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Learnings from my experience at Google

7 May 2008 20 Comments

Well, Its almost 2 years since I joined Google. This was my first job out of Campus.. To be honest, it is a super duper place to work.. Amazing environment with really really smart people.. Had my own share of happy/sad/successful/painful/learning/… moments at Google..

During my last 2 years, I learnt a lot of things… Really really lot!! I learnt some of these things by making mistakes.. I learnt a few things from others.. But at the end of the day, I am happpy that I had an invaluable experience @ Google.. I thought I could share some of my learnings, so that you dont have to learn it the HARD way!!

These are my learnings..

* Two things motivate people to work.. Its either PASSION or INCENTIVE..Example of an incentive is things like promotion, salary, perks etc.. I cant give examples for PASSION.. One should feel it! πŸ™‚ Its the fire.. the extra energy that comes when one does what he loves.. I mean.. really really LOVE.. Feel the FIRE to understand it.

* A lot of times, people dont realize their PASSION. People only know what they dont like… It takes time and conscious effort to find out one’s passion.

* If one works only for incentives.. When there is a set back/rough period, one will really be down and depressed! There will be a feeling that one is wasting his INVALUABLE POTENTIAL by working for SOMEONE ELSE. But if one works on/with what one is passionate about, A difficult stage becomes an opportunity to learn and excel..

* When it comes to choosing job offers, there are 3 important things which one must keep in mind.. Career – Compensation – Company culture. The order can be any, but all three are important.. Most of time, especially in college, we only bother about Compensation.. The other two are equally important as well.

* At some level, money will no longer be important.. I am sure a lot will disagree.. But thats the plain fact! As one starts earning more, the focus will shift to career opportunities and company culture lot more than just the marginal increase in salary.

* The first person who leads you has a lot of influence on you.. This could be your mentor/team lead/manager/tech lead or whatever fancy name you give this person.. JUST BE AWARE OF IT.. These guys could be great and might have positive impact on you… sometimes they might have negative impact on your personality.. JUST BE CONSCIOUS about this… You need not replicate/emulate your *LEAD*

* When at work, there can be relationships beyond colleagues.. I mean.. make friends.. A lot of people tend to be very formal.. Its probably worth breaking this a bit.. Hang out with colleagues for NON WORK reason.. Its a lot of fun.

* Another thing, which I learnt is.. Whenever an incentive is given too regularly, it loses its value.. If you keep getting T shirts, it loses its SPECIAL status.. It is for this reason, after a while, monthly salary is not going to be SPECIAL..

* I realized that the responsibility is on the individual to take initiatives.. There will no longer be any spoon feeding.. There are exciting people out there.. Interact with them.. Learn from them.. Teach them.. Show them your learnings.. Show them your accomplishments and appreciate theirs.. The onus is on each individual.. If you observe closely, you will get lots of amazing people who can be role models in one thing or the other.. Let me tell you.. you dont have to search for Gandhis or Narayan Moorthys or Premjis for role models.. You will get a lot in your work place..

* Infact, I really really want to emulate Sreeram in the way he teaches others, the way he learns and keeps himself updated.. There is this Vidhya in Orkut team.. Just amazing person like Sreeram.. She takes so many initiatives.. There is apurv.. Amazing Amazing guy.. He is just super aggresive.. He doesnt like things to be WAITING or IDLE.. I really appreciate it.. The ONUS IS ON ME to follow some traits from people like these.. And in fact, become one such person.. so that others can follow me..

* One thing I very badly repent in my 2 years at work.. I never became an expert in something.. Its great to get your work done.. But its even greater when your knowledge helps others accomplish goals.. I have learnt a lesson here.. I will be expert in alteast one area.. Infact, I dont want be just a company level expert.. I want to be an Industry Level Expert.. And I will keep updating my skills regularly.. Its very very important..

* There was one thing I have been good at along, which I would like to continue further down.. I enjoy prototyping.. And prototyping is very very important.. For one simple reason, there will be people out there.. whose only work is to criticize whatever you say!
This prototyping will stop people from giving “random gyaan”.. They will give more focussed comments.. Trust me.. Interactions with people after having a prototype is so so awesome.. You will get invaluable suggestions.

* This also reminds something which I couldnt digest for months.. Actually IT IS VERY DIFFICULT to come up with new ideas which are reasonably useful.. Each individual can think that he has 2000 or may be even 2 Million ideas.. But if you start discussing deeply.. you will realize that most of these will get shot down right away!! And a really good idea can also be lost in the mess! So.. its better to prototype any non-trivial ideas… A lot of ideas rarely succeed but some ideas which manage to.. eventually end up having huge impact.. So, its worth the effort of prototyping.

* One must come of out of the kids world – where you BELIEVE your efforts always have results.. You will realize that it is not true.. and Life is unfair.. And at times, it can be very bad as well.. Accept this.. Remember that there will be people whose decisions (knowingly, unknowingly, carelessly, carefully, whatever..) can affect your life for Good or Bad! Accept this and you will be really happy in this big world!

* Work very hard and work passionately.. Love your work even if you cant work on what you love… Trust me.. You will suddenly see that your productivity has increased.. You will start making meaningful contribution..

* After working with really really talented people.. Amazing guys trust me.. A melting pot of talent.. I realized one thing.. TALENT DOESNT MATTER.. Yes!! What matters most is one’s passion and attitude.. Googlers work with great attitude.. The right attitude will take a person a long way..

With these learnings, I step back into the academic world at IIM B! When I come back to this Corporate World – I am sure it wont be back to square 1. Thank you Google for this invaluable experience.




  • balaji said:

    Very nice post da.
    It seems, in yesterday’s introduction for the Interns, your blog was mentioned in the “List Of Things To Read Before Starting Coding”. Maybe that will explain the sudden increase in your pageviews…

  • Karthik said:

    Nice one da… Somehow, I felt great reading it.
    I would especially agree with few of your points- about passion, how difficult is it to come up with new ideas, how your first mentor is important, etc.
    True, life is unfair, but having the right attitude helps. πŸ™‚

  • Pradeep said:

    True.. Very much..
    Doing what you like and what you are passionate about definitely gives you the satisfaction at the end of the day that a small hike in salary wont give..

  • Prashant said:

    Thanks for sharing the learnings Sundar…True, corporate life teach us many lessons as we can ,as long as we are willing to…

  • AB said:

    good1 dude!! nicely put!!

  • shriram said:

    hey sundar…nice to read that…..what you say is really thought provoking…though I have never as yet worked…i will remember this some day:)

  • Sundar Rajan G S (author) said:

    @ balaji..
    Thanks da.. I didnt knw about it.. Great news da! πŸ™‚

    @karthik, pradeep, prashant, AB… thanks..

    @shriram.. I am sure it will come in handy πŸ™‚

  • Abhijeet from Jeet Blog said:

    Hey Sundar, nice post. Just came across. And you will be the second Google employee whose blog I am gonna add to my GReader (whose the first one?..ya you guessed it right…Matt Cutts )

    Although Google has been really pissing me off since the last few days (check this: http://www.dailyblogtips.com/google-indexing-scrapers-first/ and also check my comment on this post ) , but I have no offence with Google employees. πŸ™‚

  • Roshini said:

    Nice Post !
    You should use an Indian social bookmarking widget like PrachaarThis to let your users easily bookmark your blog posts on Indian social bookmarking websites.

  • Varun S said:

    great post! loved it.

  • Sundar Rajan G S (author) said:

    @ varun, abhi, roshini


  • Shiva said:

    Very good post, sundar. i was able to relate to it at some level and learnt a lot from it. All the best at IIM-B.

  • Remo said:

    hi sundar,
    This is one of the best & very informative post in your blog.

    I liked it very much.

    There are so many things or something to learn from each and every failures.

    Sharing Ur experience here is a very good thing and also we cant get these experience outside :).

    Thank you very much…

    Keep Posting….
    Ramani J

  • Leaving Google! » Coffee With Sundar said:

    […] Also check out Learnings from my experience @ Google. […]

  • krishna said:

    Your blog is really informative. Nice post dude


  • Leaving Google! » NITTians.com said:

    […] Googlers, its time to bid adieu to you guys!! You guys are amazing.. I am honoured that I was a part of part of the Google family! Also check out Learnings from my experience @ Google. […]

  • Suvajit said:

    Your experiences has nicely been put into realizations. And these realizations has universal appeal. I always held GOOGLE high and this post has made it even higher.
    Google ROCKS !!

  • Naresh said:

    Oh dude
    every single word u have written here is 100% fact
    feel very bad for reading it so late , but am convincing myself with
    “Better late than never”

    Great post
    as u said Prototyping its true
    “Action Speaks more than mere words”

    great Post