Is it possible that Google’s vaunted culture has a dark side?
A dark side composed of booze, sex, drugs and lies.
It’s always dangerous to take the word of an ex employee without at least a pinch of salt or, maybe a few pounds — or sometimes none.
Filip Syta worked as an ad sales executive at Google for two years until 2014, when he became disillusioned with his work. So Syta dropped out and wrote a novel, “The Show,” about a fictional search advertising giant. The story describes a San Francisco company called Show that employs a lot of 20-somethings who make a lot of money, have a lot of parties, drink a lot of booze, sleep with one another indiscriminately, and take a lot of cocaine.
Is it possible? Or likely?
Yes and yes.
Just as possible as in any situation where young, immature, mostly male humans suddenly have a lot of cash and are seriously bored.
“You get bored after a while, you get everything there, basically. They do everything that your mother doesn’t do for you anymore. There’s a dry-cleaning service, swimming pool, dentist, doctor, food, massage — you don’t have to think about anything. You just go to work and it’s all taken care of.
“And also I think a lot of talent is being wasted there because we hired smart people. We will hire smart people, but they hire overqualified people because they have such a strong brand. Many people are bored at their job … It’s kind of chill and might get boring. These other people seek out other adventures when they’re together — they don’t have to care about anything. They know Google has their back. It’s like a kindergarten for grown-ups. And obviously there was a higher and more adventurous type who obviously take more risks. Everyone is very relaxed, and they don’t take the safe way.”
But what’s really troubling is what he claims goes on in sales.
Syta told Business Insider the company was “extremely data driven.”
“They measure everything, and you want to look good to your manager and your manager wants to look good to their manager and up the chain it goes, so you want to report great numbers,” (…) Does nobody check?
“No, no because no one cares.”
But surely there are numbers and metrics that can be easily verified?
“No, no, not always,” Syta said. “Because the upper manager will not go down to the account manager-level and check. Of course they will see real cash flow coming in. But in specific cases of a specific client, they won’t check. As long as it looks good everyone is happy because everyone cares only about their own task to look good to their next upper manager.”
So we [Business Insider] were curious: How much of this is true, or inspired by real events?
“Ninety percent,” Syta told us.
90%? That would definitely worry me if I was advertising with Google.
I haven’t read the book and, to be honest, it doesn’t hold much interest for me.
Obviously, the majority of people in either the fictional or real company aren’t involved in the shenanigans, but still…
Do I think it’s different/better at Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or other high flyers?
Probably not, but maybe that’s just my own cynicism.
I saw the results of too much money too fast up close and personal decades ago, although I admit it wasn’t even close to what goes on in the Valley today.
So yes, there probably is a dark side at Google.
Image credit: Amazon