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Google's nose dive further accentuates

by Abdur-Rahmaan Janhangeer

Google’s nose dive further accentuates after the maze in the mouse saga 11 months ago. In a scathing take, senior staff engineer Diane Hirsh Theriault describes the soulless state Google find itself in.

She writes:

“My hot take: Google does not have one single visionary leader. Not a one. From the C-suite to the SVPs to the VPs, they are all profoundly boring and glassy-eyed.

Google has not launched one single successful executive-driven thing in years. Sometimes, VPs try to decree “we need a new chat app or AI-first demo for I/O!” There’s a huge death march, and in the end, the thing is half-baked and roundly derided. If it doesn’t get 100 million users in six months, they give up and shut it down. It’s like that joke algorithm I learned about in college – BogoSort. In each iteration of the algorithm, you reorder everything randomly and if the elements happen to land in order, you are done.

Some of Google’s executives are competent referees. I couldn’t name which, but I feel like I’ve seen it done in my 8+ years. They point in a direction, their subordinates swarm the area, try a bunch of stuff, and sometimes something sticks and is cool.

Right now, all of these boring, glassy-eyed leaders are trying to point in a vague direction (AI) while at the same time killing their golden goose. Given that they have no real vision of their own, they really need their subordinates to come up with cool stuff for them. And at the same time, there have been rolling layoffs for the past 6-12 months throughout the company, including engineering, sales, support, UX, product, data science, SRE, everything. Just randomly firing people, torching institutional knowledge, and blowing up perfectly functional teams.

There is a pervasive sense of nihilism that has taken hold. “Well, I guess I will just do the job until they fire me.” A lot of people have golden handcuffs situations and aren’t going to walk away from the salary, but nobody works late anymore. The buildings are half empty at 4:30. I know a lot of people, myself included, who used to happily do extra work evenings and weekends to get the demo done or just out of boredom. That’s gone.

Google really was a magical place, not very long ago. And for some reason, executives are cashing out their human capital at the very moment it seems to me like they really need it. Who can be dawn-of-a-new-era-of-humanity creative in this environment of fear? It’s really sad. I have no way to align myself with any unspoken VP strategy or do good enough work to save myself if my whole team is cut. So I guess I will just hang around and do my job until Google no longer wants me.”

Do we get answers if we google “How to save Google”?


Maze in the mouse: