Wear your resume and see what happens.
January 10, 2011 8:00 PM   Subscribe

Here's the nice story of Google employee #13.

Perhaps the Recession 101 ads are right. Got it from this list.
posted by skepticallypleased (57 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Google is the world leader in search technology, bringing in billions of dollars in revenue per quarter by aiding many millions of users all over the world find information on a daily basis Well, actually they bring in billions of dollars a year by selling advertising. But we get the idea. Congratulations.
posted by jcworth at 8:32 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Confirmation bias. He was the right guy in the right place at the right time. I'm sure it helped him to be so dogged, but if he hooked up with different folks, or been in a different town, he'd be working today making perhaps 6 figures. Not bad, of course, but he rolled a couple of 20s in a row and is advising people to roll the dice based on his experience.
posted by explosion at 8:36 PM on January 10, 2011 [24 favorites]


Thanks to this story, next time I will know to be in the right place at the right time.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:44 PM on January 10, 2011 [28 favorites]


Great story, good for him. I think for the most part he made his own luck. You don't get people to listen to you, help find you a job or pull you with them to a new job unless they're damn impressed. His only luck might have been ending up at Google, but then as #13 I'm sure he worked pretty hard to make it a success a long time before anyone realized how big it would be.
posted by Long Way To Go at 8:44 PM on January 10, 2011


It's always annoying that people can't adequately recognize the role of luck in their life.
posted by xmutex at 8:45 PM on January 10, 2011 [9 favorites]


It's always annoying that people can't adequately recognize the role of luck in their life.

It's pretty easy when you're unlucky :)

Also, he doesn't seem like a very good writer. And also seems like kind of a doucebag.
posted by delmoi at 9:04 PM on January 10, 2011 [8 favorites]


It was the pager trick that did the job for him. I've done similar things with similar results, sans retirement.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:12 PM on January 10, 2011


YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK BUT YOU CAN'T MAKE YOURSELF ANY TALLER CAN YOU MR. FANCY PANTS!
posted by The Hamms Bear at 9:53 PM on January 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


Needs more pics of him with famous people.
posted by mrnutty at 10:04 PM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I was born in 1972 to a poverty-level family in suburban Chicago" vs. "Inspired by my architect grandfather who dabbled in the stock market"

His dad owned a business. He was not poverty level. I fucking hate it when people pretend to come from more hardship than they really did.
posted by serazin at 10:05 PM on January 10, 2011 [10 favorites]


Honestly I gave him the benefit of the doubt until this sentence:

It only had the two founders and a few engineers working there.

Douche.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 10:12 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


By the end of the week, I had created a sandwich board expelling the virtues of my skills.

If he was expelling the virtues of his skills no wonder he had trouble getting a job.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 10:16 PM on January 10, 2011 [14 favorites]


His dad owned a business. He was not poverty level. I fucking hate it when people pretend to come from more hardship than they really did.

Being the only employee of your own business doesn't immediately put you above the poverty line.
posted by Hoopo at 10:22 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


His dad owned a business. He was not poverty level. I fucking hate it when people pretend to come from more hardship than they really did.

I agree with your general hatred, but I don't know where you can claim to know he wasn't poverty-level -- we'd need, what, tax returns? I dunno. Probably fair to take him at face-value on that one. And I think a one-man pest control shop suggests something less fruitful or remunerative than your statement of "His dad owned a business" implies.
posted by incessant at 10:23 PM on January 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


His dad had assets. Many people do not have any assets. I think that was the point.
posted by Marty Marx at 11:03 PM on January 10, 2011


aiding many millions of users all over the world find information

Wonderful. I now deeply regret all the years I spent in school becoming literate in English, when I clearly should have been wearing a sandwich board and phone-stalking executives or some shit.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:24 PM on January 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


His dad owned a business. He was not poverty level. I fucking hate it when people pretend to come from more hardship than they really did.

You mean the tools of his trade? How dare he. You know what I hate? When people talk about the need for the workers to own the means of production, but dismiss anybody who takes the idea seriously enough to buy their own tools and set their own prices.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:21 AM on January 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm happy for the guys success but it would be nice to hear him give some credit to anything other than his grandfathers example.

Hell, I grew up in suburban Sarnia with two siblings in a 600 sqft bungalo, I helped my dad do cement work on weekends and my grandfather had been a miner and we were solidly middle class. So there.
posted by bonobothegreat at 12:26 AM on January 11, 2011


So his command of the written word isn't so great. Big fucking deal. Written English (any language, really) is difficult, native speaker or no. He told his story in an understandable way, and it's an interesting story. Good for him.

And yes, he was in the right place at the right time, and a lot of his success came from luck. He also put himself out there in a way I know I'd have difficulty doing. Of course, you only ever hear about the people who succeed in the whole cold-calling CEOs thing, I suppose.

The way I see it, luck's the primary reason any of us are leisurely browsing the internet.
posted by majonesing at 2:20 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nice how as soon as Google had its IPO, he cashed out and quit. But he wasn't just after the cash, he just really wanted to make an impact!
posted by dave99 at 2:27 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Google's massuse was able to afford to buy a plane after the IPO.
posted by delmoi at 3:10 AM on January 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I'm not really sure what inspiring message to take from that story apart from "be that guy".
posted by dudekiller at 3:14 AM on January 11, 2011


I'm pretty sure I walked past him while he was wearing that sandwich board. I was carrying my portfolio around downtown, getting into meetings to show it to people. *sigh*
posted by dabitch at 3:26 AM on January 11, 2011


Maybe his grandfather was just a really bad architect.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:23 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter... where all the people who, clearly, did not get what they wanted for Christmas seem to hang out.
posted by Mike D at 4:25 AM on January 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


I guess one message we could take from the story is that while we are here snarking on MetaFilter, go-getter guys like this dude are out there cold-paging CIOs and skywriting a bit.ly link to their resume. Their chance of lucking into a job with the Google of 2020 is very small, but it's larger than ours.

Don't get me wrong, a huge helping of luck is obviously involved in this guy's story and no-one cares about the fifty sandwich board guys who have nothing to show for their efforts than a stack of Pets.com share certificates and a shelf of Seth Godin books... but I think the guy deserves credit for doing the hard and humiliating things that made him available when opportunity came knocking — even if hustling like a sack full of Jay-Z day in, day out just for the chance to "add value" to some seventeen-year-old's startup is not your thing. 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration and all that.
posted by No-sword at 4:35 AM on January 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't know why everyone is so hard on him. He clearly tried very hard for any of these opportunities to even occur; surely that should inspire? Just because he has written it from the perspective of being successful, does not diminish the absolute bravery that he showed. I'm sure he had hundreds of small failures that time has clouded as one of the opportunities so was amazing.

I don't think we should view life as a zero-sum game (as in, if he tried that much harder to succeed, then my chances are even less). Surely this affirms the benefits of being proactive with life, in general.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 5:38 AM on January 11, 2011


I don't think he was "lucky" to get into Google. He obviously worked hard and did well at Netscape so that an executive recognized his skills/value and brought him over. It seems persistence was a big factor of him getting into Netscape, but I doubt Mark Goldstein hooks people up with his VC friends if doesn't also think they have some sort of skills/potential.

I'd say he was lucky that Goldstein had his pager number on his voicemail message though.
posted by mikepop at 6:12 AM on January 11, 2011


Taters gonna hate.
posted by foggy out there now at 6:44 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


His story is cool and all but it isn't as cool as Golgo 13....
posted by GavinR at 6:45 AM on January 11, 2011


I don't know why everyone is so hard on him.

Because his story is older than Horatio Alger and hasn't gotten less annoying in that time.
posted by muddgirl at 7:04 AM on January 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


muddgirl, I'm not suggesting that we should develop tax policies on this story (low-tax, almost zero welfare, no economic mobility, but if you work hard you will succeed cos only poor people are lazy); but I think real-life examples of succeeding, due to trying hard should be applauded.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 7:23 AM on January 11, 2011


but I think real-life examples of succeeding, due to trying hard should be applauded.

Unfortunately, the reverse implication is that "real life examples of failure are due to not trying hard enough". The implication of this blog article is absolutely "If only you worked as hard as me, instead of being unemployed you'd be drinking wine with Al Gore."
posted by muddgirl at 7:33 AM on January 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


All this hate, I guess it's not unexpected.

I worked with Steve at Google and he was one of the nicer, friendlier, genuine people at the company. Definitely not the typical bizdev type, much more down to earth and modest. Also he ran the Google wine club, that was a nice thing.
posted by Nelson at 8:55 AM on January 11, 2011


Smug prick.
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 9:08 AM on January 11, 2011


This is a nice story-- but in the context of 2011 vs. 1995 it struck me as unbelievably smug.

Listen, that's great that you were able to start your career with staggeringly good blind luck (For every CIO that takes a random call, I'm guaranteeing you 50 that would call the cops).

If anything, it struck me as something I call the 'Winner's Paradox'; I have a few close friends who have achieved unbelievable success. They tend to interpret their success as a testament to their optimal strategizing, when in fact, it was a solid dice roll.

E.g. MY #1 SECRETS OF SUCCESS, 100 % WILL WORK FOR EVERYONE

1. Be born in a family and situation that permits you to move to the hotbed of a new industry.
2. Apply for jobs randomly until you end up at a major industry player.
3. Work hard until you end up at one of the most successful start-ups in tech history.
4. Cash out your IPO stocks at age 29 and retire!
posted by mrdaneri at 9:24 AM on January 11, 2011


You guys are missing the meta-message: take business cues from street people. Our point-of-sale employees have found betterment through asking for spare change immediately after each transaction. Some will mumble "God bless" afterwards though we've found that only marginally more effective than snarling afterwards. A small cottage industry has sprung up in our fashion district offering "new, sanitarily soiled" garments with "authentic urine smell."

Sadly, livin' on the streets ain't no joke: I doubt our hero here has kicked a dime in kickback for the inspiration.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 10:05 AM on January 11, 2011


Being the only employee of your own business doesn't immediately put you above the poverty line.

His grandfather was an architect and dabbled in the stock market. I believe him that they may have had periods of poor cash flow. That doesn't take away his class privilege.
posted by serazin at 10:08 AM on January 11, 2011


Lessons from Metafilter: Sucess makes you a despicable piece of shit who should grovel for forgiveness.

Christ, what a pack of arseholes.
posted by rodgerd at 10:19 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sucess makes you a despicable piece of shit who should grovel for forgiveness.

Yes, that is exactly what we have said. You are good at accurately and dispassionately summarizing a conversation! Not even the slightest hint of a straw man argument!
posted by muddgirl at 10:33 AM on January 11, 2011


On a less-sarcastic note, many people seem to be confusing criticism of a blog post with criticism of the author or subject of a blog post. It's a common error to make.

The author of this blog post undeniably has unexamined class privilege that colors his writing. That doesn't make him a monster - just a regular old human being like the rest of us.
posted by muddgirl at 10:37 AM on January 11, 2011


Yes, that is exactly what we have said. You are good at accurately and dispassionately summarizing a conversation! Not even the slightest hint of a straw man argument!

'Douche.' 'Mr. Fancy Pants.' 'Smug prick.' Some conversation.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:38 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, Metafilter really hates successful rich people, huh?
posted by NeonSurge at 12:22 PM on January 11, 2011


"Mr. Fancy Pants" was clearly a HAMBURGER. I can explain the joke but I'm sure you get it.

I concede the other two, and point out that they were 2 comments out of 43, for an asshole ratio of 4.5%. That is incredibly low. I won't count up every comment, but there are more than four OMG YOU GUYS ARE HATERZ replies.
posted by muddgirl at 12:26 PM on January 11, 2011


Wow, Metafilter really hates successful rich people, huh?

I can't speak for metafilter, but I sure do.
posted by serazin at 12:36 PM on January 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Is it ok if I hate you all for a bit?

...

OK, done. Cheers.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:38 PM on January 11, 2011


This thread makes me like MetaFilter less. That makes me very sad.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 12:56 PM on January 11, 2011


I'm pretty sure he'd admit luck and the PhDs that created his fortune were almost as responsible for his wealth than him. But, yes, he was in the right place at the right point, He graduated college in '93 and had the ambition that played out well. The same kid, graduating in '06 doing the exact same stuff, exact same intelligence and hard work, exact same persistence has less of a chance. (Gladwell discusses as much in last writings). But, it's nice to know that out in Silicon Ivy League degrees and such are not going to simply open your doors. In the East, in Wall Street/Consulting/Law his resume gets him much less far, even if he skywrote it over Manhattan.
posted by skepticallypleased at 1:29 PM on January 11, 2011


Same kid graduating in 2006 might be working at Twitter or a mobile app developer, to name but two examples. There are always opportunities for the determined seeker. Luck is part of it but so is a willingness to take chances.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:54 PM on January 11, 2011


Wow, all the hate, pretty disappointing.

I offer this quote from Human Motivation by David C. McClelland which will probably just fan the flames, but may also give some folks pause to think.

"Research on causal attribution linked up with motivational theory when it was discovered that people with a strong or weak achievement motive gave different explanations for success and failure. Weiner (1980a) concluded that those high in achievement attributed success to ability and effort and failure to bad luck or lack of effort (see also W. U. Meyer, 1973). Those low in achievement (or high in failure) perceived success as due to luck and failure as due to lack of ability."
posted by Long Way To Go at 2:42 PM on January 11, 2011


It is a common tactic to divert discussions about institutional barriers to success towards a discussion about individual barriers to success.
posted by muddgirl at 2:52 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


First, there isn't any discussion of institutional barriers taking place here; only a few vague assertions of class privilege, and the observation that some people have it worse than this fellow. I could have told you that myself, having a rich variety of negative experience to draw on from my own life.

Second, the FPP is a blog post about overcoming individual barriers to success, so I'm not sure why you're complaining about tactics and diversions, as if you were the head of the thread steering committee. You don't have to praise the guy or gloss over the fact that many people do not have access to the same opportunities, but spare us the pretense that there was any kind of substantive examination of institutional inequality going on here before this offensively rich hipster showed up to ruin everything.
posted by anigbrowl at 4:39 PM on January 11, 2011


'Douche.' 'Mr. Fancy Pants.' 'Smug prick.' Some conversation.

I'm sorry I made fun of the itty bitty rich man's pants.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 6:58 PM on January 11, 2011


Sorry, but I read it as "here's my Pursuit of Happyness story, except I wasn't destitute and had never been destitute, despite me telling you how hard my life was, but hey, look... I'm retired aged 32. And if you start dabbling in the stock market at 15 and then luckily land a job in an up-and-coming industry, maybe you can be retired at 32 as well!".

Show me someone who can play on the stock market at 15, and I'll show you a privileged kid who has never had to boil home-brand pasta and then grate home-brand cheese over it for dinner.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 5:35 AM on January 12, 2011


Unless this man lived in a shoe box in the middle of the road, I will not listen to his cries of childhood poverty.
posted by Myeral at 6:18 AM on January 12, 2011


Started playing the stock market when he was 15, but claims "poverty background"? Retired at 32 on stock market cash but "at no point did I ever compromise my integrity"? I feel slightly ill
posted by yoHighness at 9:18 AM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why does this article continue to guile days after I saw it? I've been thinking about it every day. It seems a microcosm of all that is failing in our society:

Born into privilege of class, race and gender, man who's vague job description is "adding value" is gifted with the largely random luck of getting hired somewhere that was destined to be enormously successful. He makes no particular claim that his work contributed to that success. His greatest pride in life is that the company went public, making him unspeakably wealthy at a time when the bottom is falling out for the American middle class (to say nothing of our growing poor).

As if we needed any more proof: we can't wait around for the clueless privileged to make this world more fair.
posted by serazin at 10:07 AM on January 12, 2011


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