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Internal Microsoft Email about Life at Google

CmdrTaco posted about 7 years ago | from the i-wish-i-had-a-cafeteria dept.

410

An anonymous reader wrote in to give us "An interesting perspective on Google, from an internal email sent around Microsoft. Basically an interview that provides analysis about how Google compares to Microsoft from an employee perspective. Included are suggestions for what Microsoft might copy in order to stay competitive in the job market and criticisms of Google's "college kid" atmosphere."

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410 comments

isn't this normal? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19662799)

"These kids don't have a life yet so they spend all of their time at work."

"People are generally in the building between 10am and about 6pm every day, but nearly everyone is on e-mail 24/7 and most people spend most of their evenings working from home."

Wow - I dunno about the rest of the world, but for our company that's the norm and we're all in our 30s/40s working for a marketing company :)

Re:isn't this normal? (3, Insightful)

Lockejaw (955650) | about 7 years ago | (#19662907)

I just like the combination of "they spend all their time at work" and "generally in the building between 10am and 6pm." Isn't that eight hours per day right there? Then there's the part about how it changes as the employees get older, but he doesn't exactly give a shining example of that supposed change.

Re:isn't this normal? (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | about 7 years ago | (#19662949)

I think he said the young guys go home and actually work in the evening while the older guys just check e-mail.

Re:isn't this normal? (5, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | about 7 years ago | (#19663015)

With the exception of the 'almost always work at home' (doesn't happen a lot) and the hours (they vary according to individual's preference), sounds like here, too.

I have no problem with keeping an eye on email every time I walk by my computer, and responding or fixing a problem or 2 here and there. It keeps Everyone (including my co-workers) happy, and generally doesn't cost me much. There's only been a few times when I had to put something fairly important (to me) away, and almost never that I had to stop something -very- important. (Usually someone else will step in and do it, instead.)

One of my co-workers DOES spend a ton of time at home working, and I kick myself for lack of work ethic whenever I realize he's spent time working at home. I then realize that I already over-work anyhow, so no biggie.

I think a lot of the people that complain about these working conditions have never actually experienced them. I've been in the cube farm of a major OEM and a major telecommunications company, and I've done retails in different stores, and I -far- prefer to work a little harder here and know the people around me are doing the same, for the good of ourselves and the company. It's a completely different feeling and I don't ever think, 'Man, if I have to deal with that lazy bugger again today...' Every other job I've had, I've had to do someone else's work because they were too lazy. I'm not saying that'll never happen here, but it hasn't so far (near 2 years now).

My point: Don't judge a book by its cover. Just because 1 aspect of the job seems to suck doesn't mean there aren't 2 others that make up for it.

Re:isn't this normal? (5, Insightful)

Ogive17 (691899) | about 7 years ago | (#19663405)

Staying plugged in to work 24/7 is putting yourself on the fast track to burnout. Most people where I work (procurement for major engine company) work from home occasionally, but management constantly warns about making it a habit. They are aware that it's unhealthy to devote 9 hours in the office and another 5-6 hours out of the office to work each day. Of course, at certain times they expect long days to get a project done.

You have to draw a line between work and life, before work takes over your life. If these guys have to stay in tune with what is going on at work all the time, they are setting themselves up for less enjoyment of life.

Re:isn't this normal? (3, Insightful)

utopianfiat (774016) | about 7 years ago | (#19663017)

Sounds normal to me? Except the whole "not having a life" part...
A lot of Google sounds similar to the structure of the place where I work. There's a bit of an unhealthy spin that makes it sound like it ends up being worse- for example, valuing "degrees" over "experience"- Well, for one, I've been in class with a graduate student who was refused an internship from Google, and this guy was actually extremely intelligent; their reasoning was that he ought to start at a lower-tier job first (he wanted to be a dev?).
I mean, it sounds like they'd hire any old bum with a cool degree, which simply isn't true- I sincerely doubt that Google's products are the result of code that *my* classmates could chug out; college code tends to be extremely inelegant and barely operational. I think, instead, google might *gasp* be hiring lots of programmers since they're a new company (relatively). Furthermore, maybe Stanford is simply buddy-buddy with Google; I know that's the case between utexas engineering and AMD; we tend to give them quite a few interns and coops, not because they think utexas is superior, but because they get a *lot* of applicants from utexas.
Not to bust on Microsoft- despite the slashdot official stance on them, I was seeking a job with them earlier, and it looked to me like they treated their employees very, very well.

Re:isn't this normal? (1)

lonechicken (1046406) | about 7 years ago | (#19663671)

Sounds normal to me? Except the whole "not having a life" part...

Yeah, what's with that? Your 20s should be for having a life. They're wasting their partying stamina years on hanging around the office??? Priorities, people!

Re:isn't this normal? (5, Insightful)

drasfr (219085) | about 7 years ago | (#19663051)

10am to 6pm? Damn, that IS relaxed for an IT job.... 24/7 checking email with blackberry doesn't really mean working... maybe the feeling of working? we all have a couple of minutes in our evenings sometimes to answer an email here and there...

I know so many people in IT that work more, 8 or 9am to 7pm, or more, and often work from home too...

I was approached by Google, got interviewed, and at the end declined because I wasn't technical enough to be the Director of Engineering (or something like that as a tittle). Which is utter bs. There was not a single question about management. It was 100% technical, which is fine, I am very technical and have always been, and in all my reviews at all my jobs was/am always told one of the most technically savy person. Their style of questions was grilling you more and more and going deeper and deeper into the questions and technicalities until you failed. Started as what is TCP and UDP to going down and down and down the stack, syncookies, handshakes, how it works, to how sequence numbers are generated and more to more obscure points... At one point I couldn't answer anymore.

I used to know but not anymore. I told them, and I told them a 2 minute search on google itself will turn up the results so there is no need to know that by heart. In all my previous jobs, and that is my way of thinking, initial knowledge is not what gets the job done. Ability to do research and learn quickly IS the most important thing.

In my opinion people there at google tend to be pretentious and full of themselves. But that is my personal opinion and I am glad I don't work there in fact, sure there are some nice benefits and all, but it isn't everything. I got a few job offers and work for one of the best company around, and in my mind a much better company than Google...

Re:isn't this normal? (1)

wamatt (782485) | about 7 years ago | (#19663233)

I got a few job offers and work for one of the best company around, and in my mind a much better company than Google...
What's the company?

Re:isn't this normal? (5, Insightful)

Splab (574204) | about 7 years ago | (#19663311)

Holy crap!

I thought the US had abolished slavery. Why on earth does anyone put up with that??? Is the job market really that bad?

I can accept a few days of overtime pending product launch, but if a company expected me to me available like that I would tell them to go f*** themselves.

Re:isn't this normal? (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | about 7 years ago | (#19663343)

24/7 checking email with blackberry doesn't really mean working... maybe the feeling of working? we all have a couple of minutes in our evenings sometimes to answer an email here and there...

I hate this. When did people become so obsessed with work? I've posted my feelings about doing work on "personal time" before and I'm going to restate it here: When you leave the office, you're done. Regardless of how the company decides to pay you and regardless of your own warped feelings about how you should operate, you should NOT work once you leave.

Leave work at work even if you LOVE your job. You should LOVE your personal time a ton more.

In my opinion people there at google tend to be pretentious and full of themselves.

I feel the same way about people that feel that they are so important that they must work from home... It's as if the world will stop turning if they take vacation or have personal time. I work with a woman like that and being that she spends most of her day taking personal phone calls and playing Hearts, I have a real problem with her telling everyone how important her job is to the institution.

Re:isn't this normal? (2, Insightful)

drasfr (219085) | about 7 years ago | (#19663707)

I am not in favor of necessary working from home. I advocate a work/life balance in fact... But if you are a little bit ambitious about your job and want to go the extra mile, sometime spending a few minutes here and there will make the big difference against people that do not do it. I rarely check my blackberry from home, but sometimes there are moments I do look at it and answer some things if I can and they don't take up much time. Assuming I have time, I would look at my blackberry once or twice in the evenings and answer if I can/have time/is beneficial/worth enough...

Working from home sometime is not about being important. I have noone at home - I live alone, that I can do whatever I want, and what is good for me and my career. That is one of the differences between being career oriented in a big firm, not being, and being successfull. My bonus at the end of the year is commensurate with my work done/impression made, so that is a reason enough to go the extra-mile especially when it does not really interfere with personal time... makes the difference between a $20K bonus and a $50K one...

Who died and made you boss? (1)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | about 7 years ago | (#19663867)

So we all have to conduct our lives the way you want us to? Whatever happened to "different strokes for different folks?"

If someone likes working all the time, why not respect that and move on with your life?

Re:isn't this normal? (2, Interesting)

thetable123 (936470) | about 7 years ago | (#19663561)

I was approached by Google, got interviewed
I guess they didn't make you sign the NDA [slashdot.org] .

Re:isn't this normal? (1)

drasfr (219085) | about 7 years ago | (#19663743)

As a matter of fact I did not sign their NDA. I am not bound to any secrecy.

Re:isn't this normal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19663631)

I used to know but not anymore. I told them, and I told them a 2 minute search on google itself will turn up the results so there is no need to know that by heart. In all my previous jobs, and that is my way of thinking, initial knowledge is not what gets the job done. Ability to do research and learn quickly IS the most important thing.
This doesn't seem to be the most effective way of problem solving when you're making google

Re:isn't this normal? (0, Flamebait)

hordchurtle (1120837) | about 7 years ago | (#19663153)

Internal company culture aside, comparing Google to Microsoft is like comparing apples to well apples. Let me explain....

Microsoft spends billions of dollars a year on research, and does barely anything innovative. Yet they turn out software that is buggy and full of security holes until the third service pack, and it still have holes in security.

Google spends little on research, and does a lot of innovative things. Yet they turn our buggy software that is fundamentally flawed in a security sense. Information is placed on servers with little backups and with users having no real control over the security of their documents.

Both companies market themselves as secure, both say they are on the leading edge. The only difference between the two companies is their internal culture, Microsoft being older has a more traditional model, Google being newer is a more fluid, "Peter Drucker/gore industries inspired" model. The important part is the product not how you get the product done as long as your employees are happy. JUST TURN OUT QUALITY SOFTWARE!!!!!!

Re:isn't this normal? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19663241)

I guess you must be American.

Over here on the sane side of the Atlantic I work 9-5 and spend my evenings and weekends with my family and friends doing anything except working. Do you get paid extra for all those extra hours?

Marketing had their fun in college (3, Funny)

ghoul (157158) | about 7 years ago | (#19663793)

Now they are not supposed to have a life. Techies didnt have a life in college. They need to get their kicks in sometime. Retirement is a nono as with all the soda few will live to see retirement

Fun with FUD (-1, Troll)

tinrobot (314936) | about 7 years ago | (#19662815)

I thought Microsoft only used FUD on dumb consumers, but I guess now they're trying it on their employees as well.

Re:Fun with FUD (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | about 7 years ago | (#19663009)

FUD is also blaming Microsoft of FUD at the drop of a hat...

Re:Fun with FUD (0, Troll)

truthsearch (249536) | about 7 years ago | (#19663263)

How is blaming Microsoft of FUD fear, uncertainty, or doubt? No one here is afraid of their FUD. We know what to expect, so it's not uncertain. And it's the opposite of doubt because we know they spread it and it's consequences.

Re:Fun with FUD (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | about 7 years ago | (#19663643)

I thought it was a pretty interesting read, definately not FUD. I don't fear working for Google now, or am I any more uncertain or doubtful about the experience. The article jives pretty well with other stuff posted about working for Google. So basically I think you are wrong. Calling the article FUD does increase uncertainty and doubt about its content. Maybe not fear, so it's UD then.

This type of knee-jerk Microsoft bashing is only good for a little karma-whoring but does not really add anything of much value. Kind of like FUD. Especially when you would have posted the same comment no matter what the article said.

Re:Fun with FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19663387)

Now? Microsoft has basically _always_ (except in the really early startup days) indoctrinated its nonexecutive employees like a cult. They almost always hire straight out of college, before students get "tainted" by exposure to the free world.

Re:Fun with FUD (3, Interesting)

NickFortune (613926) | about 7 years ago | (#19663435)

hmmm... a while back there was speculation that Microsoft had despaired of ever having its press releases taken seriously, and instead had started to release company PR disguised as "leaks" about which it would then pretend to get vary annoyed.

By doing so, instead of everyone going "ho-hum - more PR from Redmond" they'd take the leaked document very seriously. Then someone would pipe up with, "you know, if you think about it, Microsoft really don't sound too that bad in this", and everyone would take that seriously too. Because, you know, if it wasn't true, why would they be so angry?

So I suppose it's possible that Microsoft employees aren't the intended audience here...

HR at work (0)

SolitaryMan (538416) | about 7 years ago | (#19662821)

Well, Microsoft's HR is working hard ... or hardly working.

Re:HR at work (0, Redundant)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | about 7 years ago | (#19662947)

Hehe, that was funny... or really lame.

Re:HR at work (0, Offtopic)

spellraiser (764337) | about 7 years ago | (#19663003)

I bet they do a lot of TPS reports.

From the perspective of someone on the outside... (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 7 years ago | (#19662863)

The biggest difference between Google and Microsoft is that Google turns research ideas into products. Microsoft spends something like five billion dollars on research a year, and pretty much any conference has a few interesting papers by Microsoft Research, but five years later you still won't see any products based on them. Google have a good track record of turning employees '20% time' into products. I think the difference here is that Microsoft have a research arm, and a products arm, and are not good at passing ideas between the two, while Google have people doing product work 80% of the time and research 20% of the time, so there is no disconnect.

Re:From the perspective of someone on the outside. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19663035)

five years later you still won't see any products based on them.
You will see patents making sure no-one else can implement products based on similar ideas and perhaps threaten microsoft's monopoly - the WHOLE POINT of microsoft "research" is to deny market entry to anyone else.
Now, you say "oh, but patents 'only' last 20 years". Well, I've got news for you: US diplomats have been pushing for 40 year patent terms abroad (asia, mainly). Once a country goes for that, then the USA will have a policy-laundered excuse to "harmonize" up to 40 years. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The entire patent system should be abolished - if you want to reward "innovators" over and above the free market, find a way that doesn't deal a death of a thousand cuts to the freedom of hundreds of millions.

Re:From the perspective of someone on the outside. (2, Interesting)

rev_sanchez (691443) | about 7 years ago | (#19663221)

I think another big issue is that Google is probably still at that stage where projects are new enough and the organization is new enough where you're actually permitted to accomplish significant things without a mountain of bureaucracy, a long series of pointless meetings, and approval from several large committees. You get the impression that, unlike other software companies, Google hires good people and lets them work instead of keeping them perpetually frustrated.

Eventually, Google's employees will be as over-managed as most other employees at most other software companies.

Re:From the perspective of someone on the outside. (4, Insightful)

bahwi (43111) | about 7 years ago | (#19663347)

Google is about making a better, quicker, more effective product or filling a need that wasn't filled before. Microsoft's policy has typically been "How do we control the market?" "How do we make this product necessary to the industry?" etc... Not building a better/quicker product but making a product in demand. Kind of like requiring vista to run certain games(while my railroad tycoon 3 causes vista to coredump on my laptop, I'm not touching it on my desktop, which means no shadowrun... damnit).

You can argue it any way you like, Microsoft is a little more agressive in the industry and Google believes if you build a great product people will come(and with their name they believe everything they do is a great product whether it is or isn't because they get people just because of their name). Microsoft has given up on better/quicker and gone for "How to make this necessary?"

Re:From the perspective of someone on the outside. (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 7 years ago | (#19663421)

The biggest difference between Google and Microsoft is that Google turns research ideas into products.

You may not like the few Microsoft products that you actually know about, but the idea that Google produce more products that hit the marketplace is simply fundamentally not true. Furthermore, while Microsoft's products may lack the "innovation" you're after, at least they have some that actually attempt to do useful things. Google, on the other hand, is focused on ways to monetize the Web through advertising. Very noble...

Re:From the perspective of someone on the outside. (1)

jrumney (197329) | about 7 years ago | (#19663423)

I guess that's the downside that Microsoft sees in Googles "college kid" atmosphere. Why innovate when you can embrace, extend, extinguish.

Google is a one-product company (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19663433)

The biggest difference between Google and Microsoft is that Google turns research ideas into products

Correction: Google turns research ideas into products that don't make any money

I like Google as much as the next guy, but you won't see me jumping ship to work for Google and I wouldn't touch Google stock with a ten foot pole because they are a one product company [internetoutsider.com] ; with the exception of AdSense, nothing Google does makes money to any significant degree. While they are light years ahead of Microsoft and Yahoo right now, its just a matter of time before someone catches up. And when that happens, Google's perks (as nifty as they are) will be viewed how Aeron chairs were viewed in 2002.

Re:From the perspective of someone on the outside. (1)

crivens (112213) | about 7 years ago | (#19663825)

Google creates cool stuff
Microsoft tries to, fails, buys it and ruins it :)

Lost me in the first para (3, Insightful)

CallFinalClass (801589) | about 7 years ago | (#19662875)

"Microsoft is an amazingly transparent company. Google is not. "

Ya, right.

Re:Lost me in the first para (3, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | about 7 years ago | (#19662903)

And the name of this new blog: Just Say "No" To Google

Biased?

Re:Lost me in the first para (4, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | about 7 years ago | (#19662937)

Just say no to Google! Oh, but here's how we can try to be exactly like them!

Re:Lost me in the first para (0)

dintech (998802) | about 7 years ago | (#19663443)

I'm going to f***ing kill google!

Re:Lost me in the first para (1)

heffrey (229704) | about 7 years ago | (#19663039)

Why is that so hard to believe? Or are you displaying the typical /. bias?

Re:Lost me in the first para (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | about 7 years ago | (#19663215)

RTFA: Google offices have glass walls everywhere! What can be more transparent than that?

Re:Lost me in the first para (1)

cronot (530669) | about 7 years ago | (#19663223)

Well, no one can tell (save for the employees themselves) how transparently the company is internally, so Microsoft may well be more transparent than Google. But if you judge by the behavior each companies show in the market, I think it's a pretty safe bet that Google is at least more transparent than Microsoft (even if not "amazingly" transparent). I guess that the GP thought that way too.

Re:Lost me in the first para (1)

CallFinalClass (801589) | about 7 years ago | (#19663541)

Yep, that's exactly what I had in mind.

The internal workings aren't as important as I know I'll never work at either place. Interesting, darn tootin but not important.

Re:Lost me in the first para (1)

megaditto (982598) | about 7 years ago | (#19663197)

For what it's worth, Microsoft actually has a privacy policy that respects users' privacy.

Re:Lost me in the first para (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | about 7 years ago | (#19663325)

Oh, they're transparent all right. Whenever they make an announcement, it's usually completely obvious that their motives are other than stated.

I laughed out loud. (1)

twitter (104583) | about 7 years ago | (#19663391)

What amazing spin:

Microsoft is an amazingly transparent company.

People know about M$ because M$ has misbehaved not because M$ wants people to know things. M$ leaks like a sieve because their employees hate their company. This is how the rest of the world gets Halloween Documents [catb.org] , and other fun outside of lawsuits. Lawsuits are the result of everyone else's outrage and reveal even more. Calling that kind of hate and animosity "transparency" is a brazen lie. Actual disclosure will get you fired [slashdot.org] .

College Kid Atmosphere (2, Interesting)

l0rd.47hl0n (1099499) | about 7 years ago | (#19662951)

I find that very amusing. Bill gates ran Microsoft as just such a company for many years.

Re:College Kid Atmosphere (1)

BitwizeGHC (145393) | about 7 years ago | (#19662977)

That was acknowledged in the article, which stated that Google's corporate culture was very much like early Microsoft.

Re:College Kid Atmosphere (1)

dragonrouge (1059352) | about 7 years ago | (#19663205)

Douglas Coupland wrote "Microserfs" which portrayed the Microsoft work culture in the golden age when employees could become stock millionaires. It's a very nice book and actually more about relationships than geek culture

I heard... Over at Google (5, Funny)

fenodyree (802102) | about 7 years ago | (#19662957)

I heard, that over at google, they have vat grown clones of Natalie Portman for use by all employee's. How is Microsoft ever going to counter that?

My guess is with an army of brain dead Steve Balmers...

Re:I heard... Over at Google (1)

neonmonk (467567) | about 7 years ago | (#19663179)

With Hot Grits of course!

Re:I heard... Over at Google (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | about 7 years ago | (#19663555)

And at Google the Hot Grits are FREE!!!

the moment I heard... (2, Insightful)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | about 7 years ago | (#19662973)

... that google abhors private offices and loves open-space plans, was the moment any temptation to go work for them evaporated for me. Now if only there was a company like MS (work-environment wise) that worked in the unix-linux-lamp-python-etc space...

Re:the moment I heard... (3, Funny)

raxtor (1120853) | about 7 years ago | (#19663567)

Novell? *ducks*

Re:the moment I heard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19663747)

But how open space is it? Offices are fine if everything is close together. You should have some privacy in those. However, if you are in an open space setup where your area is larger than a 15x15 foot area, then that is not so bad. Especially if everyone is not hooked up to a phone.

I have done a few phone jobs. Mortgage and tech support. Having a 3x3 foot area and everyone around you hooked up to a phone is both cramped and noisy. If you include some high ceilings, well above 10 feet then even better.

Right now my computer work is done at home so I am happy, no phones and no noisy people.

Yeah, right. M$ will respect you. (1)

twitter (104583) | about 7 years ago | (#19663805)

... google abhors private offices and loves open-space plans, was the moment any temptation to go work for them evaporated for me.

Do you really think you will find privacy in Mr. Gates' empire? You could work in a vault, but every file on your computer, every email, phone call, and web site you visit will be monitored. You might even get fired for making a blog post at home [slashdot.org] that Mr. Gates did not like.

Why negative responses? (3, Interesting)

transmetal (904896) | about 7 years ago | (#19662991)

Can someone explain to this naive college student why that post is getting responses like

Dude you shouldn't have published this, why do you even work for microsoft. you should quit right away.
and

I cannot believe you posted this. What is wrong with you? Makes me shudder to think what else your pathetic and bereft character would allow yourself to post. No house is perfect, we're all a little dysfunctional. Assuming you have a significant other or children, how would you feel if one of them decided to post something that highlighted your imperfections..? Wait, they wouldn't have to, your lack of integrity has been sufficiently demonstrated here.
The entire post sounded reasonable, and was an interesting peek into the sort of corporate environments I may / may not be hired into in the next few years.

Re:Why negative responses? (1)

another_fanboy (987962) | about 7 years ago | (#19663097)

FTA: "making the rounds on just about every internal email list I belong to in Microsoft"
Whether or not it was a good post, he probably should not have posted it.

Re:Why negative responses? (1)

Jugalator (259273) | about 7 years ago | (#19663121)

As someone else who commented there said, it's hard to tell if the comments came from MS or Google fans/employees, because the article was so neutral anyway. I mean, he showed some pros and cons with both companies, and get that as response? Is it MS people thinking he was disrespectful of the internal status of the memo, or is it Googlers who think he's throwing dirt on Google?

The "pathetic character" seem to come from a huge Google fan to me anyway, and the first "shouldn't have published this" seem to come from a Microsoftie.

Re:Why negative responses? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19663235)

You must be new here.

Slashdot seems to have a rather large number of people, shall we say, slightly left of stalin. Needless to say, they'll do just about anything to "change reality". Never forget that evil is defined, and enforced by their groupthink (if you have any doubts as to what groupthink will do to a society, look at the red khmer, or nazi germany, or any muslim nation), or you will face the consequences. Just watch this post.

Needless to say the microsoft scaremongering and daemonizing, while occasionally "somewhat" justified, generally is just mindless me-too infantile behavior. Same with topics about the american government (okay, they're not perfect, but they try, which is more than can be said for most regimes people here seem to support, such as Iran or Venezuela), and just watch what they say about Bush or global warming.

You see politics is not about reality. For example the reality is very simple : the UN is run by oppressive regimes, and is nowhere near the "freedom-promoting" organization it claims to be. Just check it's stances and membership with an open mind, and you'll see. There is no way that e.g. khatami will every promote liberty, since the first thing a free Iran would do is kill him. Many, many regimes are run like that one, or worse.

Next "liberalism" is about a lot of things, but not about letting people do what they want. In fact, it's about outlawing a LOT of behavior (smoking, drinking, ...), and allowing a lot of worse behavior (e.g. beating women is okay if it's a cultural habit, see the quran, it has a chapter on women, read it) or plain racism (can't blame people for directly quoting holy books now can we ? "the lowest animals on this earth are non-muslims" - quran 8:55 "kill them in any manner possible" - 9:5). Liberalism is about moral relativism ("yes but republicans kill people too, so it's just normal") and denial of responsability ("just because I say you can't arrest terrorists does not mean I support them killing ..." - yes it does ... obviously).

Given that many people here openly support these types of ideas, are you really surprised to find hating idiots here ?

Re:Why negative responses? (1)

jcr (53032) | about 7 years ago | (#19663397)

Slashdot seems to have a rather large number of people, shall we say, slightly left of stalin.

I wouldn't say it's a large number. Just enough to be amusing, really. My impression is that most slashdotters are basically libertarian.

-jcr

Re:Why negative responses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19663673)

You're f*cking insane.

Re:Why negative responses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19663711)

Silly.

Needless to say, they'll do just about anything to "change reality". Never forget that evil is defined, and enforced by their groupthink

According to you, any coherent group that comes to an agreement is evil and is the result of 'groupthink'. How about differentiating between unintelligent group decisions with those that are intelligent and then associating them with a logical reasoning for why any decisions produced are good or bad instead of making stupid blanket statements.

The American fear of group cohesion and socialization is silly and irrational.

Same with topics about the american government (okay, they're not perfect, but they try, which is more than can be said for most regimes people here seem to support, such as Iran or Venezuela), and just watch what they say about Bush or global warming.

Honestly, who on here comes to the defense of Iran or Venezuela? Really now. You're just pulling shit out of your ass.

There is no way that e.g. khatami will every promote liberty, since the first thing a free Iran would do is kill him. Many, many regimes are run like that one, or worse.

tl;dr

Don't care about how other countries run their affairs.

Next "liberalism" is about a lot of things, but not about letting people do what they want. In fact, it's about outlawing a LOT of behavior (smoking, drinking, ...), and allowing a lot of worse behavior (e.g. beating women is okay if it's a cultural habit, see the quran, it has a chapter on women, read it) or plain racism (can't blame people for directly quoting holy books now can we ? "the lowest animals on this earth are non-muslims" - quran 8:55 "kill them in any manner possible" - 9:5). Liberalism is about moral relativism ("yes but republicans kill people too, so it's just normal") and denial of responsability ("just because I say you can't arrest terrorists does not mean I support them killing ..." - yes it does ... obviously).

Well, its hard to disagree with the fact that liberals want a carefully managed society, but how is that any different than paleo-conservatives? Cons want to ban porn, drinking, sex (outside their carefully controlled definition), homosexuals, video games, many types of speech, and etc. I don't think liberals agree with mistreatment of women, how do you come to that conclusion?

How come con don't ever mention that both the Christian and Jewish religions say alot of nasty and mean things as well?

Re:Why negative responses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19663239)

Umm... to be a little cynical... don't you think the blog and some of the comments were published by M$'s HR department? The whole thing looks like a very poorly disguised (yet successful!) attempt to try to undermine Google's reputation as a great place to work...

New Communism? (1, Flamebait)

stormi (837687) | about 7 years ago | (#19663011)

At the risk of getting marked troll or flamebait, it almost sounds like a pseudo communism. There are bins for them to have shirts, and free food... Google takes care of everything for them. Throw in the "you are all alike" attitude, especially evinced by the random desks and overcrowding.

Since most of this sounds a bit non-standard with companies, it will be interesting to see how well it ends up working in the long run.

Re:New Communism? (1, Insightful)

endianx (1006895) | about 7 years ago | (#19663087)

Sounds more like this [wikipedia.org] to me. We do seem to be moving in that direction. Microsoft even has its own currency [wikipedia.org] .

Re:New Communism? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19663167)

At the risk of getting marked troll or flamebait, it almost sounds like a pseudo communism.
Except for the fact that not everyone is paid the same. Google just offers some really nice benefits.

Re:New Communism? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 7 years ago | (#19663195)

At the risk of getting marked troll or flamebait, it almost sounds like a pseudo communism. There are bins for them to have shirts, and free food... Google takes care of everything for them. Throw in the "you are all alike" attitude, especially evinced by the random desks and overcrowding.
Hmm... not convinced. Being cynical about it, it's more like if Google provide everything an employee needs (i.e. takes care of the immediate things that an employee would otherwise consider going home for), they spend more of their time at work, and even build their life around it.

That's arguably where the 20-something college-kid mentality (akin to supposedly "old" Microsoft) applies too.

If it doesn't remind me of communism, though, Google is certainly reminiscent of a cult in some respects. [slashdot.org] I'm not smart enough to work for Google, but if I was, I still wouldn't want to for that very reason.

Re:New Communism? (1)

eln (21727) | about 7 years ago | (#19663211)

They are offering stuff that college kids want because they are convinced that the best employees they can get are recent college graduates. The problem is, if all you hire is recent college graduates, you get a bunch of people who will work slavishly churning out a whole lot of crap they think is the most awesome thing ever. This can be a good thing, but you need to have plenty of direction from more experienced employees to turn all of that youthful energy into something the company can make money with.

As the company ages, it will move past that mindset. They may have more difficulty than some others, because the founders are those rare people that actually managed to move their pet project in college into a huge company. Eventually, though, they will take more of a back seat, and the college kids currently in their employ will settle down and start families, and the culture will change. The only other option is constant churn to kick out the old guys and bring in new kids. That sort of strategy, though, usually just ends up breeding low morale and a lot of mercenary employees who are only there until they find something better.

Another thing to remember is that company loyalty is helped along a whole lot by the company being successful. Google operates a lot like a startup because they are still bringing in tons of cash, and their stock price is lofty. Eventually, they will settle into the slow growth and basically flat stock of a mature company. At that time, they will have more of a challenge getting their employees to work as hard, especially when competitors move into their space and trim the profit margins, forcing them to cut back on some of these perks.

Maintenance (1)

oni (41625) | about 7 years ago | (#19663663)

a bunch of people who will work slavishly churning out a whole lot of crap they think is the most awesome thing ever.

Yep. I bet they've never had to do any maintenance at google. Everything they have is brand new (and admittedly, all of it is pretty awesome). The problem is that, take something like gmail for example. Gmail *has* to exist and be supported and updated and maintained for decades. What I'm getting at is, if you look at the big picture, you'll see that 90% of the time spent coding on gmail will necessarily be spent maintaining it, NOT writing it.

Now, I don't know what the code for gmail looks like. Maybe it's beautifully written, pretty-printed, commented, documented, poetry. Maybe. For the people who do that 90% of the work, I hope it's like that. What I have seen in my years in the software industry, is that people who can churn out lots of code and do lots of cool stuff, tend to write code that's very difficult to maintain.

So anyway yeah, like you said, college kids will work slavishly to churn something out. I just hope the code is readable because if not, google is going to pay for it in the long run.

Re:New Communism? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 7 years ago | (#19663301)

At the risk of getting marked troll or flamebait, it almost sounds like a pseudo communism.

You mean socialism, right? Communism implies that there are armed guards preventing you from leaving the Googleplex and propaganda everywhere.

Re:New Communism? (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | about 7 years ago | (#19663431)

I think it is kind of a flippan use of the term communism. You have to be sort of elite to work at Google to begin with, not a member of the proletariat. Many of those items you describe are capitlistic perks. You don't have to wear their t-shirts or eat thier food.

The whole point of the article was about approaches to attracting and retaining the most talented individuals.

Re:New Communism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19663491)

To me it sounds like a company that grew too fast. They probably have a HUGE pool of talent from horid to god like status. But it sounds like they have serious problems in the company. It will not show for about 2-3 years. But that amount of chaos does not last. It will naturaly organize itself into small pools of loud mouth jerks who tussle for resources.

Also 100 people PER manager?! That means *NO* way to move up in the company. *NO* way to get constructive feedback or bad feedback for that matter. *NO* way to know what your goals are. *NO* way to know what the companyies goals are. Plus 1 manager you probably never see. So you can go off and do whatever you like. Sounds fun but not very productive. It probably means every project is way over budget. If I was a stock holder I would see this and ask some SERIOUSLY hard questions.

Trust me the day is comming you will see 'Google lays off 10% of its workforce'. To those of you working in google enjoy it while it lasts. It will not last forever.

Re:New Communism? (1)

steinnes (774991) | about 7 years ago | (#19663565)

I don't think you're too far off the mark, it has happened in the past that companies reaching a certain size set up practically everything for their employees and their families.

Housing, recreation, shopping (clothes, food), transportation (company cars?), travels, etc.

Because the corporations could purchase everything wholesale, it allowed them to provide more to their employees than by means of salaries, while at the same time being less of an expenditure than the equivalent spending on salaries.

I believe that in the '30s, there were quite a few companies set up like this, and co-owned by all the workers, in a very communistic way.

It's possible that communism works much better on such a small scale.

They've got to do something (3, Funny)

lbmouse (473316) | about 7 years ago | (#19663025)

Would the last person to leave Redmond for Mountain View please remember to turn off the lights.

Laughable "Google is like my mommy" arguments (5, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 7 years ago | (#19663143)

Somehow, the author interprets the great perks like free T-shirts, meals, health care, and facilities as Google playing your parent and running your life. That's a hell of a spin job on what I'd consider a dream environment.

So that's it? We just believe this blog? Not me (2, Interesting)

Morris Thorpe (762715) | about 7 years ago | (#19663147)

I'm amazed to see discussions, not just here but elsewhere, based on blog posts which supposedly give "an insider's look" or "confessions from a former...." and are taken as the gospel truth.

Admittedly, I am cynical, but isn't it common sense to take these things as false until proven true?

Personally, I give this kind of thing as much credence as forwarded-forwarded-forwarded email.

Re:So that's it? We just believe this blog? Not me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19663683)

OK after you or someone you trust get a job at google. You can tell us all about the real truths at google.

Of course probably violating the half inch NDA you had to sign

#1 Tip (3, Funny)

niceone (992278) | about 7 years ago | (#19663283)

#1 Tip for MS employees: tell people you work at Google.

I've got to have an office. (2, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | about 7 years ago | (#19663293)

I've tried to write code in a cubicle, and it sucks, big time. I can share an office, but two-up in a 10x20 is about my limit.

So, if I find myself competing with Google for a candidate, I can see the main lever to apply. Besides matching their salaries, I've got to provide a private office, and make sure that the work is as interesting as whatever they'd be doing at Google.

-jcr

My own experience at Google (2, Informative)

spyrochaete (707033) | about 7 years ago | (#19663295)

I blogged about my own experience at Googleplex [demodulated.com] in Mountain View. I concur that Google is very hush hush in general. My most surprising observation was that the security guards were rather laid-back while some engineers were very solemn and confrontational. This is not indicative of the overall feel of the place though - it's like a cruise ship party where people do work.

I always knew (-1, Troll)

teflaime (738532) | about 7 years ago | (#19663303)

Microsoft's motto was screw the customer...looks like Google's motto is now screw the employee.

Re:I always knew (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19663603)

I work at Google. It really is a dream job. The main criticisms he had were:

1. People work too hard
2. There is little privacy

#2 is true and is unfortunate, although it matters less than you think because nobody expects you to be working all the time. #1 is just a load of crap. Some people work hard because they feel like it, but there is very little pressure to do so, and many people do not work hard at all. I average less than 8 hours a day and never work from home, and I have never been given crap about it.

Re:I always knew (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 years ago | (#19663731)

Where did you get that out of the memo? Many companies ask for more from their employees, with NO perks.

Pay for food? (1)

bahwi (43111) | about 7 years ago | (#19663429)

Wow. I'm self employed so I pay for all my lunches anyways, but I wouldn't work somewhere where they make you pay for food in the cafeteria unless they give you 1 1/2 hrs for lunch. Sounds like my corporate brothers are having a shitty time right now. :(

I'd say even with the less pay Google offers a better working environment, although career wise it sounds like Microsoft is the way to go(coming from a Microsoft memo, that's the way you would expect it to sound too).

I guess it's hard to demand stuff from the "corporate overlords" but crappy food for $15 isn't going to win me over. They say that I say 1 1/2 hrs for lunch so I have time to get out and get back. I love the ideas of a "tech stop" at google. That sounds just awesome.

Re:Pay for food? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 7 years ago | (#19663483)

by all accounts, google does not give 'crappy food'. they hire real chefs and cook REAL food.

this isn't the 'cafeteria' you might be thinking of...

Re:Pay for food? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 years ago | (#19663687)

He was talking about microsoft. The clue being that google doesn't charge anything for there 3 free meals a day.

Plus ca change,... (0, Offtopic)

interglossa (1110251) | about 7 years ago | (#19663473)

If you get a roomful of seasoned IT people to read this they will all say that all the basic tags of this piece are present in any reminiscence of the early days of a great company. Digital Equipment Corporation had a great deal of this proto-fascist sense of belonging, - we were all young and felt ourselves the specialest snowflakes. The success in the marketplace, like love for a Christian, covers over a multitude of sins. I will say DEC didn't offer free food and clothing. Their speciality was alien abduction - they built in towns on Route 495 where the youth were as much as possible free of such distractions as husbands, wives, fuckbuddies of any gender and life as lived. Of course what we were all looking for here was the grim underside of google and we didn't get it. I mean the real nitty-gritty, like the conflicts at Thinking Machines which made traumatized employees go home, pull down the blinds and not answer e-mail or phones for six months. I do know people who have been traumatized by rejection from google after great career debuts at other places, which is very sad.

Wrong about private office space (5, Insightful)

Uksi (68751) | about 7 years ago | (#19663563)

The memo is wrong about private office space. Microsofties are used to it because they all have private offices (with doors and all), which is far better than cubes, but his dismissal of shared working spaces comes with no backup arguments (other than a link to a JoelOnSoftware article that talks about them expanding space--how is that a backup argument?)

I used to work in a team room environment, where all the developers sat together in one room (there were 10-15 of us or so), working on the same product. I loved working in that environment. You could talk to anyone just like that right away. Not having to walk for a minute or half a minute makes quite a difference, believe it or not. Since the barrier for asking someone for help or ideas is so low (lean over and speak), it's much easier to quickly bounce off ideas without having to interrupt your own flow. Also, you overhear others' problems and ideas, and pitch in with your own. Countless times I've heard someone lamenting some problem and was able to chip in with "oh I just solved the same issue."

Yes, you must have headphones in the team room, because sometimes you just need to concentrate and headphones are essential to drown out the noise.

Unfortunately, I am back to working in a cube and I miss the team room days.

Re:Wrong about private office space (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19663757)

>dismissal of shared working spaces comes with no backup arguments

If you'd read Peopleware like everyone else, you'd know that he needs none.

is Google doomed? (1)

AnonymousCactus (810364) | about 7 years ago | (#19663615)

As many have pointed out, many successful companies have started off similarly.

So is Google doomed? Doomed to be a bureaucratic mess with 800 levels between me and, say, Bill Gates with the only people who can really profit off of my work being closer to the top of the pyramid. I've interned a lot of places, but haven't actually had a job. Friends who have tell me such horror stories. Are the creme of the crop CS people destined to either pinball around the tech companies as the are founded and inevitably turn crappy hoping that once they'll get in early enough to ride the wave for the rest of their lives? Or is there a better way? :)

It says volumes about Microsoft... (5, Funny)

dpbsmith (263124) | about 7 years ago | (#19663635)

...that there are so many replies along the lines of

"Dude you shouldn't have published this, why do you even work for microsoft."
    and
"You should quit right away"
    and
"this is horrible, man you ARE the reason microsoft is suffering!"
    and
"What is wrong with you? Why would you publish this? This is internal only"
    and
"I cannot believe you posted this. What is wrong with you? Makes me shudder to think what else your pathetic and bereft character would allow yourself to post"
    and
"Idiot, idiot, you should quit. You should be ashamed. Hopefully HR will figure out who the hell you are and can your ***."

When I read the posting, my thought was that both Microsoft and Google sounded like interesting places to work, with different profiles of plusses and minuses.

When I read the responses, my thought was that Microsoft must be as full of paranoid conformists as the second circle of Hell. If these responses are typical of the environment, goodness knows what Microsoft does to people who post Dilbert cartoons on their office walls.

Evil Empire (3, Insightful)

llZENll (545605) | about 7 years ago | (#19663639)

Just wait another 5 years and Google will be the new evil empire, they are almost already there with all of the privacy concerns.

Finally, I'm not jealous! (5, Insightful)

HerculesMO (693085) | about 7 years ago | (#19663703)

I spent time working up my resume to get noticed at Google or Microsoft to get a job. I really wanted to work in a field that was 'techie' and that I was working for a company I believed in.

Then I got a job at a video game company. It was a smaller firm, but a lot of fun to work at. People were all young (I'm only 26), they had free food and lots of perks. You could go to work in shorts and a tshirt.

But then I started to see the down sides of it all. I worked long hours, and often worked from home. My health insurance wasn't anything special. Being on email till the wee hours of the night was an annoyance.

And then I found another job, and left.

Now I work for a place I have no real feeling of accomplishment, nor is it a place I yearned to work for. But I get in at 10am, I am out the door at the latest by 6pm. I don't work from home. I don't get on email after I leave work. Emergencies come up and then I take care of them, but I am able to separate my work life from my personal life with great distinction. My co-workers are in their 30s and 40s and 50s, all of them have families and leave on time to make sure that they are home to pick up their kids, play with them, and be at their soccer games. They encourage me to leave work and go out on a date, watch a movie, read a book, and do something constructive. They know that working isn't the point of life, but merely a part of it.

And now at the age of 26, I finally have a job that I yearned for, but didn't know I wanted.

Do yourselves a favor -- find a job that will let you live your life reasonably. You will be better at your job because you appreciate it, not because you are dying for it.

Tech stops (5, Interesting)

Spy der Mann (805235) | about 7 years ago | (#19663713)

This idea is just too awesome to leave it gathering dust in TFA.

Google has the concept of "Tech Stops." Each floor of each building has one. They handle all of the IT stuff for employees in the building including troubleshooting networks, machines, etc. If you're having a problem you just walk into a Tech Stop and someone will fix it. They also have a variety of keyboards, mice, cables, etc. They're the ones who order equipment, etc. In many ways the Tech Stop does some of what our admins do. If your laptop breaks you bring it to a Tech Stop and they fix it or give you another one (they move your data for you). If one of your test machines is old and crusty you bring it to the Tech Stop and they give you a new one. They track everything by swiping your ID when you "check out" an item. If you need more equipment than your job description allows, your manager just needs to approve the action.

The Tech Stop idea is genius because:

1. You establish a relationship with your IT guy so technical problems stop being a big deal - you don't waste a couple of hours trying to fix something before calling IT to find out it wasn't your fault. You just drop in and say, "My network is down."

2. Most IT problems are trivial when you're in a room together ("oh that Ethernet cable is in the wrong port")

3. The model of repair or replace within an hour is incredible for productivity.

4. It encourages a more flexible model for employees to define their OWN equipment needs. E.g. a "Developer" gets a workstation, a second workstation or a laptop, and a test machine. You're free to visit the Tech Stop to swap any of the machines for any of the others in those categories. For example, I could stop by and swap my second workstation for a laptop because I'm working remotely a lot more now. In the Tech Stop system, this takes 5 minutes to walk down and tell the Tech Stop guy. If a machine is available, I get it right away. Otherwise they order it and drop it off when it arrives. In our current set up, I have to go convince my manager that I need a laptop, he needs to budget for it because it's an additional machine, an admin has to order it, and in the end developers always end up with a growing collection of mostly useless "old" machines instead of a steady state of about 3 mostly up-to-date machines.

dshit (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19663761)

could save it 4nd its long term ARE ABOUT 7000/5

I strictly work 7.75 hours per day mon-fri (1, Insightful)

crivens (112213) | about 7 years ago | (#19663789)

I strictly work 7.75 hours per day mon-fri; no blackberry, no work at home, no email checking at home. Heck no work contact at home at all. This is EXACTLY how I want it - my family is much more important to me.

"college kid" atmosphere (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 7 years ago | (#19663833)

The criticisms of Google's "college kid" atmosphere remind me of the apple "flashback" ad [apple.com] from the "get a mac" campaign where PC is always calculating how much time Mac is wasting doing "fun" things like creating something in iPhoto. iLife really does imitate art I suppose.

Peopleware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19663843)

It sounds like Sergie and Larry need to (re)read "Peopleware" by DeMarco and Lister. Summed up in one sentence, Peopleware says this: give smart people physical space, intellectual responsibility and strategic direction. Two out of three isn't bad, but they seem to have missed on "physical space" (if TFA is accurate).
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