Wednesday, August 28, 2013

So long, Google!

[Approximate Reading Time: 2 minutes]
[Mood: Contemplative]

I left my long-time employer this week (5 years is a long time in Silicon Valley). If there's one thing I'm glad I learned at Google, it's to think big, really BIG. When I first started there in 2008, one of the founders pointed out "speeding up the Internet" as a way to make more of the already sizable moolah the company rakes in every year. That left me wondering. There I was stepping into this different world with a truly different scale of imagination. My 2 years at a 15-person start-up didn't prepare me for what I was to discover at Google. Speeding up the Internet for everyone means more profits for Google because Google is such a big part of that Internet. Users tend to do more activity when pages load faster. When that activity includes clicking on the ads Google places everywhere on the web, it makes sense. It took me a while to come to terms with this scale of thought and vision. In the ensuing years, I came across many more such examples of truly fantastic thinking.

So, thank you for teaching me how to think BIG, Google!

I do want to sound a note of caution here. I will get into this more in my next post but for now, let me just say that envisioning ever more fantastic technological outcomes, sometimes referred to as "moonshot" thinking, has become too much of a good thing at Google and other companies whose economic advantage hinges upon their technical advantage. This is, of course, my personal opinion and I would be lucky to get just a handful of folks to concur with me when I say that while some technological adventures have turned out to be quite profitable for firms, the state and other entities, their general effect on the larger world have been truly disastrous. More to come on this but for now, I just wanted to take a a few minutes to get back to writing a bit after a long hiatus!

The farewell letter that I did not send :)

From: Satish
To: Google
Subject: It's me, not you!
Dear Google, 
We met almost 5 years ago. I had heard of you before then. You were a celebrity of sorts and everyone liked you. 
We had a good relationship. But sometimes we grow out of our relationships. And with that in mind, 5 years to the day, I take leave of you. I'd like to tell you that I grew as disillusioned of you as you grew doubtful of me. 
You taught me several things I couldn't have even dreamed of before I met you. You thought big and I learned to think big too. Your courses in mindfulness expanded my heart. 
You fed me and pampered me. You took me to Christmas parties and Summer parties. You gave me birthday presents and holiday presents. You gave me rides on your luxury buses and let me use your electric cars. 
But over time, I realized what you were about. I could no longer relate to you. It's time to part ways.
Goodbye, sugar momma!