A Decision from the High School Science Club School of Management Excellence

January 11, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

I can’t resist writing about Inc. Magazine and its Google management articles. These are knee slappers for me. The write up causing me to chuckle is “Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, Says Laying Off 12,000 Workers Was the Worst Moment in the Company’s 25-Year History.” Zowie. A personnel decision coupled with late-night, anonymous termination notices — What’s not to like. What’s the “real” news write up have to say:

Google had to lay off 12,000 employees. That’s a lot of people who had been showing up to work, only to one day find out that they’re no longer getting a paycheck because the CEO made a bad bet, and they’re stuck paying for it.


“Well, that clever move worked when I was in my high school’s science club. Oh, well, I will create a word salad to distract from my decision making.Heh, heh, heh,” says the distinguished corporate leader to a “real” news publication’s writer. Thanks, MSFT Copilot Bing thing. Good enough.

I love the “had.”

The Inc. Magazine story continues:

Still, Pichai defends the layoffs as the right decision at the time, saying that the alternative would have been to put the company in a far worse position. “It became clear if we didn’t act, it would have been a worse decision down the line,” Pichai told employees. “It would have been a major overhang on the company. I think it would have made it very difficult in a year like this with such a big shift in the world to create the capacity to invest in areas.”

And Inc Magazine actually criticizes the Google! I noted:

To be clear, what Pichai is saying is that Google decided to spend money to hire employees that it later realized it needed to invest elsewhere. That’s a failure of management to plan and deliver on the right strategy. It’s an admission that the company’s top executives made a mistake, without actually acknowledging or apologizing for it.

From my point of view, let’s focus on the word “worst.” Are there other Google management decisions which might be considered in evaluating the Inc. Magazine and Sundar Pichai’s “worst.” Yep, I have a couple of items:

  1. A lawyer making babies in the Google legal department
  2. A Google VP dying with a contract worker on the Googler’s yacht as a result of an alleged substance subject to DEA scrutiny
  3. A Googler fond of being a glasshole giving up a wife and causing a soul mate to attempt suicide
  4. Firing Dr. Timnit Gebru and kicking off the stochastic parrot thing
  5. The presentation after Microsoft announced its ChatGPT initiative and the knee jerk Red Alert
  6. Proliferating duplicative products
  7. Sunsetting services with little or no notice
  8. The Google Map / Waze thing
  9. The messy Google Brain Deep Mind shebang
  10. The Googler who thought the Google AI was alive.

Wow, I am tired mentally.

But the reality is that I am not sure if anyone in Google management is particularly connected to the problems, issues, and challenges of losing a job in the midst of a Foosball game. But that’s the Google. High school science club management delivers outstanding decisions. I was in my high school science club, and I know the fine decision making our members made. One of those cost the life of one of our brightest stars. Stars make bad decisions, chatter, and leave some behind.

Stephen E Arnold, January 11, 2024


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