Life @ Google...Very good insight

Discussion in 'Main Lounge' started by Jason, Jul 5, 2007.

  1. Jason

    Jason

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    Life at Google - The Microsoftie Perspective



    The following has been making the rounds on just about every internal email list I belong to in Microsoft. Here it is to share a little insight with the rest of the world. Microsoft is an amazingly transparent company. Google is not. Any peek is a good peek.







    Many of you were asking for the feedback I received from my interview with the former Google employee I hired into ABC Development as a Sr.SDE. Here it is. This candidate is also a former MS employee who left the company and founded a “Start-up” called XYZ. XYZ was purchased by Google and he was hired on as a Senior Software Engineer II / Technical Lead. Here is his take on Google’s environment as well as areas Microsoft should consider improving in order to be more competitive.







    Enjoy







    1. What is the culture really like? How many hours are people actually working? What are the least amount of hours you can work before you are looked down upon?







    The culture at Google is very much like the old culture at Microsoft – back when the company felt like most employees were in their mid 20’s. These kids don’t have a life yet so they spend all of their time at work. Google provides nearly everything these people need from clothes (new T-shirts are placed in bins for people to grab *twice* a week!) to food – three, free, all-you-can-eat meals a day. Plus on-site health care, dental care, laundry service, gym, etc. Imagine going from college to this environment and you can see how much everyone works. 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.







    This culture changes a bit with more experienced folks. They generally work 10a – 6pm like the new hires, and most of them are on email until around midnight. It’s pretty common for them to be working most of the evening, too.











    2. 20% of your time on personal project. How many people actually get to use it? If so, how do they use it? Does Google own your personal project?







    “20% is your benefit and your responsibility.”







    In other words, it’s your job to carve out 20% of your work week for a project. If you don’t carve out the time, you don’t get it. Your project needs to be tacitly approved by your manager. Whatever it is, is owned by Google. If you’re organized, you can “save up” your 20% and use it all at once. It’s not unheard of for people to have months and months of “20% time” saved up.







    Most people don’t actually have a 20% project. Most managers won’t remind you to start one.







    3. What are the office arrangements like? Do you have an office or cube space?







    Google believes that developers are, with few exceptions, interchangeable parts. This philosophy shows through in their office arrangements which in Mountain View are all over the map. There are glass-walled offices, there are open-space areas, there are cubicles, there are people who’s desks are literally in hallways because there’s no room anywhere else. There are even buildings that experiment with no pre-defined workspaces or workstations – cogs (err, people?) just take one of the available machines and desks when they get to work.







    In terms of employees per square-foot, every Microsoft Building 9-sized office is a triple at Google.







    Google doesn’t seem to think that private offices are valuable for technical staff. They’re wrong.







    4. What is the management structure like (hierarchy)?








    There are front-line developers, and then their manager. My manager had over 100 direct reports and is the common case for managers at Google. Managers quasi-own products and their employees tend to work on their projects, but not always. It
     
    Jason, Jul 5, 2007
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  2. Jason

    cnlevo

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    As a college kid...that sounds like the perfect job to get when i'm coming out. It kind of reminds me of AOL call center/headquarters here in jacksonville before they shut it down (and thousands lost their jobs)....but they had all that good stuff. All my friends who didn't go to college or who worked and went to college (like me) worked there....



    Definatley sounds like a perfect work environment right now. Maybe when I am a bit older and have kids and a wife I wouldn't like the idea of it...I'm sure the girlfriend wouldn't like it too much because i would want to stay and work late if allowed since the environment seems to cool and down to earth.
     
    cnlevo, Jul 5, 2007
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  3. Jason

    Jason

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    I like the 30% your own project time the best. It basically acknowledges that employees w/ PC's arn't going to work all day and not surf the web so they at leaste give you time to do whatever you wnat.
     
    Jason, Jul 6, 2007
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  4. Jason

    cnlevo

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    Yea....it sounds like a really good work environment! The only thing I don't think i'd care for is the way the office space/desks are organized, but as long as I wouldn't be one of the guys in the hallway I would be fine with an open work environment...if you are deep into work and noise is a problem..that's why they have ipods ;)
     
    cnlevo, Jul 6, 2007
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