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Google blogger fired
February 8, 2005 6:33 PM   Subscribe

Google blogger fired. Mark Jen, a blogger whose candid (but oh-so-inane) comments about life on the job at Google sparked controversy last month, has left the company. Do no evil. Blog no evil. And so forth.
posted by aliendolphin (27 comments total)

 
Dooced!
posted by TwelveTwo at 6:37 PM on February 8, 2005


I didn't catch the 99zeros blog until after the posts were removed, can anyone state what the gist of them was? I heard they were pretty normal observations, but were there details that others could have used against them?
posted by mathowie at 6:41 PM on February 8, 2005


I didn't catch the 99zeros blog until after the posts were removed, can anyone state what the gist of them was?

Why don't you just check the Google cac...oh.
posted by ChrisTN at 6:48 PM on February 8, 2005


If I am not mistaken there was something about how the share options was not that valueable.
posted by riffola at 6:55 PM on February 8, 2005


The last link is a secondhand report from an anonymous source, and the first link is a thirdhand report whose source was the secondhand report, and neither of those say he was fired. although one speculates that he was. What is this, Drudge? Points for not involving Andrew Orlowski, though.

mathowie: This c|net article linked from the c|net article in the post says "In one post, for example, Jen makes a detailed comparison of pay and benefits packages at Google and his former employer Microsoft, concluding that Google falls short".
posted by mendel at 6:57 PM on February 8, 2005


So was he fired or did he leave? It might be semantics, but I'd like to know, before I fly into a fit of indignation.

And here is what supposedly was removed.
posted by MikeKD at 7:04 PM on February 8, 2005


There was this article about employee stock revealed, and the imbalance of it.
posted by rexruff at 7:10 PM on February 8, 2005


Well if they cut him a check to get lost, I'm sure it came with a friendly non-disclosure with easy-to-follow diagrams on how he can shut the hell up about it. Disgruntled employees with loud mouths can do terrible things to a publicly traded company.

I'm sure quite of few of you veterans of the dot.com boom saw quite a few of these stapled to your last paycheck.

Speaking naughty search engines, I'm getting an error on spellcheck.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 7:14 PM on February 8, 2005


In theory, revealing financial information about a publicly traded company shouldn't be a problem. But it sounds like this particular information would hurt recruting.

He hasn't been bitching about it on his blog, so they probably reached an "understanding" probably involving a big payoff, as others have suggested.

I found this intresting, but I somehow have no oppinion whatsoever on the matter.A very strange state for me, I'm not quite sure what to do with my fingers.
posted by delmoi at 7:14 PM on February 8, 2005


I'd fire an employee as well if they were publishing internal details of my companies as well. I usually have people who work for me sign NDAs though, and I suspect Google does as well...
posted by glider at 7:15 PM on February 8, 2005


I don't know, doesn't seem like he posted anything too bad. Really, most of what he wrote was along the lines of "Google is great".
posted by xammerboy at 7:22 PM on February 8, 2005


Get a job at Google and then lose it because you're just so committed to blogging about it?

This guy's a fucking idiot, as far as I can tell. Whether Google is turning evil is an entirely different, only partially-related question.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:03 PM on February 8, 2005


glider - wow, you sure sound like a fun guy to work for.
posted by bshort at 8:07 PM on February 8, 2005


So was he fired or did he leave? It might be semantics, but I'd like to know, before I fly into a fit of indignation.

Well, I have it on top-secret E-mail source that he was fired for hacking, but he was actualy just using an uncommon, text-only browser.


No lie.


Now excuse me while I go write about cool mash-ups at Disneyland.
posted by Ayn Marx at 8:27 PM on February 8, 2005


bshort -

If your employees don't sign an NDA, they're free to use any inside strategy information they want against you should they decide to work for a competitor later. I've only worked for very casual, laid-back companies, but every one still had some sort of NDA in the initial paperwork all new hires have to fill out.

I guarantee you Google has ironclad NDAs, and they're supposed to be one of the most fun places to work. Existence of an NDA, and the will to enforce it, has no relation to how fun the company is to work for. Sorry if a business protecting their internal strategies and product ideas sounds like no fun to you - but you know, that's how you get a competitive advantage in this capitalist marketplace.
posted by chundo at 8:33 PM on February 8, 2005


In theory, revealing financial information about a publicly traded company shouldn't be a problem.

Actually when it's publicly traded that's when it is a problem. If you are receiving price sensitive, non public information then you have restrictions over who you may share that with.
both google's profits and revenue are growing at an unprecedented rate even while they are increasing their expenditures on capital and human resources. not to mention that google has been primarily focused on the u.s. market and is now turning their full attention to the global marketplace.
Financial info as well as details of upcoming products fall squarely into that category. Public companies need to manage flow of info to analysts and markets. If you have an employee that doesn't understand the need for this discretion (and it's certain that before any such internal presentation, employees would have been advised not to disclose the info) you need to sort it out as in some circles this is viewed as the leading edge of insider trading risk.
posted by missbossy at 8:46 PM on February 8, 2005


I don't see why Google would have to hand him a big payout for his departure. If the "financial information" regarding unprecedented revenue growth and plans to focus on markets outside the United States was removed and everyone considered it a fair deal, something else must have come along. Google may have felt that he was using his public forum to coerce them into increasing his compensation (see his post about salary and the value of stock options).

I enjoyed reading what he wrote, but playing the role of an employer, I would feel totally burned by a post like that. What if fans of his blog contacted the company to complain about Mark's salary? The company should neither have their compensation details published publicly, nor have to defend them to third parties.
posted by clyde at 12:05 AM on February 9, 2005


Actually when it's publicly traded that's when it is a problem. If you are receiving price sensitive, non public information then you have restrictions over who you may share that with.

What are you talking about?

Insider trading is the crime, not insider talking. I've never heard of anyone getting busted for sharing information. Do you have any refrences, or are you just talking out of your ass?
posted by delmoi at 12:56 AM on February 9, 2005


I've never heard of anyone getting busted for sharing information.

If the first link to a legal definition of insider training didn't make sense, here's another one:
Insider trading: "The illegal buying or selling of securities on the basis of information that is unavailable to the public." And it's also illegal for the "people tipped by the employees".
posted by GlitterBum at 1:56 AM on February 9, 2005


this doesn't make sense to me. firing someone for saying "google is doing well" is plain odd. i think there's something missing from the story.
posted by andrew cooke at 2:17 AM on February 9, 2005


Jeremy Zawodny talked to Mark Jen and has some insights. Also, Yahoo cache of Mark's blog.
posted by mendel at 5:01 AM on February 9, 2005


thanks. this has lowered my opinion of google (my opinion of people here and the way they manage to confuse speech and making money - the idea that this is "insider trading" is just bizarre - was already at pretty realistic levels). and, as mark jen no doubt hoped, it's raised my estimation of yahoo. interesting.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:06 AM on February 9, 2005


Here is the policy at our company on this kind of thing:

As an WidgetCorp employee, you will have access to information that WidgetCorp considers proprietary. Given the widespread interest in WidgetCorp and the increasingly competitive nature of the industry, you will probably come into contact with someone who is interested in acquiring WidgetCorp proprietary information. It is critical that you do not disclose or distribute that information except as authorized by WidgetCorp and that you follow all WidgetCorp safeguards for protecting that information. To avoid inadvertent disclosure, never discuss with any unauthorized person proprietary information that WidgetCorp considers confidential or which WidgetCorp has not made public.

Company name replaced, because I am not stupid like this blogger.
posted by smackfu at 8:41 AM on February 9, 2005


I guess that explains why ABC World News Tonight is en route to Dooce's house?
posted by leslita at 8:45 AM on February 9, 2005


Company name replaced, because I am not stupid like this blogger.

the ibm code of conduct is easily googleable, even w/out "IBM".
posted by andrew cooke at 12:23 PM on February 9, 2005


Gee, maybe he got fired for blogging all day instead of doing what he was getting paid to do.
posted by BoatMeme at 4:06 PM on February 9, 2005


Now excuse me while I go write about cool mash-ups at Disneyland. -Ayn
Ha! excellent Coryism


I don't see why Google would have to hand him a big payout for his departure.

Because it cheaper than dealing with his lawyer and a labor dispute. Some of these issues are a grey area for firing. Did his employee handbook state that blogging about his employer was wrong. Can he argue that such information is available in SEC filings? Maybe? Maybe enough for a settlement of a year's salary.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 6:07 PM on February 9, 2005


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