. The company is far too big for anyone to claim they really know what's going on outside their local area. The culture is no longer fun at all. There is a lot more negativity, and a lot of it is justified (you've seen the news).

However I still love the people I work with directly and what we work on (Firebase, fwiw). And one strange positive about how large the company has gotten is that I can just focus on that. I no longer get too worked up about what's going on over in far-flung teams and that's fine with me. And I don't naively participate in company-wide forums expecting a good mood. But I get to build cool things and we have more resources (money, people, knowledge, etc) than we know what to do with.

All of that is to say that yes, a lot has changed. Some for the worse, some for the better, some just different. I still think this is a great place to work and I don't plan to leave any time soon.

firebase is awesome. keep up the great work! if you had a magic wand and could change one thing about "new" google, what would it be?

That's a really hard question but I think smaller teams need to be more empowered. Right now every big decision seems to come from way up high which guarantees that it seems out of touch and misses edge cases. A lot of the angst comes from people at the bottom shaking their fists at VP/CEO types. If individual teams could make their own decisions about what to do and how to do it they could shrug off some of the corporate nonsense that happens above them.

And some have quit for as-yet-undisclosed colossal fuckups. Google's inherent belief that it is the "good guy" in all things internet has fed a massive hubris. That hubris has led to inherent blindness to its detrimental effects on the wider internet and a hero complex. When in reality, they are just like all other mega corporations: interested in only one thing: maximum dollars, and they do this by tilting the tables to make all the quarters slide into their pocket. When you're huge, the urge to take up your power to do this becomes overwhelming. It comes in fits and starts at first, until the culture rots, and soon you're rolling downhill into full-blown corrupt self-dealing and monopoly tactics.

Google's on its way. And it's too big to fail, except it will, and we'll be shocked at the reach of its surveillance capabilities at the fire sale.

This is the worst case scenario but it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility. Hopefully they have too much money to let this happen and instead find a new CEO to turn things around.

Nothing is permanent. No company will stay the same 22 years later. I wouldn't be surprised if there are people working at Google who were born after Google was founded. At some point, the feisty startup that wants to change the world will become the status quo. It's delusional to think otherwise.

I'm growing to believe that the greatest folly of humankind is the idea of permanence.

We love to cling on to what we have and fight against anything that might remove it from us. Even when we would benefit from the loss.

So it is with companies. Just because Google was an amazing toddler doesn't mean it's an amazing grown-up. Plenty of our angelic youngsters turn out to be grade-A assholes or psychopaths a few years later on.

Which is to say, the google that we knew back in the 90s and 2000s is dead, and has been for a long time.

The Google we knew back in the 90s died the moment they added the "Sign in" option to Google.com. The purpose of Google shifted that day, from being a simple, and quick search engine, to being a data farmer - and later on, an advertising platform.

Whether or not it was a good decision depends on who you ask. I've gotten a lot of utility out of Google's other services over the years (Gmail, Maps, Voice, Drive, Photos, etc, etc...), so I'm not going to completely deny the upsides, but lately I've been slowly migrating away from relying the Google ecosystem.

It's too much control and power in the hands of one monolith. Most modern governments have checks and balances to power that the people (users) can weigh in on. Google is beholden to its stockholders only, and the primary visionaries have moved on.

It's hard for me to continue backing the company vision at this point - since I don't know what it is any longer.

The text "sign in" seems to have appeared in 2005: https://youtu.be/LZ46uE267Nc?t=41

It would be interesting if we could institute a law that would in effect compel companies to open source their technology, patents, trade secrets, etc. after a certain amount of time to force competition and innovation. Wishful thinking I guess but I think we'd be better off if we could get there.

I would like to see a legally enforced compulsion to work for the public good and not the investor good.

That sounds a lot like a non-profit.

I think this would work way better as a privately-led effort than a matter of law. Look for struggling companies with interesting "IP" assets that are currently heavily undervalued by the market (because it's hard for an individual, private buyer to make a profit on them). Buy the assets and open them up. Yes, it takes some money and resources - but how much, compared to re-developing those assets from scratch?

Well, we do have that law for patents. They expire in 20 years. And the patent itself "open-sources" the process being patented.

This is irrelevant all-or-nothing thinking.

Of course all things change -- that doesn't mean something changing for the worse is therefore inevitable or less shameful

I consider this and the other article by the international relations guy to be very one-sided accounts.

A couple of people are unhappy, out of a workforce of 100000. So what?

It also mostly seems to be political reasons. I would imagine a lot of people working for Google just want to do a good job for a good salary, not make Google a vehicle for their political opinions.

I think people pushing their political agenda within a company tend to harm the company and it should therefore be ok to fire them.

That said, I haven't wanted to work for Google for years. But I am from the opposite side from these veterans. I felt it was very unjust when James Damore was fired, and I really don't want to work at a place that distrusts its workers so much that it forces them to go through diversity trainings and things like that. I would feel "unsafe" at Google.

> I really don't want to work at a place that distrusts its workers so much that it forces them to go through diversity trainings and things like that.

So for the sake of argument, if you worked at a company where one of your colleagues was being overtly racist and made another employee uncomfortable, you as a third party would feel "unsafe" by the diversity training that this person would be required to attend (likely not even only for ethical or corporate reasons, but likely also legal)?

There are no legal requirements to make racist people attend "diversity training", that's not even defined in law.

Companies that have problematic employees solve that with management intervention or firings. Click-through or HR driven powerpoint fests have nothing to do with it.

But this attitude is telling. The vast majority of people are not racist. Actually in my own experience I never encountered someone being racist against blacks or other minorities in the workplace: only white people (e.g. by refusing to hire them into positions). Why is a company wasting time on mandatory training for everyone to rectify nearly non-existent problems?

I used to work at Google and back then it wasn't so big into this idpol stuff. Based on what I've read but also heard from the dwindling number of friends who haven't left yet (now down to only two), I would never return. I agree I'd feel unsafe in that environment, partly because idpol ridden workplaces tend to abuse terms like "racism" to mean anyone who isn't loudly and visibly loyal to idpol ideology ... people like Damore. And I don't think you can be loyal to an ideology and still maintain your self respect.

Punishing people I feel is bad, doing wrong and evil give me a very nice feeling. It not just me, research into that topic has shown that dopamine production get a boost like few other things when we justifiable punish someone or see someone else justifiable punish someone.

However, seeing someone being unjustifiable punished makes most of us to feel empathy and sharing their pain. It make us feel scared, activate flight and fly reflexes, anger and a lot of regions in the brain associated with strong emotions.

So for the sake of argument, the best would be if only the first case occur in the work place. If everyone share the same definition of good and bad, wrong and rights, racism, sexism, classism, and *ism. We could achieve this single mind if everyone has the same age, share the same cultural background, have the same religion, with a large dose of kinship. That way the first case can be almost guarantied with minimum risk of the second case.

Everyone is forced to go through diversity training, not just problematic people.

This depends on multiple factors, and even when it's true I don't see the issue in trying to avoid these issues before conflicts happen.

I think forcing them to attend "diversity training" would be very likely to turn them into a more hateful person. That's what force tends to do.

If your argument is that the best way to handle racists is to never challenge their views, I think we can just agree to disagree on that.

I said "forced diversity training" is not the right way to go about it.

I don't claim to have a recipe for converting racists. Maybe a good start would be not to hire them in the first place?

How would you legally filter for that in an interview?

Bad culture fit

If somebody was being overtly racist, I would not feel better knowing that they've then been put through diversity training.

Why? Because I don't think it likely that diversity training would convince the racist to stop being a racist. It may teach the racist to conceal his racism, which from the corporation's perspective might well be good enough, but a crypto-racist is still a racist and would still make me feel uncomfortable.

Or to put this another way, how many sessions of diversity training would you need to put James Damore through before the women of google felt comfortable working with him?

Nobody puts anyone in diversity training to change their mind. It's a way of explaining very thoroughly how you are expected to act in the workplace, and if you choose to ignore it, there is a good foundation to let you go because you were very clearly informed of the rules.

I think that's my point. It's not about making people no longer be racists, it's about making them not overtly express their racism. Which from the perspective of the corporation is great because it reduces their liability. But from the perspective of a worker who feels unsafe because they know their coworker is a racist, knowing that coworker has been put through diversity training and now knows better than to overtly express their racism seems like little consolation.

It may even make the situation worse for the racist's [present and future] coworkers since now they have a wolf in sheep's clothing situation to contend with.

That's a completely different way to frame it. "Here is a course on how to avoid the legal pitfalls in the workplace" is something I might be able to accept.

Indoctrinating people on why they should behave in a certain way is a different matter. And again, the insult of assuming employees are in need of such training.

> "Here is a course on how to avoid the legal pitfalls in the workplace" is something I might be able to accept.

That is the yearly manager training class. Even if you were only managing an intern, you had to take it every year.

>I think people pushing their political agenda within a company tend to harm the company and it should therefore be ok to fire them.

>That said, I haven't wanted to work for Google for years. But I am from the opposite side from these veterans.

>I felt it was very unjust when James Damore was fired

Well, it can be argued that he was fired for similar reasons.. Are you saying that it's okay depending on which 'side' (a whole other story) someone is on?

"Well, it can be argued that he was fired for similar reasons.. Are you saying that it's okay depending on which 'side' (a whole other story) someone is on? "

Good point. I guess what feels particularly unfair to me is that (afaik) Damore published his paper on an internal board, after having been encouraged to state his opinions in a diversity training session. He didn't start out accusing Google publicly. Also, another bit that feels unfair to me is the interpretation of his memo as "hateful".

Other than that - I personally think companies should be allowed to fire whoever they want. Them firing Damore (among other things) just makes them a company I don't want to work for.

I didn't follow it too closely, but the whole Damore thing seemed like it was more of a reaction to the increasingly political nature of the company.

Neither did I, just pointing out that someone's POV might colour what they perceive as justified vs not.

Did you know that Damor filed a complaint with the National Labor Board?

“ ... an internal NLRB memo found that his firing was legal. The memo, which was not released publicly until February 2018, said that while the law shielded him from being fired solely for criticizing Google, it did not protect discriminatory statements, that his memo's "statements regarding biological differences between the sexes were so harmful, discriminatory, and disruptive as to be unprotected", and that these "discriminatory statements", not his criticisms of Google, were the reason for his firing.“


I know he sued Google, not details, though.

This statement by the NBL just proves to me that the NBL is a batshit crazy untrustworthy institution. (Add the NBL to the list of places I wouldn't want to work for...).

I guess that is just the modern world, people have so different views (perspectives) that no reconciliation seems possible.

In any case, no need to discuss the Damore memo again, I just wanted to point out that there are different sides, and these recent articles seem to represent only one side.

What in particular about the statement do you see as batshit crazy?

FYI I erred - it’s the NLRB not the NLB - my bad.

"statements regarding biological differences between the sexes were so harmful, discriminatory, and disruptive as to be unprotected"

I actually read the memo by Damore.

But OK, "batshit crazy" goes more for the "movement" as a whole. This is just crazy. Or maybe just legal weirdness?

> I would feel "unsafe" at Google.

What would make you feel unsafe? It seems like you're suggesting the answer is diversity trainings. What about them would make you feel that way?


You've opened by suggesting people you disagree with might have mental health issues. You are going well beyond 'putting forth rational thoughts for discussion' already.

This is not a Google internal discussion, though, and I am not working for YCombinator.

I am stating the fact that I would feel unsafe working for a company like Google. Whether my feeling of being unsafe is warranted is up for discussion. That I have the feeling (or expect to have it) is a fact.

By the way, forcing people through diversity training is also like that: it is saying "you are racist and need to be reprogrammed". That is likewise not a good entry for discussion. Except that compared to my comment on an internet forum, it is official company policy.

I don't disagree with your feelings. Those are totally valid (even if my feelings about it are different than yours.)

I'm just suggesting you might want to take some time to be introspective. Personally, I read many of your comments as emotionally charged personal opinions rather than 'rational thoughts for discussion'.

I'm not going to invalidate what you feel, but I do suggest that you might not be effectively translating those feelings into rational discussion points as much as you think you are?

Sure, I get your point - I just meant this wasn't supposed to be the rational discussion about women in tech. I would approach such a discussion in a different way. If I would put myself in a situation where it would be necessary (like accepting a job offer from Google), I would be more diplomatic.

I am emotionally charged on that subject, yes - but that is after years of dealing with it.

I think Damore made a pretty good effort at putting his thoughts into rational discussion points, and it didn't help. I think to make any headyway on that topic, if it is possible at all, will require psychology, not rational arguments.

But why do you think your workplace is an appropriate place for "rational discussion" (which, to run afoul of Google, would have to be fairly controversial)?

And you still won't say exactly how diversity training affects your safety. You can simply attend and listen without venturing any risky comments.

Google has a problem, or thinks it has a problem - in the Damore case it was "too few female engineers". So I would expect to use rationality to come up with possible solutions.

However, as I said, I think Google is entitled to do it in their own way. I just personally don't want to work for a company that doesn't employ rational thought and discussion for trying to solve problems.

I am not proposing to implement a law that forces companies to allow open discussions. I am just saying I personally don't want to work there.

Diversity training and safety - I wrote it elsewhere. It signals "this is SJW territory". In a similar vein you could say "why does a Swastika tattoo make you feel unsafe? Just don't say you are Jewish or homosexual".

So you consider proactive social justice (such as hiring more women and diversity training) to be analogous to the Holocaust?

Swastikas make Jews feel unsafe because Nazis kill Jews (even today).

Diversity training and social justice are not killing anyone, nor are they anti-anyone.

"When you are used to privilege, equality feels like oppression." Not sure who said that, but it seems applicable to your mindset here.

Social Justice Warriors are killing people, you just don't care, so you don't notice. They try to destroy lives - make people unemployable and outcasts in society. There have been suicides, and lots of ruined careers.

If a company publicly hires James Damore now, SJWs will probably launch a campaign against that company sooner or later, so I wonder how employable he is these days?

It's only because they don't have enough power yet that more people haven't died.

Analogy to the Holocaust: of course it is not the same thing, I was using an extreme example to make the point obvious.

Nevertheless, SJWs are not a force of good in the world. And "proactive social justice", as I said, is just a way to mark the territory and grasp power.

""When you are used to privilege, equality feels like oppression.""

That's just a lame bullshit excuse to not look at what is actually happening. Discrimination is discrimination, no matter if you do it in the name of good or not. If you prefer to hire non-white female people, you are racist and sexist. It's absurd that those same racist and sexist people then get to send normal people to diversity training and accuse them of being racist.

If you look at individuals, the injustice of the "proactive social justice" approach is patently obvious.

Some people would argue that James Damore was fired precisely because he chose to make Google workplace discussions "a vehicle for [his] political opinions". I don't think you can avoid "politics" of some sort in the workplace, no matter how hard you try. Are you "harming" the company by trying to advocate for improvements in workplace conditions? It depends on who you ask.

He didn't, though - he published his memo in an internal discussion group (after being encouraged to think about solutions in a diversity training session), and it was published widely without his consent, making him a worldwide outcast. IIRC - it's been a while.

Is there data on what tech companies programmers (either generally or new grads) most want to work for? It feels like it used to be Google by a lot, but even outside the HN bubble, I get the sense Google has taken some reputation hit.

Anecdotal, graduated 1 year ago and have many new-grad friends looking for work now:

Airbnb is probably the most desirable non-fintech company, Uber and Lyft were in this category too before their IPOs.

Of megacorps, Facebook generally has the best new grad comp and benefits, and is therefore most desirable. Google is a close-ish second, Microsoft and Amazon are far behind due to lower comp and cultural issues (In Amazon’s case, this means terrible work/life balance, in Microsoft’s, perception that it’s boring due to enterprise culture and office locations in particularly bland suburbs).

Apple and Netflix aren’t really on the new-grad radar because they hire mostly experienced engineers.

I find that completely mind boggling, tbh. What gets people excited about AirBnB? Is this just about perks (salary and so on)?

Nothing against AirBnB, it might be a fine, solid company doing a good job. But what about them is inspiring?

Most importantly, their comp is really good.

Second, it seems to me that there’s more room for growth at Airbnb than other companies with similar compensation. (This is an impression with no hard evidence to back it up)

Comp meaning compensation? OK, I could understand that.

I don't think the data supports your conclusion about FB. See the below article from earlier in 2019.

"The company has seen a decline in its job offer acceptance rates to software engineer candidates from nearly 90% in late 2016 to almost 50% in early 2019."[1]

[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/16/facebook-has-struggled-to-re...

From the article: "After the publication of this story, Harrison contacted CNBC to say “these numbers are totally wrong.”"

Are there fintech companies people are clamoring to work for?

Some of the most skilled CS grads I know went to work for Jane Street.

I have the same YOE as you.

> Amazon are far behind due to lower comp and cultural issues (In Amazon’s case, this means terrible work/life balance, i

Radical candor time. How are Amazon new grads perceived?

I don't think its wise or effective to attempt extract information from someone by declaring "radical candor time." and offering little if any candor of their own.

Funnily enough, that fits my stereotype of how a person from Amazon would ask me.

My evidence is mostly anecdotal too, but I have some insight into the new grad perspective both from being a recent new grad and running a site that aggregates new grad tech jobs [1].

Google is still pretty popular among new grads. Of the "Big 4" (Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft), Facebook seems to have taken the biggest hit reputationally, but is also still popular. Amazon is less popular due to the perception of its work culture and not being as engineering driven/having as high an engineering bar as Google/Facebook, but is also a popular choice.

I'd say the most popular are "unicorns" that are know for having a good culture, strong engineering, and a promising financial trajectory; Stripe and Airbnb are the two that most quickly come to mind.

[1] www.newgrad.tech

> Amazon is less popular due to the perception of its work culture and not being as engineering driven/having as high an engineering bar as Google/Facebook,

I’m a new grad that chose Amazon, what does the “not as high engineering bar” mean explicitly?

Amazon has too many MBA TPMs (who don't actually know a thing about tech) and other non-technical folk running the show

Would be interested in this too. Anecdatally, it seems like Amazon has really picked up among people who don't consider proprietary software to be unethical. G still has a better rep among the FOSS people. Of course my sample size is probably about 30 people, mostly from startups we've worked at together. Hardly representative of the target market for FAANG.

> proprietary software to be unethical

My sense is only a very small percentage (way less than 1%) of software developers think that proprietary software by definition is unethical. Am I wrong to think this?

In a hard sense maybe from selection bias and counting only full time and far fewer who don't pay the rent. Maybe uo to like 5% or so if you can count academia among developers.

There is a sizable chunk who would prefer to work with non-properietary software if only for the ability to take a peak. The likely winner by raw numbers would be the "apathetics" who go wity whatever works.

> In a hard sense ...

What other sense is there? Or more specifically, what makes proprietary software innately unethical? It just seems like you have to radically distort the meaning of "proprietary" or "ethical" to make any sense of the concept and at that point you are just playing with semantics and not communicating clearly.

It would be welcomed if those ethics would be used to pay for the tooling as well.

Instead we keep getting posts on HN from companies that either go dual licenses, or completely proprietary to stay on business, or just switch business altogether.

At least now there is growing recognition that there is a problem. Given that opensource simply makes sense for many categories of software, I am hopeful that a solution that is fair to both users and developers will be figured out eventually.

Well, it depends what kind of companies. I will happily concede that it's hard to sustain a Bay Area "unicorn" company purely on FLOSS development and support - unless that company happens to be named Red Hat.

I would agree, although I don't feel like SV has really tried to make it work. It's far easier to lock things down to absurd levels. One of the reasons I love Red Hat (and went to work there) was because a big part of our early history was doing the SV thing but staying committed to our values. I think it can be done, most people are just afraid (and not without cause, companies like Amazon will certainly take your work undercut your funding mechanisms. Not trying to swipe at Amazon (I like AWS a lot as a product) and I don't think the issue is black & white).

Unethical is to use software from others, wanting to be paid for work, while not giving back a cent to those developers.

I agree, which is one reason the FOSS types really don't like Amazon.

You mean the same ones that are anti-GPL and are responsible for the uptake of licences that allow companies like Amazon to do exactly what those licenses are for?

I guess I don't know what you're talking about. I (and the people I'm referring to) are not anti-GPL. We don't use the GPL for everything because not everything needs it and without a doubt it hurts (or prevents) adoption, but we certainly do use it liberally.

I'm puzzled by your comment. The GPL fails to prevent use of software within a proprietary cloud-based system (as has been the cause of much drama lately). AGPL or a similar license is required for that.

> among people who don't consider proprietary software to be unethical

wouldn’t that be nearly everyone? there are very, very few RMS’s in the world.

There's plenty of middle ground. Lots of people--the majority, I'd say--treat open source as a positive and seek it out. But they also won't go with an inferior solution just to check the OSS purity box.

I would agree with this. Personally I've tried to choose companies whose products are fully free/libre, and for the most part have had success with that. I am no RMS, but I have a strong preference for open solutions. Because of that my sample set is certainly biased toward others who at least feel the same.

i think there are very many folks with that stance. that is a very far cry from “unethical”.

It would also be important to know why. Whether someone wants to work for a company despite its culture because of the other huge benefits of the job: interesting work and pay. At different points in the career or life one may put one aspect or the other at the top of their priorities list.

Sometimes I genuinely wonder what people expect from one of the world's largest corporations. They aren't the first. There are hundreds of other giant multinationals that have been around for generations. Why exactly does anyone expect Google to be different?

Like the author said, Google put their money where there mouth was on several occasions regarding China. They simply started ignoring Chinese government requests to sensor things and put billions of dollars at risk in an attempt to not be evil. It's one of those "we're not mad, we're just disappointed" situations (for me at least).

I used to live on the 2nd floor of an apartment in NYC; upstairs was a family with two small kids (not sure they even owned a personal computer) and downstairs was a single guy working at google.

Google guy complained (a lot) about mom (upstairs) leaving her stroller in the lobby to the point where she would ask me for help carrying it up the stairs pretty often. (no problem, I had a baby and was a sympathetic southern transplant)

Mom said "I thought they were the "Don't be evil" guys"; that stuff was branding gold!

Because they claimed to be.

Many corporations are prone to claiming outlandish things about themselves, so if that's the answer it suggests another question: why did so many people believe this particular corporation that claimed to be unique?

The were far more serious about it - is wasn’t just a casual claim.

I tend to agree. The entire "Don't Be Evil" thing planted a bizarre idea in a lot of people's heads that this particular faceless corporate giant would be different and better.

> The entire "Don't Be Evil" thing planted a bizarre idea in a lot of people's heads

aka Marketing.

Well - they were. Now they're not. Why is that shocking?

Who is shocked?

Google are insanely good at PR. They're just as bad as Facebook (and arguably worse) yet they're still viewed by many as the "good guys".

There is no way that number hasn't slipped in recent years. I would at least segment public opinion into the general public and those involved in the tech industry. Google's image (Facebook, etc, there's others) have certainly seen damage in both groups.

Whether technical people like or dislike, is kind of ambivalent. You know, it's how we make our money. And companies like Google are the market makers for raising salaries for the employees of this industry.

Ehn, from my POV, it seems like the Google's PR has a lot of room for improvement. Apple seems to have a much better PR department.

Opinions are my own.

Well, that's what you get when you appoint a CEO from McKinsey.

Google Cloud is full of ex-McKinsey people in middle management positions. Add ex-Oracle to that mix and you got yourself a culture war with old-time Googlers.

It's interesting how high the technical bar is for ICs and "normal staff", but how low the bar is set, or seems to be set, for management and their backgrounds. Their head of cloud is an ex-Oracle guy that led their disastrous cloud initiative. CFO from Goldman Sacks, McKinsey MBAs and mediocre tech managers galore. Earnings expectations clearly favored over product development, and not an engineering led company anymore.

Just looking at their hires, you can almost see the cultural shift play out.

At the executive level, your options are typically people who've never had embarassing failures or people who've never accomplished much in the first place. Kurian was the head of product at Oracle at the beginning of their cloud efforts - but he was also the head of product at Oracle, bringing a level of enterprise experience and credibility that Google Cloud has historically been in desperate need of.

Amazon and Microsoft have extremely deep benches of talent when it comes to cloud, and both have a huge % of the market share combined. Google has had presences in Seattle for almost a decade. I really don't see the logic with the kind of money Google is throwing around. It's not like Kurian was cheap.

I think it's more a failure of leadership and vision on Google's part. A symptom of the company transitioning from engineering led to MBA/Business.

The logic was straightforward and probably correct: Google has great tech but sucks (and has always sucked) at selling software to companies. A culture forged in an environment where your users are hundreds of millions of anonymous, low value individuals rather than e.g. a single CEO who will sign a $100M deal with you if he likes the cut of your jib means Google always under-valued relationship building.

The exception was their ad sales department, which under Nikesh Arora did develop a capability to build and sign large ad deals. But it took a long time because you didn't really need that for text ads, only for stuff like "rent the YouTube homepage for a day".

But for everything else they didn't really have it or care about it, institutionally.

Now look at Oracle. Weak tech, huge experience in high-touch enterprise sales. And say what you like about Oracle but they have an enormous customer base and are deeply entrenched for valid reasons. So combine Oracle's sales and relationship-oriented culture with Google's raw tech prowess and you have a potentially great combination.

I'd agree with the last part. I just think that Google is explicitly trying to execute that transition; they think, I'd argue correctly, that you can't succeed in the enterprise market with Google's historically low levels of business-side focus.

In all honesty I've felt that Google's Cloud Platform has been delivering really great product during Thomas Kurian's time. Not sure if that's actually related to him being there, but I've been super impressed with GCP when compared to AWS and Azure.

I actually think the greatest period was under Schmidt. Back then there was a lot of freedom to choose what to work on. Google Labs and 20% projects were healty.

It felt like a place where people worked on ideas they thought were cool. Things seemed to just happen organically without a lot of bureaucracy and management structure.

I think Larry changed that with a more top down approach with what to work being decided higher up, see social. This led to less project flexibility and more hierarchy, with managers and pms becoming more important in the org.

Coupled with the growth in the number of employees, I think where the company today is just a gradual evolution of what Larry started along with the problems of growth.

That said it is still a pretty good place to work at for a number of reasons.

The last bit resonates with me. Work has to be something we need to do for about 1/3 of our lives. Work is service. Even if we get paid for it, work is what we do for the betterment of collective. 1/3 of our lifetime ought to be for family and kin and our own. The remaining 1/3 for self development. To become better than who we were yesterday, last month..the year before. It’s a continuous improvement.

But I see people do nothing but work. They start at 7.00. Work all day. Outsource family time. Scrounge for a little bit of self care time. Sleep little, enjoy in chunks of time once a year. All for a price.

Most of what we work for goes to the government. Yes, taxes go for betterment of society but because no one has a say in it, it can also go towards things some of us don’t believe in. War, for example. I can’t divert my tax dollars towards space exploration rather than bloody wars.

We need a formula for life and living. A formula that gives us true and lasting freedom.

[..] When Page became CEO in 2011, he became “obsessed” with reading about why companies fail from being too big and sluggish, Stapleton said. “It’s sort of sad that a lot of the things he was afraid would happen, actually happened.”

Stapleton, who held a number of roles close to the founders, recalled Page walking around offices with a chunk of metal that he said was from his grandfather’s auto plant in Michigan. It supposedly symbolized a point in time when auto workers felt like they needed to protect themselves against management. Page showed it as an example of something he hoped would never happen to Google.

“He always said how much Google needs to be upfront and progressive in how it handles people and processes and HR,” Stapelton recalled. “He had such an optimistic view of technology and how Google could really transform how people live and free up humanity to pursue the arts.”[..]

> Most of what we work for goes to the government.

Relatively few people have an effective tax rate above 50%.

In the US, if you live in a high tax state like California or New York, you need to have an income (single person!) of about 2,500,000 USD/yr to have an effective tax rate above 50%. (Actually more like $2.9m in NYC)

Edit: for an EU example, somewhere in Bayern, Germany it'd be about 1m ~ 1.5m EUR to have an effective tax rate above 50%.

In the UK at least it's pretty easy to get close to, if not over, 50% if you're earning Google SWE salaries. The marginal rate hits 62% at £100k, and that's not including the "stealth" payroll tax known as Employer's NIC.

In the UK, if your salary is £100,000 your take-home pay is £66,535.84 - a tax rate of 33.4% - according to [1]. That rises to 41.5% if you earn £200,000, and even if you put the salary up to a billion pounds a year, it only shows a tax rate of 47%.

I suppose it might be possible to pay more than half your income in tax if you were, say, spending ten to twenty thousand pounds a year on cigarettes and strong spirits?

[1] https://www.thesalarycalculator.co.uk/salary.php

>In the UK at least it's pretty easy to get close to, if not over, 50% if you're earning Google SWE salaries. The marginal rate hits 62% at £100k, and that's not including the "stealth" payroll tax known as Employer's NIC.

Can you explain how you got this figure?

https://www.gov.uk/income-tax-rates says that the rate at 100K is 40% and 45% at 150K

(all figures approximate)

Once you get to £100,000/year gross salary, the tax-free allowance starts to taper away. At £100,000/year, your tax free allowance is ~£12,000; at £125,000/year, your tax free allowance is £0.

Suppose now you got a pay rise from £100,000 to £125,000. At £100,000, your take home pay was ~£66,500; at £125,000, your take home pay is ~£76,000. Your overall tax rate was ~33.5%, now ~39%. But comparing this year's payslips with last year's, you'll notice that of the £25,000 increase in the headline figure, ~£9,500 has actually made its way into your bank account. And 9500/25000=0.38. That's where the 62% figure comes from.

In practice, since the max tax rate is 45%, and employee's NI is around 1% at that point, your overall tax rate never gets past 46%. (For example, suppose you earn £1m via PAYE: net salary is ~£541,000. Overall tax rate therefore 45.9%.)

You can get approximate figures for this stuff out using https://listentotaxman.com/. If you want proper advice, you can pay an accountant.

Nitpick: Upper marginal employee NI rate is 2%, not 1%. So the high income marginal tax rate (and maximum average tax rate) is 47%, not 46%.

Nitpick 2: The employer also pays 13.7% NI on top of that million-pound salary, so the actual tax wedge on the employer's £1.137m outlay is 52.4% (and would approach 53.4% at multi-million salary levels).

"Income tax" isn't the only tax on income.

There is National Insurance (which is a flat 2% above ~40k).

There is the tapering of the personal allowance, which amounts to another 20% between £100k and ~£125k.

There is the stealth income tax of Employer's national insurance, which is spun as a tax on the employer, but all employers realise that they need to pay this extra ~13%, so obviously they factor that into salaries.

There is the withdrawal of child benefit for people who earn over 50k, which, again is an effective income tax on high earners with children.

Finally, there are things like the withdrawal of pension relief, which effectively increases your tax by making you pay tax on pension contributions that you wouldn't have had to pay tax on if you earnt less.

All of these can combine to an effective income tax rate of over 50%, by which I mean of the money that leaves your employer's account at the end of each month, more of it goes to the inland revenue than goes to you.

There are other ways to tax: 1. property tax. In a overheated speculative real estate market like the Bay Area, the inflated values of homes means that even at 1.2 something %, it’s 10-15% of income(a million dollar home is about 12-14k in property tax which is a significant chunk of net income)

2. Sales tax: on all consumption.

3. Gas tax, utilities surcharge. Special taxes, parcel taxes etc

4. Hideous thing we have now that is toll charges. I guess it’s like a congestion charge. Which essentially means that if people have to come into Silicon Valley to work, they have to pay the toll trolls under the bridges, as it were..

It’s one thing for google employees to pay this, but imagine lower income and minimum wage labour folks shelling out money. This means that it’s effectively discrimination against jobs and businesses that can’t hire employees to pay them a liveable wage.

Often the companies are blamed, but is it really them or is it the tax hungry govt? It seems like a good distraction and make scapegoats out of workers in well paid sectors. It’s almost as if companies like google and the rest of FAANG have a complicit cozy arrangement with the govt. the more they hire, the more ka-Ching for the tax collectors.

In fact, my rule of thumb when someone is paraded as a villain..be it google or tech bros or seniors or prop 13..or anyone else, I always follow the money. More often than not, all roads lead to Sacramento. And there are a few scapegoats up front and they are mere distractions.

How can the govt bloat and red tape and inefficiencies be blamed on tech/white colour working class who pay most of the states taxes? How is it possible that public schools don’t have swimming pools and adequate funds for programs when the millions of dollars in property taxes goes to the common state budget pot to be redistributed. Modesto schools are awesome even though they don’t nearly contribute as much as they receive and don’t have the density of Bay Area cities..and yet, high earning areas are blamed for creating inequalities. It’s just odd. If you just follow the money, it’s all pretty clear that all the usual suspects just happen to be convenient scapegoats.

5. Lack of good public transport means car, insurance, gas, registration, repairs etc. it adds up.

6. Then insurance which is actually part of your salary and because we don’t have universal health care, it’s technically wages every month.

Not to mention the latest head tax in Mountain View with most of it paid by google.

One of my neighbors ..to the contempt and disdain of other non techie folks/retirees..proclaimed that after both the adults earning close to half a million, they barely live pay check to pay check with very little savings after buying a new home with their two kids in public school. Remarkable but that’s almost believable if they were leading a comfortable no scarcity life.

You can be on welfare at 45k in Oakland with 7 kids and 2 adults when you are poor and you have services and food stamps and welfare and subsidized housing. There is no where to go below. But when you are upper middle class and you have to pay for everything and what you work for is to maintain a standard of life, then 20k/month isn’t enough for a family of 4.

Most tech employees are on the receiving end of scorn and contempt and envy in the Bay Area. Sometimes even within their own places of employment by transplants from east coast who have California COLA sticker shock or young people just out of school who don’t have families. There is a lot of derision here when one is ambitious and wants to be upward mobile. It’s really strange to me as someone witnessing all this Silicon Valley upheaval as an outsider.

This isn’t my circus as I am not working in SV but it’s really odd. I don’t know what to make of it or see the sense in it. I want to believe that everyone is justified in how they feel from their perspective, but it’s hard to understand how some feel like the most productive class in SV should be the most taxed and exploited. The beauty or tragedy of it is that a large majority of their own believe that the tech working class is undeserving of their status and needs to be taxed more. Not my monkeys, not my circus..but still..its like bizarro world. Only in California. Fascinating.

We are also taxed on goods, property, transactions, consumption, death, inheritance..even gifting.. etc. we pay a lot of taxes.

Imagine you make 2.5 million/year. Why should you pay 1.25 million as taxes? Are you being taxed for being wealthy? Isn’t it punitive? What services do you receive that is worth 1.25 million?

But imagine you make 60k/year. Roads, infrastructure, essential services, public schools for a family of 4 with 2 kids does make sense. A larger family benefits more as they get more than they contribute.

Our tax system incentivizes larger families and redistributes wealth. It works if there is a healthy middle class. In CA the very rich is thin but they also support a larger proportion than other states.

When we are looking to hit 9 billion soon, it’s probably not best to incentivize rampant population growth and large families.

You're taxed at that rate because that's what the government thinks is optimal for the economy. It's not punitive and it's got nothing to do with what anyone "deserves" or how much they use.

The point of social security is to mitigate risk, which increases fluidity in the job market. Without that, you have scores of potential successful business owners working in factories, contributing fuck all to the economy.

There's some real positives to progressive taxation too. It acts as a negative tax on risk, incentivising veteran devs to take on more low paying research positions and startups instead of lucrative consulting and big business gigs.

There's a reason almost every highly successful country has a similar tax system. Progressive taxation up to ~50% and not much higher. Because despite what people on the far-left or far-right keep crapping on about, fucking with either free markets or welfare is a recipe for disaster, you need a good balance of both to have a healthy economy.

> When we are looking to hit 9 billion soon, it’s probably not best to incentivize rampant population growth and large families.

US fertility rate is already below 2 (per woman), and overall population growth is already very low. It doesn't make sense to use population growth as a reason for anything at this point.

Also, the growth to 9 billion worldwide isn't due to US. It's mostly due to Africa. And we already know what lowers the birth rate - better healthcare, better economy and better education. Nothing to do with tax policy or wealth transfer.

True but we only have a fixed land/resources in our planet and we must stay within carrying capacity.

Maybe migration is in order. But we can’t increase a nation or a people’s population to keep up with others out of some kind of racial purity goal.

Better healthcare also increases life span and population due to lower mortality rate.

More women are educated today than 100 years ago, yet population has kept increasing steadily.

World poverty has decreased and yet population has increased.

> World poverty has decreased and yet population has increased.

I think the demographic transition model applied on a per-country basis explains that quite well (and also makes clear that there is no immediate cause for concern based on population alone).



Your worldview is likely very wrong. The population growth is not a "sustained" state - it's an artifact of the transition from poverty to prosperity. Once a country has low child mortality rate and high education, the birthrate drops like a rock - you know, even China, which isn't that rich overall yet, has its birth rate drop below that of US - i.e. China's population growth has already effectively stopped (the actual number of people will continue to grow as the current population grows older, but the number of children won't change much).

You may want to watch:


and a few other videos on gapminder.

> we only have a fixed land/resources in our planet and we must stay within carrying capacity.

There's no evidence that's the case. We do have serious environmental issues (like global warming, and pollution) but they are not directly related to "carrying capacity" to sustain the overall human population. For all we know, we know we can produce enough food to sustain the population. We know technological solutions to solve the global warming.

Look at the historical data on birthrate (click play to see it change from 1800 to present):


you'll find that the world has largely already converged to the steady state, and it's only Africa that needs to finish its transition to the sustainable state. Thus, the only humanitarian and practical way to end the population growth is to get the (most African) poor countries get better health, better education and economy, which is already in well progress.

"The future is here already; it's just not evenly distributed" -- William Gibson.

> What services do you receive that is worth 1.25 million?

A stable state that protects your property rights over the other 1.25 million.

Like protection money? Then the Govt is like the mafia?

No? The mafia fucks your shit up if you don't pay. The government protects you from civil unrest, which is instigated by all the other people that aren't millionaires.

If the mafia protected you from other people robbing you, then they'd be a legitimate business. It's called a security company.

So..it’s still protection money? Robin Hood economy?

Say you have $2.5 million in income for the year. For $1.25 million, the government maintains the system that allows you to spend it as real wealth. It maintains the system that enforces your business and employment contracts. It enforces that when you deposit your money in a bank or buy stocks, you don’t also have to pay for your own gunmen to make sure you can get your money back out. It makes sure that when your house is on fire, the firemen don’t first evaluate your net worth and then extort you in front of your burning house. The mafia comparison severely underestimates just how much useful (wealth creating) infrastructure modern governments provide.

All of those things were essential for you to have earned your $2.5 million in the first place without always having to look over your shoulder in case the local warlord notices your money and decides to take it.

Right. Warlords in Europe and America?

How much is the tax rate in Rwanda?

I'm having trouble believing that you actually tried to understand what I wrote.

The ‘warlord’ caught my eye and I couldn’t read past it. Sorry.

The warlord part was at the very end of their post.

> Our tax system incentivizes larger families and redistributes wealth.

Do you have a shred of evidence to back this up?

In reality, the situation is the opposite: places with higher taxes that pay for better government services see a declining birth rate.

Taxes pay for a social safety net and birth control. Both of those things cause birth rates to go down, not up. By contrast, large families are the safety net in places with riskier economies and poorer public health.

45% of California state budget goes to public school education. A middle class family with 4 children and one earning member pays way little and gains more.

Someone making 2.5 million and paying 1.25 million in taxes supports the others with less benefits.

This is the first example that came to my mind. What are your thoughts on this?

I am glad to subsidize those kinds of services that I myself do not personally need. And anyone who has the mentality of "why am I paying the government to provide stuff that doesn't help me?" needs to be taught compassion and empathy. Or given a one-way ticket to the government-free utopias such as Somalia that is clearly their dream come true.

Have to be taught compassion and empathy? Like in re-education camps?

I hear your emotional plea, but I can’t find logic or rationality behind it.

> What are your thoughts on this?

Data shows that lowering the cost of education doesn't increase birth rate. Otherwise Germany, which has 100% free education through college, would have a high (and increasing) birth rate.

The same is true for every country that has developed economically. Stability/security reduce birth rate.

It makes sense, doesn't it? Having a child is a huge emotional, physical, and financial burden, regardless of the cost of education. The government would have to give people an astronomical amount of money to make it feel like people were "getting paid" to have kids, and even then, I still doubt they would.

Children take an enormous toll on people's lives and bodies. As an example, the Japanese government is trying to get people to have them, and they just won't.

"What are your thoughts on this?"

We need much higher taxes on millionaires.

Why? Because they are more productive than non-millionaires?

What makes you think they are?

What makes you think they are not..?

I don’t know what to make of this pointless back and forth..

If you think someone who creates products is less productive than say...a supermarket check out employee, I have nothing more to contribute to this back and forth. Have a nice day.

How do taxes pay for birth control?

Could declining birth rate be a sign of a better society that values quality of life over quantity of offspring genes? Of course, causation isn’t correlation and all that.

Perhaps if incentivizing smaller families with UBI for life will be a better policy than incentivizing large families?

> How do taxes pay for birth control?

Most people in developed, Western countries get free birth control (and all other medical necessities) from the government. This is funded by their taxes.

This is also true of US citizens using Medicare.

Further, taxes pay for sex education at public schools, CDC awareness campaigns, and other

> Could declining birth rate be a sign of a better society that values quality of life over quantity of offspring genes?

Yes. What I'm saying is that the "better society" part is funded by governments (especially in Western Europe and Canada): public health programs and social safety nets decrease economic reliance on children, which reduces economic motivations to produce them. Fewer children also die, reducing the need to already have "extra" children to replace them.

> Perhaps if incentivizing smaller families with UBI for life will be a better policy than incentivizing large families?

UBI may make sense. I don't know. It depends on the specifics and hasn't been extensively studied.

However, I'm still trying to understand why you think anyone is "incentivizing" large families. Who is doing it and why? What part of the government is trying to increase the birth rate?

Google search for ‘large families welfare’ : https://calmatters.org/poverty/2017/01/about-face-state-stop...

There is no family cap for welfare. What are you going to do? Let the others starve? It’s an impossible situation.

Currently smaller families don’t get incentives. This isn’t to say larger families should be let to be destitute. I am just saying that those who dont should be rewarded.

But if smaller families are heavily incentivized and with everyone getting UBI, then the scales will tip for quality over quantity.

Again, you haven't provided evidence that welfare payments increase birth rate because you can't. It is not something that happens.

Your theory that changing welfare payments based on number of children will increase children is wrong.

I am sorry if I was unclear.

I don’t have a theory but I proposed that if we reward parents who have small families, then they will be incentivised to maintain smaller healthier families.

It might also encourage those who want to have larger families to have smaller families.

> What services do you receive that is worth 1.25 million?

And what do you produce alone that is worth 2.5 million?

I honestly don’t know anyone who makes that much. But generally that high income comes passively because of lack of expense externalities. This is also generally to higher risk and speculative activity involving proportionally high capital investment.

>Work has to be something we need to do for about 1/3 of our lives. >1/3 of our lifetime ought to be for family and kin and our own. >The remaining 1/3 for self development.

and then the fourth 1/3 of the time you sleep

Good point..thirds of our waking life.

1/3 of 16 hours then..

168 hours in a week; 56 hours sleeping (7 days * 8 hours/day); 112 awake hours/week; 1/3rd of 112 = 37 hours/week

> work is what we do for the betterment of collective

This is going to be unpopular but I'll plow ahead regardless: no it isn't. Work is what we do to support our expensive hobbies and because we like nice things.

That too but the work itself serves the general public.

The cutting edge tech is all for what? It’s for everyone to have a phone in their hands..find directions..listen to music..swipe for dates etc. today a farmer in India has a smart phone. It’s democratization of tech. The world benefits. It’s a form of service where you get paid.

As opposed to being a butler for the queen of England.

It’s actually a beautiful thing. I hear a lot of grudges against tech workers in Bay Area from those who aren’t..I always point out that the world is better because a hand ful of people make lives better for 8 billion by making tech accessible.

Of course, there will be a cost for this. A price for this. A heavy one sometimes. But the goal is for everyone to live better. Imagine we didn’t have computers 50 years ago. How far we have come...

Smartphone apps and social media are not pushing humanity forward. They are huge productivity drain if anything and cause more problems than they solve.

Are you saying the world hasn’t benefited from mobile connectivity devices and humanity being more networked than ever in the history of our planet?

I think it's still too early to tell, but it's certainly not that crazy to think that on net the world hasn't benefited from humanity being more networked than ever in history.

In some ways it has, but there have also been significant downsides. Whether these things have really been a net benefit to humanity (or to the world) does seem debatable, at least (in my opinion).

> Work is what we do to support our expensive hobbies and because we like nice things.

Ask the person cleaning your corporate bathrooms tonight, who doesn't work for that corporation, if that's why they're working.

I think the take away is that we have human beings cleaning corporate bathrooms. We should have machines and gadgets doing it.

But humans are cheaper, that why we don't have machines to do it.

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