Steve Yegge, an ex-Google employee of more than 13 years has left the company, and while such a news would hardly ever make a lot of headlines, his last words as he left the technological giant are certainly worth reading.
According to Yegge, who was a Senior Staff Software Engineer at Mountain View, among the chief reasons for his departure from the company is its transformation to a "100% competitor-focused" and not "customer-focused" entity that's no longer an inspiring place to work at.
This strategy on catching up and one-upping its rivals on the tech scene is quite possibly the biggest yet not sole reason why Yegge chose to part ways with the giant. Here are a couple other tipping points that also contributed:
"The main reason I left Google is that they can no longer innovate. They’ve pretty much lost that ability. [...] First, they’re conservative. [...] They are so focused on protecting what they’ve got, that they fear risk-taking and real innovation. Second, they are mired in politics. [...] Third, Google is arrogant. Google has the arrogance of the “we”, not the “I”. When a company is as dramatically successful as Google has been, the organization can become afflicted with a sense of invincibility and almost manifest destiny, which leads to tragic outcomes: complacency, not-invented-here syndrome, loss of touch with customers, poor strategic decision-making, " Yegge shared in a blog post on Medium.
However, Yegge still feels "Google is still one of the very best places to work on Earth, just about any way you care to measure it".
He continues by carefully explaining how most of Google's major product announcement in the past few years have been an answer to a competitor's advances and not a response to customer demand.
Google has been stuck in a "me-too" mode for far too long
Not quite surprisingly, Steve Yegge says Google has been stuck in a "me-too" mode for far too long, spewing a load of copycat products. For instance, he cites Google+ as a direct answer to Facebook, Google Cloud as a countermeasure against Amazon's Web Services, Allo was intended to counter WhatsApp, Android Instant Apps - Facebook and WeChat's advances in the field, and of course, Google Assistant to checkmate Apple's Siri and probably Amazon's Alexa.
"They simply don’t have innovation in their DNA any more. And it’s because their eyes are fixed on their competitors, not their customers."
Of course, not everything is black: Yegge gives credit where it's due and confesses that it will take the industry some time before it could appropriately answer to a few Google products like Cloud Spanner, BigQuery, TensorFlow, Waymo, and others. But in the end, Google became the bad guy in the story of Steve Yegge and is no longer "a very inspiring place to work"
. But it sounds like Google is not the only big tech company that has slowly gone this way: the software engineer describes Oracle, Twitter, Apple, eBay, Microsoft, Adobe, SalesForce, and all the big companies in the Silicon Valley "kinda meh"
That's totally not the first time Steve Yegge has positioned himself in the sights of Google. Back in 2011, he made a ton of headlines by 'accidentally' posting a long rant about Google's impotent Google+ strategy
which quickly gained virality, but somehow did not have him fired. He also used the opportunity to also take quite a few jabs at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and currently the richest person in the world, calling him the "Dread Pirate Bezos"
Google is slated to host its Google I/O dev-centric summit between May 8-10 and will most certainly reveal its current vision for 2018 software as Android 9.0 P will be demoed. While it's strictly a software event, there could potentially be some hardware announcements at I/O '18. You can read more about that right here
Do you agree with any of Steve Yegge's points? Do you feel Google is no longer innovative and merely copying its competitors? We'd love to hear from you in the comments section right below.