Here’s something to think about when you deal with people at Google.
I was having lunch with a director at Google. I asked her about her previous company. She replied this was her first job. She just graduated from college, only four months ago.
I asked her if it was intimidating to be so fresh in the workforce at Google. She said to me “I was afraid of that too. But here’s something really weird. At Google, we have this page that tells you your seniority compared to everyone else. And the crazy thing is that I’m at the 50% mark. Half of Google has been there less time than I’ve been. People actually think I’m senior!”
Three months is enough to be halfway? Half of the 20,000 people at Google are recent hires?
A few days later, I was talking with a friend who is an executive recruiter in Silicon Valley. I told him what she said, and he replied, “Yeah, Google is a revolving door. People join, get their ticket punched, and go somewhere else. With Google on their resume, they can get a job anywhere.”
I asked “Is that why they pay so low?” (Google offers ridiculously low wages, such as $65,000 for a senior director position in charge of global projects.) He said “Yes, the kids don’t mind. It’s only for a year, plus they get free food and a free bus.”
It explains a lot about Google. Ask someone a question and you get vague general replies. They just don’t know. Another senior director at Google is a close friend; we were chatting one night and she asked me “Hey, I’m wondering about something. Why do KPIs matter so much?” She has literally no business experience at all. For her, ROI and CPL was just a formula, but it meant nothing to her.
Look, they’re really bright kids with 4.3 GPAs from great schools, and maybe in 10-15 years, they’ll be good at something (yes, it takes that long.) But right now, it’s a hell of a problem for Google: it’s made up of kids with no experience of business or the world. I wonder how many of them have been there for three years: 10%? 5%? 2%? It explains why Google launches so many projects that disappear, why they make decisions that ignore the outside world or common sense. They just don’t know. And it’s not like they’ll be there forever.
How does this matter to you? You have a 90-year old family company. You’ve invested a good deal of your money in your startup. You have a restaurant in San Francisco. But none of these are showing up in Google. The kids at Google don’t understand why this matters.