People drank the kool-aid mostly because it was green and made of paper
October 15, 2018 3:34 PM   Subscribe

This post was deleted for the following reason: Sorry for the delayed deleted - we just had a thread about Google+, and maybe these tweets would get a reception there that's about something other than this guy personally? -- LobsterMitten



 
I'm willing to believe that Google had toxically dysfunctional office politics, but this guy also comes across like a colossal jerk and it's been instructive watching him set his professional reputation on fire. (Don't miss the part where he fesses up to misusing corporate funds and then realizes later that that's not the best idea.)
posted by asterix at 3:38 PM on October 15, 2018 [12 favorites]


Designer who thinks the sun shines out of his every orifice and fails attempt to steamroll everyone around him fails upward. Film at 11, I guess.

This massive self-congratulating thread could've been whittled down to just one noteworthy tweet: bonus multipliers to groups who shoehorned Google+ into their work. The rest is just bloviating.
posted by tclark at 3:45 PM on October 15, 2018 [6 favorites]


Google had toxically dysfunctional office politics

So Google around then was a pretty big company that was also fairly silo'ed - from their 2012 annual report: "Our full-time employee headcount was 32,467 at December 31, 2011 and 53,861 at December 31, 2012"

So a) they hired over 20,000 employees in a single year. Ever worked at a company that employed 20,000 people? Google created that in a single year. Which is totally nuts. Like, off the scale nuts. That's 385 people being onboarded every Monday all year long, not even including interns and temp employees.

b) Groups are all really different. The G+ group does not sound like it was very good. Other groups in the company were completely different.

this guy also comes across like a colossal jerk

I've read other people saying this and I don't see it. He seems pretty mad about the shit time he had at Google and I don't really blame him. But these stories are always one-sided and everyone is always the hero of their own narrative, so I don't know what else to expect. As he says himself, Google hires a shitload of competent, hard-working people and you can be amazing there and not really succeed because the bar is set pretty high.
posted by GuyZero at 3:48 PM on October 15, 2018


Also was sorta on this guy's side until the tweet that hypes his new startup. Like, can there be nothing that's just not an ad?
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 3:56 PM on October 15, 2018 [4 favorites]


Comes off like a jerk to me, and way too self centered or at least the way he narrates it. Might also be because google seems to me like an engineering centered company (all their interfaces are kinda ugly and semi disfunctional) not a design oriented one so the fit probably wasn't there.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 3:57 PM on October 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


How Is he being a colossal jerk? He's 3 jobs and 6 years years out of Google and waited on this until after Google announced it was shutting Google+ down. He's writing under his own name and giving the people he's complaining about pseudonyms. Can't he be frank about his experiences?
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 4:09 PM on October 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


...Can't he be frank about his experiences?

Sure, as long as he lets Ricky Gervais play him in the movie!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 4:12 PM on October 15, 2018


I think the "colossal jerk" is just in his tone and demeanor within the narrative. He definitely has a lot of self-confidence, and the shout-out to his new product was a little tasteless. It's not hard to read between the lines of his version of events and see "tried to steamroll everyone" as tclark did above. I feel that's where the general perception of him as a "jerk" is coming from.
posted by Scattercat at 4:13 PM on October 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


former lead designer on Google+

I don't think he was a lead designer, no? Most of the thread is about his resentment at being hired as a junior.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:17 PM on October 15, 2018


He does come across as a bit entitled, but there's more there than just the bonuses, by a lot. Google paints itself as being all the best-of-the-best, but he gives a lot of relevant details about how the work there wasn't actually that organized. How apparently being the cream of the crop doesn't mean you make any effort to have teams actually coordinate to create a cohesive product. The G+ people were getting special perks that the rest of the company didn't get, for... producing a product almost nobody ever really liked or used. They weren't asking what the users wanted, at basically any step of this process. And then Google more broadly made unfair pay offers based on past compensation, which hurt him a little but probably hurt a lot of URMs a hell of a lot more. Abusive people were tolerated or even celebrated, again something that would have disproportionately hurt URMs.

So yeah, there's a lot there that was genuinely wrong, and he seems at least somewhat aware that he got a pretty soft landing out of all of it, and that the consequences for him talking about this will be less than for some. I do think mentioning the startup stuff was a bit off, but the details about his life after Google do work to counteract the alternative interpretation that he was just an awful designer and it's just sour grapes. He might be kind of a jerk, but he wouldn't have managed as well afterwards if he were just shitty at what he does.
posted by Sequence at 4:17 PM on October 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


"In the early evening I got a call from my dad. My grandmother’s health took a turn for the worst. They weren’t sure she’d make it past the evening.

I couldn’t grieve. I needed to make this happen. These two designers were beloved by Greg. I had to win them over or they’d screw everything up for me. Everything I’d worked for could come crashing down due to their pettiness."

I think a non-jerk would at least attempt to move A MEETING ABOUT ICONS in order to visit/call/grieve A DYING GRANDMOTHER.
posted by bassooner at 4:17 PM on October 15, 2018 [11 favorites]


This made me want to go back to driving pizza
posted by thelonius at 4:21 PM on October 15, 2018


The craziest thing about this team is that one of the most pivotal players was a...contractor. I was blown away when I found this out.

Dude was / is just incredibly naive. He came from a small, highly idealistic pond and got dumped in one of the biggest, most high-profile tech orgs in existence. Comes off as a One True Way type, not a good fit for Compromiseopolis.
posted by grumpybear69 at 4:22 PM on October 15, 2018 [4 favorites]


What the heck is a URM?
posted by floam at 4:26 PM on October 15, 2018


He might be kind of a jerk, but he wouldn't have managed as well afterwards if he were just shitty at what he does.

I'm sure he's a fine designer, but I can see he's good at playing the tech industry internet self-promotion game and that's a non-trivial factor here.
posted by hoyland at 4:26 PM on October 15, 2018


What the heck is a URM?

Hi, I'm an under-represented minority in tech myself, and this is the very definition of something you could have Googled instead of making me personally educate you.
posted by Sequence at 4:31 PM on October 15, 2018 [9 favorites]


Not sure why there have been a couple of noses wrinkled at his shout-out for his new product/company. This is Twitter, where every tweet is self-promotion even if it’s not intended to be and pointing people to your Soundcloud when a tweet blows up is customary.

Seconding that skipping a visit to your dying grandma to work on a deck about icons does not speak well of him.
posted by ejs at 4:33 PM on October 15, 2018


I suspect we've all worked with people like this; competent, even well-liked by some, but assholes to everyone who isn't "worth their time". Big opinions of their work and their contributions, some of it deserved, much of it not. Inventories of grievances and slights.

There are a lot of little people in this story who get punched down to.
posted by bonehead at 4:36 PM on October 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


He got to work with Andy Hertzfeld - there is that.
posted by parki at 4:37 PM on October 15, 2018


Ugh. He comes across as entitled and full of himself, yet incredibly naive and lacking in social skills and professionalism. As a woman in tech, I’ve had to put up with too many male colleagues like that to feel anything but annoyance.
posted by snownoid at 4:38 PM on October 15, 2018


It is pretty impressive that he didn't see that passive-aggressive meeting time and immediately say "Hey I know I told you to schedule a meeting, but I can't give you the icons you deserve without more prep time, how about this alternative time?" This goes double when you find out your Grandma is dying.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:38 PM on October 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


Seconding that skipping a visit to your dying grandma to work on a deck about icons does not speak well of him.

by his own admission, he made bad decisions. He was really new. He thought orientation was weird, which is really more about his naivety rather than orientation being objectively strange. He thought if he worked harder and did better work he'd magically float to the top. He had a bad approach to work/life balance. It strikes me as more rookie stuff than being a morally bad person.
posted by GuyZero at 4:39 PM on October 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure how Thread Reader missed the last tweet that must have gone "And all of the Googlers on my way out the door stood up and clapped."

I've met this dude. Not *this* particular dude, but still. The people who went out of their way to help him are fine by him, but everyone else is petty, incompetent, or both. Meanwhile he's just trying to work hard and make the best thing for everyone if they could only understand...

Call your grandmas, people.
posted by sysinfo at 4:39 PM on October 15, 2018 [6 favorites]


This is not the BOTW.
posted by allkindsoftime at 4:41 PM on October 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


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