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Googlers livin’ life on the edge

Posted by kiwiscanfly on May 26, 2007

clipped from

First, did you know that every employee has access to the source code? All of it? I don’t know of any other company of Google’s size that gives every employee access to every source code asset. For developers this is like being in the coolest sandbox in the world.

So, an employee could build a pretty darn interesting system on his/her 20% time and get buy in from the people involved. Say you wanted to build a Digg-like system for Google Reader? Well, you don’t need permission to build it. Just build it, then show it to the Google Reader team. If they like it, then they could turn it on.

Now, what if they don’t like it? Well, what, you gonna go outside and do that? No way. Google has lockin on interesting ideas that you could come up with. Forget the legal lockin too
My friends at Google are unhireable. Why? Cause they are happy and engaged in the mission of doing Google’s work. So, Cringley’s caution might turn out right long term. But not this year.
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I think that putting this much faith is the employees is part of what makes Google so nimble. Ideas aren’t set in stone, neither is code, so why treat it as such? If, for example, the Google reader team doesn’t like the idea, why not pitch the idea to the Google news team? Why not ask the reader team before you get started?

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