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:
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:
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
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...
- Alfred Spector who nurtured Distributed Filesystem at Transarc (as CTO and co-founder)
- Bell Labs legend Ken Thompson (creator of Unix, B)
- One of the Fathers of Internet Dr. Vinton G. Cerf (Vint Cerf)
- How can I not mention author of vim (the only contraption worth calling a real editor!) Bram Moolenaar
- and many many more...
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!
0. Last Week of Internship at Google
1. Some Wonderful Moments of a Noogler