Douwe Osinga's Blog: Greetings from a small island

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Greetings from a small island

Life at Google is to some extent like being on a tropical island. There has been a huge storm, the dot-com bubble bust and left and right people wash up on the beach from their respective ship wrecks. They’re good people, only the best swimmers make it to the island and they have experience – Microsoft hires out of school, Google hires people that have something to show for. You sit down at lunch and here’s this guy that worked for Sun when Sun was still a hot start-up. There’s another guy who worked for four start-ups, all gone belly-up now. Other people were not in a ship wreck, but jumped overboard voluntarily, people from Oracle fed up with the bureaucracy or people from Microsoft, fed up with, you know, being from Microsoft.


Google has been the hottest thing in the valley for quite some time now and it is an amazing place to work – a bit like Sun twenty years ago, or Netscape ten. It just goes to show that around here you don’t really work for a company, but you work in Silicon Valley – which is partly why it works. In the Netherlands, they make you sign a non-competition agreement for any job of any importance. You can’t work for the competition, can’t start your own company in the same area, in the same business, that kind a thing. Now, Google is very secretive and we have complicated contracts, but that we don’t have. If I want to work for Microsoft tomorrow, that is fine (as long as it is fine with Microsoft) and if I think I can do a better job on my own, I can start my own company – hell, that is how Silicon Valley made it big.


Anyway, the islands isn’t full and if you think you’d make a good Googler, drop me a line. Google is always looking for smart and motivated people.