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Trevor Stone's Journal
Those who can, do. The rest hyperlink.
Best Introduction to Google's Philosophy 
2nd-Dec-2009 08:56 pm
Trevor glowing grad macky auditorium
In the Google Handbook, they start with the founders' letter to potential shareholders from the initial IPO as the best introduction to what Google is all about. "Don't be evil" is a good one sentence summary, but reading the whole thing shows how strikingly how different Google's approach is compared to the conventional Wall Street approach. The key phrase for me was A management team distracted by a series of short term targets is as pointless as a dieter stepping on a scale every half hour. More than anything, I think the ultimate cause of the financial crisis of 2008 was a focus at all levels on short-term profit over long-term sustainability. The founders' letter takes a firm stance in the opposite direction: long-term benefit is what matters.

This long-term focus leads to what makes Google an attractive place to work.[1] As one of the presenters during orientation noted, Google is sort of the world's largest graduate school. Your manager (faculty advisor in graduate school) will suggest that you do something. You're then free to do that or do something else. If you do something else, you'll be asked why. If you've got a good explanation, you can keep going. If it succeeds, that's great! If you fail, you'll look at what went wrong and then try something else. In the short-term, a lot of activities will fail. But in the long-term, the few successes will be great enough to justify all the false starts.


[1] I've averaged about three tasty fruit drinks a day. That and all the other famous perks provide short-term pleasure, but I wouldn't want to work for a company whose motto was "Make as much money as you can, regardless of how much evil you do," no matter how many smoothies and massages I got every day. What really interests me is long-term opportunities to learn from smart people and develop interesting software.
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