Google

January 24, 2018

Longtime Google Engineer Quits; Says Company Can No Longer Innovate, Is Mired in Politics, and Has Become Absolutely Competitor-Focused (medium.com)

Steve Yegge, a longtime Google engineer who gained popularity after his rant on Google+ went viral, wrote another rant on Wednesday, in which he announced he has left Google. His rationale behind leaving Google, in his own words: The main reason I left Google is that they can no longer innovate. They’ve pretty much lost that ability. I believe there are several contributing factors, of which I’ll list four here. First, they’re conservative: They are so focused on protecting what they’ve got, that they fear risk-taking and real innovation. Gatekeeping and risk aversion at Google are the norm rather the exception. Second, they are mired in politics, which is sort of inevitable with a large enough organization; the only real alternative is a dictatorship, which has its own downsides. Third, Google is arrogant. It has taken me years to understand that a company full of humble individuals can still be an arrogant company. Google has the arrogance of the “we”, not the “I”. Fourth, last, and probably worst of all, Google has become 100% competitor-focused rather than customer focused. They’ve made a weak attempt to pivot from this, with their new internal slogan “Focus on the user and all else will follow.” But unfortunately it’s just lip service.

You can look at Google’s entire portfolio of launches over the past decade, and trace nearly all of them to copying a competitor: Google+ (Facebook), Google Cloud (AWS), Google Home (Amazon Echo), Allo (WhatsApp), Android Instant Apps (Facebook, WeChat), Google Assistant (Apple/Siri), and on and on and on. They are stuck in me-too mode and have been for years. They simply don’t have innovation in their DNA any more. And it’s because their eyes are fixed on their competitors, not their customers.

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