Google’s Internal Google+ Critic Calls Post “Great-Granddaddy of all Reply-All Screwups in Tech History”
Earlier this month, Google software engineer Steve Yegge wrote a long post on Google+, which he meant to share internally, with Google employees, but accidentally shared it publicly before deleting it. A few people saw the post and were able to capture it before it was deleted, and then it got a whole lot of attention in the tech industry.
While there was much more to the post, including plenty of praise for Google, he did say some scathing things about Google+ and its platform, most notably that “Google+ is a knee-jerk reaction, a study in short-term thinking, predicated on the incorrect notion that Facebook is successful because they built a great product,” and “Our Google+ team took a look at the aftermarket and said: “Gosh, it looks like we need some games. Let’s go contract someone to, um, write some games for us.” Do you begin to see how incredibly wrong that thinking is now? The problem is that we are trying to predict what people want and deliver it for them.”
Such a message may have been accepted internally, as it was intended, but it’s probably not the message the PR team wanted out there. Either way, the post ended up receiving quite a bit of praise throughout the tech community.
Yegge said in a later post, “As you can imagine this has been a pretty stressful week for me. But it hasn’t been all bad. On Thursday I was given an honorary Darwin Award, and on Friday they crowned me Miss South Carolina.”
Now, he’s put up another one talking about it. It says:
Last week I accidentally posted an internal rant about service platforms to my public Google+ account (i.e. this one). It somehow went viral, which is nothing short of stupefying given that it was a massive Wall of Text. The whole thing still feels surreal.
Amazingly, nothing bad happened to me at Google. Everyone just laughed at me a lot, all the way up to the top, for having committed what must be the great-granddaddy of all Reply-All screwups in tech history.
But they also listened, which is super cool. I probably shouldn’t talk much about it, but they’re already figuring out how to deal with some of the issues I raised. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, though. When I claimed in my internal post that “Google does everything right”, I meant it. When they’re faced with any problem at all, whether it’s technical or organizational or cultural, they set out to solve it in a first-class way.
Again, there’s much more to the post. He goes on to talk about Amazon and Jeff Bezos.