High School Science Club Management: In the Dark with Tweets

August 18, 2018

I read what I found to be a somewhat bittersweet description of today’s Google management trajectory. The article is worth your time and has the title “The Tweets That Stopped Google in Its Tracks.” I think this is the title. That in itself throws some water on the idea that a reader should know a title, the source, the date, and the author in that order. No more. Now it seems to be “provide your email address,” the title in smallish letters, the date, the title of the online publication in giant letter, and then the author. Yeah, disruptive.

The write up, despite its free form approach to the MLA and University of Chicago style suggestions, makes this point:

employees noticed that executives’ words were being transcribed in real time by the New York Times’ Kate Conger, who had a source inside [the Google company meeting].

The Google approach to this issue of leaking was interesting and definitely by the high school science club management handbook.

A Googler allegedly said:

#^!* you.


One senior Googler explained that Google’s creating a search engine custom crafted to meet Chinese guidelines was “exploratory.”

Allegedly one of the founders of Google was not in the loop on the Chinese search system designed to get Google a piece of the large Chinese online market. I circled this statement:

Brin said he had only recently become aware of Dragonfly. On one level, this would seem to strain credulity: Brin’s upbringing in the Soviet Union shaped his views on censorship and informed the company’s decision to exit the Chinese market in 2010. Launching an initiative to re-enter China without Brin’s express approval would seem to be a firing offense, even if Google is now a subsidiary of Alphabet and operating with less direct oversight. (Counterpoint: this is Sergey Brin we’re talking about! One of the world’s most eccentric billionaires. Yesterday he described Dragonfly as a “kerfuffle.” If you told me Brin had recently delegated all of his decision-making authority to a stack of pancakes, I would believe it.)

Let’s assume that these statements are accurate.

What I took from the information provided in the Get Revue write up was:

  1. The notion of appropriate behavior in a company meeting is different from what was expected of me when I worked at Halliburton Nuclear and Booz, Allen & Hamilton. Although my colleagues were smart, maybe Google quality, discourse was civilized.
  2. I cannot recall a time when I worked at these firms when information from a confidential company meeting was disseminated outside of the company as quickly as humanly possible. Neither Halliburton nor Booz, Allen was a utopia, but there was an understanding of what was acceptable and what was not with regard to company information.
  3. I cannot recall a time when my boss at Halliburton or my boss at Booz, Allen was “surprised” by a major activity kept from him. Both of my superiors made it part of their job to know what was going on via established communication meetings, formal and informal meetings, and by wandering around and asking people what occupied their attention at that time. Mr. Brin may be checking out or is in the process of being checked out.

I will have to hunt around for the revised edition of the High School Science Club Management Handbook. I am definitely out of touch with how business works when a company pays an individual to perform work identified by the company as important. Also, who is in charge? Maybe employees are? Maybe management has segregated managers to those in the know and those outside the fence?

Worth monitoring.

Stephen E Arnold, August 18, 2018


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