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Is Google Too Smart For Its Own Good?

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the sowing-seeds dept.

Google 194

An anonymous reader writes in with a piece in Fortune speculating on what's next for Google. The writer believes that a supersaturated solution of very smart people, plus stock that may have run out of upside, will yield what he calls Son of Google — a large wave of innovative companies created by Google graduates. And a Google less intent on hiring, and less able to hire, the very smartest people around. Could happen.

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wery interested artickle (0, Offtopic)

Mipoti Gusundar (1028156) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126596)

it is story like this keeping me comeing back AGAIN AND AGAIN. thaanx 2 all who make this shite posible.

Poor Google! (-1, Flamebait)

MLopat (848735) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126602)

Haha poor Google. Who wouldn't want to have this problem!? I mean yeah, it sounds awful to be so damned successful that even the spin offs are going to be mega successes. Hope I can cross that bridge when I get to it.

Re:Poor Google! (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126940)

That's called Star Trek syndrome...

Re:Poor Google! (3, Insightful)

Columcille (88542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128432)

Well it's nothing new, Microsoft has already been there, done that. Give it 10 years and Google will be the new company geeks love to hate. It's already getting that way for a growing minority.

Re:Poor Google! (2, Funny)

backwardMechanic (959818) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128972)

Remember, hire dumb people, so they're never a threat to your business...

woo! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17126606)

cock!

So, what's the problem? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17126608)

I'm not worried, at least not until we get to the Revenge of the Son of Google, or maybe the Bride of the Son of Google. That's when the entertainment value really drops off.

Re:So, what's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17126662)

> I'm not worried, at least not until we get to the Revenge of the Son of Google, or maybe the Bride of the Son of Google.

Google IV: "This time, it's professional"?
;D

Re:So, what's the problem? (5, Funny)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126778)

Will the odd numbered ones be good and the even numbered ones bad? Or the other way round?

Re:So, what's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17127560)

They'll be O.K up until the one with the female CEO where the corporate HQ gets relocated to the Delta quadrant.

Re:So, what's the problem? (2, Funny)

EvilMonkeySlayer (826044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127682)

Only the square root ones will be good, the rest will simply be a fraction of the good ones.

Re:So, what's the problem? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127856)

No, the odd-numbered Googles are the development versions (basically, almost everything is in beta), while the even-numbered ones are the release versions.

Re:So, what's the problem? (1)

krewemaynard (665044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128636)

Doesn't matter...they'll all be betas.

Re:So, what's the problem? (1)

MadJo (674225) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128242)

As long as we don't get the Bastard Son of Google. I don't think Lala of the Tikibar would like that.

Re:So, what's the problem? (1)

teh_chrizzle (963897) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128246)

my hope is that "beneath the battle for the planet of the apes^H^H^H^Hgoogle" will be the point at which google jumps the shark.

Re:So, what's the problem? (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128462)

[...] the point at which google jumps the shark.
WITH FRIGGIN' LASERS ON THEIR FRIGGIN' HEADS!

Re:So, what's the problem? (2, Funny)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128348)

Heh, you wait 'till Google Ep. 1 - BackRub Garage [stanford.edu] comes out, then it's really jumped the shark (laser equipped or otherwise).

Re:So, what's the problem? (1)

LarsG (31008) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128686)

Those are bound to be stinkers, but Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Hellbound, Flesh-Eating Subhumanoid Zombified Google should be a hoot.

Perhaps... (4, Insightful)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126664)

Perhaps part of the google ethos and internal structure is aimed at reducing competition from former employees - the sorts of pressures that drive people to break away are diminished, with the 20% project time and a good chance of whatever you're working on becoming a proper google beta. Of course, people that just have a drive to be the boss of the boss's boss will still form companies, perhaps they are eliminated at interview?

Re:Perhaps... (5, Insightful)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126770)

I don't think becoming a Google employee is a very good start to form a business. Anyway, it is possible - just as former Microsoft employee could break in and form businesses. However, take into consideration the simple fact that after working for such a software giant, you will have non-compete clauses for several years, and quitting Google to someday form your own business seems less than attractive. And one more thing - Google only does searching (for money). All its other projects are free - bad thing to work on, if you want to start a company that will get you money. As a side note, I remember ex-Sun employee (Technology Officer or the same) quitting the company, creating a start-up that develops one thing missing from Sun (developing it well), and then being absorbed back (with their solutions and know-how) for a barrel of money. It seems fair, as while working inside Sun you might have been forced to work on something else. Again, Google employee might be able to start something like this - or not

Re:Perhaps... (4, Interesting)

ufnoise (732845) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128144)


However, take into consideration the simple fact that after working for such a software giant, you will have non-compete clauses for several years, and quitting Google to someday form your own business seems less than attractive.


Are non-compete clauses enforceable in California? Are out of state non compete contracts enforcable in California? According to this Wiki the answer to both questions is no.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-compete_clause#En forceability_in_the_State_of_California [wikipedia.org]

Does anyone know if Google requires you to sign a non compete clause?

Working at a large software company in the Silicon Valley, I just had to sign a paper when I started saying my employment was "at will". It also said I wouldn't try to get other employees to leave the company for a period of two years after I left the company.

You can't steal intellectual property and take it with you. You can certainly continue to work in the same area, even if it means having to move to California.

BITCH (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17126668)

for successful aasholeO to others startling turn task. Research

Google Graduates? (0, Troll)

Khyber (864651) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126694)

Excuse me... (AKA Mod down at will, but,) English, motherfucker! Do you speak it. You mean former Google employees, right? Google doesn't have a college as far as I'm aware of!

Re:Google Graduates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17126752)

Re:Google Graduates? (4, Funny)

DarkSkiesAhead (562955) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126788)

Excuse me... (AKA Mod down at will, but,) English, motherfucker! Do you speak it.
Small piece of advice: If you wish to complain about English usage, you will be taken more seriously if you can do so without an extra comma, a missing question mark, unnecessary capitalization, a misused ellipsis, and pointless cursing.

Better luck next time,
-DSA

Re:Google Graduates? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17126804)

Well... well... your encryption SUCKS! So THERE!

Re:Google Graduates? (1)

Ty_Webb (729466) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127416)

I gather you have not seen the movie.

Re:Google Graduates? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128110)

Is your username cockney rhyming slang?

Complaint? About spinoff's? (1)

H0Z3R (1027074) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126732)

... I do not see the problem here... If Google is supposedly at their plateau... and now they cant hire the new brilliant talent being produced in the wild... Whats to say those in the wild who are capable in the world might not already be earmarked by Google? Or if they do join a spin off company, then its just to further that individuals experience. In the long run, who cares. Google has an incredibly stacked deck, and so far the results have not been in line with the usual... problem laden products... Honestly, I would like to see more spin off companies. Brings out competition and fresh creative ideas.

Re:Complaint? About spinoff's? (2, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126822)

Bollocks.

AFAIK they still happily throw out 99.9%+ of all candidates tagged as potentials by their headhunters leaving only what they like. The "cannot hire" is when the candidates start to turn them down. This happened to Yahoo and their other major competitors very long ago. In fact as far as yahoo goes many people turn it down even before reading the job description to the end (for plenty of reasons).

This is yet to happen to Google. I have yet to see a person who has been selected for an interview, had an offer and turned it down. At least in Europe.

Frankly, this problem exists only in the feverish hallucinations of the media and analysts.

Re:Complaint? About spinoff's? (1)

mldqj (779952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127964)

I know people (with PhDs) who got offer from Google and turned it down to become much lower-paid post docs. That's quite normal. When it comes to work, there are a lot of things to consider. Some prefer engineering, others research. There is no best place to work.

Google's success. (4, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126738)

People are forgetting the secret to Google's success.

Luck.

They developed the right product at the right time. Microsoft did the same. They happened to be home when IBM called and got the DOS contract.

heir graduates can come up with quality product but will they be able to provide somethign the market really needs?

Re:Google's success. (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126814)

Doesn't matter. The harm here isn't that they'll form companies to compete with Google, the harm is the brain drain, whether they form software companies or write novels.

Re:Google's success. (1)

Gablar (971731) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127302)

And even that is not that big a deal. They can always buy the start up company when it proves successful, saving google tons of R&D money.

Re:Google's success. (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127784)

And even that is not that big a deal. They can always buy the start up company when it proves successful, saving google tons of R&D money.

Assuming it's an arena in which Google chooses to compete, and assuming the principals involved choose to merge back with Google. Which, if they leave in the first place, isn't all that likely. Bottom line, it doesn't work for Google if its best people leave. Best case scenario in your suggestion, Google ceases being an innovative engineering company and turns into a VC firm.

Re:Google's success. (0)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126936)

What you call "luck" would others call "timing", and that's often not a part of luck, but rather good management.
Yes, managers are important and have their use, contrary to what so many believe. :-)

Re:Google's success. (2, Insightful)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127260)

What has it got to do with managers? Entrepreneurs, sure, and the people who created Google are not managers, but Entrepreneus. And it is not luck, it was producing a good product at the right time. A better search engine, just when the whole world needed one. Microsoft could have had this sewn up, if they didn't underestimate the value of the internet. So could a lot of other companies, but it is a difficult thing to see the way the world is heading, especially for large businesses.

You people make it sound like they fell into a pile of money, or the managed their way into the market which is absolute rubbish.

Re:Google's success. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17127024)

They didn't just "happen to be at home". Bill Gates' mum (!) set up a meeting for little Billy boy.

It kind of pisses me off when Bill Gates is presented as some sort of rags-to-riches success story. He had some starting-post advantages, folks.
That said, I don't really begrudge him his wealth - society was stupid enough to allow copyright and patent monopoly law (note that Bill Gates was hanging around washington when that was being decided - believe it or not, it wasn't until 1983 that binding U.S. precedent for software being copyrightABLE was actually set), he just acted 100% rationally to maximise his personal gain using the law as a tool.

But damnit, if you convict an entity of being an abusive monopoly, for god's sake stop handing them monopolies on a plate! The only punishment microsoft should have had for its offences was for its copyrights and patents to be placed in the public domain. The fines and such are meaningless - look at the EU - Microsoft basically paying "fines" (bribes) to the EU Commission while the EU Commission works on introducing software patents for microsoft's benefit.

Re:Google's success. (3, Insightful)

roaddemon (666475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127374)

How was Google lucky? They came into an already saturated search market and collected a vast market share because they did a better job of it than everyone else. If you switched to Google in 1999 or 2000, it wasn't because there was nothing else available, and it wasn't because they had a great ad campaign; it was because of the word of mouth that a great product generates.

Re:Google's success. (3, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127490)

Their product is text ads. Not search technology. The search engine is just a hook.

Someone else could have come up with the text ads earlier. They didn't. Google got there first.

Re:Google's success. (1)

defuse3388 (1012227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127556)

That's true.Quality is more important then quantity. If you have a quality product you have Gold with you and if you have quality people the you have dimonds with you.

Re:Google's success. (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128532)

If you recall, the "saturated" search engine market was saturated with subpar search engines. Everyone everywhere was complaining about the lack of relevant data showing up in searches as the web grew. Google was the first, and still arguably the best, search engine that tackled data retrieval in a different way. They used that to sell ads, which they've done very very very well at.

So it's still luck - many have tried since, and until they can better google by a large percentage, I think Google's probably safe. Mind share will keep them that way.

Luck?! (3, Insightful)

superbrose (1030148) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127944)

A little off-topic, but in an interview the golfer Bernard Langer was once told that he was extremely lucky to sink a particularly difficult put.
He responded 'The more I practise, the luckier I get!'.

I don't believe the successes of Google or Microsoft are down to luck. Neither do I think that Warren Buffett is a lucky investor.
Being opportunistic and taking a calculated risk sounds more like it.

Re:Luck?! (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128204)

Well, it does depend on what I mean by luck... I think anyone who manages to come up with an innovative product before everyone else is lucky. Expanding that initial good fortune to gain substantial market share requires competence. Competence is easy enough to find. But I'd expect most experiencd businessmen would have managed to do as well as Google, had they got their foothold.

Online service providers (4, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126750)


I'm not sure that online service providers are going to be naturally monolithic in the way that, say, hardware manufacturers or pre-web software companies are. I find it easy to imagine that Google's core business could be wiped out in a year by a new upstart with a better technology. Microsoft are lucky in that they have established lock-in - it will be superceded by something else over the long term rather than replaced by superior products of the same ilk. Google doesn't have any lock-in, and I think the nature of online serices is such that companies that try to establish it aren't going to be successful.

Re:Online service providers (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127078)

As a business, Google's core technology is Adwords. If somebody managed to beat Google search(and they weren't on the shortlist: MSN, Yahoo! and the like), they would likely end up using Adwords to 'monetize' (what a horrible word) their service. Google wins either way.

Google's big problem is that improvements to Adwords are going to end up costing them money. Fraud reductions cost them money. Presumably, better metrics are going to cost them money(I occasionally click ads to punish advertisers I don't like; is this fraud or ineffective advertising?). Perhaps they will be able to continue growing enough to justify their stock multiple, but the barriers to competition are low(you just need enough page views to be able to sell ads to somebody...), and any misstep could have huge financial implications.

Adwords == buggy and slow (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128572)

A major problem in working with AdWords is that the adwords team are inefficient. Also, the adwords admin system is slow, and generating reports is slow like hell.
Minor point: the Adwords team I use is the local (danish) team, but that should not leave me with service that is of lesser quality.

Re:Adwords == buggy and slow (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128638)

Bleh. I fail at it. The Adwords team *is* inefficient.

Re: Is Google Too Smart For Its Own Good? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17126754)

Is Slashdot Too Political And FUD'ish For Its Own Good?

Re: Is Google Too Smart For Its Own Good? (1)

mr_stinky_britches (926212) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126894)

In a word: YES. You hit this one on the head.

--
Wi-Fizzle Research [wi-fizzle.com]

Re: Is Google Too Smart For Its Own Good? (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126958)

Nope. It's not enough so, considering it hasn't driven your ilk away.

Re: Is Google Too Smart For Its Own Good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17127718)

Nope. It's not enough so, considering it hasn't driven your ilk away.

Why? Continuously since late 2001 the quality of articles and editors here has degraded. The lowest low was when they added the "political" section.

If I want to care about politics I go to other places. Slashdot was great as long as it cared only about tech stuff instead of politics and FUD.

They (the editors) say that the visits have increased because of FUD and politics. But why do old readers (who only cared about tech stuff) have to suffer through this politics, FUD and incompetence when there are sites that do FUD, politics and incompetence much better than Slashdot does now?

GoogleOS (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17126800)

I find it weird that with all Google's allegedly supertalented employees, not one of them have gone for a quick Linux makeover to have a GoogleOS. I'm sure that by now, Google's panties would draw enough developer attention to finally make Linux a main course instead of it staying a side-dish.

Re:GoogleOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17126948)

and this is related to the article how? Oh, right..google..

Re:GoogleOS (1)

zeromorph (1009305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127020)

not one of them have gone for a quick Linux makeover to have a GoogleOS

Maybe that's the proof that they only hire the smartest.

Seriously, what would they gain from a GoogleOS? Where would it fit in (inside Google Inc.)?

Re:GoogleOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17127204)

It wouldn't have to 'fit in' -- just put the Google name on it, and let the volunteers around the world get excited by it and develop it for them, for free like they have been doing. Or better: meet the paranoid developers halfway and introduce an open/closed-source hybrid.

It may very well yield them (and us) enormous benefits at next to no cost to Google.

Re:GoogleOS (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127384)

What advantage would "Google Linux" have over other distros apart from a new colorful logo on top?

Given that both the Linux developers and Google are entities that strive to make their product as compatible with others as possible. The only possible way for Google to make its own distribution and make it a big success is through vertical integration a la MS - make their OS work best with their browser, their instant messenger and their web services, locking competitors out. Not happening (at least that is to be fervently hoped).

Add to this that Google is already worried about its trademark being diluted - I can't see how they would benefit from having it attached to an OS as well as a web service.

It would make more sense for them to encourage or support/sponsor development on existing distributions or to make their desktop software work better with Linux. This would also draw users over just fine. "Build-your-own" is fun, but it doesn't have any use for them.

Re:GoogleOS (1)

BokLM (550487) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127480)

Why do people want a GoogleOS ? What can they do that other companies like RedHat or Mandriva can't do ?

They can sure make a good OS, but other companies are aldready doing that, and I don't know what they could do much better than others.

The thing they can do however, is use their large userbase, to make that OS known by its users. I think they're starting to do something like that for the web browser with Firefox. Maybe the next step will be the OS ?

That's an interesting idea (4, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126844)

Kind of how Failchild Semiconductor [wikipedia.org] was the wellspring for many of todays semiconductor companies? This graphic (PDF warning) was the best thing I could find. [businessweek.com]

Re:That's an interesting idea (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17126938)

Excellent example -- but perhaps an even better one is to look at Kleiner Perkins's previous track record -- Google itself is a son of one Kleiner company (they got theri seed money from a Sun founder, Andy; who in turn got his start from KPCB) - and Google's other money came from KPCB itself. Where'd that money come from? KP's other companies, of course - including AOL and Netscape. -- and where'd they get the money for those - From Fairchild semi, as the parent poster suggests.


So in the same follow-the-money way that TFA describes, Google is already the son of Netscape and Sun - and the grandchild of Fairchild.


The same pattern repeats - KPCB generates hype - dumps it on the public market - and takes the money and people to invest in the future.


Pretty much all of silicon valey can be traced back to those roots -- or perhaps to Fred Terman himself who turned Stanford Engineering into a business-friendly environment and recruited Shockley here which lead to Fairchild.

Innovative projects (1)

Ra1der288 (957218) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126862)

As far as I know, google employees are allowed to spend a certain amount of time on their own projects, which might later even be added to google's product line. If google is saturated with smart people who are free to attempt their own innovative projects, why would ex-google employees pose a threat to google with their innovation?

Re:Innovative projects (4, Insightful)

TheJasper (1031512) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127154)

I agree completely. As I understand it you are even required to spend 20% of your time on your own project. One of the smartest people I know will probably go to Google soon, so I don't think they have a problem with hiring. As to spinoffs, sure maybe there will be some, which is a good thing too. However, if you get to work on your cool idea on company time, and get bonuses in relation to the succes of your project, why start up your own company. Do you want to become a manager who has to run a business, or do you want to play with your toys. Google works by making it profitable not to start your own company. Sure, you might not make 1 billion dollars with a brilliant idea, but who needs that much money? If google makes it that your brilliant idea earns you millions and does the boring admin and pays you to work on your next crackpot idea that may or may not work then why would you leave.

Maybe, but (3, Insightful)

joss (1346) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126900)

Hiring mediocre people backfires a lot sooner than hiring only really smart
people.

The kind of people who will form their own companies will do so irrespective of whether they work for google first.

Re:Maybe, but (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126972)

"The kind of people who will form their own companies will do so irrespective of whether they work for google first."

But it's much easier with $100,000,000 of stock option money in the bank...

Re:Maybe, but (1)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127438)

But it's much easier with $100,000,000 of stock option money in the bank...
Dotcom boom 2.0 is here already?

Re:Maybe, but (5, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127488)

But really smart people can also be mediocre people as well. It is a common misconception especially among geeks who place their status on intelligence. You could be the smartest person on Earth and still a Mediocre person/employee. Things like...

1. Hubris, The ancient Geeks knew this, Jesus knew this. Almost all other major religion know this. But a lot of "Smart" People tend to ignore this. Excessive Pride is Bad MmKaaa. This closes your mind, it prevents you from listening to what the "Less Smart" People who are saying. Because you assume just because you are smarter then them that you ideas are always more correct. Which is wrong.

2. Wisdom. The concept of wisdom is a rather nebulous concept. Wisdom comes from experience, and your own personal insight. It is a case where a 5 year old could solve the problem and not you. Just because the 5 year old just recently experience a similar concept during play. a lot of "Smart" people tend to limit themselves from experiences, Book Worms, Video games... So they do not gain as much wisdom as say someone who never went past high school but has explored the word.

3. Work ethic. A lot of "Smart" People will just flat out refuse to do a job that is beneath them, past their confront zone, or just not in their area of specialty. Like a parson with a BS In Computer Science with a 4.0 GPA and a highly skilled programmer being ask to help out lay network cable from Data Center A to the the New Data Center which is 100M away. Or an Artificial Intelligence expert refusing to program a Database Query. Or Refusing to learn a new language that the company is moving to. Also there are the smart people who just stop working when it is not fun any more.

4. Hunan Skills, Human skills are important because what ever your job is at some level it will used for the benefit of humans. And you cannot advance in your career without human skills.

I am sure anyone who worked for Technical Support has realized People with PHD are the worse group of people to to Technical Support for. Because when they call you they are already embarrassed that they needed to call technical support because they think of themselves smart enough to fix the problem themselves with out the help of some 2 Year vocational school grad. Then when you do talk to them on the phone they are less then honest on following your instructions. Finally when you give them instructions they will not follow it. compared with Blue Collar Factory workers (Which I have learned are actually very smart people too) they are not afraid to call when the problem is minor and can get it fixed before it becomes major, they tell you exactly what they did, they follow your instruction on how to fix it. They also write them self a note on how to prevent it in the future.

Sounds like an unlikely scenario (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126922)

With the large number of companies in general merging as part of their profit formula, I don't really see why these would do the opposite. Google has always tried to let their employees work quite freely and in the past let ideas from them turn into financed projects, so I really don't see what big gains there would be for them to split up.

What? (4, Insightful)

DMouse (7320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17126980)

Right, lets role play here for a minute. I'm a phd coder employed at google. I have a good chunk of cash in google shares that will vest soonish. So I'm going to take that money and go and start a startup because?

Which wally thought that the primary motivation for programmers was making money?

Pretty much every study of programmers motivations i have ever read has shown them to be intrinsically motivated by the opportunity to solve puzzles, and to be able to hang out with birds of similar feather. The fact is that money isn't that much of a motivator for coders, provided there is sufficient to buy toys. The latest laptop. A 30" lcd into which to plug said laptop. A plasma telly and an xbox 360 on which to play halo.

Starting up a company is risky, there is a bucket load of work to do that isn't coding, and you have to stop talking to all the other coders who you like chatting with at work. Wtf?

Someone has NO CLUE how coders think. And this made it to the front page of slashdot how, exactly?

Re:What? (3, Insightful)

GrumpySimon (707671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127106)

Exactly - google will start losing talented people only once they stop doing cool things. As long as they keep putting out new shiny toys, what geek wouldn't want to work there?

Re:What? (1)

repvik (96666) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127874)

Not only do they keep doing the shiny toys, their employees also gets the respect they really earn from their co-workers. And a lot of fringe benefits.

Re:What? (1)

jalefkowit (101585) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128922)

As long as they keep putting out new shiny toys, what geek wouldn't want to work there?

From the LA Times, Oct. 6 -- "Google Puts Lid on New Products [latimes.com] ":

In another sign of Google Inc.'s growth from start-up to corporate behemoth, the company's top executives said Thursday that they had begun telling engineers to stop launching so many new services and instead focus on making existing ones work together better.

The shift is a major departure from Google's previous strategy of launching new services rapid-fire and highlights the 8-year-old company's struggle to stay focused during swift growth...

Google admitted this year that its internal audits discovered that the company had been spending too much time on new services to the detriment of its core search engine.

(Emphasis mine)

So it would appear that the days of "putting out new shiny toys" are coming to an end, to be replaced by days of consolidation and integration. That's a good decision from a business perspective, IMO (Google's product line is a mess), but it does mean that engineers' jobs at Google are going to start being less like academia-with-stock-options and more like a real job.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17127292)

Pretty much every study of programmers motivations i have ever read has shown them to be intrinsically motivated by the opportunity to solve puzzles, and to be able to hang out with birds of similar feather. The fact is that money isn't that much of a motivator for coders, provided there is sufficient to buy toys. The latest laptop. A 30" lcd into which to plug said laptop. A plasma telly and an xbox 360 on which to play halo.

Please don't perpetuate this horse shit. There are many of us in corporate IT departments and in-house development groups that would prefer more money, thank you very much. We might not be out there in the Valley on the bleeding edge, but that's a choice we made and by and large we're happy with it. There are more ways to work as a programmer than as the uber-coder tech star.

Re:What? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127474)

I wasn't aware that coders were not human.

You've got three or four full retirement's worth of vested stock. Almost* everybody has some cool thing they'd like to work on, and being independantly wealthy means you get to work on it whenever you want, not just 20% of the time you spend working for someone else for wages.

There are some people who don't have cool projects they want to work on. Those people are generally uncreative and lack internal motivation, and probably are not on Google's roles. Oh, and those people - given the cash to "retire" - would likely do so and then spend the rest of their lives watching The Price Is Right and playing video games.

Re:What? (0, Troll)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127530)

I'm a phd coder employed at google.
I don't have a PhD, but I do know how to write it properly.

Programmers unlikely to run away (1)

superbrose (1030148) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127780)

I don't think that programmers would run away from Google easily. But then Google isn't just a bunch of programmers. Most likely it would be the business minds that would leave the company in order to start something new.

Such employees would either leave on their own and hire programmers to do the dirty work of their new enterprise, or take maybe an entire team of gifted people with them.

Re:What? (1)

Tolkien (664315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127800)

Amen!

Re:What? (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128116)

Maybe they want to do more interesting things than work out different ways to show ads to people?

Better for us (1)

FoXDie (853291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127000)

Competition is always good and if some genii from Google split off to form something worth our time, I'm sure we won't mind. Google maybe... but I don't work for them or own stock in them.

You don't graduate FROM google... (2, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127042)

You graduate TO google. The reason this will not happen is that people are still heading towards Google to make cool products. They will pay you to work on your own stuff at least 20% of the time, what better investment could you get?

Re:You don't graduate FROM google... (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127344)

They will pay you to work on your own stuff at least 20% of the time, what better investment could you get?

I think the reasoning is if you have a pile of money in Google stock, you might want to take that and start a company to work on your own stuff 100% of the time.

Re:You don't graduate FROM google... (1)

coralsaw (904732) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128098)

WTF are you talking about. They pay you to work on their own stuff 20% of the time..

Re:You don't graduate FROM google... (1)

EVil Lawyer (947367) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128690)

So, if I get this straight, your basic argument is "because something is a certain way right now, there's no way that will ever change." That is pretty clearly foolish. Just because "people are still heading towards Google to make cool products," this is no way means that this will continue.

Spin-offs are not unusual (1)

superbrose (1030148) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127060)

There is definitely a history of big successful companies triggering successful offspring. There are many examples, but the one that springs to mind first is SAP [wikipedia.org] , which was formed by five former IBM engineers. My guess is that most successful spin-offs use the skills and experience they have acquired in order to create enterprises that do not directly compete with their former employers.

However, I would imagine that the biggest worry for large successful corporations is to lose their key employees due to more attractive job offers from other companies, regardless of whether they compete or not.

....right.... (0)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127202)

Slashdot should stick to technology, and not try to pick stocks... The thing about stocks is that you don't judge the value by the price alone, you judge by the number of shares outstanding, the revenue (and profits) AND the price.

Google's shares cost what they cost because of scarcity--they didn't sell the whole company! They IPO'ed a small part of the company. Further, Google's revenues have been growing for a while now, and with deals like the rumored Clear Channel/Google ad partnership, will likely continue to do so.

If Google's managers believe the stock price is getting too high, they could always split it 2:1, or 3:1... That would likely lower the dollar figure significantly... But it would also mean there were twice or three times as many shares on the market--which wouldn't seem to fit Google's current M.O. The "upside" on Google is FAR from being maximized. Look at Walgreens--an OLD company with a very basic business model: Get health products and sell them in every neighborhood. But look at them--their share price hovers between $28-$40 over the course of about two years. As they expand and grow revenues and profits the price goes up. Once it gets to about $40-$43 the board splits it and the value drops, with everybody having twice as many shares. Over time, companies operating themselves this way have generated a considerable amount of wealth for their shareholders.

Google has a TON of upside left. It certainly won't grow this fast forever, but they're a long-time away from "significantly diminished upside."

Re:....right.... (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127958)

I'm not sure how this got modded to insightful, since it shows a complete ignorance of stock valuation.

Growth stocks trade on P/E (price/earnings per share) ratios, with people willing to pay premium above-market P/E ratios for stocks with premium growth rates. Slow the growth, and the price will drop because people will pay a lower P/E for slower growth. The absolute $ price per share of a stock has got NOTHING to do with it's value. 1M shares ar $500 or 10M shares at $50 would both give the same company valuation of $500M, and would both give the same P/E ratio.

There is some modest benefit in splitting stocks when the $ price per share gets high, but it's basically psychology. People typically (irrationally) like to buy more shares, or a round 100 multiple of shares, so the same person who might be turned off by a $5000 per share price because he can only afford to buy 1 share, might be more attracted to buy after a 100-1 split when he can instead (obtaining the same % slice of the company) buy a 100 lot for $50 per share. Because psychology can increase demand slightly in this way, splitting stocks does tend to boost the company valuation. A famous example of a very successful stock that NEVER splits is Bershire Hathaway (Warren Buffet's investment vehicle).. their class A shares (BRK-A) are currently $108,000 each!

Re:....right.... (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128818)

I've never understood the focus on stock splits. It's simply an accounting trick. You can own 50 shares at $100, or 100 shares at $50. Who. Really. Cares. It impacts 1) the size of a round lot (100 shares) and 2) the ability to fit the price on a ticker. That's not nothing but I don't see how it warrants all the attention people give it.

YOU FAIL IT... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17127296)

leaving core. I been lloking for! Software lawyers may do, may not stagn4nt. As Linux you're told. It's for the state of

hiring smart peope doesnt always work-MS Vsita (1)

shareme (897587) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127316)

If hiring smart people alone was the silver bullet than MS Vista would have been released several years ago..

Google Mantra (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17127420)

-- Post at least two stories about Google on slashdot every day.

Besides google-search, all other attempts to produce software are not
at all impressive, and you've got to give them the flooding of news sites
with announcements every time a product comes out. A luxury simple OSS
developers do not have and they usually announce below the noise threshhold.

Just because you say you're the smartest ass around, doesn't mean it's true.
really smart people work for "the sector".

data (1)

kurtis25 (909650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127536)

It's going to be hard to compete with Google as a start up. Google has more than money, talent, brains, and consumers. They have a planet full of data (I'm willing to bet they are the ones who commissioned the building of that super computer in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy). Bad jokes aside Google knows a whole lot about people they probably beet any company in social data, they know what people search for, what topics they email about, what topics their spreadsheets and docs cover, what people are buying for Christmas, how they got their email, what websites people write, what people debate in the groups the visit, what they look at on Amazon (I've bought a few books which I found using a Google search), they know how deep the web is and how people travel it. They have a top notch translation tool, and know how people misspell words. Their data alone is sufficient to eliminate competition. I'm sure there know where and how to launch a product for greatest hype and speed of sign ups. I can't imagine any start busting into the data portion of the Google business.

Yes. (0)

quarrel (194077) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127554)

Obviously.

--Q

Goldman (0, Offtopic)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127746)

You could easily make the same statement about Goldman-Sachs which after it went public a few years ago there were lots of people with "fuck you money" as they would put it. Plenty of folks did leave (a more than decent number of hedge fund managers have the firm on their resume), but it doesn't really seem to slow their ability to continue to attract (and retain) top talent.

Google is doing fine (1)

rspress (623984) | more than 7 years ago | (#17127764)

Google seems to be doing fine. They are hiring the right people and those people seem to be eager to work at google. If they do enough to keep those smart people, which they seem to be doing then I don't see a problem. Google is going all out to add Mac support for all of their products and now even have a Mac blog from the developers. Even if some employees do leave I see that being a plus for the internet. Google knows what people on the internet want and it gives them that. Programs like Google earth and searches like Froogle and Google maps are setting the standard for search companies. I think Yahoo wish they had the problem of being too smart for their own good.

Re:Google is doing fine (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128876)

Only issue was Microsoft was doing the same thing a decade back. They produced the WOnder called Windows 95.
After the spectacular launch and sales, they started bleeding slowly.

Same will happen to Google, but only much faster, because the ONLY money making team in google is the Adwords team. Google Earth, GMail, Google Maps, etc., are money bleeding services (unless Google is earning serious money selling Gmail to NSA). Don't EVEN think Gmail would be made into a Paid service once Google has beaten Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. Will NOT happen.

Atleast Microsoft had (and has) TWO serious cash cows (Office and Windows).

Google has ONE: Adwords.
Smart people are bored quicker.

Google was smart enough to issue Preference Stock which prevents the Stock Holders from getting a 1:1 vote. Hence whatever shoutings Wall Street may have, plus millions of Google shares they might have will do nothing to Google's main Equity shareholders. They can outvote all the Pref. shareholders easily so that we don't have another Chainsaw Al.

All said and done, google will fall. The issue is when and how.

I work for Google (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17127860)

Going anon obviously.

Two things -

1. Academic != Smart. The amount of small minds here (particularly the worst kind; small minds with large egos) is unreal. Just because you have a PhD does not make you smart.

2. Most Google employees are total sheep. They are the type of people who want to join a cult. This goes against everything business owners stand for.

3. Setting up a business has nothing to do with being smart or academic. Only certain kinds of people (generally, the kind of people who like selling, i.e. not nerds) enjoy and succeed at setting up businesses.

People totally overrate Google employees. It's funny/sad.

Re:I work for Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17128172)

Yeah yeah three things! Damnit not previewing.

And by "here" I mean Google, not Slashdot...

Re:I work for Google (1)

pacalis (970205) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128480)

They're not smart for the longer term. Google's business development blows (#3) - if ads dry up (i.e. competition figures out text ads, or web advertising matures and growth slows), and/or there's a money pinch, they couldn't deal there way out of a wet paper bag. Yahoo, MS totally different - both these firms have a capacity to manage an impressive breadth of businesses.

I find it funny, I sent them a resume and an idea (0, Offtopic)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128018)

The idea was to become a leader in video. I told them to sign royalty deals with television and movie copywright holders to host what could be bigger than on demand. You could have almost any movie or television show ever made for video download. I sent them this last year.

Google too smart for it's own good (2, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128254)

What a major plot twist.

If Google is "too smart for it's own good", I suppose same people would say "Microsoft is too dumb for its own bad".

Then suddenly it all makes sense. Right? Nope. But still good 'nuf for Slashdot, start the presses!

Okay, who's the joker that... (1)

LeedsSideStreets (998417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17128732)

...bought sonofgoogle.com [sonofgoogle.com] ?

Damn. I think I missed out on billions.
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