10 February, 2005

Interned at IBM, Resigned from M$, Fired from Google:

Mark Jen, a blogger whose candid comments about life on the job at Google sparked controversy last month, has left the company. "Mark is no longer an employee at Google," a Google representative said in response to an inquiry Tuesday.

Excerpts from his blog.. that is some of the critical comments made by Jen at his new employer-google:
  • Microsoft's health care benefits shame Google's relatively meager offering....

  • Google demands employees that are 90th percentile material, so what's with the 50th percentile compensation? The packages would've been decent when the company was pre-IPO, but let's be honest here... a stock option with a strike price of $188 just doesn't have the same value as the ones of yesteryear.

The posts are now gone, apparently pulled shortly after Google Blogoscope spotted the blog. Jen's past blog during his Microsoft time is here. The Google cached copy of the site is gone - taken out manually by Google? It's odd. It has been up long enough that you'd expect it to have been indexed. Instead, not a page at all from the site is showing as present.
  • I had a bunch of liquid capital in my checking account last time i checked, and now all of a sudden i have nothing....i realized the root problem was that google's relocation process requires the employee to pay all the expenses up front and then get reimbursed for them later....on the plus side, this first paycheck is going to be huge

  • The "benefits" package at google. as i thought about it, i realized that most of the "benefits" actually seem to be thinly veiled timesavers to keep you at work...if you think about the fact that the employee now probably only takes a half hour lunch break and also stays late working, the company actually realizes far more than an $8 gain in employee output. not to mention that most people think this is a great "benefit" and google gets a ton of positive press on it. in short, this "benefit" is designed benefit the company, not the employee.

  • Then look at all these other fringe "benefits": on-site doctor, on-site dentist, on-site car washes... the list goes on and on with one similarity: every "benefit" is on-site so you never leave work. i'm not going to say this isn't convenient for us employees, but between all these devices designed to make us stay at work, they might as well just have dorms on campus that all employees are required to live in.

And here are some Jen's comments on Microsoft...
  • before i left microsoft, i chatted with a lot of people and there was one theme that they always touched on: microsoft knows how to ship software, we know how to turn the crank. at the time i thought, yup you're right, microsoft has shipped many versions of windows, office, visual studio... the list goes on and on. for the past 15 years, microsoft has been a software shipping machine and it has become very good at it. my friends at microsoft argued for me to stay so i could absorb this knowledge and learn the "the microsoft way".

    but i figured something didn't seem right. in the past few years, everyone's seen microsoft's software shipping machine start to break down - schedules have been slipping, features are getting scaled back and there's the need for a huge patching infrastructure. the system isn't working as well anymore and despite the billg's internet memo years ago, the microsoft machine hasn't reinvented itself at all.

  • i remember when i was at microsoft, i'd propose trying new engineering practices: pair programming, unit-test driven development, iterative development. these ideas were shot down quickly and the response was always, "we've been developing software like this for 20 years and look at where we are. $50 billion in the bank, dominance in multiple markets... we're one of the most successful businesses in all of history. why would we change the way we make our bread and butter?"

    contrast that to google, where reinvention is almost in its blood. there's no remorse about throwing away dead code; people work however they feel makes them most productive; and now, another critical part is here: there's a product management core that can help harness that creativity and productivity into products the world loves to use.

Bloglines reproduces all the posts that were on the original site here. Apparently, the blog sent out the full-text of posts in its feed, causing this to happen.

Sources: News.com, Google Blogoscoped, SearchEngineWatch and friend Pradeep for sharing the news.

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