Well, it’s finally here. Friday will be my last day as a Google employee. I’ll have to turn in my badge, turn in my laptop, and turn in my gun. Just kidding about that last part. The guns are only reserved for people who work out in the gym.
Leaving Google will be difficult. The benefits of the company are really great. What other company gives its employees haircuts, massages, and three meals a day? But what I’ll miss most are the wonderful people I’ve worked with. It sounds sappy, but Google people are really great people. If you don’t have values, you don’t last long at Google. My closest friends at Google have all been fantastic.
In a blink of an eye, five years have gone by. A few months ago when my webhost suddenly went haywire and I was forced to reinstall this blog, a bunch of my posts from 2006 started surfacing. My friend Ryan pointed them out to me because they showed up in his Google Reader. In 2006, I was a senior at UCLA, frantically deciding between a future as a teacher, a lawyer, or a Googler. Meanwhile, I had the daunting prospect of juggling a career in tech with a long distance relationship. Needless to say, I was very stressed out.
This time around, I feel a little more at peace. I have my housing at Berkeley figured out already. I’m living in the Manville Apartments in Downtown. A year ago, I helped Winnie move in to the apartments. Now, it’s my turn. Everything feels familiar. That’s not to say I’m inherently conservative and hate to take risks. But during times of transition, I like finding some stability amidst the chaos.
In my goodbye email to my colleagues, I mentioned that my having worked for one company in five years is rare in Silicon Valley. But due to the fast paced environment of Google, it felt like I had worked for five different companies. The VP of my organization wrote me back and said that she agreed with my assessment.
Organizations change over time. But at Google, things move so fast that if you take two weeks off work, you get left behind.
Probably the biggest change during my Google career was when the old VP of my organization (Sheryl Sandberg) went to Facebook to become its new COO. As internal leadership was reorganized, my job very quickly evolved from simple games consulting and operations to hard ad sales.
When asked what’s the most important thing I learned while at Google, I always tell them that even large businesses are malleable if led by the right people. Small startups are known to be agile. But for a large company like Google to continually reinvent itself, I can’t help but be impressed.
As for my other lessons? Well, here are three:
1. You could have the greatest product in the world, but nobody will accept your deal if they don’t like you. On a sales call, you are selling yourself.
2. The better dressed you are, the more people will listen to what you have to say. If you speak with confidence, even the implausible sounds plausible.
3. Every client wants cost savings, quality work, and quick implementation. But you can only have two at most.
In these last few days, I’m going to eat as much Google cafe food as I can possibly bear. This is my Mardi Gras before lent. Once school starts, I’ll be studying and networking non-stop. I won’t have the luxury of having a chef prepare my meals.
As for this blog… I guess it will have to be reinvented as well. There will be less talk about games and more talk about my experience in business school.