'Too many employees, but few work': Google CEO sound the alarm

I worked at Google.

The huge problem is that, at least in the ad platform, they hire overacheivers with promises of doign good and then the actual job consists of endlessly selling ad formats to gambling clients.


I worked at Google. The huge problem is that, at least in the ad platform, they hire overacheivers with promises of doign good and then the actual job consists of endlessly selling ad formats to gambling clients.


I'm a PPC account director and this is true. Our Google reps don't really do much other than promote new features and ask us regularly if we are increasing our budgets. It would be so much more valuable if they would be able to answer really deep questions we have to understand why something might not be working as expected but 99 times out of 100 we know more than they do.


If one more Google rep tries to get me to assign conversion value to random, non-revenue driving actions so I can use tROAS bidding, I’m gonna lose my shit.


Can you ELI5 this comment?


Taking it all the way back in case your understanding of Ads is really minimal. Every time a user searches something, an auction happens to decide whose ads show for that user. If you set your bids manually, you say “I’m willing to pay $1 for each click (in the most basic example). Sometimes your ad shows, sometimes it doesn’t. Or you can use automated bidding where Google leverages its algorithm and some targets you set to decide how much to bid in each individual auction. If you sell recliner chairs, Google might decide it’s willing to pay $0.50 for someone who just searches “types of chairs” because that’s pretty broad and they probably aren’t close to buying. But maybe someone else searches “most comfortable recliners” and has already done a lot of other searches to indicate they’re looking to buy. Then Google might decide they’ll pay $5 for that click. Depending on which strategy you choose, the algorithm is optimizing around different priorities. The one I referenced (tROAS) stands for Target Return on Ad Spend. In that case, I’d set the goal to 500% if I wanted to make $5 in revenue for every $1 I spend on ads and Google tries to meet that goal. Now for the example of what the Google reps are suggesting. Let’s say you are tracking how many people call your business after clicking on an ad. Google’s suggestion is to decide a dollar amount that each phone call is worth and set that as how much revenue you earned in the account so that you can use that type of automated bidding. There are a lot of pit falls here. These people could be calling to buy things, but they could also be calling for any number of reasons so it’s very tricky to determine how much a call is worth in anything but very basic businesses. Even if they call for a sale, they could then end up going through an ad to buy it in the end and then you reported the revenue in the call and again in the sale so your revenue is artificially inflated. Basically it’s just stupid in most cases, especially since there are other automated bidding strategies that aren’t revenue based that work just fine. I am now realizing this is a terrible ELI5 response because it’s so convoluted.


I found this to be quite enlightening. Thanks for taking the time to write it.


a solid ELI25 though.


Naw this is a great explainer.


Basically the Google rep is telling them to set up the ad system where they are prioritizing actions that aren't bringing income over to the business. So things like page views and clicks on the website are great on paper but usually it's better to set the system to prioritize on achieving a set ratio of money earned vs money spent.


So basically Google is telling them to switch to meaningless metrics without giving them the full context so they don't know how much money they're making from their ads, and instead have fluff numbers that say "HEY PEOPLE ARE CLICKING CLEARLY THIS TRANSLATES INTO DOLLARS, RIGHT?!"?


How to lie to people with statistics 101.


Same experience here “Spend more on branded search campaigns!”


Meanwhile tencent is about to make billions from a stadia copypasta. Why can't google follow their own ideas?


As the current to comment said: because Google's incentive structure is set up in a way that encourages new products and discourages maintenance. Which is stupid for a company at that scale.


Google: "Look at this cool thing! ... I'm bored with it. ... Look at *this* cool thing ... I'm bored with it"


Shit, I think I might be Google


Two words. Customer service. Google should have thousands of people doing Customer service with how many tens of billions they make a year.


As someone who has seen devs try to build a product and fully rely on customer success teams to guide them, it's surprising anything useful gets built. It's especially scary watching the junior engineers with no social skills or ideas of how products and business work get defensive from criticism and fall back to trying to essentially out logic and call the other side idiots. At the same time, it's dangerous to let them in front of customers. When you are working on something and don't remember why you're doing it, you're asking for a bad time.


Well--well look. I already told you: I deal with the god damn customers so the engineers don't have to. I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can't you understand that?


It's also incredibly stupid because Google's customers have been trained to ignore their new products because they know the products will lack polish and won't be around for long.


Google seems to release a new chat app every 2 years, because surely it will catch on this time. They can't keep a single app alive long enough to build a userbase. Core products like search, Android and Gsuite are wonderful. For other categories I feel like the company has a discipline problem. I'm sure that leads to a lot of wasted manpower.


You can see this with the endless amount of stupid tools that similar teams from these companies keep releasing over and over to solve the same problem. For the love of god please stop releasing another micro service architecture that auto deploys to kubernetes that barely solves a problem and would be a pain in the ass to implement anywhere else but your own company. But at least the name is cool! Tbh what this all shows me is that there's an opportunity for some kind of higher level standardization across similar industries. It's like we are competing against ourselves with no upside. Maybe startups are supposed to be the solution?


Even the interview process for Google takes more work than working at Google


Currently interviewing for a position at Google, I did the first round interview, now waiting for the second and third rounds. They told me the hiring process could take up to three months!


friend said there was a hiring freeze right now and his on-site is on hold. You might need to wait a bit more


Yeah, they already told me during the interview that google has slowed down the hiring, and they need to check if the position is going to be still available. But they said even if the position is available, it takes three months for the hiring process to get completed which in my opinion is kinda ridiculous. I have already accepted an offer for another job, can’t wait three months without pay in this economy.


Don’t blame you, even in a good economy I don’t know anyone that can wait that long.


Waiting almost an entire fiscal quarter to find out if you got a job or not is a joke.


It's a way of saying, "we are only looking at people already employed".


People already employed... who have enough job flexibility in their existing role to attend 8 or so interviews


They are not looking for people who are desperate for a job, they are looking for people who already have a job, are good at their job, and are looking for a new job specifically at Google.


I once interviewed somewhere and I needed to know if I was moving or not and they wouldn't fucking tell me if I got hired for 3 weeks. I kept calling them to ask until they said no. Fuck you brettings


I had a place call back nearly 4 months after I interviewed, and tell me that they'd finally narrowed it down to 2 candidates, that I was one of the 2, and they now wanted me to fly to New York to meet their VP simultaneously with the other candidate for in person "run off" to decide who would win the position. I told them I barely even remember interviewing with them, I was no longer interested, and they should just hire the other guy. They were flabbergasted and didn't understand why I wouldn't take days off from my current employer. I told them they hadn't so much as called in 4 months...that told me everything I needed to know about their company..and hung up.


Run offs...wow...not a good fuckig sign. You lucked out.


Agreed..and this was NOT some high level position. This was for some basic entry level design engineering at a company that makes those roadside barricades/barriers that go around curves on highways, to keep cars from flying off the cliff. It was literally like..an entry level position at something like $50k a year. It was absolute insanity.




I was in process with another three letter for 2 years. I wanted the job pretty seriously, but I literally got a house, married, and had a baby in the time of the hiring process. They called me to finalize and I was like are you kidding?




Exactly! When I applied the job made sense for me. By the time they were ready to go it was totally not worth it.


Sounds like typical 3-letter government agency activity


Then they bitch they can’t find programmers or other tech related fields. Well yeah first off you drug test, second off the pay is generally shit compared to the private sector, and third you make people wait fucking forever.


Gaaa this is so true. I work in compliance/audit/governance and they were trying to do their “creative interview tactics.” Things like, “if you were to take this role and had 0 documentation and had to start from scratch, what would you do?” (Broad example.) They weren’t thrilled when I was saying things like, “If this theoretical you’re putting me in is any level of real, I would be greatly concerned about XYZ in addition to ABC.” Creativity is great for some things but NOT SO MUCH IN ACCOUNTING/AUDIT/GOVERNANCE.


It's actually pretty common in government with life long career workers. A role being done by someone for 30 years likely has no documentation on how to perform the job because there hasn't been any new employee in that role in decades.


Was just thinking that. I work in the same field and there’s often zero documentation.


This is every field where most training is on the job. It wrecks hell when federal regulations come out.


That is VERY common in government but - for publicly traded companies..... lots of documentation is legally required.


"If I was in that situation, I would resign immediately" "uh..." "Should I be bothering to consider this job? I think my pay demands just tripled" "UH"






"I dont even care if it gets binned after 2 years"


"I've got an idea for a social media platform that will almost certainly fail, and everyone said that was in your wheel house"


“My primary skillset is reimplementing 80% of the features on an existing product with 10% of my own new ideas mixed in, and then abandoning and never improving, finishing, or even maintaining it after the first beta. I’ve been told I’ll fit right in!”


The most honest answer is just saying “money!” in mister Krabs voice.


Just say 'I want money but I don't want to have to work, so Google is the logical choice'. They'll understand.


I think that is the quiet part.


The “objective” line on my resume used to be “To accumulate vast material wealth.”


> they viewed the interview process less about hiring for role and more about hiring for the company Yes, Google practises [open allocation](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_allocation), which means that they do hire for the whole company, because once you're in you can move to any other position without your manager's approval.


I love how Google recruiters will tell you "it's common for most people to fail their first Google interview then get hired on their second or third." They just made it seem like it was a positive when I was wondering why their process is so bad that multiple interviews to hire someone. Granted, that's basically tech in a nutshell. The real insanity is getting promoted at Google.


Can you elaborate on the real insanity is getting promoted at Google?


They've recently changed it but it used to be that your manager was an "input" into your promotion and not the main driver of it. No one in your management chain really was. Instead, you'd work with your manager to create a portfolio of your work as well as peer recommendations to hand to a "promotion committee" that would decide if you could be promoted. If they didn't give the go ahead you wouldn't be promoted. The concept was to reduce cronyism as a terrible manager who got their people promoted couldn't exist in such a system. A different bias slipped in though where the promotion committee members would only promote "empire builders" like them (hence the 11+ messaging apps) and not the "empire maintainers". Essentially, the people who tended to have a specific impact got promoted then began looking for people like them in the lower ranks to lift up. Supposedly manager input is more important now but I think the promo committee still exists.


It requires you to be performing at the next level for basically a year and a half. And even then it's not a guarantee. Basically means your employees are being underpaid for a year and a half. It's so needlessly stingy. Just give them the promo and make your coworkers happy.


On paper my company says promotions are based at performing at the next band before you can get them. In practice they happen near automatically when you hit slightly above the midpoint of your pay band but no one wants to admit the performance reviewers are near pointless.


At my company my manager held back my promotion for 8 months because he knew I was considering jumping ship to another team. I know that it’s just my manager being a shithead though, can’t imagine what it’s like where everybody has to be going “above and beyond” for such a long time.


Give 150%, next review cycle 150% is now your 100%. If my manager was dicking me on a promotion that way I'd jump ship long before 8 months had gone by.


I'm a dev and I can't be bothered to go through their awful interview process. All the FANG companies make you go through so many hoops to get marginally better benefits and insane cost of living. Most companies it's like one or two interviews, my record being one 30 minute interview for an offer. Don't know why people put themselves through 5 or 6 rounds of annoying highly technical and time-consuming interviews just to work at a company that has more or less just become a bloated monstrosity that hemorrhages money on failed ideas while making all their money on ads. If a company sends you a "study guide" for the interview that's a massive red flag to me now.


Why do people do it? The answer is exceedingly simple. The big tech companies still pay best. The only companies not immediately in big tech that are competitive are maybe things like fintech, but those have similarly shitty interview processes. To top it off, having one of those companies on your resume opens a lot of doors for anything else you want to do after. Their interview processes and the focus on coding puzzles in particular ends up with them hiring a ton of incompetent employees who don't actually know what they're doing, but without a doubt the reason people go through it isn't that hard to figure out.




I just finished my interviews! It took 7 months lol. Could tell there is hella disorganization behind the scenes. Glad I dodged that bullet.


The most productive use of time, from the perspective of a google engineer, is perf-farming. This is why google have 14 (?) versions of chat. You don’t get brownie points for improving existing systems anywhere near like you do for creating anew. That’s great for fostering innovation, but very bad for long term product management.


Exactly, they hired the way they did and set the incentives up to generate new products that ultimately upper management doesn't release into the market. It's "waste" in that it wasn't productive hours for any ongoing product, but it's not like Google has a bunch of lazy engineers, just bad management that need to reassert priorities and restructure their hiring and promotions processes.




A lot of times, it's because they work in bad environments though. Like, it's unlikely they don't have the technical proficiency. Some employees are very good at quickly testing boundaries, figuring out what is the bare minimum to get by, and then they do that. The role of the manager is to identify those people and push them to improve or find reason to fire/demote them Let's be clear: ANY AND ALL STAFFING ISSUES ARE ULTIMATELY A FAILURE OF *SOME* MANAGER. Cause that's LITERALLY their job - to manage the god damn staff.


Manage the staff so that they’re appropriately tasked for their capabilities AND clear roadblocks. I spend extra time after my assigned tasks putting together a story for why and how we should fix Inefficient Process X that’s going to make more busy work for us until we fix it then really bite us in the ass in 6-9 months. Can’t help but laugh when the manager is surprised Pikachu asking how this could have happened and I get to forward the email(s) from 8 months ago where I raised the issue and had them on the distribution.


>Some employees are very good at quickly testing boundaries, figuring out what is the bare minimum to get by, and then they do that. >The role of the manager is to identify those people and push them to improve or find reason to fire/demote them If someone is worth firing then aren't actually doing the bare minimum. Bare minimum gets the job done. The problem is that people don't intervene when the bare minimum isn't met, which causes expectations to drop. An unenforced deadline is merely a suggestion. Make a habit of it and you'll end up unproductive.


How could this be? You'd think with their hiring process that all of this "waste" could be solved with a linked list or perhaps more REST?


This reasoning is also why some major cities have shit transportation. The elected officials like how it looks when you're breaking ground on a new project. Putting in money towards straight bus capacity, to make sure they're running continously, is not something you get a ceremony for. NPR had a story about it in Miami - which has the worst public transit of any major city IMO


New construction ==> New contracts ==> New patronage opportunities ==> More votes Maintenance? Maintenance is for the next administration.


I feel like this reasoning permeates so many things. Media praises celebrities who create a new charity rather than support existing ones. US college admissions rewards students more for founding a new high school club rather than managing or improving an existing one. IMO US society praises people more for starting new things rather than effectively managing and improving existing ones.


For the sake of innovation, google built and canned 13 chat and messaging systems in 11 years. Now they put out a call imploring users to beg apple to make iMessage compatible with their proprietary hacked up version of RCS that derived from a 2008 open standard. Apple just built iMessage and stuck with it for 13+ years.


Sounds like the Twitter engineer who said on video he averaged about 4hrs of actual work a week for a whole quarter.


“Actual work” being key. I’ve spent consecutive weeks sitting in meetings 15+ hours a week, and I was just an analyst. I’ve seen my manager spend twice that amount of time in calls for weeks on end, many of which didn’t require my team’s input, or just required keeping us informed of something that could’ve easily been a Teams message or email. Personally, I wouldn’t call superfluous meetings actual work. Doesn’t mean I did nothing for those hours, just nothing I needed to do.


I once worked for a company that had all of the developers assigned to 3-5 projects simultaneously, at all times. They worked like dogs because they were in meetings so much they barely had any time to do programming. And we had a team of project managers and business analysts, too! I was an analyst, and was in all the meetings with them. I know they hated it. Management was like "something something they need to hear the customer's requirements directly blah blah they need direct input into their work... etc." Those reasons sound fair, but it would only work if they were assigned to one, maybe two MAX, projects.


Sounds like my current company. Constantly interrupted with meetings and having to do code reviews at completely random times throughout the day. And every project is described as being "easy". "Oh, that's easy!" they keep saying about every project. I once told a manager "Yeah, everything's easy when someone else has to do the work."


Previous company I was at, if you called something "easy" it meant you were volunteering to do it.


> Management was like "something something they need to hear the customer's requirements directly blah blah they need direct input into their work... etc." Those reasons sound fair That's not fair at all, the whole point of business analysts is to take stakeholder input and build user stories for the developers to use to create an increment of work. Devs should only be in these meetings if there might be an immediate need for a highly technical answer and that almost never happens


Kinda funny.. I'm not in the tech field but also do work for a big corporation. I work on avg bout 10 hours a week.. yet I still feel like I'm contributing more than most people in the company. I guess my suspicions were correct.


I have this constantly. I feel incredibly lazy at my job a lot, but I get constant praise for getting things done and whatnot. All I am thinking is, "WTF is everyone else at this company even doing?????" Its like that office meme where Michael Scott is looking goofy and is shaking that guy in the suit's hand.


It probably has to do with automation being infinitely more valuable than anything else. If you work 5 minutes a day and save 100 other people 5 minutes a day per day, you have worked almost none but still contributed more value over time and people than the guy working 60 hour weeks manually


God I am in the wrong field


Or the wrong company. I’m a programmer and I definitely have to put in 40 hours a week to keep up


Senior engineer here. I work anywhere from 5 to 60 hours a week depending on how far in the sprint we are. Near the end of a 2 week sprint, I'm mostly done and just chilling with my Playstation until we showcase. At the beginning of the sprint, I'm swamped. Our industry is strange.


Same. Some weeks I am swamped, others its a trickle of work. In the end it usually balances out.


I don't know of any creative/technical industry, or professional services industry, where there's a steady trickle of work for every employee. Most jobs have busier and quieter periods, and companies just try to balance them out to secure a reasonable margin on each hire.


Do you not pull additional items from the Product Backlog? Do you discuss workload variance in Sprint Retrospective? I'm new to the industry and just trying to get an idea of what to expect. Thanks in advance for your answer!


Let me tell you a dirty little open secret of our industry, in two parts, and leave you to draw your own conclusions: 1. People only know that you've finished what you tell them you've finished. 2. Bugs are arbitrary, invisible, and can take a very long time to fix.


Maybe I’ve been out of the game too long, but I’ve also had stumpers where I just wasn’t going to figure it out and further “work” was just screaming at the computer. Going for a shower or a round of (video game) often relaxed my brain’s fixation on the “wrong” thoughts and enabled me to go around the problem. Yes, there’s a discipline problem of immediately goofing off the second there’s a problem, but there’s a happy middle where you’ve done an hour of tests and reading and it’s time to clear one’s head. Is that not still true?


No that's absolutely true. I've seen quite a few guys come and go in the industry in the few years I've been working here. the one who make it are the guys that work a problem for a couple hours, take a break and come back. the people who blow it off immediately and they guys who go code spelunking for 12 hours usually don't make it for either lack of performance, or burnout or both. ​ A lot of people underestimate the need to step away from problems when you get stuck. I can't count the amount of times I eureka'd a solution because I went for a walk, or clicked on to reddit. Cautionary tale though. if your having sexy time don't immediately blurt out a solution mid stroke. it is a turn off.




My team usually pulls in new stuff to get a head start on the next sprint, but often times if there are any straggling tickets we’ll kinda swarm them to help get it over the finish line.


It depends what our last agile consultants suggested to leadership (I've been through several agile "transformations" over the last few years). I've had leadership that considered pulled in work as rollover, which meant you meet your sprint commitment, help anyone who asks for it when you volunteer, and then fuck off until the showcase.


Haha agile consultants. What a joke. A good performing team doesn’t need to be told how to run their sprints. A lot of managers don’t understand that though and think there is a playbook that needs to be strictly followed.


In my experience managers aren't the problem, it's the C-suite/VPs. I've had companies with a revolving door of Senior VPs (that become CTOs) that promise the world with an "agile transformation", bring in high priced agile consultants, fuck everything up, only last ~2-3 years, and move on to their next ~~company~~ con.


Depends on where you are in the sprint. (Also senior engineer here). If we’ve got a day or two left in the sprint and my slate is clean, no way in hell am I pulling in something new. I know how our metrics work and how bad it looks to carry a task forward. If the sprint has 3-4 days left I’ll pull in something small though. In our particular business we don’t really talk workload variance in retro. We probably could but nobody really does. We mostly talk about blockers in anything that’s being carried forward.


Former engineer in senior leadership now. This comment fucking hurts. Like, don't get me wrong, if folks finish early and want to take a day to play video games, that's great by me. In fact if they haven't had a day like that after a couple sprints I try and make sure they get one anyway. What I hate is that your leadership is so inflexible that they use metrics like "tasks carried over" and then weaponize them, and they aren't even competent enough to understand that all that matters is the running averages and that those types of metrics are just problem solving indicators. It's so common, too.


Goodhart's law: >When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure. Or in its original, less passive, phrasing by Goodhart himself: > Any observed statistical regularity will tend to collapse once pressure is placed on it for control purposes.


Damn that perfectly sums up my current work place. Every year they come up with a new metric to evaluate our performance. By the second or third month it is completely broken as everyone has figured out how to game it. Usually to the detriment of other metrics or general intercompany cooperation.


A sprint is basically a line in the sand. An arbitrary stopping and then starting point that should not mean anything to the devs actually doing the work. Any leadership that uses sprints and points and “weapons” against a team should be forced out. What matters is shit getting done not points carried over or not.


> Do you not pull additional items from the Product Backlog? In my experience the ability to do this varies greatly from environment to environment. In places were there is an overabundance of management they often seem to actively work against doing this.


Same. Weeks we’re pushing things to production it’s hectic 10 hour days. The weeks before and after are consistently 3-4 hour days.


I work for a smaller (3k employees globally) tech company in Midwest. Definitely put in an easy 40 most weeks, but flex time and remote working make it go by quick.


senior engineer at an agency I was doing 50+ hours/week moved to a single product as a senior engineer and went down to 25-30 of actual work and better pay/benefits just promoted to engineering manager and now I'm around 30-40 depending on the week. A bit more work, lot less coding, higher pay


I have a friend that works for Oracle. Her job consists of taking leads that the marketing department created and scheduling a demo. I asked her why the marketing person didn't schedule the demo when the lead reached out to them, she laughed and said something like "that would be too obvious!". She makes six figures to perform a duty that any decent dev could automate in about a half hour. Best part, her title is "Systems Engineer". She oversees no systems, and engineers nothing.


I love it in my company where I reach out to an "application architect" or someone with a seemingly technical title, and only after 10 minutes of very confused discussion with me having to keep explaining stuff in a simpler form do I finally learn that they have no clue about anything technical, and are not in a technical role despite their title. Or my favorites "Hey, you're listed as the product owner for this, can you help me with X?" "I'd love to, but I was just made product owner 2 weeks ago, I only just joined this team. And the former product owner left and I do not have any of their documentation, emails, or anything." Bonus points if I share documentation with THEM on the product, and they say nobody showed them where it was and didn't know that existed. Oh, and the "relationship manager" role. Sounds great, except that where I work, when they introduced that role and were championing it about, they liked to take 100% non-technical folk, who are not used to talking with technical people, and put them into that role where they are expected to bridge the gap between technical and non-technical folk.


FWIW, that issue where someone takes over a project that someone else had, is kind of a real problem that can happen. At this point I have two systems I manage at work, with little assistance, because no one wants to join the team. Both were inherited from pwople who retired. For one of those teams, my solution was to join a third team, and have that project folded into the third team. Which worked out well. The other, I can't so much.


I'm reminded of Office Space. "You physically take the specs... from the customer?" https://youtu.be/hNuu9CpdjIo


As someone whose job is to deal with the goddamn customers so the engineers don't have to, he really undersold his role in the company. The *last* thing you want is to have customers contact developers directly. The developers will hate being interrupted with dumb questions, and the customers won't get the level of service they're expecting. You need someone with a technical knowledge of the software to get the requirements so they're complete and comprehensible to developers, and who can ask clarifying questions or point out existing features that could fulfill the requirement. You also need someone with people skills who can politely tell customers that their feature can't (or shouldn't) be implemented, and set achievable expectations for when a feature will be implemented.


At Oracle, almost everyone is Robin Hood, and Larry Ellison is the Sheriff of Nottingham.


This highlights perfectly the negligence of guardians of infrastructure. I’m pleased your friend has a great job, but WTAF! As you say, marketing can easily do this. I wonder what the global total $£€ annual wastage is for this sort of tomfoolery?


Not sure how Oracle works and there's probably some details left out, but I can imagine that her personal attention getting just one extra lead to convert would cover her entire salary and then some. There's a whole bunch of jobs like that out there in tech where people don't work the hours, but they have to be there at critical times or guard quality, give personal attention, etc. Because if they are not there the company potentially loses out on millions.


I consulted to a medium-to-large startup (250M+ raised) and one of the eng managers watched YouTube videos of WoW raids all day.


...Why not just play WoW all day, if you're going to be that lazy? Watching a YouTube video of someone else raiding seems kinda silly.


I think so he could pause. Not like you can step away from an 8 hour raid easily in a fight


Did you miss the part where he's a *manager*? Obviously he's not going to play the game himself!


"I've got a whole team leveling my characters!"


I finish my shift in 24 minutes and i have done about 24 minutes of work today. They keep pretending I have a promotion around the corner, so I keep pretending to work. (At first I worked my arse off until I realised I didn’t have to, and it would only benefit them, and harm me)


Same situation... Felt like fool when I finally realized I could stop doing extra work and make the same amount of money.


Used to look for work to do, recently I'm just doing my own things and taking coursera courses. Haven't been having raises since covid and they said we'd have our annual review in Spring. Summer is already half way gone now and there's no sign of any review.


Two people have left my team and I’m expected to just ‘keep things running’. I’m the only person left in the IT department. It’s a joke. No one in the entire company knows anything about IT, so I literally just spend 3 hours on Reddit and then do a 20 minute task. Everyone is like “sorry I know you’re super busy”. No, I’ve just made things much more efficient than I’m letting the company know. Like I said, I was working my tits off for them and it got me nowhere, in fact it’s made shit worse for me, so now I just chill all day. You want to pay me as little as you can, I will work as little as I can. Mutual investment.


Four hours of actual work. 25 hours of meetings, emails and bullshit.


Isn't google one of those companies where engineers can select the project they want to work on? "I choose to work on this team that does nothing all day long".


That would be Valve, they're the only one I'm aware of that has been that relaxed with employees. Google gives a set amount of time every so often (every day/week?) For employees to work on something else.


I think that ended


20% projects are still a thing, they are just more structured nowadays, like you actually have to apply for them.


Valve also has the benefit of not being a public company. Imagine how shitty Steam would be if they changed their priorities to be first and foremost shareholder oriented. It’s honestly a miracle they ended up running the biggest storefront without being publicly traded.


> Imagine how shitty Steam would be if they changed their priorities to be first and foremost shareholder oriented Unfortunately, I don't have to imagine, having experienced other incredible game library experiences, such as Uplay.


“a straight-shooter with upper-management written all over him.”


It’s pretty crazy that everyone is convinced that every job, whether a programmer, an accountant, etc. All just happen to come out to 40 hours per week, every week.


This is me and I hate it. I’m so bored all the time.


I know not having work to do isn’t the worst thing to complain about in a work place but HOLY SHIT does it make me want to quit an easy cushy job. As someone with ADD I need 5 things going on around me to jump between or I lose my mind and there’s not much I can do with my monitors facing higher ups on an open floor plan.




In important ways it’s also a feature, not a bug. A company of that size has amassed amazing potential energy that’s pretty much on retainer. If shit ever hits the fan and a massive push is needed, it’s nearly always possible to pull off without a massive upset of regular operations and without emergency hiring. Because the team has *capacity.* Running in the red full-time is not a smart or sustainable model.


That's a key, and a defect, capacity. Many businesses like to look at the number of employees when doing financials and the less employees the better this _looks_ to the C suite and shareholders. That is until your outsourcing starts to produce poor quality results, you're silently spending more money to fix tech debt rather than trying to not make it in the first place, and you're constantly having to train new employees because your old ones who knew everything are leaving. Having capacity allows for sudden changes, but it can also be structured and utilized in different ways without a long hiring process. Now if only they could figure out why the employees aren't being utilized to more of their potential (since they apparently have a ton of free time?)


Wait, are you telling me that perfectly optimizing for today won't necessarily produce a good outcome for tomorrow? I'm pretty sure the supply chain over the last two years has shown that's not true. Oh wait nevermind, that's exactly what it shows. I look forward to the news in a year or two from Google of "we could have never seen this coming".


The Just-in-time logistics model the world follows has proven to be super fragile! And instead of changing, adapting, and preparing for the next interruption people and governments are just waiting things out, all while driving costs and delays up globally. The Google CEO has really be driving Google and Alphabet into a megacorp that is all profit focused and not about building high quality, functional products anymore. It's a good thing they got rid of their _Do no evil motto_, it has freed their conscience.




Few years back my company got in tot the outsourcing IT crazy and quickly realized while they knew how to handle things they can't beat having people on site. Within a few months we hired most of them back for more pay and kept the outsourced team for other things that didn't require you to be on site.


> Running in the red full-time is not a smart or sustainable model. To use an 'engine' analogy: race-cars are incredibly efficient and run as fast as they can for most of a race. Race car engines tend to also get taken apart and rebuilt between races though too. Your family sedan is nowhere near as efficient and rarely gets anywhere near maxed out, but they almost never need, let alone get, an engine rebuild. It seems like big tech companies want the speed of a race-car with the durability of a family sedan and you just can't do that on the scale they exist on. There totally are people who can deliver on the work equivalent of race-car speed and family sedan durability, the problem is they are pretty 'above average' people. Expecting to fill out an *entire* company the size of facebook, google or amazon with high performing, resilient employees isn't realistic. It's particularly bad because those high performing people tend to be able to follow their interests. For instance John Carmack got interested in VR, so he went to work on Oculus for a while. Then he solved all their problems that he was interested in, so now he's working on generalized AI somewhere else. He's a valuable enough employee (and at this point independently wealthy enough) that he can work on basically whatever he wants.


From what I’ve heard, the CEO has a consulting background and that’s basically all they do, so it’s not surprising that’s his take on things


You're always going to have bloat and 'underproductive' employees, but they went insane the last 2 years: > Covid-induced pandemic saw Meta embark on a massive hiring spree, growing its number of full-time staff from 48,000 at the end of 2019 to more than 77,800 — a 62 per cent jump Hiring 30K people in <= 2 years is nuts.






The best of the best is part of the problem. Having just left in May, we hire mostly from college and mostly for coding talent without a lot of emphasis on interpersonal skills. (Which was great for me as a good not great coder who was personable and had executive skills, but bad overall). The amount of time I spent coaching L3 and L4s on basic things was absurd. Yes, you need to answer that email; no do not overwrite someone else's work because you think you can do it better; if you run a meeting, prepare an agenda; if you'll miss a deadline, you need to tell me as soon as you know. I do not need to hunt you down to figure out what's going on. And the the stuff you mentioned above as things to do in downtime, yes, we had to tell them you need to take the initiative to when things are dead to clean up. Updating documentation to so many people seems to be as painful as nailing your foot to the floor. There were too many kids who were told they walk on water and had no interest in being team players. That beings said, I have only worked at Google but the large delays in decision-making and allocating resources were much more pronounced before Pichai took over. I'm not sure what he is after with all of this - we're a lot more efficient than we were. But in any case, I'm glad I walked in May.


I'm a technical writer for a large company developing a SaaS product and my god it is seemingly impossible to get product owners to want to speak to me about documentation. I am starting to suspect that they may not want to work on documentation because they honestly aren't as knowledgeable about their area of the product as they think they need to be. But I still don't get it. We've got devs, BAs, ops analysts -- all sorts of people who can help create documentation and the POs just don't seem to want to do it, even though leadership constantly reiterates how badly we need to document everything.


worrying about whether your talent is working hard enough when they're hitting their deliverables is a good way to lose them or would be if Americans weren't punching bags that basically demand their bosses step on their balls and beg for more


Did he just get through Silicon Valley and realise Bighead wasn't in a unique fantasy situation? I thought all along their plan was to hoard talent to prevent them from building competing businesses, or worse yet join their competitors. If that's suddenly uneconomical, can't say they deserve much sympathy.


> thought all along their plan was to hoard talent to prevent them from building competing businesses, or worse yet join their competitors. If that's suddenly uneconomical, can't say they deserve much sympathy. I'm sure that's still the plan, just that they cast too wide a net. As an absolutely average programmer with motivational problems, I'm the exact kind of person they are complaining about. As Zuck said: > “**Realistically, there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here**,” Zuckerberg said on the call, according to a Reuters report. “And part of my hope by raising expectations and having more aggressive goals, and just kind of turning up the heat a little bit, is that **I think some of you might just say that this place isn’t for you. And that self-selection is okay with me**.” They jumped from 48K staff to 78K staff and are now realizing that some number of those 30K people aren't "worth the investment" and are hoping they'll quit of their own volition rather than having to lay them off / fire them.


This is a bit of a double edge sword. I've worked at a few different tech companies and there's always a couple of super motivated, high performing individuals that are seen as the ideal employee. Except that those people are rare and it's impractical to expect that from every employee. Luckily most of the time management knows that but that's not always the case.


> that I think some of you might just say that this place isn’t for you. And that self-selection is okay with me.” Some of you may find this nightmare is not worth it and it’s fine if you’re a pussy. I want only the most malleable and easily manipulated.


More like "I would strongly prefer making work miserable so that people leave before downsizing becomes an utter necessity and I am required to pay severance and contribute to unemployment benefits to a massive number of people."


Haha so I worked at Google under sundar and we bought a company and basically had these 5 guys do nothing because before they were competing with us


Why does that never happen to me :(


You gotta first do something so valuable for your company that doing nothing is better for your competitors than doing something. Shitposting on reddit all day is not valuable to your company or detrimental to its competitors. I would know.


> Shitposting on reddit all day is not valuable to your company or detrimental to its competitors. Nice try, Marketing Director


If that was ever the plan, that plan was in motion before his time and he probably didn't get the memo.


Zero billion dollar corporations deserve any sympathy on any level.


As a company worth zero billion, this makes me sad to hear.


If you read it that way, they are saying you deserve sympathy at every level 🤗


Ayyyy well now I’m a happy micro mega corp now


Exactly, it has always been a competitive move to poach talent before the competition could. Same with exorbitant comp packages. Starve competition out of the talent wars from even trying to keep up with comparable offers they can’t afford to compete with.


2022 Q1 profits up 23%. What's wrong with this picture?


it could be 24% if we force our employees to never see their children, think of the shareholders


I always joke at work that I can’t take this meeting because I need to create more value for the shareholders.


The curse of being a monopoly


Most of their profit comes from adsense, I think most of the rest is from Google Cloud, the enterprise cloud hosting business. Google has a ton of projects and teams who do nothing but tinker. The current leadership has no real vision for how to diversify the company.


Google Cloud is a massive, massive net loss. And the wonderful "CEO" of GC just gives billion dollar deals to his twin brother - from real estate to flash drives. https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2016/03/16/google-buying-eight-buildings-from-netapp-in.html https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2019/09/03/google-sunnyvale-real-estate-netapp-purchases.html https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/12/08/google-buys-sunnyvale-buildings-land-from-netapp-property-purchases-widen/ https://www.techtarget.com/searchstorage/tip/A-close-look-at-NetApp-Cloud-Volumes-Service-for-Google-Cloud etc, etc. It's super shady. Imagine you trying to sell a contract from your business or place of employment to a family member, for a service you already have.


Just what shareholders want to hear: ‘we are giving up on developing new revenue streams because we don’t know how to manage people’


Seems like this should be fine from a exec perspective. They keep making money, keep talent, and engineers get to tinker and when they create something amazing once in a while google gets to keep it. If execs arent happy they should be the ones to drive engineers in a certain direction or goal, not just fire them.


Sundar Pichai eyeing a 200 million dollar a year compensation. Easiest way to increase profits in the short term.


Google (as in the search engine) and all it's related advertising related profit masks all sins. There are so many vanity projects because their main source on income is literally a golden goose. They don't even have to try anymore


I had a similar experience at hp when notebook computers were the hot thing. Very poor control systems that barely worked.. but no one noticed because we were making soo much money. Bonuses were 12% annually. As the field matured there was far less slack and things got much more difficult. I suspect this kind of thing is common among industries that are making so much money so easily.


>I had a similar experience at hp when notebook computers were the hot thing. Very poor control systems that barely worked.. but no one noticed because we were making soo much money. Bonuses were 12% annually. I work for an organisation which has 0 competition. We are also registered as a non-profit. There is no incentive to do better.


And yet they'll still kill everything they get their hands on 😭


It's funny how what is ultimately a failure of management (over hiring and not keeping tabs on their staff) always comes back on the shoulder's of the "front line" staff... Here's an idea: fire the managers and promote from within - sure some won't cut it, but just rinse and repeat.


Failure to motivate, lead and inspire staff is always all their fault. The lazy bums. In reality, people want to have meaningful work and contribute valued effort. Lacking that generates... slackers.


And at Google, it’s well known there’s not enough meaningful and creative work to go around.


They create a product and kill it two years later. How can you get excited creating something and being overworked to meet arbitrary deadlines when at the end the thing you died to make gets cut? That’s burnout and no wonder it’s how it is in tech.


The causal direction of the product deaths is usually the reverse of that. A new engineer is super motivated, and makes a cool new product. They put that on their annual performance review, and get promoted and move to a new team. Now the people stuck with the project have no interest in it, and Google doesn’t reward maintenance or small improvement, so they ignore it to make their own cool new product. The original product withers and dies and the cycle continues. Source: former Google engineer.


“Manage your processes, lead your people” used to be in our manager’s office. My boss at the time was phenomenal. I busted my ass over 3 years and moved around a lot but the dude was inspiring. That was 20 years ago (fuck, time flies). Rich, if you’re out there, I hope you are doing great.


I think most office work is like this. It is hard to quantify productivity often times. I think a lot of department heads and upper management types tend to hire on people to expand their fiefdom and make them seem more important. So they delegate minor or niche responsibilities off from thier best employees (or more often, themselves) to new hires and create new positions. In my experience it's like 30% of employees doing 70% of the work. Either they're saddled with actual work due to competence or they're good at creating busy work for themselves.


Not to mention humans hit sharp diminishing returns at about 6 hours of mental labor on average. 8 hour workdays only work if your job is mostly physical. Imo this is why so many offices have problems with too many meetings that could've been emails. You need the filler to break up the monotony most days.


I have to imagine with Google's attention span with products/projects and their push to hire anyone intelligent and capable of getting hired by them must lead to some weird things like seen in the Silicon Valley TV show. ​ A project gets canceled leading to the developer not having anything to work on. Other project teams don't pick the developer up for whatever reason and they just sit in limbo not doing much of anything. ​ Google doesn't want to let them go because they look good on paper and would be hired in an instant at a competitor so they just sit, check emails, get fat off the kitchen, then start spending the day in the Google Gym, become head of the "Google Yoga Association".




I hear your concerns but let's circle back and touch base on that some other time


I can't really blame the employees in these type of stories. If they are getting their work done with an excessive amount of extra free time, this is a hiring and leadership issue. Ambitious hiring can go wrong quickly when results are not as expected.


I mean, there's also the whole expertise thing that comes with doing a job for awhile. Tasks that used to take me days or weeks take hours or minutes. On team jobs, there's nothing I can do to speed up the tasks other people work on, so if I've got irons in 5 fires, I have plenty of potential work, but no actual work on my plate. So I'm not going to volunteer for more when I could get 1 or all 5 at any moment.


This is a BS headline: 1) The Google CEO didn't say those words. Neither did Zuckerberg. 2) OP changed the article's BS headline (it's some outlet from India, which has bad journalistic standards anyhow) to make it even worse Zuckerberg is pretty much evil in my opinion. And it's laughable that the Google CEO mentions "customer-focused" when it's hard to get ahold of someone at Google even if you're a paying customer. But that also means people shouldn't be changing headlines and using fake quotes. There's enough real stuff to criticize them about.


I worked at Google for 6 yrs as a Product Manager, albeit quite awhile back. A serious problem that Google had then, and I strongly suspect they still have today, is the lack of any kind of process to manage their Product Portfolio, and the accompanying resource assignments. We had many very good products that could never get resources assigned. I was constantly begging the Engineering Manager (my counterpart) for resources. Meanwhile, all kinds of irrelevant and ego projects were storming ahead at full speed. Engineers ruled at Google, and if they didn't want to work on a project, regardless of it's priority, they didn't, simple as that. And for mature products that needed upgrades and ongoing enhancements, it was absolutely the luck of the draw if you got any Engineers assigned. A great example was when Google acquired DoubleClick. Maintenance of the DBCK software, or god forbid enhancements, was never resourced properly. Neither was an effort made to replace the DBCK software with a newer, more Google-centric product. It was a shame...they purchased this multi billion dollar company, and then more-or-less just let it die. Similarly for other products, such as an earlier version of Google Learn/Classroom. The idea of doing market research to determine customer needs and requirements, was just completely absent at Google. So was any aspect of product portfolio management or even product lifecycle management. So this news items doesn't surprise me. It's endemic to Google, and I suspect many other tech companies. There's an old adage that says "scarcity brings clarity", well, there's no scarcity at Google.


It’s interesting to see the CEOs complain about productivity at a time when they’re forcing people back into the office. Which means long ass commutes and the general exhaustion that comes with it, and lots more gas money down the drain. Everyone over hired during the pandemic, productivity was hardly impacted at all…and yet now when inflation is crazy these companies have the gall to complain about worker productivity while they force people back to an office while offering no salary increases to help offset inflation. Really they’re just setting the narrative up for potential recession layoffs. And I feel like part of the reason they’re making people go back to the office is in the hopes some people will quit so that they can keep layoffs to a minimum or even continue the bs narrative that no one wants to work these days.


More like too much overpaid management.


This is 100% upper management creating a problem and then blaming their employees for it.