You've no doubt seen the coverage: An engineer at Google accidentally releases a critical rant of his employer's knowledge of platforms on Google+. I'm trying to imagine a word that would correctly encompass what Steve Yegge must have felt when he realized the memo went out. Even mortified is too mild. We all really need to come up with a new word for that feeling you get after you've clicked Send or Post and realize what you've done.
But back to Mr. Yegge. I like the memo. I like honesty—even frustrated, oops-based honesty—in the corporate world. And it is as rare as CEOs taking a pay cut.
Here's part of what he said:
Google+ is a prime example of our complete failure to understand platforms from the very highest levels of executive leadership (hi Larry, Sergey, Eric, Vic, howdy howdy) down to the very lowest leaf workers (hey yo). We all don't get it.
Now here's the rub: In a litigious world, where every negative Facebook comment made by an employee is challenged by an employer and defended by the NLRB, what happens to a guy who in careful, logical detail reveals that the company he's working for doesn't know what it's doing? The options are:
- Google could fire Yegge. That would make Google look worse in my opinion.
- Google could go out of its way to never acknowledge the points Yegge made. Until perhaps the shareholders say something.
- Google could negate all of Yegge's points with some meandering explanation.
- Google could embark on a huge Yegge smear campaign in which they expose drug use and/or affiliation with Al Qaeda. (I think I've been overexposed to the U.S. political process.)
Whatever happens, the word is out and can't be taken back. It will be interesting to see what effect this will have on the public's view of Google.
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.