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Google's Young Brainiacs Go Globe-Trotting

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the nice-gig-if-you-can-get-it dept.

175

theodp writes "To train a new generation of leaders, Google sends its young associate product managers on a worldwide mission. Newsweek's Steven Levy tagged along and reports on the APMs' activities, which included passing out candy, notebooks and pencils to poor Raagihalli children, a 'Rubber Ducky' group sing-along at 2 a.m., and competitions to find the weirdest-gadget-under-$100 in Tokyo. The APM program, which seeks brilliant kids and slots them directly into important jobs with no experience necessary, was formed after Google's attempts to hire veterans from firms like Microsoft had awful results. 'Google is so different that it was almost impossible to reprogram them into this culture,' says Google CEO Eric Schmidt of the experienced hires."

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175 comments

No experience necessary? (0, Offtopic)

Iftekhar25 (802052) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237475)

Experience is important!

Re:No experience necessary? (4, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237531)

Experience is important!

      Of course it is. You can't level up without it.

Re:No experience necessary? (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238403)

That post gets a 4/funny? Someone, please, give us dummies a hint - why is that funny?

Re:No experience necessary? (3, Informative)

Krakhan (784021) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238433)

I take it you've never played an RPG in your life?

Re:No experience necessary? (0, Offtopic)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238475)

Rocket Propelled Grenades? Certainly not! Very dangerous things. ...oh, Role Playing Game, I see. Hrm, let me see.

Do Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, or Leisure Suit Larry count? If not, then, no, I don't think so.

If you're talking outside the computer world, then certainly not.

Re:No experience necessary? (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238677)

Give this guy a break. He was just in a coma for thirty years of his life. :)

Why take university graduates? (2, Informative)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237541)

By the time they've been through University, their thinking processes have been moulded. Wouldn't Google do far better getting them even younger than that?

Re:Why take university graduates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237651)

Not too much earlier. University or maybe late high-school age is the best age to indoctrinate kids at, what with all their pot-addled mush brains and adolescent rebel urges and such.

Re:Why take university graduates? (0, Flamebait)

professional_troll (1178701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237913)

You could adopt the christian motto "hook em while there young"

"Like Ciggaretts"
"Hey if we only had the numbers"
- Dogma

Re:Why take university graduates? (2, Funny)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238415)

I'm a Christian and that is *not* the motto you're looking for.

It's "while *they're* young", not "while there young".

Tsk.

Re:Why take university graduates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237733)

Indeed. This is why we've started GoogleGarten (tm) here at Google. No blocks for these 5 year olds, we start them on Knuth right away. Then after naptime, while normal kids learn about that awful poo-poo spaghetti code Basic, we enlighten them with object-oriented programming. Finally, we allow each kid to spend 20% of his schooltime on business projects of his own choice. By the time these kids reach high school, they'll be able to rule the world, and have attitude problems that decades of therapy will never solve.

Re:Why take university graduates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21238449)

better introduce them to big-oh early too, iinm

Re:Why take university graduates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237915)

That's why they've established the new G-nome project in order to breed the best and brightest young stars.

College recruitment is hard. Competing with other tech companies is harder. Why put yourself through all that stress when you can simply make all the smart people that you need?

Re:No experience necessary? (0, Troll)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237657)

oh shut up, old people have no idea what's going on lol. I'm 20 and I've been working (well contracted for a special project) at a hospital and I tell you, the older the people in the IT crew are, the less they know about computers and modern computing. They're just there and in high positions because they can handle a project. When google's looking for new ideas, the younger the better and experience really isn't necessary because there's someone else higher up with experience that's telling them what to do. That's why typically in genereal the older people make the long term decisions from higher up positions on IT crews and the younger people go out and do it because they just learned how and aren't sick of keeping current yet. By boss is like 40 and didn't know how to take an AGP card out lol.

Re:No experience necessary? (4, Insightful)

spxero (782496) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237761)

While your boss may not know how to take out an AGP card, I'm sure he knows a heck of a lot about policies and procedures... specifically when it comes to user IT management. IT is more than just a field of working with computers- it's about working with users to help them and show them how technology can impact their jobs.

And while some of those people may not be in exactly the correct position, some of them are there (as you mentioned) because they can handle a project. They can't plug/unplug AGP cards, but they can make the system work well.

Re:No experience necessary? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21238079)

You'd be surprised. I an in my 20s and work for the IT department for a 50+ user environment. Almost 100% of the problems I run into are caused by poor user management. They are group policy issues that I could resolve in 10 minutes or less if I were given access but instead take several days to get fixed. The other people in the department are older and simply put unable to do their jobs. I was hired to fix the issues (since according to them all the issues are desktop problems), and commonly find myself walking my bosses through adjusting the policies after proving to them beyond a doubt that it isn't a problem with the specific computer. Honestly the only reason they remain on the payroll is because they are buddies with upper management and have been there a long time.

On a counterpoint, my father is almost 60 and remains employed after about a dozen younger employees were let go. He does programming, but they asked him to help and tech support on some calls when support got overwhelmed. He closed a backlog of 6 months of calls in two weeks and an investigation afterwards showed that many of the other T.S. people were either a)emailing, shopping online and chatting by IM instead of working, b) had no idea what they were doing, or c) both a and b.

No age equals knowledge or ability.

Re:No experience necessary? (4, Interesting)

spxero (782496) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238457)

Unfortunately, you are too right. A while back I started subscribing to some of the more popular e-mailed network magazines. I honestly didn't see too much content there that was newsworthy (or new, for that matter). The reason I subscribed was because these were the magazines I saw on the desks of the older management... the policy creators. I would read the magazine on a Tuesday, and by the Friday meeting I would know what insane user or network policy was going to be put in place. If the magazine had an article on how fingerprint scanners were the only secure way to get on the network, one manager was insistent on the need for those on everyone's laptops and desktops (including our customers, since we were a consulting firm).

I think you are right, though- the merit for the job should not be solely based on experience or age. It should be based on the ability to do the job and do the job well. I just think that because someone is unable replace an AGP card does not mean they do not know how to design a good system for the end users (or for the people administrating the system).

On a similar personal note, my mother has been programming for the better of 25 years now. I do not think she would enjoy doing hardware support or tech support, but she can manage a coding project from start to finish better than people half her age that have more knowledge of the hardware her systems are going on. From what she's told me, the people that can't do their jobs are the ones that do not know how to ask the important questions to get the job done...

Re:No experience necessary? (1)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238009)

An 18-year old knows things a 10-year old cannot conceive of. And a 40-year old might well be able to understand complex big systems in a way a 20-year old cannot because of lack of experience. There's a difference between a mere IT technician grease monkey who replaces bad hardware, and an IT manager who has the wisdom needed to make complex decisions keeping a corporate IT infrastructure running. Not that all managers are wise; I know of no-nothing Dilbertian IT managers too.

Om the other hand, a 20 year old's auto insurance rate is often higher than that of a 40-year old, usually for good reason.

Re:No experience necessary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21238279)

Nice troll attempt, but even 20-year-olds don't have grammar that's this awful.

Re:No experience necessary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237837)

Experience is important!

From my experience, you learn everything on the job anyway. And especially if they're set up as a mentored/apprenticeship sort of thing, the training they need is included. And Google looks for people who are flexible self-learners. So as silly as this is, it isn't totally without merit.

Not Really (1)

kryten250 (1177211) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237483)

Google has a very different culture. Microsoft employees, the veterans, are used to business a certain way.

Re:Not Really (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237717)

I always thought it was a bad idea to try and hire microsoft veterans. Thats not necessarily a dig at microsoft, but from talking with friends that work there it doesn't seem to be the best idea. They have such big teams working on their core products, that they have difficulty bringing it all together. There seems to be a story every windows or office launch about how the product team was so large, difficult and complex that they had a huge all hands on deck meeting that ended up revolutionizing the way they worked together. Its as if every time they just tell 100+ developers to go do it and then try to stitch it all together. That having been said, there are many more companies that have had similar struggles and didn't survive that release, so they manage to hold it together. Thats the amazing management of microsoft. If you aren't a company that has a huge complex product that gets huger and more complex every 3-5 years, you might not want a microsft manager. They just might ( consciously or unconsciously ) try to make everything fit their level of expertise by making everything huge and complex.

Re:Not Really (1)

kryten250 (1177211) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237879)

I agree, Google doesn't even have the same principle business activity. They are even expanding and becoming further diverse. I would hate to see complexity or even, shudder, ads on the google homepage. Maybe that was the first idea the former micro execs had.

I did some globe trotting, too (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237495)

My first contact with fisting was, of course, in San Francisco.
I was out on the coast for a round of job interviews in the Bar
area. My fluffy-sweater acquaintances in Cincinnati had scoped out
the territory the previous summer and were full of dire warnings
about South of Market in general and The Hothouse in particular,
so of course that was the first place I headed. Now, fisting
wasn't exactly a deep, dark mystery to me...somewhere along the
line I had acquired the book from the movie classic "Erotic Hands"
and I'd been jerking off to that for quite a while. You might say
I was into the concept if not the reality.

Well, The Hothouse was everything I had been warned it was...humpy
dudes wandering around in body harnesses leading their slaves on
leashes, the whole trip. I nearly came when I walked into the
shower room hunkered down on a plastic hose while he sucked his
buddy's oversize cock. I checked out the sling rooms, but I spent
most of the night doing conventional if rougher-than-usual sex.

I fell asleep with my door cracked. The next morning I woke up
with this warm, wet feeling on my arm. I looked up and there was
this hairy, muscular little dude impaled on my arm to the elbow!
Holy shit! He looked down at me and grinned "Good morning" "Good
morning yourself fucker." " Can you dig it!" "For sure, but I've
never done it before" Well, that turned his motor on, and soon
became oblivious that he wasn't gonna dismount my arm until he had
showed me all the right moves. We ended up with me punch-fucking
him doggy--style with a cheering audience of six or seven
leathermen. Well, my arm was busy most of the morning, but my
asshole stayed virgin.

I sorta filed the experience away and chewed on it until my next
trip to the coast. I only knew one dude in Cincinnati that was
into handball, and we were friends, not fuck-buddies, so I didn't
get a chance to practice again until another job interview took me
to San Diego. The job panned out. and I moved to California.

Now, you have to understand where I was coming from. Cincinnati
is one of the most tight-assed Republican cities in the Midwest.
There was one gay bar and no baths. If you wanted steam you had
to drive to Cleveland, Toledo or Chicago. So the first couple of
years in San Diego I was like a kid in a candy shop...baths, bars,
and Balboa Park!

I fisted if I was asked, and if I was in a "top" mood I got off on
it to a certain extent, but something was missing. What that
"something" was I found out one night at the old Fourth Avenue
Baths in Hillcrest. I was cruising the "open" rooms and came
across this hot little blond surfer-type. We started getting it
on, and our hands both started to go for the ass about the same
time, so he called a halt to go fetch the Crisco and poppers. Now,
fisting wasn't particularly on my mind...I figured we'd trade fucks
and that would be that. How was I to know that gay surfers in San
Diego get into handball?

Well. pretty soon we were pretty busy finger-fucking each other
while we sixty-nined. Then he called a halt and sat up and looked
at me. "Wanna go further?" "As in what?" "Fisting, man." "You
or me?" "Whatever," he muttered. "Well, I've never had it, but
I'm up for trying." Bingo! The idea of a virgin really pushed his
button, so pretty soon I'm on my back with my ass propped up on a
pillow and him sitting cross-legged below me.

"Your head's gonna get it done for you" he told me. "You gotta
want me inside you. It's just like takin' a big cock. It'll hurt
like hell goin' over the widest part of my knuckles, but then once
it's inside you're gonna lose your mind!" Well, we had smoked a
couple of joints and I was pretty mellowed out and the dude wasn't
tryin' to hurry me. We rapped about all kinds of shit, but all the
time there was this gentle but insistent pressure at my asshole.
"How much you got in?" I'd ask him from time to time but he
wouldn't tell me. "Don't worry about it...just relax and enjoy."

I kept playin' with my cock and that made my ass tighten up, so he
pulled the laces from his boot and tied my hands behind my head so
I couldn't jack off. Now I don't usually do bondage with a
stranger, but we were really into each other's heads by now, and
I figured what the shit, my legs were still free to kick if he got
radical.

We kept on like this for about an hour...then he looked me in the
eye and said, "Pull your knees back to your tits." "is this it,
man? I'm not sure I'm ready." "You're ready...your fuckin' ass
is just beggin' for my hand. Cummon, pull 'em back." He got up
on his knees and started pushing my legs down with his chest until
his face was right over mine. "Common, man, take my fuckin' fist.
You can do it!" He shoved a popper under my nose and my ass caught
fire! One fiery bolt of pain and he was in! The fucker had his
goddamned fist up my butt. "Slow deep breaths, man...take slow,
deep breaths. Get used to it, then we'll play." Now I was leakin'
gum like a firehose by this point. I couldn't imagine it getting
any more intense/painful/better, but it did. He gave me a few
minutes to calm down, then he shoved the popper under my nose again
and started to make a fist inside me. "AAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGHHH! Take
it easy man!" "Just makin' the fist, dude. Now I'm gonna do a
little twistin'." "Well, he did a little twistin' and I did a lot
of twistin' and yellin', but he just kept at it, slow and steady.
I drifted into a semi-trance impaled on this hot little dude's
hand. Experienced bottoms say that there's a good deal of yoga and
meditation involved...now I understood what they meant.

He looked down at me and grinned. "REady for a little depth?"
"You're running this trip, man. You got me fuckin' tied up and
held down so I can't move anything but my eyelashes. Guess if you
wanna go for dept I'm gonna have to go along! "Fuckin'-A-right!
You just slide down on my arm fucker. We're gonna go for the
elbow!" Now, that might sound a little bit radical for the first
time, but once he'd gotten in past the knuckles it was a matter of
degree. Actually, his outstretched hand and forearm was easier to
take than the clenched rotating fist. "Can you sit up?" he asked
me after awhile. "If you help me" "I want you to see, man.
You've got my fuckin' arm up to the elbow!" I didn't believe him,
but he pulled me up until I was bent like a pretzel and I could see
my red, tautly-stretched asshole around the beginning of his
muscular bicep. "I gotta cum, man," I moaned. "I gotta cum so
fuckin' gad!" "Oh, yeah, shoot your fuckin' load! Cummon,
motherfucker, shoot it!!" He was givin' me long, slow strokes with
his arm...all the was out to the wrist and then all the way back
to the elbow! He grabbed my cock and it was all over. I must have
shot for five minutes! The first load landed on the wall over my
head. "YYYYEEEOOWWW! OK. OK, ease out, man,ease out! He slowly
withdrew his arm and we collapsed.

"Like it?" he grinned. "Like it! Jesus, I loved it! You have
great hands man." "You might be sore for a day or two." "That's
cool." "Wanna do me?" "As soon as I catch my breath." We
stretched out and dozed for awhile then I started to get itchy to
get into his ass. It only took him about half and hour...he was
experienced, but I have fairly big hands. He started to get a
little worried, though, when I started sneakin' a couple of extra
fingers up along side my hand. "Hey, uh, I don't think I can take
much more." "First time for everything, dude." I chuckled. "Yeah,
well, I guess, only go easy, man, OK?" "No problem...just relax
and enjoy." Well, about another fifteen minutes I was shakin'
hands with myself inside this dude's steaming hole, and it was his
turn to beg. "Oh Christ, let me cum, please! Jack me off, man.
I gotta cum!" Well, that presented a problem since both my hands
were busy, so I took his aching cock in my mouth. He arched his
back and his asshole tightened around my wrists until I thought
they were gonna break. He shot so hard I thought I was gonna
drown! "JJJJJEEEEESSSSSUUUUUSSS! Take it out...please take it
out!" I slowly pulled one hand after the other out of his
exhausted hole. We staggered to the showers and soaped each other
down, and then we crashed. We exchanged phone numbers and played
a couple of times after that, either at the baths or at the FFA
parties. I lost track of him, and the Fourth Avenue Baths closed
down, but I'll never forget him.

Re:I did some globe trotting, too (1)

module0000 (882745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237579)

What the holyshitfucking nutsacks of academia was THAT?

Re:I did some globe trotting, too (2, Funny)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237641)

You must be new h... Wait...
1...2...3...4...5...6... digits in your UID.
1...2...3...4...5...6...7... digits in mine.
You must have been gone for a while!

Rubber ducks (0, Flamebait)

Neon Aardvark (967388) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237523)

That's great, because rubber duck distribution skills are vital for today's modern executives in nascent monopoly companies.

For numerous reasons, I'm beginning to get where Steve Ballmer was coming from...

Re:Rubber ducks (0, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237631)

how about one of you google monopoly troll tards explain how your locked into google, or shut up?

Re:Rubber ducks (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238049)

I think you missed a key word there, nascent. In other words, Google is ripe for turning into a monopoly in the future. I don't particularly think that they are or will be a monopoly, but in any case, I do believe you're mistaken in thinking the OP said that Google is a monopoly right now.

Also, there's delicious irony in accusing someone of being a troll, and calling them a retard in the same breath.

Top-flight journalism from Slashdot again (3, Insightful)

schnell (163007) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237529)

'Google is so different that it was almost impossible to reprogram them into this culture,' says Google CEO Eric Schmidt of the experienced hires."

Great, provocative quote ... except it doesn't appear anywhere in the linked story. Apologies for RTFA, but it's about a lawsuit by a 50-something who insists he was fired from Google for not working 14 hour days and/or having spiky hair and rollerblades. Interesting story, and I'd love to hear more about it ... but it has no relation to the main story.

There's lots of stories on Slashdot about "citizen journalists" and how professional journalism is obsolete blah blah blah ... here's a hint: people who are "professional journalists" (and I was one, before I realized tech marketing paid much better) actually believe it is their professional responsibility to read and/or verify things before posting them. Just a thought.

Re:Top-flight journalism from Slashdot again (1)

phoebusQ (539940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237571)

If you really "read and/or verified" the original post, you'd realize that that 2nd link was incorrect. The first link leads to the story discussed in the post, which does in fact contain the aforementioned quote.

But don't let me knock you off your high horse.

Re:Top-flight journalism from Slashdot again (4, Funny)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237615)

Far be it for a professional journalist like yourself to read all the way to page 2!

Re:Top-flight journalism from Slashdot again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237789)

Far be it for a professional journalist like yourself to read all the way to page 2!
Far be it for whatever-the-hell-you-are to actually read the comment you responded to.

He was referring to the Sydney Morning Herald article to which the words "impossible to reprogram them into this culture" linked. That article was only tangentially related to those words. He wants to know why it was selected, and on what grounds was it linked to a quote from a different article.

Re:Top-flight journalism from Slashdot again (1, Insightful)

schnell (163007) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237873)

My issue was with the fact that they linked a quote to a story where it didn't appear, not that the quote was linked elsewhere in the summary. Maybe that doesn't seem like a big deal. But let me illustrate:

Dinosaurs first existed around 6,000 years ago [answersingenesis.org] God made the dinosaurs, along with the other land animals, on Day 6 of the Creation Week (Genesis 1:20-25, 31) [skepticfriends.org].

The point here is that linking quotes to wrong publications can, for the majority who doesn't bother to read beyond the summary, provide seeming endorsement or validation from an independent source when it really doesn't. It may seem like a fine distinction, but I don't think it is from a true "journalistic" standpoint.

Maybe it's just a typographical error. But given Slashdot's outstanding track record for balanced stories and scrupulous fact-checking, it seemed worthwhile to point out that maybe they should do a little more QA before publishing stories. Oh well, maybe it's just me...

Re:Top-flight journalism from Slashdot again (2, Informative)

dozer (30790) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238651)

What the hell is wrong with you schnell? The quote DOES appear in the story. Click the linked newsweek story, click on Page two, scroll down halfway. That's pretty much exactly what the GP told you to do. Do you need even more explicit instructions?

Who on earth modded this comment insightful?

Re:Top-flight journalism from Slashdot again (1)

paskal (150433) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238693)

The linked "reprogram" quote does not go to the Newsweek article, and that quote does not appear in the article that the "reprogram" quote is linked to. That is the point.

Re:Top-flight journalism from Slashdot again (1)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238655)

Thanks, Marketing Guy. What percentage of journalists do you think actually _are_ professional enough to 'read and/or verify things before posting them'? 0.0001%? Less? Maybe it was just you?

Google Master and Apprentice (3, Funny)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237547)

The Google Master said to the Apprentice: "To truly learn the Google Way, you must first learn not to think of Windows Vista."

The Apprentice nodded and went back to his cubicle. For three days and nights he tried his best not to think of Windows Vista, but every time he tried, he couldn't help but think of it. Finally, he gave up, went home, and played with his Nintendo Wii.

When Monday came, the Google Apprentice excitedly burst into the Google Master's office. "Master, I did it! I finally succeeded in not thinking about Windows Vista!"

Google Master: "And what were you thinking of when you weren't thinking of Windows Vista?"

The apprentice paused. "I don't know," he said. At that, the Google Master snatched an old S100 Bus he had hanging on his wall, and smacked the Apprentice upside the head.

And thus the Apprentice was enlightened.

The enlightenment lasted for a full three days, right up until the Apprentice was transfered to marketing.

(And if anyone from Google is reading this, and has an opening in the Austin area...drop me a line. ;-) )

Hiring and capital expenditures (5, Insightful)

The Clockwork Troll (655321) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237553)

Newsflash:

When you've overspent on hiring and capital expenditures quarter after quarter, it's a no brainer to see that it's cheaper to hire a bunch of young, cheap talent and send them around the world to get them all gung ho and Mouseketeer-y about working 80 hour weeks, than it is to hire senior product management with families and less mental plasticity who turn in mediocre-to-decent performance 9-5 at a $150k base (almost 2x what these APM's are getting).

So what if the APM's fuck up now and then, when your raw productivity is 4-5x that of "adult" talent, you can afford the occasional product airball.

And the reality is they probably even fuck up less.

Re:Hiring and capital expenditures (1)

sssssss27 (1117705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237593)

Why does that remind me of the early days of the computer industry?

Re:Hiring and capital expenditures (1)

The Clockwork Troll (655321) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237645)

Because true innovations in computer science and software development emerge at about 1/10th the rate at which the same old concepts are rehashed with shiny new names.

Re:Hiring and capital expenditures (2)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237673)

newflash:

there aren't many senior managment who work 9-5. contry to popular belief, we work long hours for our money.

Re:Hiring and capital expenditures (2, Insightful)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238637)

Other newsflashes:
Senior Management has a different definition of 'work' when it applies to themselves, ie scoffing expense-account food while chatting = work, forwarding emails from a hotel room = work.

Lower echelon drones work longer than 9-5.

Re:Hiring and capital expenditures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21238145)

Too bad in reality the young talent Google hires is very short on talent. If a Google employee was half as productive as a typical non-Google employee, Google would have actually done something useful by now. All they've got is good marketing and a bad product.

Re:Hiring and capital expenditures (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238323)

If a Google employee was half as productive as a typical non-Google employee, Google would have actually done something useful by now.

I have to agree. As a common user of Google Groups (purchased from Deja News), they tried to web-2.0 it up recently, and it's a POS. The plane-jane HTML-centric version was cleaner. They overhauled a B and made it into a C-.
       

Re:Hiring and capital expenditures (1)

ChronosWS (706209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238297)

Nothing replaces experience. If this is a form of Google apprenticeship, great. I'm all for apprenticeships. However, to compare these guys to senior managers with years of experience is absurd. Working long hours has no, repeat NO bearing on productivity. Learning how to use the hours you have wisely is FAR more important, especially to manager types who are going to be answering to schedules which are often impossible to achieve.

Surely you mean.. (1)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238661)

"manager types who are going to be _setting_ schedules which are often impossible to achieve." ?

Re:Hiring and capital expenditures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21238687)

No worries guys. These are product people, not engineers, and hardly matter to what Google does anyway. Example: they spend time on the crap described in the article instead of work.

Reprogramming? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237573)

So how does reprogramming people sit with "don't do evil"?

Reprogramming is what they are doing. (5, Interesting)

DogFacedJo (949100) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238165)

TFA describes non-stop group activities, no privacy and sleep deprivation. Sounds like standard reprogramming to me. In addition, they were not spending time with the local folks trying to understand their lives and culture - instead they were doing a whirlwind tour of a bunch of seriously different places than the US. This kind of experience is more likely to build group-think and reinforce the idea that outsiders are totally alien than build any sort of real inter-culture understanding or empathy in the participants.


    Parent was mod'd troll at the time of this posting, a little erroneous given that more than a few folks consider using indoctrination techniques to be abhorrent - evil, even. As described in the article the world-tour sounds like a standard 'retreat' that so many cults use to strengthen the training of their members.


    Most high-indoctrination businesses have a very hard time retaining creative and engineering types without destroying their abilities to be creative and think critically, respectively. If google has found a way to do so, we have reason to be very afraid. It might be that they are only seriously indoctrinating the management, but trying to keep them technically literate so that they can be used to liase between the developers and the senior management. By hiring only very social young tech graduates they can at least ensure that their management layer will be able to speak the same language as their developers - something most companies have a serious problem with.


    I kinda hope this is true, as I don't particularly like the idea that they can do much more than get their folks to work insane hours every day of the week. The net bubble of a few years ago certainly showed at least that much was possible to get out of developers without breaking them too immediately.

Reminds me of all of those spy stories (2, Insightful)

jfinke (68409) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237597)

like Alias where the kids are trained to be spies by playing games, etc.

To whom it may concern (4, Funny)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237599)

Dear Google,

You are infringing on the copyright of our business model by assimilating it into your own and must demand that you stop using it at once!

Sincerely,
The Dot Com Bubble Companies of 1999

Re:To whom it may concern (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237845)

Your business model will be assimilated;
it will be added to our own;
we have many lawyers, so
resistance is futile.

-- Google

Googleserfs (1)

meehawl (73285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237633)

Is Copeland going to write a sequel to Microserfs [wikipedia.org]?

Re:Googleserfs (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237725)

Is Copeland going to write a sequel to Microserfs?

You mean.. JPod [wikipedia.org]? (Seriously, all I had to do was to click one of the first links on the page you linked to..)

"In fact, JPod can be seen as "a 21st-century sibling" to [Microserfs], in the "Google age"."

Re:Googleserfs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21238019)

Yup, JPod is in the Google age, but having read it, it's quite clearly portraying EA

SERFs (3, Insightful)

meehawl (73285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238393)

Irony is difficult to project. We're using a metaphor here, not a literal parent-child relation. I was referencing the current media lionisation of Google. It's a nicer place to work than many, I know this because some of my friends and ex-colleagues have worked there for years now and they are, for the most part, happy. However, it's a long way from Nirvana, and it gets lots of stuff wrong (like, say, why make people wait five years for IMAP?). However, all the sycophantic portrayals of this idealised Google with its *zany* workplace remind me of similar Microsoft hagiography in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Back then MS was becoming the world's largest software company, was gaining an impressive monopoloy, and was beginning to use more and more of its power unscrupulously. However, you couldn't really hear any of that from the mainstream media because they were full of stories about MS as a fun place to work, an unstoppable brilliant idea factory, a new kind of campus for the smartest-of-the-smart college grads, and a machine for turning these wunderkinder into millionaires. As it happens, much the same way Apple from a few years earlier had been portrayed by, woah, Steven Levy.

Inbreeding (3, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237659)

> The APM program, which seeks brilliant kids and slots them directly into important jobs
> with no experience necessary, was formed after Google's attempts to hire veterans from
> firms like Microsoft had awful results. 'Google is so different that it was almost
> impossible to reprogram them into this culture,' says Google CEO Eric Schmidt of the
> experienced hires.

This will come to a bad end.

Re:Inbreeding (4, Insightful)

gwern (1017754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237905)

Yeah... it actually reminds me very strongly of Enron - because of their cult of talent, they had a similar program where the best and brightest were encouraged to transfer from disparate area to disparate area, regardless of how little competence they actually had in the new area. This Google program isn't identical to Enron, AFAIK, but I find myself wondering what other similarities there might be between the two companies.

Re:Inbreeding (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238465)

Yeah... it actually reminds me very strongly of Enron
It reminds me of the The Office... Ryan, anyone?

Re:Inbreeding (1)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238721)

'the best and brightest were encouraged to transfer from disparate area to disparate area, regardless of how little competence they actually had in the new area.'

Sounds like our(UK) government. Except for the 'best and brightest' part. And you could replace 'the new' with 'any'.

Brilliant kids (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237681)

the APM program, which seeks brilliant kids and slots them directly into important jobs,
Translation:Rich kids from rich colleges get cool jobs. Man, I hate when they use intelligence-based euphemisms for money.

Re:Brilliant kids (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238087)

For 'rich colleges', replace 'Stanford'. The systemic bias towards Stanford is so blatant it has most 'old boy' networks beat soundly.

Re:Brilliant kids (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238203)

In other words you wish to justify your own failure to get in by claiming it was due to lack of money. If you're intelligent and hard working getting into a top school and being able to pay for it aren't problems. Top universities have very nice financial aid programs and furthermore there are outside scholarships. You can also make money on the side by TAing or doing paid research (or other less mentally stimulating jobs). As a last resort there are of course loans but those really shouldn't be necessary, save maybe to buy school supplies.

Re:Brilliant kids (1)

gordo3000 (785698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238407)

really? ever seen a brilliant kid from a small town area? Generally, there are very very few scholarships of any real amount(in my home town, a 500$ scholarship was considered great; enough to pay for a significant portion of college costs) and it is not exactly easy to make yourself look great when your school can't afford paper, much less any high powered classes to let you look strong. High SAT scores do almost nothing today to get you in to one of the top 5 universities.

Worse yet, I knew people in my town that got into the big name colleges(high end liberal arts schools, and a couple of big name universities). they were, without a doubt, as smart as people I met at the big schools but they didn't go. It turns out money for lots of things can be prohibitive(food, buying completely new clothes for cold weather vs. south florida, rent costs, books). If you went to the community college(what most people think as great education) you could have a full education for about 3,500 a year. So guess what a 80k dollar loan looks like when you get 80% tuition covered as a scholarship(yeah, it's about that according to stanford)? Maybe you can get that fictitious research or TA spot as a freshman, but then, I doubt it at a university with legions of grad students for that spot.

yeah, those schools cater to the rich. Especially glaring is the one tier down from exceptional student(probably 80% of the students at these schools). They aren't good enough to get a scholarship to go to Stanford so immediately, those spots are taken by the families with the ability to pay 50k a year for college. I'm not saying it's a rich person's fault. I was born into a family like that. But I know for a fact that those things can be a real impediment to going to one of those schools and most of the graduates from those institutions aren't the best, but rather the best of those people who could pay for it.

Re:Brilliant kids (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238495)

High SAT scores do almost nothing today to get you in to one of the top 5 universities.
If you live in the middle of nowhere then you are screwed somewhat. Then again being the valedictorian of a small town school is probably worth more than being number 300 (but just as good) from a top high school. If there is a local community college you can take classes there during high school, even get college credit for them. If there is research done there then you can try to do research as well. There are also distance learning programs available although I'm not sure how much financial aid they have. If you're particularly brilliant (and can learn on your own) then once you know advanced topics you can try applying to college summer programs during high school.

Here's the thing that Americans seem to not understand: if you value something then you can't expect it to just come to you. If you want your kids to be educated, at a good school, then you need to sacrifice for it. THAT'S why Asians dominate in so many top school in the US. Their parents value education and will work their asses off to make sure their kids get a good one. If their current town doesn't offer what their kids need then they will move, simple as that.

So guess what a 80k dollar loan looks like when you get 80% tuition covered as a scholarship(yeah, it's about that according to stanford)?
Well financial aid generally assumes your parents give a damn about your education so a decent portion of that 20% would be parental contribution. If they can't cover it then the financial aid is more. My friend got a pretty much free ride to Stanford for example. Also at 80% covered your loan would come out to $36k. My total 4-year cost minus financial aid came out to maybe $50k and my parents well far from poor.

That leaves maybe $5k/year let's say. There are plenty of jobs around for students such as the cafeteria, library and so on. You can also try for an RA (and associates R* positions) your sophomore year, if you're more socially adept people. Certain classes (intro CS one for example) have only undergrad low level TAs which you can get your sophomore year. Summer research, work or internships are also possible and available. There are a number of programs for undergrad summer research as that is a recent focus at Stanford. Even if you do finish with large loans that just means you will need to work your backside off for a few years after graduation.

If you're not rich you have to work harder but then again that's life. If you don't want to work harder or take on loans to do better in the future then that's your problem.

Re:Brilliant kids (1)

FreelanceWizard (889712) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238459)

This is a common belief, but it's not true.

The financial aid departments at all universities always engage in specialized calculations for financial aid. While they may offer truly impressive packages to smart people, there's a point at which they're going to insist that someone other than them and the federal government pay. That someone is going to either be you or your parents, and if the coursework is difficult enough that a job is out of the question, and your parents won't front the cash... you're out of luck. My problem wasn't being accepted; my problem was paying for it. This is far more common than you seem to believe. I speak from not only personal experience, but also for several people I know who were accepted to places like Harvard and Stanford with scholarships and federal aid, but couldn't make up the difference.

I'll also point out that, as someone who does hire undergrads for research on grants, we *always* make them work for credit for a semester or two first before putting up some money, and we pay rather poorly ($6.50 an hour, generally, max of 20 hours per week, no benefits). Try making up a few thousand a year in tuition and pay for books and pay for food on that.

Re:Brilliant kids (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238531)

A few thousand a year? It's called working during the summer. Even the abysmally paying undergrad summer research program at stanford paid out that much. Add in 5 hours a week doing some manual work such as the library or cafeteria at $7-8/hr. As for books, well thats what used and international editions are for (and borrowing from friends who already took the class). In the end you can take out loans, $20k isn't that much to pay back.

OT: please stop handing out pens (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237751)

I realize it's very much an American thing to go to a poor country, and assuage your guilt by handing out pens, etc. to poor kids, but please stop it.

I travel around a bit (about halfway through an approx 18 month trip now) and it drives me nuts having kids demanding pens. Here's a free clue: the kids don't use them for schoolwork, they just sell them to buy lollies.

If I ever meet the person who started this damn thing, I'd like to give them a sound kicking.

what's the difference between a fag and anal warts (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237765)

there is no difference.

Age discrimation is rampant in our society. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237779)

Companies have changed over the years. Instead of having a large staff to service the company; they save money by having a skeleton crew. This skeleton crew is either a group of veterans who aren't going anywhere(especially if the pay is good and they can't get it anywhere else) or it's a group of young people desperate to make it in an industry. Usually it's the second option. Young people cost less, put up with more bullshit, and can easily have the wool pulled over their eyes by more experienced liars(managers/owners,etc.).

I feel for this gentelman. I, myself, am getting older and want to have more in life than busting my hump for a career. Companies don't see it this way and never will. This begs the question?; when did it get so hardcore driven? And why did we go along with it? There was time when we used to point our fingers at "those Asians" and say "well never have to work that hard". Now it's normal to go to work for long hours, leave, and go home to some more work. I'm not blamming Asia but I am blamming that type of business model(I'm unsure if it even originated there and I know it didn't come from Europe, right?).

Older workers are useful. They come to work on time. They're usually more experienced. They make less mistakes. They're also more responsible for the company. They're also less likely to ditch the job on a whim. This isn't a competition or a talk down to the young. This is a declaration that youth worship and all the things associated with it are just one aspect of life that "mainly" get outgrown(not by some people). We all get older. There comes a time when in your life when you can definitely say; "I'm just a little old for this shit!". In any event, I feel for this man. He should either get his job back or be compensated for his loss. Shame on companies that support age disrimation! Google? I love your search engine but FUCK YOU!

Re:Age discrimation is rampant in our society. (2, Informative)

greenguy (162630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238745)

They make less mistakes.

Fewer. They make fewer mistakes.

that's enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237847)

no more google news for me, i will disable them just like i did with apple news, i don't care about google, i don't worship their business or their products. two articles about google in the front page that contains ZERO content?, and both by zonk?. slashdot is getting worse every day

Here's my theory on Google's hiring... (4, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237855)

Here's my theory on Google's hiring plan up until today.

1) Hire anyone who seems to have any technical talent, lives only for work and/or could be useful to any competitor.

2) If an employee is not part of the core search project, give them some random B.S. to do. Also provide benefits out the ying-yang so competing offers look silly. Just make sure the B.S. provides our minions with no useful experience, exposure to real-world requirements or any tools outside the Google universe. This way, if they do decide to leave us, they will be unable to set up viable companies on their own or provide any value to our competition.

3) If anyone from the core search project (our only source of profits) tries to leave, kill them.

...the APMs' activities, which included passing out candy, notebooks and pencils to poor Raagihalli children, a 'Rubber Ducky' group sing-along at 2 a.m., and competitions to find the weirdest-gadget-under-$100 in Tokyo.


Yeah...I still like my theory.

Re:Here's my theory on Google's hiring... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237931)

Actually, ads make all the profits, not search...

Re:Here's my theory on Google's hiring... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21238081)

For a moment there, I thought you were talking about Microsoft or Symantec.

Re:Here's my theory on Google's hiring... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21238487)

Is there any way to moderate a post "Sour Grapes"?

Google has been trying very hard to hire folks... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237921)

Google's recruiters have been quit busy calling people. It's obvious what sorts of things that they're working on from the people that they've been calling. Not only that, but they call back at regular intervals after being told no ("has anything changed?").

The problem for them is that everybody has heard about what happened to Brian Reid. What's worse, many of us know Brian Reid. That sort of behavior by an employer has repercussions in this industry.

So Google wants to pick my brains for a few months, promising stock options they have no intention of granting, then dump me like trash once they got what they needed. No thanks. I'd sooner go to work for Microsoft; Microsoft is evil but not that evil.

Say that again? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237975)

The APM program, which seeks brilliant kids and slots them directly into important jobs with no experience necessary

So I click that link, and I read the following:

If you have a proven track record of excellence...

They specifically point out that you need experience. What's with the obvious lie in the Slashdot summary?

News stories vs. reality (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21238115)

I have learned to take news stories like this with a grain of salt. I'm sure it's true that Google has a program like this, and I'm sure that Eric Schmidt thinks it's pretty cool. But the company is really big, and I'll bet you can find pockets of conventional thinking and surprisingly traditional business practices. (After all, the traditional practices become traditional because they work much of the time.)

I remember reading another news story where Eric Schmidt said Google has a completely non-traditional recruiting system. He said, approximately, "we don't care what your background is, if you are really smart we'll hire you and find something for you to do." This made me really excited, because I'm really smart, and I really wanted to work at Google. (I can show evidence to support my claim that I'm really smart. My SAT scores were not only really high, but I took the SAT before they dumbed it down. Would I be the smartest person at Google? Heck no; they have Rob Pike and Vint Cerf and Guido van Rossum and all sorts of top-echelon guys. But I think it's fair to call me "really smart".)

I applied at Google (the Kirkland office, near Seattle). I signed a non-disclosure agreement, and I will honor that by not discussing the details of the process. But I think I can say, without violating NDA, that I did not observe anything about their recruiting process that was markedly different from any other technical company that has interviewed me. Indeed, I'll go further: about half the people who interviewed me were really good at interviewing... but half weren't especially good.

Before I even applied, I did a whole bunch of stuff to try to make myself stand out. I wrote up short proposals describing new businesses that Google could enter. I wrote up code samples, showing that I am competent with several of the four official languages Google uses for everything. (If you are wondering, the four are: Java, C++, Python, and JavaScript.) I studied Google from the outside, so that if they asked me "What do you know about Google?" I could give non hand-waving answers. (And wow -- they run their business on some truly great software. MapReduce and Sawzall, and Google File System, are brilliant! I really would have enjoyed a chance to work with them.) None of my extra work did any good at all, as far as I can tell. I didn't meet anyone who mentioned reading my code samples, or had any questions about the open source projects I worked on. Few even gave me any evidence they had read my resume. I'm not sure anyone ever read my business ideas.

Some of the interviewers actually asked me about my work history. A single one asked me to describe what I had been doing in my previous job. But some just asked me trivial stuff that a recent university graduate might have memorized. The good interviewers would ask questions that were interesting and required competence in computer science to answer; others would ask things that you could answer if you memorized a data structures textbook, and in some cases I didn't have the answer memorized. (I was tempted to answer "um, that is always available as a library function, and if I needed to write that, I would refer to one of my books first." But I never did; I just answered my best.)

I very nearly made it, I believe. But one interviewer asked me a question that just baffled me, and his unfriendly manner, combined with the time pressure, left me spinning my mental wheels. My answer was quite unsatisfactory, to me as well as to him. (I don't think I can describe the problem without violating NDA. I will say it was abstract and not related to any work I had ever done for any company.) The person immediately following him was one of the good ones, and asked me one of the interesting questions, and I think I did quite well with him, despite being rattled by the previous interview. But I think the unfriendly one likely told everyone I was some kind of gibbering idiot, because after that I got the phone call that said "thanks for your time, but we're not pursuing you any further."

Not long after that, a recruiter called me and set me up for interviews at another large company in this area. Every one of the people who interviewed me did a competent job of interviewing, every one of them asked questions that indicated that they had actually read my resume first, and every one of them said "hire" rather than "no hire". That company made me a very generous offer right that same day, and I took it. I'm now developing under Linux in Python and C++, and it will be years, if ever, before I apply again at Google. (I would have accepted much less money from Google, so they did me a favor by not hiring me, I guess. It didn't really feel that way though!)

I'm not bitter, not really. Google gets so many resumes, from so many people, that they can afford to turn away good people and they will still be able to hire enough people. Indeed, as Joel Spolsky pointed out, it would be far better for them to miss out on ten good developers than to hire one bad one. So the Google process is working well enough for them, and they have no huge incentive to change it; they are getting enough good people, and they are insanely profitable. I just don't matter to Google, one way or the other.

But there is a huge gap between Eric Schmidt's words and the way it actually worked in my experience. Maybe things are different at the world headquarters in California. But maybe they aren't.

Take news stories with a grain of salt.

Soggy biscuit (1)

jihadist (1088389) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238135)

Come on everyone, let's convince ourselves we're unique and important through trivial acts. It's corporate "culture," since we're killing every other form of culture. Repeat after me: Google is not the new world order, it's Progress, sainted progress and soon we will dominate the world. If you want to be part of the Good and not the Evil, you'll eat that soggy biscuit and like it, or no bonus and no free cafeteria!1!!

MS and Google Culture... separated at birth? (5, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238217)

I think this is sort of interesting (ironic?) because I'd say the corporate cultures of Google and Microsoft (at a developer kind of level -- not necessarily CEO etc.) have or had a lot in common.

I interviewed for a job at the Microsoft campus back in the 90's, before the dot com era made pampered developers more of a common phenomena. This is also before any of the MS monopoly suits -- the company just wasn't seen as an evil empire by most people in the kind of way it can be now. The whole first round of interviews was composed of logic problems and puzzles to test your ingenuity/creativity. They had a hell of a campus and all kinds of unusual perks I wouldn't see again until the dot com boom. It was pretty clear that their strategy was to try to pull bright people straight out of college, give them 'fun' and pampered environments, and basically work the hell out of them. Not that anyone would demand an 80 hour week from you, exactly, but more: you've taken this new job in a city where the only people you know also work at Microsoft, you see your job as something kind of cutting edge / geek-cool, you're provided with this office and cushy work environment and any meals you care to eat at the office (and their cafeteria was pretty much the best I've seen anywhere before or since, not that they wouldn't also order out as appropriate)... you're with this team of people all fired up about how great Windows 98 is going to be, and they're all working late, and maybe you'll just stay long enough to get that free dinner...

Anyway, damn near everything I remember from that visit and everything I hear about the interview process and corporate culture at Google today is very, very similar.

Does Microsoft still try to do this? I have no idea. Of course, time does strange things to a company's culture despite its best intent. I know a guy who took a job there out of school and lived that kind of culture; today he's still there, married (his wife also works there), is a manager, and has kids. Even though a guy like that may have worked under a very similar culture to modern-day Google for years, he's not going to be the same guy and he's not going to see that kind of glorification of young genius the same way. Most likely he's seen projects where it helped a lot but also projects where it went horribly awry, and his inclination as a manager is probably not going to be to allow everything he had.

Re:MS and Google Culture... separated at birth? (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238253)

Ah ha. This explains just why and how bad Vista is...

Say What You Will About the Kids (2, Funny)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238387)

At least they won't instinctively duck every time the CEO puts his hands on the back of a chair...

Jonestown 2.0 (2, Interesting)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238629)

So, Google doesn't want to hire Microsofties and apparently any other adults from any other area (no sense providing jobs in their own backyard - it's Microsoft or nothing). But young minds! Ah - there's an angle! Not since a group in Oakland made people drink the kool aid have I heard anything more insane. Perhaps they found out that the people in their own backyard are tired of Google thinking themselves as so self-important that there's better jobs to be had.

Of course - Google can't be to blame. Bring on the kids.

What flavor kool aid will go down this time?
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