On Where to Work

I’ve been lucky enough to work for a wide spectrum of companies. Enough of my friends have done double-takes (“You worked for Intel? Really? When?”) that I present here a quick overview:

  1. Local, 10-developer, software house. Long since acquired.
  2. Intel, in a research group.
  3. Intel, supporting a fab group.
  4. 3COM, right before the HP buyout.
  5. Microsoft, from Vista to just before 8.
  6. Amazon, during the Kindle Fire release.
  7. Google.

It’s with a little bit of authority that I can say that Steve Yegge was right in 2008.

An excerpt:

You: Should I work at Google? Is it all they say it is, and more? Will I be serenely happy there? Should I apply immediately?

Me: Yes.

Jobs 1-4 were wonderful experiences that I will one day write about. Jobs 5-7 are considerably more…formative.

Microsoft had fantastic training wheels. Amazon had very little oversight and guidance. Google is incredibly intimidating - throw out just about everything you know coming in - but they’re aware of it. It’s not so much they make allowances as they provide everything that might make it easier.

Revenue solves all known problems. - Eric Schmidt

Google is extremely intolerant of anything that impairs developer productivity. Any reasonable request gets accommodated. Many unreasonable requests get accommodated: for example, despite having been at Google NYC for all of three months (and getting a rather excellent relocation package) my team is letting me work from Seattle while my fiancée and I sort out a plan that works for us. I spend one week a month in NYC. Google covers flights and hotels. This isn’t something I asked for - I have no idea how to have that kind of conversation - this was offered to me when I talked to my director about missing my fiancée and our dogs.

I can’t imagine leaving Google because I can’t point at anything and say “this could be better” - when I tried, things were fixed. Immediately. The remote work plan was set up over about ten minutes with no prompting. Increased compensation isn’t really tempting - at Google, I can work on anything at any time and be at the absolute forefront of it. (I’m taking advantage of that now.)

So, come to Google. Send questions my way.


comments powered by Disqus