Google Named Fortune’s Best Place To Work, But Rich Early Employees Checking Out

Google — officially the best place to work. So says the latest survey from Fortune. But then again, Google’s got to keep the standards high as pre-IPO employees leave. A San Francisco Chronicle article also out covers how one-third of Google’s first 300 employees have gone, along with some comments on the culture getting more conservative. And to cap things off, those rich Googlers once again mean tax dollars for California.

Fortune’s gone to town on Google, given that it was ranked first in the "100 Best Companies To Work For 2007" list. From Fortune, we get:

  • Overview Page: Nice snapshot of total number of employees, job growth, benefits, workforce profile and more.
  • Life inside Google: Our readers have heard this all before. You get free food. You can play games. You can have your dog at work (but not your cat).
  • The perks of being a Googler: Basically, the "Life" article above already read like a list of perks, but this gives you even more of them. Free shuttles to work. Haircuts. Gyms. Laundry. Internal Google breeding program to match you with the right partner and produce little Googlets. OK, I made the last part up.
  • Why Google is No. 1: It’s a video of happy life at Google.
  • Can you pass the Google test?: Actually, see if you can answer all the trivia you learned from reading the articles above.

Google might be great, but if you were pre-IPO, all that cash might make you think there’s life beyond the Big G. O Googlers, where art thou? from the San Francisco Chronicle covers how 100 of Google’s first 300 workers have gone. Some of those comment in the story on life after Google. Three of them comment on Google feeling less Googlish:

Former Google chef Charlie Ayers:

But as Google grew, the spontaneity evolved into a bureaucracy of budgets and organizational charts that highlighted the chasm between executives and foot soldiers, he said.

"I could see the tides were turning," recalled Ayers. "There were more suits starting to fill the hallways."

From Will Whitted:

Google, where he worked for five years in electrical engineering, is a distant memory. His decision to leave came soon after his diagnosis with lymphoma, although he added that "people had stopped listening to me" anyway.

"I loved it and hated it," Whitted said of his time there.

Whitted, who helped design several generations of Google’s servers, said the company was increasingly bogged down by its size. Conservatism was creeping in.

From Ron Dolin:

In the early days, the ideas of every employee were considered important. Anyone could chime in about a new product’s design and be taken seriously.

Over time, Google’s democracy faded, he said. The feeling of ownership among employees, a natural when a company has 100 workers, was nearly impossible to maintain after the workforce grew into the thousands.

"The culture can leak a bit," Dolin said.

Finally, Google means gold for Golden State from the Associated Press updates a story we’ve heard in past years, how Googlers selling shares are making California rich. Last year, 16 Googlers sold shares that generated nearly half-a-billion in tax revenue, $380 million, to be exact. Half of that came from Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. I love this quote:

"On behalf of a grateful state, I’ll be happy to wash their windows or mow their lawn," said H.D. Palmer, spokesman for California’s Department of Finance.

By 2008, Googler sales might total $1 billion in tax revenues for the state, one full percent of the annual general fund budget.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Employees


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • Scott Clark

    Nice video on CNN today about Google…Melissa Meyer is on there.


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