Om massefyringer hos Google

Google har netop fyret 12.000 af deres ansatte. Andy Walker, der har arbejdet en del år hos dem, deler sine tanker om det hele. Og han har mange fine pointer:

[The Dodge vs Ford Motor Company (1919)] ruling stands at the heart of the current situations being faced by companies like Google today. There are institional investors with the means to take them to court and these investors see Google as a company that is wasteful that they can extract more value from. I do not envy the people trying to navigate this. At its heart this is a problem about unrestrained capitalism.

When Google went public, Larry Page and Sergey Brin were aware of the risks posed by public ownership and went to a lot of effort to ensure they could maintain control over the company. They even attempted to set expectations as to how they wanted the company to operate in their Founders’ Letter to investors.

Der er sandsynligvis flere fyringer på vej, efter pres fra en hedgefond der er aktionær i virksomheden.

The way the company has gone about it, too, leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Finding out that you no longer have a job because you can’t log in any more (sometimes in cases where someone is on call for protecting your production systems) is no way to fire anyone. That’s like being in an abusive relationship with some kind of narcissistic sociopath.

Google’s leadership have done a stupid thing — mass firing — in stupid way. The problem they’re trying to solve is "how do we get rid of enough people to make investors happier?" and the outcome is "have 6% less people". Behaving like Elon Musk isn’t the sort of thing any empathetic leadership group should aspire to.

At the senior echelons of the company there aren’t enough VP jobs to go around for a group of highly motivated, ambitious and (increasingly) ruthless people. I’ve loitered around the edges of this world and a large part of my value was to insulate my teams from ever having to experience it.