Ex-Googler James Whittaker posted a longish explanation of why he left the company on his blog, lamenting what he sees as Google’s change from a tech company to an advertising business. Google, he says, has lost its way, forsaking innovation for a focus on catching up with Facebook. And that means…
The days of old Google hiring smart people and empowering them to invent the future was gone. The new Google knew beyond doubt what the future should look like. Employees had gotten it wrong and corporate intervention would set it right again.
It makes Google sound kind of IBM-ish. Perhaps because the company is in its mid-teens, Google’s voice is changing. Whatever’s going on, the whole Internet is trying to read between Whittaker’s lines.
Since Whittaker — now a development manager at Microsoft — is one of those people who apparently can move from one brand name to another, he’s always going to be the guy who bashes his former employer to the whole Web. (The fact he did it on a blog hosted by his current employer is a whole different, tacky kettle of fish.)
It’s never good form to bad mouth a previous employer when you’re talking to a new one, and it’s even worse to do it so publicly. That’s why I keep telling people not only to watch what they say in interviews, but to be careful about their blog posts, tweets and Facebook comments. Aside from the fact this kind of thing annoys your old colleagues, it gives future employers pause. Sour grapes don’t play well, and it doesn’t matter whether you left a company on good terms.
Whittaker’s post is getting Google the kind of attention it doesn’t want, especially in terms of recruitment. With so many tech companies chasing top-tier people, he’s launched a wave of speculation that the search giant’s not the cool, engineer-friendly place it once was. That’s going to make the job of many managers there more difficult, and that’s something they’re not likely to forget.