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Monday, February 18, 2008

Criticism of Unreserved Google Praise

Kevin Scott, former head of Google New York’s search engineering group, at Friendfeed in response to another very positive article about Google writes (line breaks added for clarity, as there’s no line breaks available at Friendfeed yet):

Google is undoubtedly an awesome company and was certainly a great place to work the entire time I was there. But. These unreservedly positive fluff pieces really aren’t doing the company a service. They irritated me when I was an employee given the too-perfect pictures they painted and what they missed.

For instance, ideas at Google do not burst forth from the heads of geniuses and then find their way unimpeded to huge audiences of receptive users. Rather ideas emerge, are torn to shreds, reformulated, torn to shreds, prototyped, torn to shreds, launched to internal users, torn to shreds, rebuilt and relaunched, torn to shreds, refined some more, torn to shreds, put back together one last time, torn to shreds by SREs, tweaked again in a seemingly-endless frenzy of last minute work, and launched...whereupon they are torn to shreds by bloggers, journalists, and competitors.

The magic of Google is that tearing to shreds, even when founders are shredding, doesn’t often mean outright project cancellation.

Kevin, who works as vice president of engineering at AdMob these days, goes on to write:

Sometimes ideas can’t be redeemed, and sometimes good ideas don’t make it because their originators simply give up. But there is (or at least was) a path to launch for folks with stamina and conviction. To me, this is a much more interesting and powerful story than those being told (over and over again) in these puff pieces.


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