CBS to Sergey & Larry: We Love You!

Not enough people are saying it, so I will: the 60 Minutes segment on Google Sunday night was an embarassingly sloppy wet kiss from CBS to Sergey, Larry, et al. Apart from the comments by John Battelle — edited down to the three cliched horsemen of Expensive Stock, Microsoft is Coming, and Google’s Results Aren’t Perfect — the show was all happy-Google-talk, all the time.

While Google is a fine company, and arguably more important than Microsoft these days, a little perspective would have helped. How about some of the following:

  • Google’s workaholic youth-centric culture. One former employee described the place as a lost reel from “Logan’s Run”
  • The risks to the Internet from a search monoculture
  • Google’s high-handed attitude toward investors
  • The utter unscalability of a company that has two founders playing a big part in picayune decisions
  • The kind of bizarro organizational culture that results from hiring decisions based on IQ tests

Feel free to add more.


  1. I’ll worry about Google when they start listening to MBAs blabber about how to “fix” their “organizational culture.” As long as the nerds (i.e. people who snigger when they hear business school drivel) outnumber the suits, things will be fine there.

  2. Your list reads like a description of MSFT. MSFT is still to this day is largely youth based, has a desktop monoculture, has 2 founders making micromanaging decisions, and also has a bizarre interview process that places too much value on IQ-ish type questions. Only their attitude to investors is different. Although all their investments in cable/telecom/money-losing pet projects could be used to argue differently. If it worked for MSFT…

  3. Comments from an emplo”Y”ee at a Google competitor (gee guess…)
    We also once did the uber stringent engineering interview process. Gee it was fun making people feel small, watching them grovel for a job. It was the implicit geek worship we always wanted. We really grooved on it, we turned away all sorts of great people. But then something funny happened, we realized we really did need people. Quickly. So pretty soon we were taking pretty much anyone…and many of these individuals were less qualified than those we turned away when we were full of ourselves.
    When GOOG tanks (eventually it must, be real folks), they had better be offering uber salaries or they will find the pipeline of great candidates drying up too.
    What did I learn about interviewing?
    – Intelligence is nice, but I would rather have someone who does not screw around daytrading or surfing the web etc. Ability to get stuff done is my biggest metric now.
    – Where someone went to school is meaningless. Utterly meaningless.
    – Younger developers will do crap older developers won’t.
    – As a corollary to my first point, someone who will work 8-4/9-5 etc every day with very few hiccups and BS is more important than having an erratic genius.

  4. One more point to above notes on interviewing:
    – You will know if you want to hire someone within one hour. Anyone who claims they need to run a candidate through ten hours of interviewing is still stuck on “worship us, candidate!” mode. Soon the novelty of having candidates grovel wears off and people start trying to *avoid* interviewing candidates. I suspect GOOG folks are not there yet, they are still lining up to see candidates grovel….I suspect this is the real reason for the ridiculous interview process.