Monday, November 28, 2005

 

How Google benefits from NON-snobbery

I believe, every major corporation states, that they benefit from the diversity of their multicultural employees, from the diversity of their experience, that from the very beginning the employees can have a real input to the process. Well, see how Google brings the use of the clever juniors to another level. Though I should say it is not that easy to hire such juniors, that actually can argue with a big and clever both using the arguments of real value.
One of the things I admired about Google was its lack of intellectual snobbery. That will sound like absolute bullshit to a lot of people, who are sick of hearing about how smart Googlers are and how hard it is to get a job there unless you've evolved into some sort of higher level human with a brain the size of Beldar. So let me clarify: there was no intellectual snobbery at Google -- toward other Googlers.
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I remember a meeting in Larry and Sergey's office attended by a half dozen Googlers from engineering and marketing. One of the people there was a new assistant product manager who I suspect hadn't even returned his Stanford graduation gown yet. When the meeting broke up, I hung around to harass Sergey about some marketing question he had been avoiding. Time like this was precious because it was often the only way to force a decision on issues that weren't key to keeping the site up and running.

As the group filed out, I started making my case to Sergey, expecting to have five minutes mano-a-mano in which to persuade him. I was surprised when he looked over my shoulder at Nikhil, whose curiosity had caused him to linger, and asked him his opinion of my argument, then listened carefully as Nikhil laid out a cogent, well-argued response.

I confess, I wasn't happy that this... this... whippersnapper with no experience at Google was being asked to sit in judgment of my proposal. Didn't he realize he was a junior staff member and shouldn't be hanging around this conversation to begin with? This would never have happened at the Good ol' Merc, where proprieties of rank were carefully observed and it would be unseemly, impolitic and career-threatening to blatantly refute a manager in front of the company's top executive. And dammit, he was poking holes in my idea left, right and center, which Sergey duly noted.

After mainlining my blood pressure medication and walking a few times around Mountain View, I came to realize that Nikhil had some valid points. I also came to realize that I shouldn't have been surprised. It didn't matter that he'd only been on the job a short while. He was incredibly smart and he required no long experience in the Google milieu to construct a logical argument when asked to do so.Original
Original post by ex-googler Doug Edwards

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