22 votes

Three Years of Misery Inside Google, the Happiest Company in Tech

7 comments

  1. [2]
    cfabbro
    Link
    That was an incredibly long but also incredibly engrossing and fascinating read. I highly recommend that people find the time to read this article, since the story it covers is actually far more...

    That was an incredibly long but also incredibly engrossing and fascinating read. I highly recommend that people find the time to read this article, since the story it covers is actually far more important than the title would suggest, IMO. The internal struggles taking place inside Google almost feel like a microcosm of the struggles that Western society is currently facing.

    This article also helped clear up much of the opaqueness surrounding Google's corporate/employee culture, politics and internal mechanisms for me. I have read many similar stories over the years that covered all the various individual issues, protests, projects, controversies, lawsuits, etc. taking place inside google, but they were always in isolation. This is the first I have read that effectively bundled everything into a comprehensive package and it really felt eye-opening as a result.

    Thanks for sharing this, @asteroid!

    p.s. What an emotional roller coaster it was too. The progressive activists inside google are heroes, IMO.

    16 votes
    1. asteroid
      Link Parent
      We agree emphatically. That is excellent journalism, showing how each party involved responded, and the manner in which the company changed over time. I said, "Oh, NOW I get it!" at the end.

      We agree emphatically. That is excellent journalism, showing how each party involved responded, and the manner in which the company changed over time. I said, "Oh, NOW I get it!" at the end.

      4 votes
  2. [3]
    Gaywallet
    Link
    While I had heard of most of this through the media and grapevine living in the area with friends who work at Google, to hear the internal politics of what exactly was happening is very eye...

    While I had heard of most of this through the media and grapevine living in the area with friends who work at Google, to hear the internal politics of what exactly was happening is very eye opening. I know that Google has slowly been slipping out of 'do no evil' into 'do some evil' but I had no idea the extent to which this was happening at the leadership level. In many ways this article is appalling and I'm glad to know a bit more of the internal politics. At one point I had considered that I might be willing to work at Google if the right job and the right price showed up, but I think I'd rather turn towards a company with stronger morals at this point.

    11 votes
    1. [2]
      LikeAFox
      Link Parent
      I also heard bits and pieces of this through the grapevine. To me, this article was somewhat less about Google's inherent organizational morality, and more about how vulnerable social structures...

      I also heard bits and pieces of this through the grapevine. To me, this article was somewhat less about Google's inherent organizational morality, and more about how vulnerable social structures are to a breakdown of trust. I don't know that I read Google's executive team as doing 'Evil' - trying to balance the business requirements of being a very large public company, with the requirement of fostering a complex, dissent tolerant culture is a non-trivial and I suspect not achievable objective.

      During the first stages of the Damore fiasco it's hard for me to say that it was leadership themselves had made a fatal error. The section about Google security being handcuffed by their counsel when matters of “protected concerted activity” were occurring is something I either hadn't heard or hadn't processed before, that seems to me the pivotal moment at which the closed eco-system that was Google's internal social network became unsustainable. At that point the options were to either admit that having massive scale internal social communication was impermissible, or open the company up to dozens or hundreds of potential lawsuits. And once that sense of privacy and camaraderie were weakened by tamping down those communication channels, all other trust fell away with them.

      To me, this article is about the weaknesses of large social systems when exposed to malicious forces.

      9 votes
      1. Gaywallet
        Link Parent
        I hate when people try to argue this, especially when >50% of votes are still owned by very few individuals. These individuals very much have the right to choose how the company focuses it's...

        trying to balance the business requirements of being a very large public company

        I hate when people try to argue this, especially when >50% of votes are still owned by very few individuals. These individuals very much have the right to choose how the company focuses it's efforts. Sure, the stock price might take a hit, but when your net worth is hundreds of millions of dollars, why should you care?

        These individuals are choosing greed over morality, even when they have so much money that they have the privilege to afford not to do so. They have no excuse for their behavior and they can't fall back on "oh but it's a public company" when they control the majority of votes.

        To me, this article is about the weaknesses of large social systems when exposed to malicious forces.

        There's a potential financial cost in terms of lawsuits to consider, but there's also the potential financial cost of driving away all your world class creative minds that are helping make your company what it is (not to mention the mental/moral cost to self). I don't think they made the right choice, but we won't really know for certain for another several decades.

        7 votes
  3. [2]
    Wes
    Link
    Wow, what a great article. I really appreciate that this gives a much deeper look at the issues that all parties were facing, rather than the usual rage-bait, no-context headlines we usually see...

    Wow, what a great article. I really appreciate that this gives a much deeper look at the issues that all parties were facing, rather than the usual rage-bait, no-context headlines we usually see for these issues.

    5 votes
    1. asteroid
      Link Parent
      It makes me feel as though the author honored every voice. (I realize that sounds a little earth-mothery, but there ya go.)

      It makes me feel as though the author honored every voice. (I realize that sounds a little earth-mothery, but there ya go.)

      4 votes