Dumb crap Google says

Ah, now come on!

Creating technical evangelists is one thing. Not hiring someone because they are smart? Total BS. You think that smart person brings a number of followers with them (from a mindshare perspective)? Yeah, they do. This was just a stupid, arrogant thing to say. Yes people, Google thinks you are dumb.

Always hire the best. ALWAYS!

And as my grandpa used to say: “bullsh*t on that noise!”

Comments (9)

  1. Brad says:

    I think people are taking that quote a little out of context.  My interpretation of what Horowitz said is that these people provide more value to Google in their current positions than they would within Google.

  2. HeatherLeigh says:

    Nope, not taking it out of context. We understood the same thing. And it’s still ridiculous.

  3. jtenos says:

    Maybe it’s not always the smartest thing to hire the best people.  If you ensure that your subordinates are dumber than you are, then you pretty much guarantee that none of them will rise up and steal your job.

    But in this case, it would be hard to find someone dumber than this guy – you’re right, there’s no way this statement is believable.

  4. HeatherLeigh says:

    jtenos – Haha! A little paranoia is good, I guess?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hiring smart people just to hire them is trouble.  No doubt you want to hire smart people.  But personally, I want to hire them when I need them, not because I can.  Caveat: In the case of competitive strategy, hiring a smart person for the sake of hiring a smart person is reasonable, but those cases should be few and far between.

    Even when you need to fill a position, if someone is overqualified or a prima donna, as hard as it is, I would be apt to wait: they’ll end up bored, being an asshole, or otherwise upsetting your team.  There’s evidence to show that this translates to a direct loss in the bottom line.  And should they bring along their friends, your troubles as an employer may cascade.

    I suspect, just like any large company, nepotism and egos are a problem at Microsoft.  So, why perpetuate it?  Personally, I won’t hire a person that can’t work well with others or has an ego the size of Texas.  It’s not good for my team, it’s not good for the company, and it’s not good for me.

    But more importantly, I believe that building a relationship with someone instead of hiring them when they a) are a not necessarily needed for a position (unless for a strategic hire), or b) are so good that they may leave the company on a whim after a potentially substantial investment from your company, relationship building may actually be the best route for business.  

    In this way, not only do you have the opportunity to get to know the person better and open the door for a potential hire later on down the road, you have the opportunity to win an ally in an external organization.  Why does this matter?  In business, making your pie bigger is the name of the game.  

    Win an ally in another company, influence that company through your ally, form a strategic partnership with them, and make your pie bigger.  Help your ecosystem by hedging your hiring and hire the true fits.

    I strongly suspect it’s not a policy of Google’s not to hire smart people, it just sounds like they believe competition is not necessarily a bad thing.

  6. Amybeth Hale says:

    My guess: the smart person they’re trying to keep out there in the competitive ecosystem turned down their job offer. Sour grapes 🙂

  7. HeatherLeigh says:

    Anon- when it comes to smart hiring, a lot of what you said goes without saying (right person, right job, good fit, etc). But if all those things line up, saying that you choose to have them in the ecosystem INSTEAD of hiring them for that right job is silly.

    And please show me a great tech company without a culture driven by strong ego. I mean, really? You think Larry and Sergey don’t have big egos? Really?

    And if you are telling me that Google is leaving those strong potential hires out there because "competition is not necessarily a bad thing," I say put down the Google kool-aid, friend. Competition is good but the point is still to win.

    Amybeth – it does make you wonder if they are talking about something in particular. Or maybe just trying to bolster that "don’t do evil" stuff.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I think what I’m getting at is that exercising restraint in hiring is (perhaps) not such a bad thing.  If there is really a need and a fit, great. Hire them.  But needs at companies the size of Google and Microsoft are probably focused on heads to get well defined work done.  Why pay for the best, most notable candidate to do this, when you can have someone who may be just as smart and talented for much less long-term cost?  A true fit for certain smart people may be hard to justify a need for.  Those types are likely highly specialized and may demand care that your organization can’t offer.  So, why disenchant them?  Get to know them first.

    Ego isn’t anything but a byproduct of one’s perceived success and ability.  It may not mean much at your organization.  Driven, passionate, and ambitious people don’t necessarily have strong egos, and I’d rather work with someone that can exercise humility than demand to be right (because of their perceived self-worth).  Surely ego exists in great corporations, but I know plenty of great leaders who have exercised immense amounts of humility. It’s not a prerequisite by any means and as I had mentioned before, may even be a detriment.

    So, if that smart egomanic is an excellent candidate but may be better to work with at a distance (so ad to not have to support their "needs"), you can avoid interference with business objectives, continue to evaluate them, influence their work to your benefit, and maybe hire them down the road when you can actually manage them.  Their competition might drive your company to do better the way you do it, thereby potentionally retaining efficiency and retaining the opportunity to make that pie bigger.  Additionally, by maintaining relationships with the smart folks in the community, you keep your finger on "the pulse" instead of isolating that talent with the way things are done at your company.  If and when that true need and fit opens, they might be able to contribute much more.  I guess it depends on what your definitioning of winning is.

    I’m not drinking anyone’s Kool Aid.  I just find the thought interesting.        

  9. HeatherLeigh says:

    There are many reasons that you would or would not hire someone. That’s part of the interview/hiring process. But not hiring someone simply because it is "better to have them in the ecosystem", all these other factors notwithstanding, is another thing entirely.