Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Google Technology

Google Tries Not To Be a Black Hole of Brilliance 322

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the so-that's-why-they-won't-hire-me dept.
theodp writes "Google says it's declined to pursue awesome job prospects to avoid an over-concentration of brilliance at the search giant. Speaking at the Supernova conference, Google VP Bradley Horowitz said the company intentionally leaves some brainpower outside its walls: 'I recently had a discussion with an engineer at Google and I pointed out a handful of people that I thought were fruitful in the industry and I proposed that we should hire these people,' said Horowitz. 'But [the engineer] stopped me and said: "These people are actually important to have outside of Google. They're very Google people that have the right philosophies around these things, and it's important that we not hire these guys. It's better for the ecosystem to have an honest industry, as opposed to aggregating all this talent at Google."'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Tries Not To Be a Black Hole of Brilliance

Comments Filter:
  • I'm so good (Score:5, Funny)

    by goombah99 (560566) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @01:36PM (#30312902)

    Google won't even talk to me. Have an ordinary day you undermensch!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03, 2009 @01:39PM (#30312972)

      That's the same reason Walmart gave me for turning me away.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Kratisto (1080113)
      They're obviously trying to avoid establishing a brilliance event horizon, and subsequently, losing brilliance through hawking radiation.
      • Re:I'm so good (Score:5, Interesting)

        by bennomatic (691188) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @05:05PM (#30316130) Homepage
        I know you're joking, but there's something to that. Cringely wrote an interesting opinion piece on what would be the downfall of Google one day, and his idea was that it would be a job satisfaction issue.

        With so many brights working there, all coming up with ideas in their 20% time and developing them, only the top tier of ideas will become official products, supported and released by Google; there's only so much time in the day, you know.

        Well, some of those engineers who have one, two or N ideas passed over may decide that one or more of them may not make the Google cut, but might be successful business ideas which would fly quite well outside the organization. Those folks might leave, which would lead to two things.

        First, all the institutional knowledge, all the investment in that engineer walks out the door with them, and there's a huge cost to that. Second, they may take some of their favorite colleagues with them, and suddenly the losses multiply.

        There's something to be said for controlled growth, not trying to take over the world too fast. I wouldn't doubt that, if this is indeed official policy, that it's a sort of sustainable selfishness, an understanding that hoarding all the best engineers will inevitably lead to an internal breakdown and a loss of that talent.

        The knowledge trade is much like an economy; maybe they realize that as fast as they're growing, pushing the envelope further would lead to an amazing boom that would inevitably lead to a massive bust. Good on them for avoiding it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03, 2009 @01:36PM (#30312904)

    Obligatory Google is awesome thread of the week....

    • Compared to the rest of the IT industry, its not that hard to be awesome. Its just that our expectation have been lowered so much we think a company that delivers something useful and dont engage in illegal practices are freaking awesome!

      The gall of not engaging in putting most work into extinguishing the competition! Making actual working products? What do they think they are? God?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        and dont engage in illegal practices

        brian reid would have a different view from you, I think.

        http://news.zdnet.com/2100-3513_22-137384.html [zdnet.com]
        http://public.getlegal.com/articles/cultural-fit [getlegal.com]
        http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9792046-7.html [cnet.com]

        from what I've read of the case, it sure seemed illegal to me. I've been in that situation before, myself (age discrimination) and it SUCKS. very shameful for google to do that.

        google has done evil and they have lost all their 'shine' when they pull crap like this.

        read that

        • by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @02:03PM (#30313380) Journal

          google has done evil and they have lost all their 'shine' when they pull crap like this.

          I was never drinking enough of the Google kool-aid to actually believe they were any different from any other for-profit corporation, but I'm not so sure that the specific case you linked proves much of anything. It was tossed out by the lower court, allowed to go through during the first appeal and has since been appealed to the California Supreme Court. If he's having that much trouble pursing his claim in California of all places then I'd question whether or not his case has any merit.

        • by Idiomatick (976696) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @02:25PM (#30313746)
          That seems pretty fucking minor even ignoring that the case went nowhere. As in it may have effected dozens of people whoopedeedoo. I'm pretty sure if they shrunk the logo on the homepage by 1 pixel it would have more of an impact on the world. They are better than other companies where it has an impact.
        • by Trahloc (842734) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @02:40PM (#30313984) Homepage
          Read it. The guy had a brilliant past, truly put his mark in the computer world. Doesn't necessarily mean he'll *always* be on the forefront though. The link you give says that his coworkers found his ideas out dated and obsolete, that doesn't reflect his age but his views. As I see it his age wasn't an issue, the fact was that he couldn't adapt to googles culture which is not only on the edge of the latest tech but creating things that are yet to come. His inability to do that was the problem, the fact he is also past 40 just happened to be true as well. Is google perfect? Hell no, humans make up the company and humans aren't perfect. But are they ageist bastards who got rid of a brilliant cutting edge employee who shook the technological world because he was old? No, looks like he hasn't done anything ground breaking in the last 10 years, definitely not since he left google to prove them wrong. He lost his edge.
      • by morgauxo (974071)
        In what religion does God not either have no competitors to speak of or has/will/is completely destroying them?
        Does Google think it's BETTER than God?
        • by gmuslera (3436)
          At least Google exist. Not that it makes it better, sometimes things are good because they dont exist (ok, at least not yet, keep asking google how entropy can be reversed and eventually there will be an answer from them).
      • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @02:27PM (#30313790) Homepage Journal

        Making actual working products? What do they think they are? God?

        Wait, wait, wait, you think God makes products that work? Obviously you've never been in love ....

      • by mcrbids (148650) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @02:55PM (#30314198) Journal

        There's another company that has consistently been "nice" to the industry, refusing to do evil and in general being a stand-up, wonderful bunch of guys: Red Hat. I honestly think that there isn't a more decent company around than Red Hat. They fund a significant percentage of the kernel, driver, and UI development for the entire Linux world. Some of the very best and most productive developers behind the Linux kernel, GCC, and too many other projects to mention are employed at Red Hat!

        And to this day, they have yet to throw a single shenanigan around releasing source RPMs. Google's shine is bright, but has a few smudges. Red Hat, on the other hand, is squeaky clean.

        PS: No, I don't work for them, I'm just a very satisfied customer!

        • by King_TJ (85913) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @04:09PM (#30315320) Journal

          I remember RedHat kind of slipping from their "glory days" as the highest profile Linux distributor out there. Many people were woo'ed away by the "latest and greatest" or "more user-friendly" features in distros like Mandrake or Ubuntu, and certainly, there was a philosophical difference where some people simply supported the Debian package manager format and were anti-RPM, too.

          But that doesn't change the fact that RedHat kept plugging right along, employing deserving software developers and turning out a solid, respectable product.

          You don't have to amaze people with "incredible new ideas!" all the time to be a "good company". You just need to treat your employees fairly, offer products that do what they advertise, price your products reasonably, and keep up a tradition of supporting them well.

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Thursday December 03, 2009 @01:50PM (#30313168) Journal

      Obligatory Google is awesome thread of the week....

      Google has become so awesome that even the best and brightest aren't good enough to work there. The Google campus is vacant and empty, everyone gone home after being let go for failing to be awesome enough. And yet, money magically keeps rolling in ... to whom though? Nobody.

      This was apparent in the latest recruitment meeting at my alma mater where a Google server was given 30 minutes to recruit an auditorium full of computer science majors. Well, the Microsoft, HP, Oracle, etc reps gave long speeches and only gave the Google server five minutes to give its speech. It rolled down one end of the stage and leaned over the crowd, silent. It rolled down the other end of the stage and leaned over the crowd, silent. It spent the next few minutes in a monolithic standstill while the whole room waited on bated breath, edge of their seats, dying to know what awesome numbers were being computed and crunched inside the career giver.

      The server turned around and shot a laser out at the curtain behind it ... burning in binary these words, "I scanned everyone's DNA in this room and decided it was not worth my time as only 0.1483 of you are worthy of working for Google."

      Let me tell you, I have never seen a recruitment booth so full of applicants.

      • Good post.

        Is this a parody of some text that I don't recognize?

        • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Thursday December 03, 2009 @02:05PM (#30313408) Journal
          Stately, plump eldavojohn came down from the stairhead to his mom's basement, bearing a bowl of frito lays on which a slim jim and a twizzler lay crossed. A yellowed mooninites shirt, unwashed, was sustained gently behind him on the mild air duct gust. He sat down at his computer monitor and read the Slashdot response to his post:

          —Good post.

          Halted, he peered down the glowing LCD monitor and read further:

          —Is this a parody of some text that I don't recognize?

          Solemnly he leaned forward and set his fingers to the keyboard ...
          • by camperdave (969942) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @02:26PM (#30313770) Journal
            Hey! Who gave the English major a Slashdot account? We already have grammar nazis. We already have people making car analogies. We already have legions of frist psots, in soviet russias, and overlord welcoming posters willing to fix that for ya. We don't need literati here, filling the threads with... entertaining prose.

            Hmmm...

            Welcome to Slashdot, Friend!
            • by jDeepbeep (913892)

              We already have grammar nazis. We already have people making car analogies. We already have legions of frist psots, in soviet russias, and overlord welcoming posters willing to fix that for ya.

              you must not be new here.

          • Made me chuckle. Damn the "Offtopic" naysayers -- keep the humor coming!
        • It sounded like something that Asimov would have written.

      • Obligatory Google is awesome thread of the week....

        Google has become so awesome that even the best and brightest aren't good enough to work there. The Google campus is vacant and empty, everyone gone home after being let go for failing to be awesome enough. And yet, money magically keeps rolling in ... to whom though? Nobody.

        This was apparent in the latest recruitment meeting at my alma mater where a Google server was given 30 minutes to recruit an auditorium full of computer science majors. Well, the Microsoft, HP, Oracle, etc reps gave long speeches and only gave the Google server five minutes to give its speech. It rolled down one end of the stage and leaned over the crowd, silent. It rolled down the other end of the stage and leaned over the crowd, silent. It spent the next few minutes in a monolithic standstill while the whole room waited on bated breath, edge of their seats, dying to know what awesome numbers were being computed and crunched inside the career giver.

        The server turned around and shot a laser out at the curtain behind it ... burning in binary these words, "I scanned everyone's DNA in this room and decided it was not worth my time as only 0.1483 of you are worthy of working for Google."

        Let me tell you, I have never seen a recruitment booth so full of applicants.

        In related news, Microsoft tried to duplicate what the Google server did in this recent episode. Here is what the last dying witness had written, in his own blood ....

        "Beware of the Blue Screen of Death"

        Video tape of the even shows the Microsoft server stalking back and forth across the stage, obviously scanning the audience with various colored lights. First green, then yellow then red. Finally the server started to speak in that creepy monotone computer generated voice, "I've scanned everyone in this room

    • by gmuslera (3436)
      You think so? wait till gets to homepage the Google DNS [blogspot.com] story, and there you will have a bit more to complain.
    • What's next, Google Breeder? Google computers decide who you're allowed to reproduce with, in order to best enrich the ecosystem of minds?

  • Like that VP.

    If he worked for my company, I would fire him. A VP should know when to keep his or her mouth shut.

    • by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <shadow.wrought@gmai l . com> on Thursday December 03, 2009 @01:43PM (#30313052) Homepage Journal
      For reinforcing how confident he is in his company and its talent that they don't have to horde every last engineer? Yeah, sucks to have that in a VP. It would be so much better to have a VP afraid to say anything, who has no confidence in his own workforce, and who thinks that if he doesn't have every last talented engineer it means ZOMG DOOM!

      The reason so many people have issues with Google isn't because they do things differently, it's because they do things differently and are more successful than those doing it the old way.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jellomizer (103300)

      That is the public version...
      The real reason. Such people are too expensive and we don't want to pay his salary. Better off with people with less skills who can be trained then get the best at a high cost who will only have a disproportional benefit vs cost to the company.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by corbettw (214229)

      So you'd fire someone for expressing an opinion with which you disagree? You use -1, Overrated a lot, don't you?

    • by blackraven14250 (902843) * on Thursday December 03, 2009 @02:10PM (#30313492)

      One thing to consider is that by leaving talent at software companies, the software where their products are used is improved, thus still allowing them to improve their users' experiences with Google. This philosophy of leaving talent at other technology companies is essentially a recognition by Google that they're in a symbiotic relationship with other tech companies (namely, OS creators, browser creators, programming language creators and maintainers, hardware creators....), and they're reacting accordingly by not leeching from the companies that allow them to succeed. It really doesn't matter whether Microsoft likes the fact that Google beats them at the internet advertising game, Google enhances Microsoft users' experiences too.

      Another angle to look at this whole thing from is that Google doesn't want to take all the talent from other web advertising companies (Yahoo, Microsoft, etc.) because they don't want to kill off every one of their competitors. In the case of these companies, it's a defense mechanism against being caught in antitrust lawsuits and monopoly status

      It's actually remarkably smart for Google to point this out, because if their supporters (the non-web companies) realize the nature of the relationship between themselves and Google, things will just become sweeter between them, and make it much easier for them both to succeed since they won't be fighting each other over resources that they help each other acquire.

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @02:21PM (#30313672)
      Google cannot make money from within itself. They rely on having an outside world that people will search for and purchase products from, and if there were no brilliant people working for the world outside of Google, then Google would not have its current market, and certainly not its dominance in the search market. Google is not going to win by doing all the innovation on the web; Google wins when someone is looking for an innovative website, searches Google for it, and clicks on a sponsored research (which is hopefully what they were really looking for).
  • by sonnejw0 (1114901) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @01:41PM (#30313002)
    Sounds like someone's upset that they didn't get hired by Google... made up a story about being "too Google for Google". Now they can feel like a secret agent for Google while they work tech support for Dell.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If you live in SF you get to know a lot of Google people.

      Generally they meet the typical CS reputation for being socially clueless: I've had dates and friends recount going out w/Google employees, and almost all the stories can be summarized as the guy being a big spender with no taste (simply get whatever's expensive) and that faux-Asperger's lack of empathy and understanding that a lot of nerds have.

      More industry-specific, though, they have a reputation for being dicks to work with in collaboration (with

  • Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rwv (1636355) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @01:41PM (#30313014) Homepage Journal

    It sounds like by "not pursuing" top talent, Google is actively letting the top talent go wherever they want. I think if these guys applied for jobs at Google, they'd get hired.

    It comes down to economics. If you say "We've got to hire John Doe" then the price you're willing to pay for John Doe to join your staff goes way up. Whereas if John Doe applies and gets hired to traditional way... he's more inclined to expect a normal market driven salary.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cowscows (103644) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @01:45PM (#30313090) Journal

      I think that's definitely a big part of it. It's also convenient for a company to be able to point out to their curent employees that there are other competent people out there who could replace them, so keep your expectations in check.

      • It could have something to do with the allegations that Google and Apple had an informal, probably illegal agreement not to recruit from each other.

        "See, we avoided recruiting from Apple for vague altruistic reasons, not some secret anti-competitive deal."

    • by natehoy (1608657)

      Also, if these are "very Google" people, by which I assume they mean "big users and supporters of Google toolkits", and they are happy doing so AND BEING PAID BY SOMEONE ELSE, then why in the hell would Google feel the need to hire them? :)

  • ... that they didn't offer me a job.

    But I would have been even happier to have gotten the stock options and work elsewhere. If it made things better for Google, a few stock options would seem like a reasonable form of recognition.

  • puhlease indeed (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sneakyimp (1161443)

    What a self-congratulatory, onanistic piece of gloat that is!

    What the engineer was really saying was "please don't hire someone to be my boss".

    • What a self-congratulatory, onanistic piece of gloat that is!

      Yeah. It may be a true story, but telling it in public makes him sound like a dick.

  • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @01:44PM (#30313074) Homepage

    Programmers rejected by Google can now tell their friends: "I didn't get the job. I must be too good for them."

  • Job Security (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jmyers (208878)

    "But [the engineer] stopped me and said: 'These people are actually important to have outside of Google..."

    It sounds to me like this guy is trying to protect his job. "Uh.. don't hire him, we need him outside of Google..yeah that's the ticket". I read between the lines that this guy doesn't want anyone smarter than he is too close to his job.

  • ..but he's got a point. It really is better if a lot of these brilliant people go to work for other companies or, better yet, form their own.

    Think of it this way: Would you want EA/Microsoft/Nintendo/whatever to have all of the best gaming talent?
  • good grief (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991)
    Pure arrogance. Like they could ever get even a majority of talent in their field. Google does almost nothing in a wide spectrum of cutting edge computer engineering. And plenty of people would rather have the prestige (and lighter schedule) you get in academia.
  • Maybe... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by evil_aar0n (1001515) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @01:53PM (#30313214)

    Maybe the uber-geek just didn't want the competition within his own group. Even geeks can be territorial.

  • by cmsjr (1515283) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @01:53PM (#30313220)

    I am so impressed with Google's approach on this that I am immediately adopting it. From now on, anything personally advantageous that I don't do, well obviously, that was for the good of the geecosystem.

    Pardon me now, I have to go read some Ayn Rand.

  • by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @01:59PM (#30313300) Homepage Journal

    People have accused Microsoft of stifling innovation by snapping up so many freshly minted PhD's for Microsoft Research. They get a lot of hate, some of which can be found on this Slashdot article [slashdot.org].

    Google is wary of the these issues, as they are in the same position [slashdot.org].

    So we have evidence of them recognizing this, and choosing to do the "not evil" thing, and yet, for all their consideration for the health of the industry, a bunch of envious whiners use it to accuse them of arrogance.

  • by thrill12 (711899) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @02:01PM (#30313344) Journal
    Can only imagine the job interview you hoped for so long at Google:
    So erm, what do you think of me. I scored all the tests perfectly, I really would like to know if I am hired (so I can end my 2 year period of unemployment)

    (Google interviewer)Well, erm.., see we think Google needs the best of the best. And you are certainly just that. We want to hire you, because of your pure brilliance. We think you really fit the company and would offer you a contract right away. Except, ... we won't. You are simply too brilliant, and hiring you would mean hundreds of small companies could not reap the benefits of having you as an employee ! That's why we want you to go out there and help those other companies with your genius ! Yes, this is the best decision we ever made at Google: not hiring brilliant people because they would do so much better at other companies!

    So erm... this is a good thing - you not hiring me ? Wow thanks !...goes home...

    Hi honey, how did the job interview go ? Hope you were finally hired, we are shit out of cash !
    Oh, I got some really good news!
    (Yes ! He got the job, finally I can buy shit again !)
    I wasn't hired ! Isn't that great ? I can go on and be unemployed so other companies can hire my brilliant mind ! That's what the Google interviewers said to me, isn't that great ?
    Err... honey... why are you packing your suitcase and leaving me ? Don't you love this great news ? Honey.... ?

    Suffice to say, brilliant minds can also flourish at the basements of their parents...
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @02:03PM (#30313376) Journal
    Seriously, Google SHOULD consider the idea of funding a number of these folks in small start-ups to force competition. Basically, HONEST competition is GREAT for the industry and for Google. The problem comes in when you have a monopoly that uses their weight and money to buy out established competitors and try hard to create a small oligolopoly, or an illegal monopoly (typically tied to a set of closed products like an OS and a office suite).

    In fact, if GM REALLY wanted to excel, they would break themselves up, and have the divisions compete. The problem with the situation for GM, Chrysler and Ford was that it was too few CEO's and worse, they were incestuous (had to come up through the industry). Heck, rather than sell volvo, saturn, and hummer to China, they would be better off rolling them into one company, giving them a CEO from outside of the industry, and then allowing them to compete against others, esp GM itself. It will mean that the company would have to shrink, but, within 4 years they would be ready for IPO, or would be bankrupt.
    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      Heck, rather than sell volvo, saturn, and hummer to China,

      Last I heard, they decided to shut down Saturn altogether because no buyer was interested in it. Hummer is probably the same way; those things aren't exactly selling well these days. Rolling these failing divisions into a separate company isn't going to help anything. GM had way too many divisions producing way too many different designs that simply didn't sell, and with today's auto market, aren't going to sell no matter who you put in charge. W

  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @02:04PM (#30313384) Homepage

    Google doesn't need that many more smart technical people. What they could use some people who could figure out something other than ads that people would actually pay for. Their track record in actual products is awful. The overpriced "Google Search Appliance" [cmswatch.com] isn't doing well. They do corporate hosted mailboxes, but that's Postini, which they bought.

    Google is really an ad agency. That's where the money comes from.

    • by Hadlock (143607)

      I wouldn't even say ad agency, so much as "newspaper or tv channel" - after all, you're buying ads for google searches, not just ads from google (although they do advertise on other sites, too). The products don't have to be particularly good, just shiny and new enough that people continue using google, rather than go to another service (like Bing). As long as they keep innovating and creating new things (nobody ever said they had to be any good), people will continue to go there, which drives ad revenue.

      • by samkass (174571)

        Yes and no. Google AdSense is a way to add ads to any web page, and Google makes a lot of profit on those things. If the search engine were to suddenly disappear tomorrow, Google would be seriously hurting, but they'd still be selling a lot of ads.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Google is really an ad agency. That's where the money comes from.

      100% spot on! so many people can't see this. they are blinded by shiny things.

      google is a new age ADVERTISING COMPANY. ie, doubleclick. didn't we hate DC a few years ago? don't we hate ad banners and crap like that?

      google's ONLY real product is selling eyeballs to advertisers. all else is just window dressing.

      while everyone in the world seems to want to work for google, I don't. I don't want to empower MORE advertising on the internet!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BuR4N (512430)
      They need smart people more then ever, but maybe not CS majors....

      If I where to run that big company, with 99% of their income from one product (adwords et al), I would hire all the smart people in the world to figure out how to diversify myself successfully (No, google apps & Sketchup Pro wont save them).

      You might say the same thing about other companies, like Microsoft, but its far far easier for customers to flee an advertising model en masse , than over night switch their IT infrastructure.
    • by pz (113803)

      Google doesn't need that many more smart technical people. What they could use some people who could figure out something other than ads that people would actually pay for. Their track record in actual products is awful. The overpriced "Google Search Appliance" [cmswatch.com] isn't doing well.
      They do corporate hosted mailboxes, but that's Postini, which they bought.

      Google is really an ad agency. That's where the money comes from.

      Google still needs smart people. They have competition, and often serious, heavy-weight competition, on every front. If they were to stagnate, as you suggest, they would die.

      But why are you judging a service company by actual, by which you seem to mean physical, products, when they have class-defining services like Google Search, GMail, Google Scholar, Google Maps, etc., and not-quite-as-good-but-still-respectable services like Google Voice, Google Docs, Google Checkout, etc.? Saying that they're an als

  • A remix of this video [youtube.com] could include the line in the chorus "I'm too sexy for google"?

    The original was released in 1991, well before Google became so pervassive.

    It is time.
  • This vaguely reminded me of the Foundation series... all of the knowledge and brainpower ends up concentrated in one small movement while the rest of humanity is left to their superstition and pseudo-science.

    Okay, maybe it’s a stretch, but it’s still an interesting comparison.

  • Brave New World (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ukab the Great (87152) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @02:07PM (#30313442)

    Reminds of the experiement in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World where they put a whole bunch of Alphas together and it was a disaster. I guess every organization needs some betas and epsilons.

  • by Salamander (33735) <jeff AT pl DOT atyp DOT us> on Thursday December 03, 2009 @02:08PM (#30313462) Homepage Journal
    At first I thought this sounded like the very definition of hubris on Google's part, but then I read TFA. Nobody really said anything about leaving the rest of the industry starved for talent. All they said is that a particular group of engineers were more useful to Google where they were than they would be if brought in. It's actually not an uncommon situation, as having talented and like-minded people at other companies can be great for forming partnerships and communities. If everybody working on XYZ was at Google, two problems could occur: groupthink inside, and antipathy outside. A more Machiavellian engineer might even have suggested sending current Google employees to evangelize and facilitate partnerships elsewhere. Recognizing that a like-minded person elsewhere can be more valuable than a hire seems rather insightful to me.
  • Awesome! I'm completely mediocre and therefore perfect for Google to hire. I mean, you can't let the rest of the world have all the average people can you? It wouldn't be balanced. Google needs me!
  • by westlake (615356) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @02:10PM (#30313486)

    I pointed out a handful of people that.. we should hire,' said Horowitz. 'The engineer stopped me and said: "These people are important to have outside of Google. They're very Google people that have the right philosophies around these things, and it's important that we not hire these guys. It's better for the ecosystem to have an honest industry, as opposed to aggregating all this talent at Google."'"

    The last time I read dialog this moralistic and improbable was in a Watchtower tract from the Seventh Day Adventists.

  • Resume (Score:5, Funny)

    by codeonezero (540302) * on Thursday December 03, 2009 @02:18PM (#30313624)
    Qualifications:

    Rejected by Google.

  • by forgottenusername (1495209) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @02:19PM (#30313632)

    There are lots of smart people who aren't interested in what Google is currently doing. The pay, benefits etc might be great, but for most people it's not necessarily how they want to spend their days. It can be a lot more fun being on the ground floor of a dynamic startup doing stuff you believe in with a small group of smart people than being a cog in a giant wheel. Even if it is a pretty special wheel with a much larger degree of autonomy.

    I do believe overall google to date has been a driving force for useful, usually practical innovation - especially in the datacenter sphere. So while I'm not a fan boy, I think it's the best search engine to date, and google maps is quite useful. Their real struggle is to stay ahead of said startup (or hope they can buy them, which has its own difficulties).

  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @02:23PM (#30313712)

    These people are actually important to have outside of Google. They're very Google people that have the right philosophies around these things, and it's important that we not hire these guys. It's better for the ecosystem to have an honest industry, as opposed to aggregating all this talent at Google.

    "We are finding them too difficult to control" is how I read this. I suspect they are basically saying Google doesn't want too many ultra smart individuals that care way too much about Google, because they reach a critical mass that becomes difficult for upper managment (with it's lesser prerequisite of brilliance) to control. Lets face it, stupid staff are obedient, and if not easy to fire. Simple but in this case having far more brains-on-a-stick at far too higher density is a liability. I've often said managers are uncomfortable hiring people significantly smarter than they are, but a whole seething hive of the industries top brains probably makes them wake up in the night and scream.

  • 'But [the engineer] stopped me and said: "These people are actually important to have outside of Google. They're very Google people that have the right philosophies around these things, and it's important that we not hire these guys. It's better for the ecosystem to have an honest industry, as opposed to aggregating all this talent at Google."'

    Translation: "They already work for us. *wink wink*"

  • Ha Ha Ha, Yeah, Right! Let me translate this for you. It can mean one of two things:

    1) They don't hire overqualified people when they can hire cheaper people just good enough to get the job done. Just like every other company out there.

    2) Please, for the love of god, make the horde of unqualified geeks that bury us repeatedly under endless copies of their resumes even though we have rejected them countless times already stop. Let's try psychology... here.. we don't hire you b/c you are too qualified
  • I read this differently than /. ... I don't think they are arrogant. Nor are they being generous to the IT world. The second one is closer but... I picture it more like this.

    "Excellent~~ peons work WORK! All you are doing is further building my Empire. When you ripen we shall pluck you harvest you and enjoy your labour fully. MUAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!"

    Seriously, anything beneficial to the tech world is good for google. More computers, more screens, more eyes on them, more integration. All good for Google. And if
  • ...for the names the people they had decided not to hire, Horowitz replied, "I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am."

  • World keeps advancing. Now there is another diplomatic way to say "you are not good enough for us". They deserve a Nobel Peace prize for this, who knows how many wars will be avoided if politics start using it.
  • Wicked! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @02:56PM (#30314228)
    So, by way of implication, they are hiring less than brilliant people now? Awesome! Where do I send a resume?
  • by pongo000 (97357) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @03:51PM (#30315004)

    ...who have actually turned down Google's offer for a second interview. After they offered to fly me to Mountain View, I sat down and took a deep look at who I was, what I stood for, and whether my personal philosophies were compatible with Google's worldview. I decided that I could offer more to society through education than I could working for Google.

    I don't regret the decision I made. As the years go by (this was about 2000 or so), I grow stronger in my conviction that it was the right choice as I watch Google's tendrils sneak into every aspect of society.

    • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @06:00PM (#30317192)

      If (true) instinct tells you this was the best course, then it probably was.

      Teachers with genuinely good stuff between their ears are a very valuable commodity. I don't know what I would have done without the couple of awesome teachers I had while growing up. Kept me from being crushed by the system and encouraged unconventional thinking. I'm a happy man today partly because of good teachers who weren't just system-bots but actually understood what it meant to be human.

      Cheers to you, mate!

      -Mark

  • by Mal-2 (675116) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @07:33PM (#30318524) Homepage Journal

    This is just an obfuscated way of saying "We don't want to pay them as much as they're making now, let alone enough to entice them to switch."

    Mal-2

God is real, unless declared integer.

Working...