June 30, 2007
An interesting take on Google culture by a Microsoftie who left Microsoft to do a startup, got acquired by Google, and then moved back to Microsoft. I would condense it into the following points:
- Life is great for people who have just started work. Google takes care of most needs, and as a result, people spend a lot more hours at work.
- Very few people make use of the 20% time, since their managers don’t stress on it.
- Private offices for technical staff are not preferred at Google, which is not necessarily good (I would personally back this, since I have seen my productivity increase since I moved into a cabin).
- Career growth prospects are not clear. There are no growth tracks you can choose. It seems to suggest that there is very less clarity on how growth happens.
- There is more focus on freebies than on organizational structure and growth paths. In fact, there are one too many people under the same manager, which makes some things very complicated.
- In some ways, Google is a lot more flexible, eg. TechStop
Actually, right in the beginning the author claims that the culture at Google at the moment is very similar to what was in Microsoft a couple of decades back.
I am not clear if much credence can be lent to it, it might just be internet flotsam that has found its way into my inbox. I would, however, agree that as Google ages and as do its employees, a lot more processes will be put in place. Oh, and I think the view is very much Redmond and Mountain View centric, so we should not try to generalize finer details to international locations even though the culture would be close to head office. (For instance, they might not do laundry in Google office in Bangalore!)
[Thanks to AshChord for the tip]