Sunday, June 29, 2008

Noogler's point of view

Google'd In! Yes! That's the news this time! I'm a Noogler, that is what New Googlers (new joinees and interns) are called here at Google. Well, generally interning at Google is not that big a deal, because unlike all other companies, an internship at Google doesn't guarantee full-time position. It, nonetheless, is an exciting experience to work at Google. I'm working in a domain I haven't worked in before. Usually, at this point of my career, I would have gone for the domain I'm good at, to increase my depth. But I chose otherwise, for Google. I am eying this as an immense learning opportunity from my bright co-workers. Learning new things is always fun to me.

I'm sure you want to hear about Googleplex... so here it goes.. Everything (good) you heard about Googleplex is not only true, but exceedingly overwhelming! Everything out here is free: juices, snacks, sodas, gourmet breakfast/ lunch/dinner, sport activities, blah blah. The magnitude at which these things happen here routinely will definitely strike you. And will be a while before you can absorb all of it :) I haven't clicked any photos here (surprised???) but here's my desk:
My desk decorated with balloons and chocolates (eaten up!) to welcome me

I'm yet to hear from someone that [s]he doesn't like to work at Google! Whenever I see a Googler I envy her/him sooooo much... they always seem to be walking with an unknown bewitchment that no one can bereave them of : Pride-n-Joy of working at Google. People with pets, can get them to work into their cubicles, while they happily assault the keyboards, crunch numbers or even cook for Google. People even keep fishtanks. I can go ranting about goodies here, but people have already done a better job all over the web. But, it is not about facilities and perks that makes Google a great place to work at. Any company with enough money can do that. It is something more than that, something intangible that makes this place different. And the time I'm here, I am going to attempt to translate that feeling into words.

Google defies a lot of the conventional logic.
Amongst many, here are top 3 things that interest me about Google the most:
  1. One is their financial model... how does the company survive solely on it's Ad program! I personally think, Google can be credited for discovering the online ad market by itself! How does a company make money, own the largest fraction of PCs in the world, maintain, only God knows, how many data centers with unprecedented amount of cumulative storages and still give most of its services free of cost!
  2. This is something I admired from day one: I have used quiet a few Google services. Their design policy seems to be Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS), make it robust, and tailor the product for power users (just like my [v]im). Right from GMail to Gtalk to Online docs, etc. you will see this philosophy religiously followed. I still remember the days when people didn't use gtalk because it wasn't cool enough with all the stupid MSN's bells and whistles. It is so exciting to see that each product gains a important feature one at a time without affecting it's reliability. And now, I have difficulty finding a person without GMail/Gtalk id! Now that I'm here for a while, I might have a glimpse into their design world.
  3. Openness of culture here is stunningly amazing. TGIF is a weekly company-wide get-together chaired by Google founders Larry and Sergey. While every company announces it's products and successes, what is unique about TGIF @ Google is the Q&A session. The founders themselves answer a handful questions in the congregation of Googlers, and the rest are replied-to offline. Questions range from finance to product to interns asking founders to join them for soccer match in the field. There is NOT a question that goes unattended! Seriously, this is by far _the_ most effective way to curb rumours and nonsense back talking about the company. They handle even the most point-blank questions with grace. Such an openess can only be afforded at small startups, but Google has defied that logic, again!
Google has spoiled me in one respect. It is now difficult to find a company that can beat the work environment Googleplex (link2) provides! And not to forget the startup-like casual (yet purposeful and professional) environment.

Another interesting thing here is that my manager (Jim) is a very enthusiastic and sporty person. (That, while I reported to Raghu, was true at Nevis as well. How do you think I managed to work there for so long!) Jim shows me routes around on bike, comes down jogging to see my soccer matches, and plays Frisbee on the way to lunch! I have always believed that interaction should go beyond weekly statuses, goal settings, appraisals, meetings, etc. Eventually, what matters the most is the personal, social and professional network you build up on your journey. As Raghu puts it, 'Building The Old Boy Network'. And as I love to put it, people work AT the company FOR their managers! You will be surprised by what you can do with that network. Talk to Raghu and he will quote you many interesting stories (probably I should pursue him to pen it down on his blog).

Last but not the least, it is an honor to work at a place that has amassed feverishly enviable talents from around the globe. To name a very few...
Two of them (Ken and Vint) are Turing Award Winners. I have very little doubt that Google will be to the world what Bell Labs or Xerox PARC was half a century ago!

Aaah... this post has grown way beyond the size I had planned! I should stop now :) But as I said... there is more than material perks @ Google to keep me interested!

See Also:
0. Last Week of Internship at Google
1. Some Wonderful Moments of a Noogler


Anonymous said...

cool blog - insider's stories on the famed G-plex! :) you forgot to mention they use gcalendar, gchat for internal use. more spice! ;)

Sagar Bhanagay said...

They say that when a tiger tastes human blood, he rarely goes back for any other prey. Now that u have Google-blood on your teeth, u r gonna have a harrowing time adjusting to any other 'substandard' place :D. On a more serious note, this is why in the long run some companies become giants whilst others stay minnows or die out. This is what differentiates men from boys :)

The Shaolin said...

Google believes in 'Eat your own dog food' :)

LOL, true analogy about that tiger and human blood :)

>On a more serious note, this is why in the long run some companies become
>giants whilst others stay minnows or die out.
Most certainly. There is a hell lot more to a successful company than just engineering

>This is what differentiates men from boys :)
:D True!

namrataghadi said...

Lucky you!!!!
Wish I could get into google too..

Komal said...

..... I think I have just started to envy you.... :D

The Shaolin said...

@Namrata and Komal...
Envy ME of all the people on earth! LOL! I'm just an intern here, still long way to cover!
Komal, invite me to view your blog, your profile seems private.

Ganesh Jaju said...

Congrats pal !
Working with google would indeed be a good experience to cherish !

n30bli7z said...

Atul, Please kindly make one update about Vinton Cerf. He is not the "Father of the internet" but one of its cofounders. Calling him the father discredits a huge amount of work done by stalwarts like Paul Baran (who invented Packet Switching), Len Kleinrock (for his queuing theory and running the first node on the internet), Bob Kahn (who engineered the TCP/IP along with Vint), Larry Roberts (he was the ARPA manager), John Postel (the guiding shepherd of the internet and the editor/maintainer of most RFCs) and countless others who chimed in on the huge project called ARPA network. Vinton Cerf definitely has his place in history but cannot be credited as the "father".

Nakul said...

best of luck :)

SRG racing said...

What type of computer is that under your desk? Nice big screen too!