[Background: Worked as a software design engineering lead at Microsoft on Flight Simulator; graduated from Caltech with a computer-science degree at age 18.]
WHAT OTHER COMPANIES CAN’T PULL OFF
“The technical problems here are intense. The attitude is to pursue ideas that another company dismisses as outside the realm of possibility. When we have executive reviews, often people present an idea that is already slightly ridiculous and ambitious, and then our executives will ask us to make it more ambitious–but still launch it quickly.”
A CYNIC CONVINCED
“I came from Microsoft where I worked for five years in the games group. I had talked to a longtime friend who had just joined Google. He’s very cynical, but he spoke positively of Google, which was like exuberance coming from other people. He said, ‘I’m finally firing on all cylinders, and I thought, “Good God.” I was impressed.
It’s like a free market. People gravitate to projects that they think are exciting, and then they pour their hearts into them and work themselves to the bone because they are passionate about them.”
AUTHENTICITY ON THE JOB
“In previous jobs, companies would recruit me extremely hard and send me gift baskets, and constantly call me, but the second I’d join and the offer was signed, there was no more peep out of them. They got what they wanted. What I really appreciate at Google is the attempt to actually treat people well for the sake of treating them well.
I can imagine a different company doing the same things [free lunches and other perks], and yet it could feel corporate and insincere. They’d do it just to stay competitive. The sentiment behind Google’s actions is really important.”
“Google is really good about self-analysis and self-correction. For many of our systems, such as promotions and hiring, we will run little experiments, just like we do in our actual products, and we’ll analyze results. For example, we actually ran studies to determine how many interviews were required to achieve over 90% confidence. It turned out to be fewer than what we were doing. So we’re shortening the process.”