...In a Playboy interview published shortly before Google's IPO, Brin and Page did not mention competitive threats. Rather, they talked about corporate ethics, the creation of foundations, and their efforts to make Google a great place to work.
Google is a great place to work. My friends there absolutely love the place, and in part for that reason, they work very hard. Google allows pets and provides employees with laundry service, drinks, meals, massages, car washes, and (soon) child care. Its corporate motto is "Don't be evil." But long ago, a professor of mine, noting my youthful idealism, remarked that the only successful neutral nations are those, like Switzerland, that are permanently armed to the teeth. And for Google, neutrality is not an option.
Okay, I know that Google is a lot smaller and can lavish benefits like this on their employees. Surely if Google survives and gets bigger and bigger they won't be serving three-squares a day and making their employee life so easy that they can simply concentrate on doing a great job. Er, right?
Sigh. Google, Google, Google!
I still think Microsoft is trimming muscle instead of fat in their hopes to appease Wall Street with their adherence to doing the best job possible managing Microsoft Corporation for the shareholders. When management's bitter harvest unfurls its withered crop, the bad decisions to make Microsoft a tepid workplace creating tepid results will not be what is foisted out as the target of blame.
As I ruminate the eroding Microsoft benefits and perks (make no mistake, what remains is still better than average), I find the recent Sea ttle Weekly article about CostCo interesting as it recounts the CostCo management telling Wall Street to blow off when given harsh financial advice about trimming back on benefits to increase profits and share price. Now I see benefits cut-backs as a little quickie-financial algorithm that someone executed within Microsoft vs. taking a moment to actually think about what really needs to be cut (staff).
So we don't have official gala holiday party events - I don't miss them, but as Microsoft trims back on its parties, Yahoo and Google fire them up. Me? I can pay for my own food and I don't have a dog. As a small example of something I do miss: I miss the holiday shipping benefit. I still ship physical stuff and it saved me a lot of time to go over to, say, Pebble Beach and quickly send off my packages. Then I was happy and got back to work quickly and wrote some, if I do say so, great freaking code. Now I come back frazzled and PO'd.
Are there plenty of folks who shook their Christmas stocking hard, hoping that out would fall some evidence that Microsoft super-values its employees? Given where Microsoft is right now it just plain can't. We've started down the atrophying path of benefit and budget cut-backs. And what does the weenie that replaced the shrimp get replaced with as we go down the next level? It's sort of the reverse of "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie." And I don't think it ends at Spam.
I again suggest that the brakes be slammed on and for management to express what might seem to be an oddly opposing message:
- We super-value our employees and demonstrate this by the following benefits and perks that we have crafted to increase employee morale, satisfaction, and results...
- We are vastly overstaffed for the challenges we need to succeed at and have started a 10% reduction of the worldwide staff.
Microsoft, Microsoft, Microsoft!