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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Google Named Fortune's Best Place To Work, But Rich Early Employees Checking Out

Google — officially the best place to work. So says the latest survey from
Fortune. But then again, Google’s got to keep the standards high as pre-IPO
employees leave. A San Francisco Chronicle article also out covers how one-third
of Google’s first 300 employees have gone, along with some comments on the
culture getting more conservative. And to cap things off, those rich Googlers
once again mean tax dollars for California.

Fortune’s gone to town on Google, given that it was ranked first in the "100
Best Companies To Work For 2007" list. From Fortune, we get:

  • Overview Page
    : Nice snapshot of total number of employees, job growth,
    benefits, workforce profile and more.

  • Life inside Google
    : Our readers have heard this all before. You get free
    food. You can play games. You can have your dog at work (but not your cat).

  • The perks of being a Googler
    : Basically, the "Life" article above already
    read like a list of perks, but this gives you even more of them. Free shuttles
    to work. Haircuts. Gyms. Laundry. Internal Google breeding program to match
    you with the right partner and produce little Googlets. OK, I made the last
    part up.

  • Why Google is No. 1
    : It’s a video of happy life at Google.

  • Can you pass the Google test?
    : Actually, see if you can answer all the
    trivia you learned from reading the articles above.

Google might be great, but if you were pre-IPO, all that cash might make you
think there’s life beyond the Big G.

O Googlers, where art thou?
from the San Francisco Chronicle covers how 100
of Google’s first 300 workers have gone. Some of those comment in the story on
life after Google. Three of them comment on Google feeling less Googlish:

Former Google chef Charlie Ayers:

But as Google grew, the spontaneity evolved into a bureaucracy of budgets
and organizational charts that highlighted the chasm between executives and
foot soldiers, he said.

"I could see the tides were turning," recalled Ayers. "There were more
suits starting to fill the hallways."

From Will Whitted:

Google, where he worked for five years in electrical engineering, is a
distant memory. His decision to leave came soon after his diagnosis with
lymphoma, although he added that "people had stopped listening to me" anyway.

"I loved it and hated it," Whitted said of his time there.

Whitted, who helped design several generations of Google’s servers, said
the company was increasingly bogged down by its size. Conservatism was
creeping in.

From Ron Dolin:

In the early days, the ideas of every employee were considered important.
Anyone could chime in about a new product’s design and be taken seriously.

Over time, Google’s democracy faded, he said. The feeling of ownership
among employees, a natural when a company has 100 workers, was nearly
impossible to maintain after the workforce grew into the thousands.

"The culture can leak a bit," Dolin said.

Finally, Google
means gold for Golden State
from the Associated Press updates a story
we’ve heard in past years, how Googlers selling shares are making California
rich. Last year, 16 Googlers sold shares that generated nearly half-a-billion in
tax revenue, $380 million, to be exact. Half of that came from Google cofounders
Larry Page and Sergey Brin. I love this quote:

"On behalf of a grateful state, I’ll be happy to wash their windows or mow
their lawn," said H.D. Palmer, spokesman for California’s Department of

By 2008, Googler sales might total $1 billion in tax revenues for the
state, one full percent of the annual general fund budget.

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