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Google Ties Employee Bonuses To +1 Success

Unknown Lamer posted more than 3 years ago | from the negativity-is-impolite-mmkay dept.

Businesses 167

jfruhlinger writes "Last week Google introduced the +1 button, its attempt to tie its search offerings more closely with users' social networks. Now, a leaked memo reveals that every Google employee will have a stake in the outcome, with bonuses tied to the success or failure of the initiative."

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Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (3, Funny)

lxs (131946) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754520)

Wait until the banking community hears of the blasphemy! Mammon weeps!

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (4, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754580)

As far as I can tell, this is tying the bonuses of everyone at Google to the efforts of the few people at Google involved in social media crap - in turn coming down to the efforts of the few managers who actually want to push the social media crap. It's the ultimate PHB power trip: you are so insistent that a repeatedly-failing idea is good, while at the same time wanting to acknowledge none of evidence or the responsibility that it isn't, so you declare that everyone else has a stake in it. Then it's everyone's fault: after all, they had financial incentive to succeed - which, as everyone knows, is the reason everyone wants to do anything - so the only reason the plan failed must be because all 24k employees just weren't trying hard enough.

Page (Gates) is an intelligent egomaniac who happened to be in the right place at the right time, carried to success by Schmidt (Ballmer) and a few venture capitalist titans. Now add cowardly to his list of properties.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (2)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754728)

Overreacting much?

Google has a pretty large staff spread across the world. If each one of them can just make one other person aware of the new feature and of those half tell someone else, you've just kickstarted a pretty hefty viral marketing.

Where is the problem with tying part of an employees bonus to the company's success? Isn't that what bonuses are all about? If they're not tied to the company's success, it's called a salary, you know.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35754740)

If each one of them can just make one other person aware [...]

ugh.. enough reason to keep away from googlers for a while.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754746)

They didn't tie it to the company's success. They tied it to the success of a very specific feature. A feature that I at least won't use (and if it gets obnoxious, I may very well ultimately decide to switch the search engine I use -- the last thing Google wants).

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (2)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754882)

What is your point? The product is one part of Google's overall portfolio and thus its success. It will contribute to ONE PART of the employees' bonuses.

Where's your problem?

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (2)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755022)

One small part of google's portfolio determines 25% of an employees bonus. I know if I was on a team with something successful like gmail or the search engine, or android that I would be pretty pissed that a quarter of my bonus doesn't rely on my personal achievements. Which I think is the point of bonuses.. that is to award employees, beyond usual compensation, for a job well done.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35755288)

Would you be equally pissed if your next bonus was 33% larger than last years just because some random product of your company was successful? I don't see anywhere that anyone is actually going to get less than before...

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35755346)

Would you be equally pissed if your next bonus was 33% larger than last years just because some random product of your company was successful? I don't see anywhere that anyone is actually going to get less than before...

Yes, they are. This is not additional bonus, it is a change to the factors deciding how much of your allocated bonus level you achieve. So another social media failure from Google will most definitely reduce the bonus of Google employees worldwide vs. if this change was not introduced into the bonus system.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (3, Insightful)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755800)

But bonuses are never guaranteed. The reason that bonuses exist in the first place is to offer incentive for employees to get behind whatever initiative the company has in a given quarter and is not part of their base salary.

Google could just as easily take away bonuses from the other teams altogether.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (1)

N1AK (864906) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755348)

One small part of google's portfolio determines 25% of an employees bonus. I know if I was on a team with something successful like gmail or the search engine, or android that I would be pretty pissed that a quarter of my bonus doesn't rely on my personal achievements.

Google search is the mechanism via which +1 works, if you were on the search team and didn't see how you were in a position to assist then you probably won't earn the full bonus. Guess what, android is a platform for google tools (inc search). Making +1 easier to use and more attractive to users on phones could help. Sometimes, especially outside of base-level roles, your achievement can't be measured purely on individually controlled tasks. Assisting others in your team, creating processes that improve future performance, work as part of cross-departmental teams etc are all valueable contributions.

Do I think 25% bonus for +1 is 'fair' for a hardware architect? No. Do I think Google knows that adding social information to their search results will provide a 'stickier' (one people are less likely to give up) and 'better' (one people will rate more highly) search experience? Yes, and I think they know that they need to get good at this fast. Perhaps it's not for everyone, but I think the vast majority of people will find it brilliant if they search for "Indian, Manchester" and two results their contacts rate highly are highlighted in the result etc.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755820)

You are correct sir.

This strikes me as a really really good way of getting everyone on board with +1 and working to integrate it seamlessly into Google's other services. It dawns on me that this is something that Google already does pretty well. They definitely take a systems approach to deploying new products.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35756258)

Well, my bonus (large company - 60,000 employees) is based on:
- base "target" bonus (about 15%)
- corporate component multiplier
- OPCO component including safety metrics, budget, etc. multiplier
- personal component multiplier (can be .8, 1, 1.2)
This past year it came to 22.5% and was very lucrative. As you can see - a lot of it depends on people I don't know working on projects I've never heard of. But if the company and OPCO do well and my personal performance was very good I get a nice bonus. If it is a bad year - not so much. It seems pretty standard to base it on things like this.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756660)

The point really lies in the fact that if Google can be a big hit in the social media market it will make not only a lot of money in its social media arm, but its other marketing products can be that much more knowledgeable about the users it serves ads to. That has the potential to make a LOT of money for Google. Also, each Googler is free to spend 20% of their time working on whatever they want, so they could all theoretically pitch in on this project.

Furthermore, at my company a portion of my bonus is based on the entire IT division in my company making budget. Since I'm not a manager who is in control of even the budget for my group I have 0 hope to have any meaningful impact on that portion of my bonus. That's just the way life goes.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (2, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754756)

If each one of them can just make one other person aware of the new feature and of those half tell someone else, you've just kickstarted...

...turning your friends into business opportunities, the same socially damaging outcome to hit every pyramid marketing scheme and cult member.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754902)

Oh come on!

If you're on good terms with a Peugeot dealer, chances are you'll be driving a Peugeot, even if the GM dealer is closer.

Most people think they get better deals from friends. Sometimes they are right, often they're the same and sometimes they're worse. In most cases, though, people feel better going to someone they know. That is not a nefarious scheme, it's human nature.

And besides, Google doesn't want their employees to sell this. There is nothing to sell here. It's a move to get the function more widespread acknowledgement and thus a bigger userbase (to which they custom-tailor ads).

Frankly, I have a very hard time seeing how this is supposed to be Evil (TM).

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (3, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754970)

Most people think they get better deals from friends. Sometimes they are right, often they're the same and sometimes they're worse. In most cases, though, people feel better going to someone they know. That is not a nefarious scheme, it's human nature.

It's understandable if a Google employee himself chooses to use Google's social networking crap because he believes that he'll get more money for doing so. But ultimately the success must depend on persuading others outside the company - and it's absolutely nefarious if your "friend" is this Google employee who is taking advantage of your trust and who stands to benefit financially when you follow his advice/example. The ethics of this sort of behaviour has been debated so much in terms of the harm of MLM and cult membership that, if you genuinely are ignorant, ... well, you know how to use Google.

I don't know that this is what Page expects employees to do, but this sort of geek-grass-roots-marketing thing works approximately once - with an "innocent" start-up when the competition is wanting and people are yearning for an alternative, as with the original and still fairly good Google search engine proper. After that you just look like Microsoft with its, "Wow, it was Vista all along - and there was me thinking Vista was a failure!" ads.

Car analogy effort notwithstanding, this is nothing whatever to do with choosing Peugeot because you're on good terms with a Peugeot dealer. A good business relationship which may come from a good underlying personal relationship, while often risky, is not proselytism.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (2)

Jstlook (1193309) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755166)

Oh come on! If you're on good terms with a Peugeot dealer, chances are you'll be driving a Peugeot, even if the GM dealer is closer. Most people think they get better deals from friends. Sometimes they are right, often they're the same and sometimes they're worse. In most cases, though, people feel better going to someone they know. That is not a nefarious scheme, it's human nature. And besides, Google doesn't want their employees to sell this. There is nothing to sell here. It's a move to get the function more widespread acknowledgement and thus a bigger userbase (to which they custom-tailor ads). Frankly, I have a very hard time seeing how this is supposed to be Evil (TM).

My interpretation that the goal of this bonus program is to make damn sure this feature comes across to the public as a 'Good Thing'. It seems like they hope to chip away every blemish that makes it unappealing. That means they *do* want their employees to sell this, because they want to be able to sell this feature to their advertisers. This is the only thing Google actually *does* sell if I'm not mistaken -- advertising. (sure they might make some money in other departments, but the bottom line is if they didn't advertise, they wouldn't be a household name). There's three things I see are inherently evil about Google pushing this feature like they are:

1) They're directly tying the success (i.e. bonuses) of every individual to the success of one product regardless of whether the product is good or bad.

It's actions like this that make employees realize they're part of a profit-driven enterprise, and not an idea-driven enterprise (of which I used to attribute Google). Most profit-driven enterprises couldn't care whether they sell a goodproduct, as long as it sells. (See Microsoft)

2) They've made a business model around producing 'non-biased' results, and now they're inducing an intentional bias on the results.

Admittedly, they're improving the quality of their results (until the script kiddies and dubious SEOites latch onto a process to induce their bias into the mix, at which point Google's bogging themselves down in micromanaging the results).

3) They're hoping (and probably rightfully so) that the public doesn't mind Google retaining the information necessary to identify each +1.
Personally, I have come to realize that I don't generally like or appreciate businesses taking advantage of my personal information; still, Google is intelligent enough to realize that selling advertising is more profitable than selling this info to someone else. In short, Google's not evil, cause they're smart enough to profit just by playing the game. Everyone else *is* evil because they saw a hack and are exploiting it, and aren't smart enough to figure out how to actually benefit from it.

Pyramid Marketing + Cult = Google (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755168)

...turning your friends into business opportunities, the same socially damaging outcome to hit every pyramid marketing scheme and cult member.

This is Google's sweet spot. Surprised they haven't hit on this earlier.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35754792)

If each one of them can just make one other person aware of the new feature and of those half tell someone else,

Yea, everybody loves friends who try to push some pyramid-scheme shit on you. That's what friends are for after all: making money off of them and using them for your employer's benefit. Friends of employees are just another company asset.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35755004)

Overreacting much?

Google has a pretty large staff spread across the world. If each one of them can just make one other person aware of the new feature and of those half tell someone else, you've just kickstarted a pretty hefty viral marketing.

So, let's see, Google's 24,000 employees each alert someone that they they have nifty social networking services and one-half of those 24,000 new lusers tell someone else..... thirty-six thous--Oh, my god! That would triple the number of current Buzz users!

+1 for your bonus.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35755706)

Actually they tied every employee to the success of something most are not responsible for and that's where the issue is. While the above rant may be a bit extreme his/her main point is correct which is this is poor management at best. Rewards (and punishments) are meant to drive desired behavior. In order to do that a person being so driven must have enough influence to actually affect the outcome of the bonus. The whole "if everyone does it" argument loses credibility because it actually removes the influence of the individual and allows freeloaders and workers alike to benefit (or not) from the actions of the few who do have influence over the success of this feature. I've worked at several companies who do this and it's almost always management's way of saying "this thing is important to me". That's great but if I can't do anything about it (which is the case for most of your workforce) then what am I suposed to do this year? Unfortunately the answer for many employees is often coast. Since their area doesn't affect anything monetarily why go above and beyond is the attitude and they do their basic job just well enough to keep their basic job.

This is why effective bonuses need to be a combination of the overal businesses performance (to determine if bonuses should be paid and the overall availability of bonus funds) and individual contribution (to determine the distribution of bonus funds). Otherwise you get less than ideal behavioral results.Unfortunately what Google is doing is the same approach large industrial companies take towards safety mandates (i.e. make it everyone's responsibility but don't actual put money or effort into the processess that can prevent the catastrophic events because that's costly) and as a result we get fatal explosions and environmental catastrophes.

In a bit of ironic humor my captcha to post this was "bribery"

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (1)

rockfistus (1445481) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756216)

I could probably use a good year or so without hearing or reading the word "viral." It'd surely be nice.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35755318)

Actually it means the employees working on the social media project now have the incentive of not letting down all their colleagues (some of whom will be friends) by failing. I would think that not destroying your friends/colleagues bonuses by failing publically would be a far more powerful motiviational force than simply the opportunity to increase your own bonus (at least it would be for me).

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755996)

The summary posted here at Slashdot invites us to infer more than the memo in TFA says. It seems to imply that Google employees won't get any annual bonus unless the "+1 Button" feature is a success. What the memo says is is that 1/4 of the bonus will be tied to Google's success in its social media efforts *as a whole*.

You get paid for doing your job. Bonuses are something different. I have doubts about the effectiveness of bonuses, particularly for engineers, but if they do have a function it is to get you thinking, not just about the task at hand, but how it might be tweaked to contribute to the overall success of the company. In a company like Google where engineers have considerable scope for creativity, a bonus policy like this might have some positive effect.

As for "social media" being crap, this attitude is *precisely* why managers contemplate steps like this. Just because you have good, even unassailable reasons to believe social media is crap doesn't mean it's an unimportant business. It doesn't matter what *you* think or how justified you are when your customers think differently. Google has to consider Facebook as a key competitor. Facebook has moved into product niches that are important to Google. There's advertising, for one. Everyone one uses Google search, but nobody spends the kind of time many people do on Facebook. Facebook is well positioned to move into other areas such as email and cloud services.

What is really a mystery is why Google chose to pull the plug on Wave. It was poorly marketed, that is true, but it was an unique take on social media: actually using it for *doing* things. The one thing Facebook is *not* positioned to do is launch services that people can readily see require *trust*.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (1)

Infernal Device (865066) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756376)

I'm reminded of the company who offered bonuses to the QA team for every bug found in their code. Suddenly, bugs were being found on a regular basis.

Then someone realized that programmers were getting kickbacks.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (2, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754926)

Bank bonuses were dependant on results. The more money you shovelled out the window or burned in a furnace, the more you got paid.

This will ruin Google. Bonuses and other goal oriented incentives ruin organisations wholesale.

If you dangle large quantities of money in front of people to get them to do something(or worse threaten to deny them money if they don't), then they will do whatever it takes to meet that goal. This means they will cut corners, engage in risk, change parameters, and generally cheat and game the system in every way possible to meet your target. Eventually, your company or organisation will be utterly ruined, withered from within by your ill advised management practices.

Bonuses are an illegitimate form of compensation on every level. 99% percent of the time, a bonus culture is instituted by management to pay themselves handsomely for wrecking their company.

If you want someone to work, pay them for the job they do, not the targets they meet. Never, ever try to reduce a job to numbers when that's not what it's all about. If you're still not getting quality labour, hire better people, and note you may have to pay to get them.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (4, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754986)

Bonus culture has completely ruined service provision in local and national government in England over the past decade. Unfortunately, we are severely lacking an ideology which recognises what you state.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755262)

Bonuses where I work are actually introduced as a sort of "market adjustment" -- our bonuses are calculated quarterly as a percentage of the profits of the company divided out per man hour across all employees, including salaried employees (who still punch the clock for purposes of calculating their bonus) but excluding upper management. Upper management does not receive a bonus. It's routinely on the order of $3-5/hour, unless we've had an exceptionally good or bad quarter.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (4, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755394)

Which is arguably still irrational because an organisation's mission rarely aligns with the short term profit goals of employees/management. Optimum behaviour would be to strip the company and sell off its assets, or as close as possible to that as constraints will allow.

(Hence, again, many recent examples of corporate and public sector plundering.)

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (2)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755740)

I'm not even convinced that this is real - from TFA:

"So much so that, according to Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson, Page last Friday distributed a memo to all employees informing them that 25 percent of their annual bonus in 2011 will depend on the success of Google's social media efforts."

Given that last Friday was April 1st, it seems an odd time to release an announcement that 25% of your bonus will be tied to some trendy new search feature if it's not a joke. Having said that, FB is arguably Google's biggest threat right now so it wouldn't be that unreasonable for them to predict that the social aspects of search are going to be increasingly important in the near future.

Re:Wait what? Bonuses depending on results? (1)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755484)

Actually, if done right, this might be an interesting exercise in management. Make everyone's bonuses directly correlate to the quality of work of other parts of the business. Make it so that everyone's bonus is dependent on everyone else's work, in various branches, and just sit back and watch everything self-organize...or burn to the ground. Either way, you'd still have your golden parachute...

fp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35754532)

omg omg omg omg omg omg what? first post? Your comment violated the "postercomment" compression filter. Try less whitespace and/or less repetition.

Rating search results (1)

AnonymmousCoward (2026904) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754538)

Does google really think that the average user is going to rate their search results? If a search is really that good, the user is going to immediately click on the link they are searching for. I do frequent searches throughout the day. I don't see myself using this feature after every search (or after any search for that matter).

Re:Rating search results (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754552)

If a result is that good, I'm just going to add it to my pinboard.in account. I couldn't care less about clicking on a button to help people I don't even know when they search for something in the future.

Re:Rating search results (2)

Svippy (876087) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754560)

Sounds like someone doesn't want Google employees to get their bonuses. And by 'someone', I mean everyone.

Re:Rating search results (1)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754608)

No they aren't. But internet marketers and other seo-people will to try and push their sites to the top. Then they will also try and enlist ordinary users help by placing +1 buttons on their pages and some will even go so far as to incentivise users for clicking on the buttons. Or having stupid interstitial pages with +1 buttons on them that users have to click to get to the real content.

Re:Rating search results (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756422)

Don't forget that Google also knows your social circle if you've given them enough info. They'll certainly weight +1 by your friends and the people you follow on Twitter at a higher level than evil +1's. I was about to say that this is more a crowd-sourcing feature than a social feature, but this is really the thing that makes it more a social thing.

Re:Rating search results (2)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754610)

I'm more interested in a -1 rating. It sucks when my search results are filled with useless crap, copies of the same question without an answer, malware sites, etc. I'd love to rate those down.

Re:Rating search results (1)

ludwigf (1208730) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754748)

I'm more interested in a -1 rating. It sucks when my search results are filled with useless crap, copies of the same question without an answer, malware sites, etc. I'd love to rate those down.

I would like a -1 as well. The number of +1 is not as meaningful as the ratio of negative/positive votes. They should have just reused the known thumbs used on youtube. For complains about useless crap there are other channels though:

For maleware and spam pages there is google's spam reporting page [google.com] and if you're using chrome there is a plugin by google [google.com] that adds a "report as spam" shortcut to any search result. As the plugin is trivial I am positive something similar exists for other brothers.

Also there is the feedback link on every search page [google.com] and the option to hide domains that bug you most [blogspot.com] (see here [google.com] ).

Re:Rating search results (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754770)

For maleware and spam pages

I used to get a lot of spam about wares for males. Especially dodgy "pharmaceuticals".

Re:Rating search results (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35755324)

+1 on your -1 idea!

Re:Rating search results (1)

19061969 (939279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755594)

+1 on your +1 to the -1. If we could get rid of all the crap from all the crappy websites with crappy business plans, the world would be a better place (probably even for the owners of the crappy sites).

So long as its a group thing (1)

JR0cket (1986408) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754564)

If everyone at Google is incentivised to push successful features out, then perhaps it will help keep them focused on projects that deliver real value to their customers. Lets hope this is not taken too far and starts to stifle innovation at Google though. Thank you

Re:So long as its a group thing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35754586)

So they know what features are successful before they're out?

Re:So long as its a group thing (2)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754622)

Yes, because management decided so.

Welcome to business. (3, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754582)

This is how my company, and I imagine many others, do bonuses. They're not givens.

Every year HQ releases the metric/equation for our bonus. Sometimes it's company wide. Sometimes it's division wide.

For example: (Round numbers, not real)
No one gets a bonus unless we hit a $0.50 dividend.
After that. For every $0.01 above $.50, we get that much as a 'multiplier'.

So as a salary grade 10. I get 10% of my annual salary as my bonus. Multiplied by the multiplier. I earn $50,000 year. We hit $1.20 dividend. That means I get 50k*.10*1.20 = $6000 bonus.

It's not like the +1 button is their entire metric, but I'm sure it plays a role. Unless +1 hits 10% of market usage AND some other things happen, then the bonuses are given.

I wouldn't want to be working there now (3, Insightful)

Mouldy (1322581) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754584)

"...every Google employee..." -- Really?

If the projects I was working on at Google had absolutely nothing at all to do with +1, I'd be pretty pissed if my bonus was riding on whether or not somebody else's project did well.

Re:I wouldn't want to be working there now (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754628)

I think this is Google's way of saying that everybody is now working on this. Figure out how to make it relevant to what you are doing.

Re:I wouldn't want to be working there now (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754694)

Sounds like a pathological reimplementation of Apple's "steer your cadre of elite engineers to one thing" approach.

Re:I wouldn't want to be working there now (1)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754704)

I think this is Google's way of saying that everybody is now working on this. Figure out how to make it relevant to what you are doing.

And by "working on this" they mean "wildly clicking on every +1 link they see".

Re:I wouldn't want to be working there now (4, Interesting)

pmontra (738736) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754726)

Some (most?) of the people working there know they are not working on this +1 thing. Maybe they can make it somewhat relevant to their job, maybe not. I don't want to make guesses about Google's case but that very thing happened to me in a company I was working for years ago. The bonuses were linked to 3 or 4 goals that made sense for the long term success of the company but that were under the control of very different subsets of the employees. One of them could be somewhat linked to what I was doing but there was no chance I could help at achieving the other ones. It was demotivational and it didn't benefit our appreciation of the management and of the company. Furthermore, if one of those goals looks difficult to achieve employees get the impression that is a way for the company to save money at the end of the year. That's also very demotivational.

By the way, everybody understands what a Like is but with +1... I'm adding 1 unit of what? They could have reused the thumbs up and down of youtube or copied the rating system of Slashdot. I'm looking forward to a -5 Spamindexing [wikipedia.org] , on a scale from -5 to -1.

Re:I wouldn't want to be working there now (1)

he-sk (103163) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754980)

They could have ... copied the rating system of Slashdot.

Are you serious? Slashdot has the worst rating system ever devised on the internet. The "word" choices are extremely limited. Good mod options outweigh the bad mod options. You can only rate when Slashcode allows you to. You cannot rate and comment in the same article. You cannot rate a comment if it's already maxed out.

Did I miss anything?

Anyway, if you strip away the stupid descriptions, the upmods are reduced to a simple "+1".

Re:word choices limited (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755580)

+1 Archaeopteryx.

Re:I wouldn't want to be working there now (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756126)

Slashdot has the worst rating system ever devised on the internet.

It's actually one of the better ones.

The "word" choices are extremely limited.

The only category I really care about is "funny", because those I subtract 6 from.

You can only rate when Slashcode allows you to.

Look at sites like Reddit, where anybody can thumbs up or down on any comment. It's completely groupthink, and you don't get well stated, insightful, differing opinions both being modded up. There's also the problem of sockpuppet accounts and rigging to the voting.

I do wish Slashdot was more liberal in it's vote allocation. Something like allowing 3 mod points per day for any established user would be nice. I'd also like for a downvote to cost 3 mod points, to help reduce groupthink.

Re:I wouldn't want to be working there now (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755836)

You're right that it's often demotional but is a pretty standard operating procedure. A lot of companies have bonus schemes related to sales or profits which don't make sense for a reasonable subset of employees. If you're working in the IT department you might have gone way above and beyond the call of duty keeping everything up and running through some particular crisis and, just because some people in some other department failed to sell X items, you don't get a bonus. For many companies it still makes sense because, if you fail to sell X number of items, you might not be able to afford to pay a bonus to your employees, but it really is incredibly demoralising when you have put in some real effort and lose out through no fault of your own. Companies would gain more goodwill by just treating their employees with a little more respect the whole time not just tying that to an annual monetary goal that can be missed.

Re:I wouldn't want to be working there now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35755858)

By the way, everybody understands what a Like is but with +1... I'm adding 1 unit of what?

Yeah, everybody understands except computer geek pedants.

You're adding one unit of liked-ness. Its 'like' ranking goes up one. Like a "thumbs up". Something akin a little site you may have heard of called reddit. Get it now?

Re:I wouldn't want to be working there now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35756110)

Google has a serious brain-drain problem with top staff going to FB. Guess what social site is in google's target? This +1 is clearly doomed to fail.

Re:I wouldn't want to be working there now (1)

O(+inf) (2033618) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754772)

Figure out how to make it relevant to what you are doing.

Let me guess, you're an MBA.

Re:I wouldn't want to be working there now (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755136)

I think they already realized that it's going to fail, so tying bonuses to a metric that they're certain won't succeed is a way to avoid paying bonuses.

Okay, I think we can assume that's not true. But it's conspiratorial and this is Slashdot, so . . .

Re:I wouldn't want to be working there now (4, Interesting)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754732)

Small scale thinking. Bonuses should depend on a how well a company does. If you exceed expectations you get a bonus. If anything this is an indication of the direction that Google wishes to head. It is clear they are not content with being a search king or a mobile king. The CEO has just defined success as breaking into social networks, and the employees will be rewarded if the company is successful.

It's the same everywhere. Where I work our bonuses currently ride on no lost time injuries. We have a big problem with safety on site currently. But WTF do I have to do with lost time injuries? I work in an office in front of a computer! But yet when I'm walking around I tend to take notice of things, manhole covers not closed properly, fence railings in disrepair. Now that I have a stake in injuries I report things that are wrong. The system works, sometimes.

Re:I wouldn't want to be working there now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35755778)

Small scale thinking. Bonuses should depend on a how well a company does. If you exceed expectations you get a bonus.
  The system works, sometimes.

Except that most of the time it doesn't work. At least in my experience.

The disjunction is at the point between "expectations from you" and "how well the company does" - if poorly defined (and most of the time the relation is poorly defined), then you don't have control on "how well the company does" - therefore if the company doesn't do well, you are penalized even if you've done more than expected. The funny thing: if the company does well, you are not rewarded because the "disjunction" is suddenly realized by those holding the knife to cut the bread ("he was just doing his job. An excellent one, I admit, but it wasn't him that directly brought money into the coffers")

Re:I wouldn't want to be working there now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35756298)

Bonuses should depend on a how well a company does

Typically this encourages short term gains at the expense to long term goals.
I prefer to stay away from companies who are so focused on the quarterly profits.

Re:I wouldn't want to be working there now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35756530)

Bonuses should be tied to job performance. If a person excels in their job they should be paid more. Because they are doing the work of a 2 or more people.

Re:I wouldn't want to be working there now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35756066)

> I'd be pretty pissed if my bonus was riding on whether or not somebody else's project did well.

That is the problem with Google and some companies. You have groups who think "We are more important" then the whole. The fact is that google doing well is what makes the employees get paid. So even if you are not directly related, it is impacting your salary.

That said, I don't really agree with their method. It is somewhat like Pyramid selling.

I can guess what will happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35754632)

All employees will spend their 20% time furiously clicking +1 buttons for every link.

Re:I can guess what will happen (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756442)

You have to be logged in to +1 something.

It's like betting for a craps dealer (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754640)

I like playing craps, whenever I'm in a jurisdiction that allows gambling. It's a very social game, and you don't need to bet a lot of money to have several hours of fun at almost fair odds (and get free drinks, the real secret to being a low, low, low roller). One thing I frequently saw was players betting a large amount, and then throwing in a dollar or two "for the dealer to play along". I never really thought much of it until I read some forum while in search of the elusive $2 pass line bet + 10x odds instead of the crappy $10 pass line bet + 4/5/6 odds offered by most Strip casinos. The craps dealers on the forum hated when players would make them "play along". Why? Because the player had already decided to spend the money to tip the dealers, and now the player is gambling with their money. This Google thing strikes me as the same thing - some high roller thinks it's a great idea and a lot of fun without ever actually asking the beneficiary if it's what they want. Scratch that, without even thinking to ask the beneficiary if it's what they want.

Re:It's like betting for a craps dealer (1)

heathen_01 (1191043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756000)

Why? Because the player had already decided to spend the money to tip the dealers, and now the player is gambling with their money.

I disagree, you're offering money with a condition attached. The dealers (& employees) could always refuse the money if they don't like the conditions.

Car analogy: You're offered a loan for a car and then complain that you have to spend the money on a car.

social networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35754652)

Lobbying and financing political Campaigns are the tools to own governments.

Social Networking is the tool to own the people

I never was one to chime in with all the conspiracy nuts, but 1984 appears to be happening right now

As far as the "news" go, however, it's just 25% of the employees' bonuses. A payment usually tied to some sort of either individual or collective success. Nothing to see here, people

just stick to being Google (2)

hardtofindanick (1105361) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754654)

Many social experiments Google ran have failed -buzz and wave comes to mind first- and yet they still keep pushing. People don't go to Google for interacting. Google means business, Facebook and Twitter do not.

This also reminds me of Microsoft's efforts to force themselves into others' more lucrative turfs and looking pathetic in the process. Google should just stick to being Google instead of immitating others.

They are also doing the bonus adjustments wrong. It should be the other way around: If successful extra +25%, otherwise, regular bonus. After all success means (apparently for them) entrance to another market.

Re:just stick to being Google (2)

An Anonymous Coward (236011) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754904)

Many social experiments Google ran have failed -buzz and wave comes to mind first- and yet they still keep pushing. People don't go to Google for interacting. Google means business, Facebook and Twitter do not.

This also reminds me of Microsoft's efforts to force themselves into others' more lucrative turfs and looking pathetic in the process.

You mean like when Microsoft pushed into consoles? I'll grant you the original Xbox wasn't that strong, but you'll be hard pressed to find a gamer that doesn't have an Xbox 360. Maybe Microsoft isn't as pathetic as you think.

Google should just stick to being Google instead of immitating others.

If Google just sticks to what they're doing, they'll just stagnate and ultimately fall behind. Trying to enter other markets is how these companies grow themselves. Sure there's going to be failures, but you can't have success if you're not even trying.

They are also doing the bonus adjustments wrong. It should be the other way around: If successful extra +25%, otherwise, regular bonus. After all success means (apparently for them) entrance to another market.

Ok, what exactly does the word "bonus" mean to you? If it was just a given that you were going to get a bonus, why not just include it in the regular salary? While I'll grant you that a bonus should be tied directly into the success of the product you're working on, I don't know what Google's internal structure is like. It's possible that everyone actually does have some stake in the success of the +1 feature.

Re:just stick to being Google (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756472)

I don't remember exactly how, but I'm pretty sure that Google knows my Twitter handle and who I'm friends with on Facebook. They collect a lot of data. Remember, at worst this is crowdsourced info like Wikipedia, except with only algorithms - not editors - to filter out the bad posts. People in your social circle are weighted higher. If you use gmail, then they have all your contacts and know if any of those are google accounts. I'm looking forward to seeing how this turns out, but I can still see the possibility of paid clicks much like paid Twitter "get me 1,000 followers" services.

I propose a new initiative to google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35754664)

a new +$ button that will revert all bonuses to me and only me, for my hard work in inovating useless new ways to claim bonuses for myself. Stockholders should be happy for the bright future of your investement.

Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35754706)

+1 +1 +1 +1.......Wiat for employees only? -1 -1 -1 -1 -1

I'm not sure Google get it this time either (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754752)

I'm kind of surprised how Google has kept failing when trying to become a social network. You'd think they'd have everything. The by far largest search engine to market their network on, a crapload of Google accounts already, and most importantly - lots of smart people that are used to designing stuff for the web.

And yet, I'm not sure they get it this time either. I think Ars Technica put it best [arstechnica.com] so far:

Given the size of the Internet, limiting the crowd that is able to sort through it for you to your circle of friends doesn't seem like the best solution. In the same vein, the assumption that Google users only have contacts whose opinion they respect may be a little off-base. The service could prove useful if you have a cadre of impeccably tasteful friends, but we hope this isn't meant to be the magic bullet for Google's increasingly SEO-burdened results.

Re:I'm not sure Google get it this time either (1)

Quince alPillan (677281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756504)

I think you're making the assumption that a lot of people go to Google for anything other than searching. Sure, a lot of people use Gmail or their other services, but a lot of other people don't for whatever reason. If you're not a part of the Google ecosystem, and only use Google because of what they do best - search - all of their attempts at social networking look like "me too" shoved in your face that you really may not want.

Dont Like or -1 button? (2)

polyp2000 (444682) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754846)

Where are the "Dont Like" or "-1" buttons ?

I totally understand why such a thing is not prevalent. Surely - in terms of data mining peoples tastes and interests a "Dont Like" button would be very useful too.

Suppose some company catches on that I am interested in computers - I dont neccessarily want them sending me info about Windows or OSX so i might want to be able to know that I "Dont Like" those topics.

Also , a friend of mine on FB the other day posted an item about a crime that had been committed in his neighbourhood and people were "Liking" it. That doesnt work in my mind. Someone gets stabbed and people "Like" it ? whats the world coming too ?

Nick

Re:Dont Like or -1 button? (1)

pmontra (738736) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755130)

I bet that it's a misunderstanding. If liking or thumbs up are the only ways to express appreciation for reporting the crime, people will use them even if they might be misunderstood as liking the crime itself. Unfortunately FB doesn't have a "Thank you for reporting" button. That's what Infomative is about here on /.

Re:Dont Like or -1 button? (1)

kill-1 (36256) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755142)

What we need is an antisocial network where you don't have friends but enemies and can only dislike things.

Re:Dont Like or -1 button? (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756490)

I thought they already had an experimental feature like that - each result has an X on it and you can click that X to keep it from ever showing up in your own search results again. Pretty harsh, yes - that will probably be aggregated against the +1's at some point.

Smells like panic (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754954)

This is not a good way to conduct a business. It has the odor of panic to it, and it's a good way to drive away your best people. It's almost like a multi-level marketing scheme - "Sign up enough of your friends and relatives and you'll get a big bonus! Surely everyone knows at least ten people they can sign up! If you sign up ten and they each sign up ten and each of those signs up ten and it'll be coming in so fast you won't even have time count your money!"

And what's really bad is that even when Google eventually retracts the memo (which they are certain to do), they still can't "unsay" it. the taint of it will linger, and CVs are already getting dusted off.

Google is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35754964)

This indicates to me that Google is struggling to come up with new ideas and make them succeed. I don't have time nor the inclination to hang around and "+1" a search result. If Google was smart enough, it would work out that when I clicked on the 3rd and 4th links or the "next page", etc, that none of the links were worth a +1.

+1 button should be.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35755050)

They should make the button "+1 googol" This way when you vote it would be like adding
10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
votes each time.

Who wouldn't want to be that awesome?

Didn't this video say that $$ is not a motivation? (2)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755156)

At least, once financial well-being is established?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc [youtube.com]

Instead, it's supposed to be independence, recognition, and other such things?

Purpose? (1)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755274)

So Google, with its pretty sweet database of what people are searching for all over the Internet, feels the need to inject bias and conflicting opinions into the matter?

Part of Google's success was -removing- the personal opinions of those doing the searching, favoring what they ultimately searched for over what they felt was good. This gives much crisper results than simply asking people, "So, what do you like?", since for some unusual reason, people always seem to like glitchy porn sites and random advertisement-filled linkholes.

+1 (0)

mysterons (1472839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755312)

do I get my bonus now?

Ironic, given latest Azure toy ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35755314)

http://www.apathybutton.com

The number of 'like'/'dislike'/'don't care' votes something receives is always going to be affected by the size of the audience.

Have they weighted the relevance of a +1 against the audience size for each thing?

Aidanapword

Deja Vu (1)

billstclair (470179) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755522)

Reminds me of a certain fruit-logo company, who hired a soft-drink marketer as CEO in the nineties. He tied employee profit sharing to market share, instead of, well, profits. Nearly ran the company into the ground. Until the wunderkind who made the mistake of enticing the soft-drink marketer returned and realized that no matter your market share, if you're profitable, you get to stay in business.

All Bonuses are Wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35755526)

Fascinating RSA Animate video to a speech by Dan Pink.

The surprising truth about what motivates us! [youtube.com]

been through this, all your morale are us (1)

jsprenkle (2009592) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755530)

When it fails the employees will start finger pointing at other employees. Great way to destroy your company. Bad idea.

-1 (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755552)

Also reads as if your staff don't succeed with this they will be denied money. It's just not worded like that.

i think its a great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35755576)

as somebody who works at a large enterprise i think this is a great idea (maybe im just a PHB in the making) im a developer but i spend 90% of my day fighting other stuff (5% on slashdot, 5% doing actual work).

im sure if everybody's bonus was tied to my projects success it wouldnt take a month for funding to be approved, a month for law to approve, a month for media to approve my layout, a month for my server to be installed, 2 weeks for the os team to load it, 2 weeks for the dbas to put my tables in, 2 weeks to configure jboss, 2 weeks .....ect, ect....+ an hour to write the code.

Need another tag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35755630)

Where is the WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong when you need it?

Great idea! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755660)

And next year I'll tie my employees' benefits to how often I get oral sex.

Why not? It's logically tied to most of my employees' jobs just as much as most of Google's employees' jobs are tied to the +1.

TP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35755676)

How much will their bonuses increase by cutting back on TP consumption by 50%?

Bonuses? (1)

crashumbc (1221174) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755878)

Must be nice, most companies don't give bonuses. i got one about for years ago ( a 50 dollar "gas" card) whoopie...

Who cares how their determining how they give them, at least their giving them...

 

Google social networking efforts doomed to fail (1)

Elfez (29957) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756172)

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Until Google stop insisting on users of their social networking products also use gmail for email those products are going nowhere.

Very few people are going to be willing to switch their primary mail account or go through the hassle of redirecting/checking mail in gmail as a secondary account. This is probably doubly true when said products are deeply average.

Re:Google social networking efforts doomed to fail (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756534)

Have you not ever created a Google account without creating a Gmail account? They've allowed this for YEARS. You can create a Google Account with any email address. Even Google Voice and Google Talk work without Gmail, despite all their integration features.

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