David Mandl on Sun, 16 Dec 2007 19:13:17 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Internalisation @ Google

On Dec 15, 2007, at 9:30 AM, Patrice Riemens wrote:


> 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. After
> all, as everyone (should) know, socialism is for the Rich. (There is this
> lady at Google who came in as masseuse, to  destress the employees. Having
> cashed in her options, she's now millionaire,  thank you)

Hi Patrice--

I'd be careful about extrapolating any industry-wide trends from  
Google.  They're basically living in a dot-com bubble of their own.   
(I'm not making any predictions about whether or when it will burst,  
mind you.)  I don't think you'll find most of those extravagant perks  
at other companies.  The reason is simply that Google is so wildly  
profitable.  Anyone else treating their employees that way will go  
bust or at least be trammeled by more cost-conscious competitors.   
Most of them are a *bit* more aware of this since the dot-com bust.

Calling this "back to reason" is giving them way too much credit, I  
think.  It's simply a company doing everything they can to lure the  
most highly prized candidates, AND having the bottomless pockets to  
afford that.  If Google suddenly lost a ton of money next year  
(impossible!) the work environment would change pretty quickly.

Socialism for the rich almost never includes rank and file  
employees.  Even at a place like Google, where everyone gets yummy  
cafeteria food and is allowed to walk around in flip-flops, the  
serious handouts are going to go to the billionaires at the top.  The  
slight exception (just like at Microsoft twenty years ago) is those  
lucky few who got pre-IPO shares, like that masseuse (who was written  
up in a 90s-style piece in the Times a few weeks back--these are the  
Horatio Alger fairy tales of the twenty-first century).  Post-IPO,  
the financial incentive to join Google is pretty small.  That's  
probably the very reason for the lavish non-monetary perks.



Dave Mandl

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