Thursday, February 4, 2010

Google Engineering Management Week

A rare privilege today, to talk at Google's author series for the engineering teams and managers. Kepler's supported the event, selling a dozen or more books on site. Probably a hundred attendees, plus others in separate 'beamed-in' rooms. The theme I used was "relevance to today"

I began with the New York Times quote this morning from ex Microsoft VP Dick Blass, where he posed the question of why Microsoft is 'killing innovation'. It was a compelling article, easy to lay alongside the sad spectacle of the Presidential Commission on Competitiveness, and say "what the hell is going on in our boardrooms and at the top of our companies?"

Then posing the three issues we see at Media X -- collaboration, participation, and complexity -- I outlined how Media X comes at those questions, and then suggested that the book is a direct outgrowth of such inquiry. From there it was a simple and fun task to select a couple of projects as examples.

A key thing -- easy to do -- was to correlate Google practices today with the "old HP", especially with respect to "Citizenship" and "Employee Dignity". Another statement that resonated was about the satisfaction / happiness factor for employees. How many stay late at night, because they love what they're doing rather than fearful about losing their job?

Stimulating questions -- lots around HP Culture and its modification since 2000; some around the apparent success of HP in the last decade on Rev/Profit/Growth, with much higher feeling of pressure or worse. I left, feeling enormously energized by the teams at Google -- this is a very talented, very dedicated, very confident group!

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