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Google's Young Brainiacs Go Globe-Trotting 175

Posted by Zonk
from the nice-gig-if-you-can-get-it dept.
theodp writes "To train a new generation of leaders, Google sends its young associate product managers on a worldwide mission. Newsweek's Steven Levy tagged along and reports on the APMs' activities, which included passing out candy, notebooks and pencils to poor Raagihalli children, a 'Rubber Ducky' group sing-along at 2 a.m., and competitions to find the weirdest-gadget-under-$100 in Tokyo. The APM program, which seeks brilliant kids and slots them directly into important jobs with no experience necessary, was formed after Google's attempts to hire veterans from firms like Microsoft had awful results. 'Google is so different that it was almost impossible to reprogram them into this culture,' says Google CEO Eric Schmidt of the experienced hires."
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Google's Young Brainiacs Go Globe-Trotting

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  • This just in (Score:1, Interesting)

    by stratjakt (596332)
    Google is an awesome company and google google google!

  • by schnell (163007) <me.schnell@net> on Sunday November 04, 2007 @11:39PM (#21237529) Homepage

    'Google is so different that it was almost impossible to reprogram them into this culture,' says Google CEO Eric Schmidt of the experienced hires."

    Great, provocative quote ... except it doesn't appear anywhere in the linked story. Apologies for RTFA, but it's about a lawsuit by a 50-something who insists he was fired from Google for not working 14 hour days and/or having spiky hair and rollerblades. Interesting story, and I'd love to hear more about it ... but it has no relation to the main story.

    There's lots of stories on Slashdot about "citizen journalists" and how professional journalism is obsolete blah blah blah ... here's a hint: people who are "professional journalists" (and I was one, before I realized tech marketing paid much better) actually believe it is their professional responsibility to read and/or verify things before posting them. Just a thought.

    • by phoebusQ (539940)
      If you really "read and/or verified" the original post, you'd realize that that 2nd link was incorrect. The first link leads to the story discussed in the post, which does in fact contain the aforementioned quote.

      But don't let me knock you off your high horse.
    • by theodp (442580) on Sunday November 04, 2007 @11:52PM (#21237601)
      Schmidt's quote appears on Page 2 of the Newsweek article [newsweek.com] (first linked article).
    • by Breakfast Pants (323698) on Sunday November 04, 2007 @11:53PM (#21237615) Journal
      Far be it for a professional journalist like yourself to read all the way to page 2!
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by schnell (163007)

        My issue was with the fact that they linked a quote to a story where it didn't appear, not that the quote was linked elsewhere in the summary. Maybe that doesn't seem like a big deal. But let me illustrate:

        Dinosaurs first existed around 6,000 years ago [answersingenesis.org] God made the dinosaurs, along with the other land animals, on Day 6 of the Creation Week (Genesis 1:20-25, 31) [skepticfriends.org].

        The point here is that linking quotes to wrong publications can, for the majority who doesn't bother to read beyond the summary, provide seeming endorsement or validation from an independent source when it really doesn't. It may seem like a fine distinction, but I don't think it is from a true "journal

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by dozer (30790)
          What the hell is wrong with you schnell? The quote DOES appear in the story. Click the linked newsweek story, click on Page two, scroll down halfway. That's pretty much exactly what the GP told you to do. Do you need even more explicit instructions?

          Who on earth modded this comment insightful?
          • by schnell (163007)

            The quote DOES appear in the story. Click the linked newsweek story, click on Page two, scroll down halfway.

            No, really. I didn't just make this up to screw with people. The Newsweek story you refer to is part of the first link. Slashdot's story attributes a quote to a linked story [smh.com.au] that has NOTHING to do with the quote it is supposed to include.

            Sorry if I'm an old-timer or just not cool enough to get it, if I say that a link on a "news" site is supposed to contain the 'quote' that it is purported to contain. Once upon a time you were supposed to read and verify what you said before you threw it out in front of

    • by zmollusc (763634)
      Thanks, Marketing Guy. What percentage of journalists do you think actually _are_ professional enough to 'read and/or verify things before posting them'? 0.0001%? Less? Maybe it was just you?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by schnell (163007)

        I'm not just randomly shilling here. Even though you might not believe it, those people who go through journalism school in college (I don't include drones who go straight from beauty contests or White House jobs to Fox News etc.) really take this stuff seriously. For us, failing to fact-check or otherwise printing falsehoods is not only grounds for a lawsuit but also the academic equivalent to faking research.

        I know it's fun to bash professional reporters and pretend that it's OK for every jackass with a

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Opportunist (166417)
          I don't consider the peroxide boob show that's being shoved in front of a cam a journalist. The journalist is the person that handed her the information.

          But, to be blunt, I don't see much fact checking there either. People are used to believing what some TV anchor tells them, they believe what's printed. What's printed has to be true because, well, if it ain't, how'd they dare to print it?

          For a long time, what you said was true. That's how our news got their credibility, and they still draw from that. It's
    • people who are "professional journalists" (and I was one, before I realized tech marketing paid much better) actually believe it is their professional responsibility to read and/or verify things before posting them.

      How long did you say have you been out of journalism now? Must be longer than I read news, I don't remember that time.
  • The Google Master said to the Apprentice: "To truly learn the Google Way, you must first learn not to think of Windows Vista."

    The Apprentice nodded and went back to his cubicle. For three days and nights he tried his best not to think of Windows Vista, but every time he tried, he couldn't help but think of it. Finally, he gave up, went home, and played with his Nintendo Wii.

    When Monday came, the Google Apprentice excitedly burst into the Google Master's office. "Master, I did it! I finally succeeded in not thinking about Windows Vista!"

    Google Master: "And what were you thinking of when you weren't thinking of Windows Vista?"

    The apprentice paused. "I don't know," he said. At that, the Google Master snatched an old S100 Bus he had hanging on his wall, and smacked the Apprentice upside the head.

    And thus the Apprentice was enlightened.

    The enlightenment lasted for a full three days, right up until the Apprentice was transfered to marketing.

    (And if anyone from Google is reading this, and has an opening in the Austin area...drop me a line. ;-) )

  • by The Clockwork Troll (655321) on Sunday November 04, 2007 @11:43PM (#21237553) Journal
    Newsflash:

    When you've overspent on hiring and capital expenditures quarter after quarter, it's a no brainer to see that it's cheaper to hire a bunch of young, cheap talent and send them around the world to get them all gung ho and Mouseketeer-y about working 80 hour weeks, than it is to hire senior product management with families and less mental plasticity who turn in mediocre-to-decent performance 9-5 at a $150k base (almost 2x what these APM's are getting).

    So what if the APM's fuck up now and then, when your raw productivity is 4-5x that of "adult" talent, you can afford the occasional product airball.

    And the reality is they probably even fuck up less.
    • Why does that remind me of the early days of the computer industry?
      • Because true innovations in computer science and software development emerge at about 1/10th the rate at which the same old concepts are rehashed with shiny new names.
    • by timmarhy (659436)
      newflash:

      there aren't many senior managment who work 9-5. contry to popular belief, we work long hours for our money.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by zmollusc (763634)
        Other newsflashes:
        Senior Management has a different definition of 'work' when it applies to themselves, ie scoffing expense-account food while chatting = work, forwarding emails from a hotel room = work.

        Lower echelon drones work longer than 9-5.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by OddlyMoving (1103849)
          You know - I get this complaint sometimes from some of our front line guys. Luckily it's not too out of control due to our environment ...

          Anyways, on to my point. I'm not technically the management team, but on the org chart, there's only one guy above me. I work odd hours, in different places in the office, I help the boss a lot, plan with the boss a lot, pitch the rest of management on stuff, work on making everyone else's jobs more efficient and I'm not always helping the guys on the frontline. In fa
          • by Magada (741361)

            I'm not sitting here stuffing my face full of expensed food - and if I am, I'm usually working. I live, breathe and exude this job 24/7.
            Too bad for you. Get a life. You might enjoy it.
    • by ChronosWS (706209)
      Nothing replaces experience. If this is a form of Google apprenticeship, great. I'm all for apprenticeships. However, to compare these guys to senior managers with years of experience is absurd. Working long hours has no, repeat NO bearing on productivity. Learning how to use the hours you have wisely is FAR more important, especially to manager types who are going to be answering to schedules which are often impossible to achieve.
    • by acidrain (35064)

      "And the reality is they probably even fuck up less."

      Yeah because all that learning from your mistakes makes people more error prone. This story makes me think Google doesn't know how to "replicate" it's success and is stuck trying psychological experiments. And needing to "stalk" management to get a green-light sounds dysfunctional, not like a flat management structure.

      What Google *really* needs to do is accept that it's core business is going to mature, and look at ways of growing new business in a se

    • by Aceticon (140883) on Monday November 05, 2007 @06:22AM (#21239323)

      When you've overspent on hiring and capital expenditures quarter after quarter, it's a no brainer to see that it's cheaper to hire a bunch of young, cheap talent and send them around the world to get them all gung ho and Mouseketeer-y about working 80 hour weeks, than it is to hire senior product management with families and less mental plasticity who turn in mediocre-to-decent performance 9-5 at a $150k base (almost 2x what these APM's are getting).

      So what if the APM's fuck up now and then, when your raw productivity is 4-5x that of "adult" talent, you can afford the occasional product airball.

      As a freelance software developer who often is brought in to clean up the mess which results in having overworked, inexperienced, bright (and cocky) young people designing and developing whole systems, i can tell you that the total costs (including maintenance costs and system improvements costs) of having a system designed and developed by these "cheap young people" far outweighs the savings you get from not including at least one or two experience persons in the team. And this is not even including hard to measure costs such as indirect business costs due to under-performing software (such as the ones you get because the system is 10x slower than it should be at doing time-critical, essential business functions, 'cause the guy that designed it didn't understand database indexes or thought that using remote calls in every layer would be "cool").

      Now that i think of it, often enough, even before the project is delivered, the initial development costs when using cheap young people outweigh the cost of having more senior people in the project.

      Unfortunately, mediocre managers often fall into the trap of confusing "hours worked" with productivity. Proper measures of productivity - such as: business functions implemented per man hour - actually require having things like requirements specifications and mediocre managers don't use tools like requirements specs ... or any other advanced form of project structuring or planning beyond pretty MS Project graphics.

      And the reality is they probably even fuck up less.

      Actually, for any piece of software which is in production for more than 6 months, they will keep fucking the support, maintenance and extendability of the software long after they've left the company.

      If you're inexperienced:

      • You never had to maintain any software so you will have no clue about how design and development decisions affect problem tracking and software extendability
      • You will not expect the common sorts of improvement requests you get just after going live, such as the "monthly system usage report" that the Business Unit manager is bound to ask about 1 or 2 months after the system goes live.
      • You have never worked anywhere else so you only know one way of doing things. You will not have experience in working in enough environments to know "theres a better way of doing X" or "if we do it this way we'll have to risk Y"
      • You will not know on which parts is performance important and on which it is not important. You will spend time optimizing the speed of the monthly report (which takes 1 hour but happens once a month) instead of the data retrieval for the GUI main screen (which takes 5 minutes, and is done average once an hour, per user)
      • You will go down design dead-ends and chose under performing technological solutions 'cause you blindly believed the industry hype (and forgot that vendors are in it for their own profit, not yours), only to find out one month into the project that because of that choice the software won't be able to meet agreed performance targets
      • You will overextend yourself, going into overdrive and overwork mode early on and, due to being tired, introducing bugs and making wrong design and development decision which result in too much time being wasted in bug-fixing and back-tracking out of wrong design/implement
      • by Chemisor (97276) *
        > the total costs of having a system designed and developed by these "cheap young people" far
        > outweighs the savings you get from not including at least one or two experience persons in the team.

        While I agree with you in principle, I must point out that the total costs are not important. To a manager, the short-term costs are of far greater importance than the long-term costs, since his boss probably does not keep a running total and sees only the former. Thus, doing the cheapest possible thing in the
      • by argStyopa (232550)
        "i can tell you that the total costs (including maintenance costs and system improvements costs) of having a system designed and developed by these "cheap young people" far outweighs the savings you get from not including at least one or two experience persons in the team."

        Who cares, when the PHB's who make the decision to put the team together are going to cash out with their golden parachute and stock options long, long before the project has even ended, much less before anyone has to be faced with hiring
    • I notice that Google is looking for CS degrees. In most industries, PDM is considered to be a marketing discipline. You can get a whole curriculum in product management-- in fact, some MS and PhD programs in business are focused on just that. But many companies in electronics and computer science still insist on hiring computer science majors with no experience in product management, hoping they'll just figure it out. There's a whole galaxy of people out there with multiple years of PDM experience, no forma
  • Reprogramming? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04, 2007 @11:45PM (#21237573)
    So how does reprogramming people sit with "don't do evil"?
    • by DogFacedJo (949100) on Monday November 05, 2007 @01:16AM (#21238165)
      TFA describes non-stop group activities, no privacy and sleep deprivation. Sounds like standard reprogramming to me. In addition, they were not spending time with the local folks trying to understand their lives and culture - instead they were doing a whirlwind tour of a bunch of seriously different places than the US. This kind of experience is more likely to build group-think and reinforce the idea that outsiders are totally alien than build any sort of real inter-culture understanding or empathy in the participants.


          Parent was mod'd troll at the time of this posting, a little erroneous given that more than a few folks consider using indoctrination techniques to be abhorrent - evil, even. As described in the article the world-tour sounds like a standard 'retreat' that so many cults use to strengthen the training of their members.


          Most high-indoctrination businesses have a very hard time retaining creative and engineering types without destroying their abilities to be creative and think critically, respectively. If google has found a way to do so, we have reason to be very afraid. It might be that they are only seriously indoctrinating the management, but trying to keep them technically literate so that they can be used to liase between the developers and the senior management. By hiring only very social young tech graduates they can at least ensure that their management layer will be able to speak the same language as their developers - something most companies have a serious problem with.


          I kinda hope this is true, as I don't particularly like the idea that they can do much more than get their folks to work insane hours every day of the week. The net bubble of a few years ago certainly showed at least that much was possible to get out of developers without breaking them too immediately.

    • Depends on how evil the original programming is.
    • by rhakka (224319)
      Are you serious?

      A computer wonk refers to training people to fit your corporate culture as "reprogramming" and that's evil??

      Are you really serious?

      I'm sorry, I don't know squat about google, but I can say as a business owner that once you have established a business model and a corporate culture you want to continue to grow and nurish, you need team players. You need people who are willing to execute the company plan, not their last company's plan.

      are you guys really reaching this hard for reasons to disli
  • by jfinke (68409) on Sunday November 04, 2007 @11:50PM (#21237597) Homepage
    like Alias where the kids are trained to be spies by playing games, etc.
  • by thatskinnyguy (1129515) on Sunday November 04, 2007 @11:51PM (#21237599)
    Dear Google,

    You are infringing on the copyright of our business model by assimilating it into your own and must demand that you stop using it at once!

    Sincerely,
    The Dot Com Bubble Companies of 1999
  • Is Copeland going to write a sequel to Microserfs [wikipedia.org]?
    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      Is Copeland going to write a sequel to Microserfs?

      You mean.. JPod [wikipedia.org]? (Seriously, all I had to do was to click one of the first links on the page you linked to..)

      "In fact, JPod can be seen as "a 21st-century sibling" to [Microserfs], in the "Google age"."

      • SERFs (Score:4, Insightful)

        by meehawl (73285) <[meehawl.spam] [at] [gmail.com]> on Monday November 05, 2007 @02:03AM (#21238393) Homepage Journal
        Irony is difficult to project. We're using a metaphor here, not a literal parent-child relation. I was referencing the current media lionisation of Google. It's a nicer place to work than many, I know this because some of my friends and ex-colleagues have worked there for years now and they are, for the most part, happy. However, it's a long way from Nirvana, and it gets lots of stuff wrong (like, say, why make people wait five years for IMAP?). However, all the sycophantic portrayals of this idealised Google with its *zany* workplace remind me of similar Microsoft hagiography in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Back then MS was becoming the world's largest software company, was gaining an impressive monopoloy, and was beginning to use more and more of its power unscrupulously. However, you couldn't really hear any of that from the mainstream media because they were full of stories about MS as a fun place to work, an unstoppable brilliant idea factory, a new kind of campus for the smartest-of-the-smart college grads, and a machine for turning these wunderkinder into millionaires. As it happens, much the same way Apple from a few years earlier had been portrayed by, woah, Steven Levy.
    • by slyborg (524607)
      Coupland. Cheers.
  • Inbreeding (Score:4, Insightful)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Sunday November 04, 2007 @11:58PM (#21237659) Homepage
    > The APM program, which seeks brilliant kids and slots them directly into important jobs
    > with no experience necessary, was formed after Google's attempts to hire veterans from
    > firms like Microsoft had awful results. 'Google is so different that it was almost
    > impossible to reprogram them into this culture,' says Google CEO Eric Schmidt of the
    > experienced hires.

    This will come to a bad end.
    • Re:Inbreeding (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gwern (1017754) on Monday November 05, 2007 @12:30AM (#21237905) Homepage
      Yeah... it actually reminds me very strongly of Enron - because of their cult of talent, they had a similar program where the best and brightest were encouraged to transfer from disparate area to disparate area, regardless of how little competence they actually had in the new area. This Google program isn't identical to Enron, AFAIK, but I find myself wondering what other similarities there might be between the two companies.
      • by timeOday (582209)

        Yeah... it actually reminds me very strongly of Enron
        It reminds me of the The Office... Ryan, anyone?
      • by zmollusc (763634)
        'the best and brightest were encouraged to transfer from disparate area to disparate area, regardless of how little competence they actually had in the new area.'

        Sounds like our(UK) government. Except for the 'best and brightest' part. And you could replace 'the new' with 'any'.

  • Brilliant kids (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    the APM program, which seeks brilliant kids and slots them directly into important jobs,
    Translation:Rich kids from rich colleges get cool jobs. Man, I hate when they use intelligence-based euphemisms for money.
    • For 'rich colleges', replace 'Stanford'. The systemic bias towards Stanford is so blatant it has most 'old boy' networks beat soundly.
    • by Rakishi (759894)
      In other words you wish to justify your own failure to get in by claiming it was due to lack of money. If you're intelligent and hard working getting into a top school and being able to pay for it aren't problems. Top universities have very nice financial aid programs and furthermore there are outside scholarships. You can also make money on the side by TAing or doing paid research (or other less mentally stimulating jobs). As a last resort there are of course loans but those really shouldn't be necessary,
      • by gordo3000 (785698)
        really? ever seen a brilliant kid from a small town area? Generally, there are very very few scholarships of any real amount(in my home town, a 500$ scholarship was considered great; enough to pay for a significant portion of college costs) and it is not exactly easy to make yourself look great when your school can't afford paper, much less any high powered classes to let you look strong. High SAT scores do almost nothing today to get you in to one of the top 5 universities.

        Worse yet, I knew people in my
        • by Rakishi (759894)

          High SAT scores do almost nothing today to get you in to one of the top 5 universities.

          If you live in the middle of nowhere then you are screwed somewhat. Then again being the valedictorian of a small town school is probably worth more than being number 300 (but just as good) from a top high school. If there is a local community college you can take classes there during high school, even get college credit for them. If there is research done there then you can try to do research as well. There are also distance learning programs available although I'm not sure how much financial aid they hav

          • Re:Brilliant kids (Score:5, Informative)

            by gordo3000 (785698) on Monday November 05, 2007 @03:57AM (#21238807)
            so you really don't know anything about what it's like to be from a poor community do you? I can count on my hands the number of families that could even hope to help with the other 20% + expenses of a Stanford education. 80% of tuition is about 28k now at stanford, so 7k per year + 15k per year for regular expenses according to their website. that is about 90k. I know lots of parents that couldn't afford 3 dollars to rent a movie once a month and their only goal was to see their child go to college(first ever for some). Some never got to go to anything beyond the Community college. If their parents could have afforded to pay for it, they would have got to a state university but they weren't naturally talented enough for a full scholarship or aid that could get them there.

            You seem to have a distorted view about what options you get being from where most places are. We had students graduate with an AA from the community college with a high school degree and rock star SATs and still didn't get scholarships enough to pay for a university out of state. Those 80k dollar loans don't just appear and many people can't get them. Worse are the summer programs some have access to. I did. turns out 3k for a 4 week summer program isn't an option when you are working so you can buy clothes.

            Try to remember lots of more qualified people(far more than you or I) would dominate the top tier colleges if money was so easy to come by or pay off. Few college degrees offer you a cash flow deep enough to afford to pay off your loans(the highly qualified writer still makes far less(probably 5x) than the highly qualified financial engineer at 22).

            Now I'm not trying to blame stanford for being expensive or to blame the government for not giving everyone a chance. Stanford is a luxury good. you pay for a great name on your resume(for as long as that matters) and in a small subset of fields, the possibility of working with a professor that may mean something to you. But don't act like it's magically affordable for everyone qualified enough to be accepted. There is a wide range of talent that gets accepted and few are in such a cushy position to be able to acquire the money for that place. Regardless of whether this is the fault of the parents for not caring is immaterial; there are qualified students that can't go due to money.

            as an aside, a big reason why Asians have come to dominate the to tier schools is because as immigrants, the parents are generally top tier students from their schools which means they do have strong genetics. If Asians had lower average income families and higher acceptance your end result could be a function of parent involvement levels. But given that they have higher average family incomes and family income is a major predictor of college success, it is doubtful it is unproven that it has anything to do with culture.
      • This is a common belief, but it's not true.

        The financial aid departments at all universities always engage in specialized calculations for financial aid. While they may offer truly impressive packages to smart people, there's a point at which they're going to insist that someone other than them and the federal government pay. That someone is going to either be you or your parents, and if the coursework is difficult enough that a job is out of the question, and your parents won't front the cash... you're out
        • by Rakishi (759894)
          A few thousand a year? It's called working during the summer. Even the abysmally paying undergrad summer research program at stanford paid out that much. Add in 5 hours a week doing some manual work such as the library or cafeteria at $7-8/hr. As for books, well thats what used and international editions are for (and borrowing from friends who already took the class). In the end you can take out loans, $20k isn't that much to pay back.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            A few thousand a year? It's called working during the summer. Even the abysmally paying undergrad summer research program at stanford paid out that much.

            And when you don't live in the area? Watch that money get eaten up by the extra fees for your accommodation during that time.

            Add in 5 hours a week doing some manual work such as the library or cafeteria at $7-8/hr

            5*7.50*52*0.9 (for, say, 10% taxes) = a whopping $1700 a year.

            Seriously, your other posts are all "Well, that only leaves $28,000, and your pa

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I realize it's very much an American thing to go to a poor country, and assuage your guilt by handing out pens, etc. to poor kids, but please stop it.

    I travel around a bit (about halfway through an approx 18 month trip now) and it drives me nuts having kids demanding pens. Here's a free clue: the kids don't use them for schoolwork, they just sell them to buy lollies.

    If I ever meet the person who started this damn thing, I'd like to give them a sound kicking.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 05, 2007 @12:12AM (#21237779)
    Companies have changed over the years. Instead of having a large staff to service the company; they save money by having a skeleton crew. This skeleton crew is either a group of veterans who aren't going anywhere(especially if the pay is good and they can't get it anywhere else) or it's a group of young people desperate to make it in an industry. Usually it's the second option. Young people cost less, put up with more bullshit, and can easily have the wool pulled over their eyes by more experienced liars(managers/owners,etc.).

    I feel for this gentelman. I, myself, am getting older and want to have more in life than busting my hump for a career. Companies don't see it this way and never will. This begs the question?; when did it get so hardcore driven? And why did we go along with it? There was time when we used to point our fingers at "those Asians" and say "well never have to work that hard". Now it's normal to go to work for long hours, leave, and go home to some more work. I'm not blamming Asia but I am blamming that type of business model(I'm unsure if it even originated there and I know it didn't come from Europe, right?).

    Older workers are useful. They come to work on time. They're usually more experienced. They make less mistakes. They're also more responsible for the company. They're also less likely to ditch the job on a whim. This isn't a competition or a talk down to the young. This is a declaration that youth worship and all the things associated with it are just one aspect of life that "mainly" get outgrown(not by some people). We all get older. There comes a time when in your life when you can definitely say; "I'm just a little old for this shit!". In any event, I feel for this man. He should either get his job back or be compensated for his loss. Shame on companies that support age disrimation! Google? I love your search engine but FUCK YOU!
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Monday November 05, 2007 @12:23AM (#21237855)
    Here's my theory on Google's hiring plan up until today.

    1) Hire anyone who seems to have any technical talent, lives only for work and/or could be useful to any competitor.

    2) If an employee is not part of the core search project, give them some random B.S. to do. Also provide benefits out the ying-yang so competing offers look silly. Just make sure the B.S. provides our minions with no useful experience, exposure to real-world requirements or any tools outside the Google universe. This way, if they do decide to leave us, they will be unable to set up viable companies on their own or provide any value to our competition.

    3) If anyone from the core search project (our only source of profits) tries to leave, kill them.

    ...the APMs' activities, which included passing out candy, notebooks and pencils to poor Raagihalli children, a 'Rubber Ducky' group sing-along at 2 a.m., and competitions to find the weirdest-gadget-under-$100 in Tokyo.


    Yeah...I still like my theory.
    • by aztektum (170569)
      Sounds like more fun than my job. Where do I sign up?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Is there any way to moderate a post "Sour Grapes"?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 05, 2007 @12:33AM (#21237921)
    Google's recruiters have been quit busy calling people. It's obvious what sorts of things that they're working on from the people that they've been calling. Not only that, but they call back at regular intervals after being told no ("has anything changed?").

    The problem for them is that everybody has heard about what happened to Brian Reid. What's worse, many of us know Brian Reid. That sort of behavior by an employer has repercussions in this industry.

    So Google wants to pick my brains for a few months, promising stock options they have no intention of granting, then dump me like trash once they got what they needed. No thanks. I'd sooner go to work for Microsoft; Microsoft is evil but not that evil.
  • Say that again? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The APM program, which seeks brilliant kids and slots them directly into important jobs with no experience necessary

    So I click that link, and I read the following:

    If you have a proven track record of excellence...

    They specifically point out that you need experience. What's with the obvious lie in the Slashdot summary?

    • by Tablizer (95088)
      "proven track record of excellence" could also mean academic achievements.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by PietjeJantje (917584)
        It does. And with "academic achievements" they not only mean technical intelligence, they also mean "submissive qualities". A young Bill Gates or Larry Ellison will not be hired. They worked their way up outside the box. Google does not want people who think outside the box, and they are not looking for them, presumably because they are a threat to them or they are just looking for middle management. So they are looking for middle management with no chance, will or ability to develop their careers beyond th
  • ...reprogram them into this culture

    What type [slashdot.org] of reprogramming [wikipedia.org] are we talking about here?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 05, 2007 @01:09AM (#21238115)
    I have learned to take news stories like this with a grain of salt. I'm sure it's true that Google has a program like this, and I'm sure that Eric Schmidt thinks it's pretty cool. But the company is really big, and I'll bet you can find pockets of conventional thinking and surprisingly traditional business practices. (After all, the traditional practices become traditional because they work much of the time.)

    I remember reading another news story where Eric Schmidt said Google has a completely non-traditional recruiting system. He said, approximately, "we don't care what your background is, if you are really smart we'll hire you and find something for you to do." This made me really excited, because I'm really smart, and I really wanted to work at Google. (I can show evidence to support my claim that I'm really smart. My SAT scores were not only really high, but I took the SAT before they dumbed it down. Would I be the smartest person at Google? Heck no; they have Rob Pike and Vint Cerf and Guido van Rossum and all sorts of top-echelon guys. But I think it's fair to call me "really smart".)

    I applied at Google (the Kirkland office, near Seattle). I signed a non-disclosure agreement, and I will honor that by not discussing the details of the process. But I think I can say, without violating NDA, that I did not observe anything about their recruiting process that was markedly different from any other technical company that has interviewed me. Indeed, I'll go further: about half the people who interviewed me were really good at interviewing... but half weren't especially good.

    Before I even applied, I did a whole bunch of stuff to try to make myself stand out. I wrote up short proposals describing new businesses that Google could enter. I wrote up code samples, showing that I am competent with several of the four official languages Google uses for everything. (If you are wondering, the four are: Java, C++, Python, and JavaScript.) I studied Google from the outside, so that if they asked me "What do you know about Google?" I could give non hand-waving answers. (And wow -- they run their business on some truly great software. MapReduce and Sawzall, and Google File System, are brilliant! I really would have enjoyed a chance to work with them.) None of my extra work did any good at all, as far as I can tell. I didn't meet anyone who mentioned reading my code samples, or had any questions about the open source projects I worked on. Few even gave me any evidence they had read my resume. I'm not sure anyone ever read my business ideas.

    Some of the interviewers actually asked me about my work history. A single one asked me to describe what I had been doing in my previous job. But some just asked me trivial stuff that a recent university graduate might have memorized. The good interviewers would ask questions that were interesting and required competence in computer science to answer; others would ask things that you could answer if you memorized a data structures textbook, and in some cases I didn't have the answer memorized. (I was tempted to answer "um, that is always available as a library function, and if I needed to write that, I would refer to one of my books first." But I never did; I just answered my best.)

    I very nearly made it, I believe. But one interviewer asked me a question that just baffled me, and his unfriendly manner, combined with the time pressure, left me spinning my mental wheels. My answer was quite unsatisfactory, to me as well as to him. (I don't think I can describe the problem without violating NDA. I will say it was abstract and not related to any work I had ever done for any company.) The person immediately following him was one of the good ones, and asked me one of the interesting questions, and I think I did quite well with him, despite being rattled by the previous interview. But I think the unfriendly one likely told everyone I was some kind of gibbering idiot, because after that I got the phone call that said "thanks for your tim
  • Come on everyone, let's convince ourselves we're unique and important through trivial acts. It's corporate "culture," since we're killing every other form of culture. Repeat after me: Google is not the new world order, it's Progress, sainted progress and soon we will dominate the world. If you want to be part of the Good and not the Evil, you'll eat that soggy biscuit and like it, or no bonus and no free cafeteria!1!!
  • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Monday November 05, 2007 @01:28AM (#21238217)
    I think this is sort of interesting (ironic?) because I'd say the corporate cultures of Google and Microsoft (at a developer kind of level -- not necessarily CEO etc.) have or had a lot in common.

    I interviewed for a job at the Microsoft campus back in the 90's, before the dot com era made pampered developers more of a common phenomena. This is also before any of the MS monopoly suits -- the company just wasn't seen as an evil empire by most people in the kind of way it can be now. The whole first round of interviews was composed of logic problems and puzzles to test your ingenuity/creativity. They had a hell of a campus and all kinds of unusual perks I wouldn't see again until the dot com boom. It was pretty clear that their strategy was to try to pull bright people straight out of college, give them 'fun' and pampered environments, and basically work the hell out of them. Not that anyone would demand an 80 hour week from you, exactly, but more: you've taken this new job in a city where the only people you know also work at Microsoft, you see your job as something kind of cutting edge / geek-cool, you're provided with this office and cushy work environment and any meals you care to eat at the office (and their cafeteria was pretty much the best I've seen anywhere before or since, not that they wouldn't also order out as appropriate)... you're with this team of people all fired up about how great Windows 98 is going to be, and they're all working late, and maybe you'll just stay long enough to get that free dinner...

    Anyway, damn near everything I remember from that visit and everything I hear about the interview process and corporate culture at Google today is very, very similar.

    Does Microsoft still try to do this? I have no idea. Of course, time does strange things to a company's culture despite its best intent. I know a guy who took a job there out of school and lived that kind of culture; today he's still there, married (his wife also works there), is a manager, and has kids. Even though a guy like that may have worked under a very similar culture to modern-day Google for years, he's not going to be the same guy and he's not going to see that kind of glorification of young genius the same way. Most likely he's seen projects where it helped a lot but also projects where it went horribly awry, and his inclination as a manager is probably not going to be to allow everything he had.
  • by Comatose51 (687974) on Monday November 05, 2007 @02:01AM (#21238387) Homepage
    At least they won't instinctively duck every time the CEO puts his hands on the back of a chair...
  • Jonestown 2.0 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mgabrys_sf (951552)
    So, Google doesn't want to hire Microsofties and apparently any other adults from any other area (no sense providing jobs in their own backyard - it's Microsoft or nothing). But young minds! Ah - there's an angle! Not since a group in Oakland made people drink the kool aid have I heard anything more insane. Perhaps they found out that the people in their own backyard are tired of Google thinking themselves as so self-important that there's better jobs to be had.

    Of course - Google can't be to blame. Bring on
  • I've been reading some of the comments regarding this article, and for those who say older IT workers can't compete with younger ones, just wait till you're in your 30s and 40s. Your outlook will probably change at that point.

    The startup culture at Google works very well with young IT talent. In the beginning of a business venture, you have to have that "force it through, just get it done!" attitude towards your IT projects. Once you're established, however, that craziness has to be turned down a notch. Oth
    • I guess at 46 I qualify as "older". I have two university degrees, lots of experience, a bit of grey hair (which I see no reason to dye), and have found the work/life balance that works for me. It's not 70 hours a week, but I'm not some clock-watching union droid, either. If you have no life apart from your work, how do you come up with new ideas, anyway? From painful past experience, I now cringe when companies talk about their culture.

      I'm also 99% likely to be looking for a new job in the new year, and

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