Naeem Mohaiemen on Sun, 16 Dec 2007 16:38:15 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Internalisation @ Google

Expanding on Patrice Riemens' comments about Google &
"internalization", dualism, socialism for the rich, etc, here is a
relevant excerpt from The Economist's Aug 30th cover story "Who's
Afraid of Google" [Sidebar article: "Inside the Googleplex"]-->

<<Its ability to get all these people has been a competitive weapon,
since Google can afford to hire talent pre-emptively, making it
unavailable to Microsoft and Yahoo!. Google tends to win talent wars
because its brand is sexier and its perks are fantastically lavish.
Googlers commute on discreet shuttle buses (equipped with wireless
broadband and running on biodiesel, naturally) to and from the head
office, or "Googleplex", which is a photogenic playground of lava
lamps, volleyball courts, swimming pools, free and good restaurants,
massage rooms and so forth.

Yet for some on the inside, it can look different. One former
executive, now suing Google over her treatment, says that the firm's
personnel department is "collapsing" and that "absolute chaos" reigns.
When she was hired, nobody knew when or where she was supposed to
work, and the balloons that all Nooglers get delivered to their desks
ended up God knows where. She started receiving detailed e-mails
"enforcing" Google's outward informality by reminding her that high
heels and jewellery were inappropriate. Before the corporate ski trip,
it was explained that "if you wear fur, they will kill you."

Google is a paradise only for some, she argues. Employees who predate
the IPO resemble aristocracy. Engineers get the most kudos, people
with other functions decidedly less so. Bright kids just out of
college tend to love it, because the Googleplex in effect replaces
their university campus—with a dating scene, a laundry service and no
reason to leave at weekends. Older Googlers with families tend to like
it less, because "everybody, even young mums, works seven days a

Another Xoogler, who held a senior position, says that by trying to
create a "Utopia" of untrammelled creativity, Google ended up with
"dystopia". As is its wont, Google has composed a rigorous algorithmic
approach to hiring, based on grade-point averages, college rankings
and endless logic puzzles on whiteboards. This "genetic engineering of
their workforce," he says, means that "everybody there is a rocket
scientist, so everybody is also insecure" and the back-stabbing and
politics are reminiscent of an average university's English

> From: "Patrice Riemens" <>
> So 'internalisation' is back in force, and that with the most 'edgy'
> branch of industry: IT. See all the 'campuses' maintained by the big
> players on both sides of the Ocean and up in India. One wonders how comes.
> Back to reason? Or simply another demonstration of the rampant dualism of
> our times.

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