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G hits the slopes
Brett_Tabke




msg:177811
 7:42 pm on Jan 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

G hits the slopes [news.com.com]

If you're searching for Google employees this week, they've hit the slopes in Lake Tahoe for an annual company romp in the snow.

Fresh powder, spa treatments and run of the Olympic-grade moguls of the Squaw Valley ski resort await Google's 2,000-plus employees from the Bay Area, who will pack as many as five hotels in the region. The Resort at Squaw Creek, with 404 rooms, commands $294 a night and is busy preparing for the onslaught of Googlers.


 

bloke in a box




msg:177841
 4:36 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Fair play to them :)

I absolutely love snowboarding - you do find it can hurt like hell though. :)

musicales




msg:177842
 4:37 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

GG- ahhhh. By the way, thanks for my groovy radio-light Christmas present thing - now I really know I've been earning you guys too much money (;

[edited by: musicales at 4:49 pm (utc) on Jan. 20, 2005]

WebFusion




msg:177843
 4:44 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Good luck to them, who is it hurting?

How about the owners of the company (ummm...that would be me and every other sharholder).

While I'm all for paying top dollar for good talent....spending over half a mil a day to send them on a free ski trip is excessive at best. Keep in mind that's not THEIR money they're playing with anymore, IT'S OURS.

I wonder if all that money could have been better used to hire a few engineers who could overcome the spam problem, or develop a better system for identifying the 20%+ of fraudlant clicks our adwords account receives, or FINALLY implementing a database system that encompasses all the (supposedly) indexed sites, and not just those it can fit into it's "main" index?

I rememebr other companies that exhibited this kind of artificial "carefree" sense of deserved "perks of success"....it was called altavista...

walkman




msg:177844
 4:54 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

"Nope, not everyone. There's always folks like me who stick around because they can get a lot of work done when it's quiet."

This reminds me of when I was married. My vacation started when my (now) ex-wife left :).

Googleguy, while they're not watching, come on, fix a few things for us.

to the rest:
As far as play hard, party hard, I agree with you, but with moderation. True Google turns a profit but they can't spend $600+K (assuming meals etc. are inclusive since it's a large group) a day for about a week or so. It has to be proportionate to the earnings. Now if MSFT spend a mil a day no one would care because their profit is $1 Billion a month.

Sergei and Brin are worth some $6-7 billion. Have them round the round the number of shares and pay for it. Not even their accountant would notice ;). Doing the math this way never works though. Unless we see the contract we'll never know because they price is never what it seems it is. Buying the entire place in a lot of cases is more, but sometimes is less.

Powdork




msg:177845
 5:30 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Nope, not everyone. There's always folks like me who stick around because they can get a lot of work done when it's quiet.
Damn, I guess I'll save my squaw ticket for another day. I was hoping for some good yard sale pics.;)
HughMungus




msg:177846
 5:33 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Enjoy it while you can, Googlers. Stockholders change everything.

CernyM




msg:177847
 5:46 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Nothing grows to the sky, and corporate hubris draws shareholder ire.

Anyone remember Borland? They were on top of the world for a while, and had the extravagent spending to prove it...

walkman




msg:177848
 5:47 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

"Anyone remember Borland? They were on top of the world for a while, and had the extravagent spending to prove it... "

"Enjoy it while you can, Googlers. Stockholders change everything. "

check this:
"The disappointing earnings from eBay have left the stock's fans struggling to value it, now that its valuation will have to come back down to earth. James J. Cramer sees the question of what multiple to use as the most important question and makes an initial rough cut."
[thestreet.com...]

Ebay has no serious competition and it made $205 mil this quarter. Google is worth $54 Billion, Ebay has been here for ages and it's worth now $55 billion (dropped some $10 billion in a day).

steve40




msg:177849
 5:50 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

reminds of the heady days when the computer industry was in its infancy
companies could not spend the money fast enough so we had junkets and parties that were the ultimate in excess.
The companies could charge customer what they liked nearly and each company had its own specific niche , the shame of it was over a 10 year period it all came home to roost I can think of at least 6 offhand who do not even exist and those that do are shells of what they were
I do not believe the SE business will have as long with these excesses it moves to fast 2 - 3 years max

I honestly believe when another player comes into the contextual advertising space that Google currently dominates and the percentages are trimmed down the financial investors will still be expecting the current profit growth to continue ( or share price will tumble )and Google will be forced to change significantly for the staff and also for us as webmasters and i have no doubt the staff and webmasters will not like the changes

just an oldie who saw similar things at the early parts of computer industry.
steve

We can already see financial institutions having an effect on others Ebay example ( still had growth but not enough for the city ) so they marked it down heavilly
17% in one day and they are at least semi diversified with Ebay and Paypal

caveman




msg:177850
 5:51 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

GG how do we know you're not posting from the resort? :-)

Man, I worked for a couple of big public companies way back when. They would never have approved a company party like this. We got baked ham and turkey in abondoned discos with no heat.

egomaniac




msg:177851
 6:16 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

> G hits the slopes

This is about as newsworthy as "Jen & Brad Divorce".

A thread like this is tabloid news, and belongs in Foo.

Who cares what Googler's do on company vacation time!

BReflection




msg:177852
 6:28 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

I wonder how many of the critics in this thread are Americans. They should really consider the "work hard play hard" motto because their tax dollars frequently put this ideal to work with the US Military. Quite frequently a US Navy ship will, for no operational reason at all, decide to stop at a foreign port and unload all the guys to go party/tour for a day, a week, or even a month at times. Not only do they get dropped off but they get paid to do it. Imagine an Aircraft Carrier with 5,000 people on it. They keep just enough on board to keep the thing ready to go at a moments notice and send the rest out to play.

So this is nothing new, and I would consider Hong Kong, a location in Australia, or a port in the Mediterranean to be much, MUCH more flamboyant than Lake Tahoe. You guys call yourselves out by whining about any little thing that comes across without giving it any sort of pragmatic scrutiny.

hannamyluv




msg:177853
 6:33 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

You know, it is a serious detriment in American society that says money and time are wasted if it isn't spent on "specific" company things.

Fortune magazine does not publish the "Top 100 companies to work for" because it is a fun read. It is because those companies have the lowest turnover rate.

Take a look at companies like Smuckers. They supply breakfast to all their employees everyday. Think about that bill. Is it nessesary? No, but perk like that and many others keep people there and make it a whole lot harder to have your employees stolen.

There are 100s of studies that show that happy employees will be more likly to stay with a company even if they are offered more money to go somewhere else.

So next time one of those Google PHDs gets a call from a Microsoft headhunter, what they will be thinking is. "Yeah, it's more money, but these guys here at Google really care about me. Does the money really matter if I might be miserable?"

When you think about the amount of time, money and effort that would have to go into trying to replace the talent they have (if it could be replaced at all), that half million or so a day for a week is pretty much worth it.

davewray




msg:177854
 6:34 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Wow, talk about some sour grapes from a few members here! If G wants to take their employees on a week long vacation then kudos to them. You just wish you worked for a company like that. Pampering an employee is extremely smart. It improves production, improves morale around the workplace and reduces sick/stress leave in the future. As far as I can see it, this is a wise way to have your shareholder dollars at work...you need to look at what future effects it may have, not what it looks like now. And what company doesn't give their employees vacation time..paid in full..and quite often just as extravagant?

And, as a shareholder, it is NOT your money to do whatever you like with. You have entrusted your money to G in hopes that they will continue to turn a profit and even bigger profits with proceeding years. The big G will decide what to do with your money. You think if you own 100 shares of Goog that you all of a sudden have a say as to what they do with it? All they need to do is make more money each quarter/year to make shareholders and Wall Street happy. Just go to a general shareholders meeting and try to impose your will on them with your measely 100 share position. And, if you're so disgusted with the G taking its employees on a vacation, then just sell your Goog shares and move on! You whiners are the same folks who cry and complain every time your site drops in the SERP's or your site "disappears"....grow up.

Dave.

iblaine




msg:177855
 6:46 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

egomaniac
Agreed!

Part of me wants to say WebmasterWorld is full off Google zelots and it's not surprising to see Google gossip on the main page. The other part says it is good to understand the culture of various search engines.

While on the subject of the ski trip - I'm glad to see Google having fun. Had they not done this trip you could say they're turning cold and corporate.

walkman




msg:177856
 6:51 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

"So next time one of those Google PHDs gets a call from a Microsoft headhunter, what they will be thinking is. "Yeah, it's more money, but these guys here at Google really care about me. Does the money really matter if I might be miserable?" "

Why not buy everyone a house and a BMW, so next time the Microsoft headhunter calls you're guaranteed to keep your employees? As I stated above, it's hard to comment unless you know the true cost, but, if it is $3-$4 million and Google only made $52 million in profit for the quarter people can legitimately question it. Why not spend $20 million of it of then? There has to be a balance.

Sergey and Larry are are selling some $1 Billion in stock. After taxes and all they will keep about $600 milion. What's a million or two each for them each year to take everyone out or pay part of it? If they do it for 10 years, they're out just $20 milion max which can probably be deducted somewhow. Shareholders will love it because it costs them nothing and the founders and management looks like heroes because they treated every for a week or so.

walkman




msg:177857
 6:57 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Dave the brave and the grown up,

"You whiners are the same folks who cry and complain every time your site drops in the SERP's or your site "disappears"....grow up."

you wouldn't complain if your site "disappears" because of something you have no control over [google.com...] , right? Wanna try it? I can PM you a few directories that would love to give you free inbound 302 redirect links. Prove to us how much stronger than us whiners you are.

skipfactor




msg:177858
 7:11 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>There's always folks like me who stick around because they can get a lot of work done when it's quiet.

GoogleGuy, you dork! :) I was looking forward to a first-hand GG snow & apre ski report.

>>I was hoping for some good yard sale pics

LOL, that was the vision I had, Googlewear & trinkets in pieces on the bunny slopes.

ddogg




msg:177859
 7:14 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

My account rep said they were at a conference. I knew they were really having a big party!

hannamyluv




msg:177860
 7:22 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

if it is $3-$4 million and Google only made $52 million in profit for the quarter

$52 x 4 = $204. Hmm.. 2% for decreasing employee turnover. Wonder what their HR budget looks like? Hiring people is not cheap. Besides, I imagine that the cost is already written into the budget and is not affecting the bottom line in that sense. How much did Google gross this quarter? That's where the cost is really factored.

So, let's go the other way. Screw the decent sized desks and comfortable chairs. Your employees can sit at fold out tables and chairs elbow to elbow. Those desks cost money! Watch your employee turn-over rates sky-rocket as they flee for any job that's not the one they have.

Even the low level employees at Google can quickly and easily go elsewhere. You either figure in the cost of keeping them happy or you watch your HR budget (hiring and training, plus lost work time due to unfilled positions and knowledge leak) creep up way over what it cost to keep them happy in the first place.

walkman




msg:177861
 8:07 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

hannamyluv,
this discussion is academic at this point since all we know is that they went on a vacation. For all know, employees even paid part of it. 2% or even 5% is not too much for "for decreasing employee turnover". However it's not that cut and dry. Turnover depends on a lot of other factors too like the job market, stock price & options, technology, salary, other perks (not just this) and so on.

As far as chairs it's slightly different, isn't? They spend 10-12 hours a day working /sitting on them so every bit of comfort helps. Regardless of what we say, it doesn't matter. They run the company the way they see fit and that ends it. People who disgree can sell the shares and people who agree buy them. The market forces at work.

GoogleGuy




msg:177862
 8:26 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

If G wants to take their employees on a week long vacation

And it's not even that. People go up today and come back tomorrow. We take buses up there. This is something the company has done every year going back like six years. It's actually a really good way to sync up with people, meet engineers from the NYC office, learn what others are doing, etc. The first ski trip I went on, it was a huge boost in terms of getting to know the people at the company and how things really worked. It's those kind of informal connections that often help get the work done at a company.

There were too many things I needed to catch up on this year, unfortunately, but it's an aspect of Google that works very well, in my experience.

skipfactor




msg:177863
 9:12 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>This is something the company has done every year going back like six years

Wonder what percentage of Googlers snowboard versus ski. I'd guess you were a two-planker GoogleGuy, just a guess.

caveman




msg:177864
 9:24 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

hannamyluv, just in case you lumped me into the perceived group of critics by virtue of my "baked ham and turkey" comment, I was just relating personal experience. This caveman thinks that the Europeans have it right: Four-six weeks of company paid vacation for everyone I say! And throw in a few company outings too. God bless G's management for keeping things in perspective.

That said, there are certainly those who object to headlines like these. Greedy shareholders. And there are a lot of greedy shareholders out there, who are very good at nickel-and-diming good companies into states of near paralysis. Been there, done that (on the receiving end of their wrath, that is).

crobb305




msg:177865
 9:26 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

The more I think about it as a "perk" and the fact that it is for one night, I suppose it is good for morale. I have just been so frustrated at the time it has taken for resolution to come to the numerous bugs such as page hijacking. But I do hope the employees have a good time and come back refreshed Monday.

Quite frequently a US Navy ship will, for no operational reason at all, decide to stop at a foreign port and unload all the guys to go party/tour for a day, a week, or even a month at times.

Incidentally, there is an enormous difference between programming at Google-- making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and serving your country for $25,000 a year enlisted, and being away from home for 6 months or a year at a time, and being constantly aware of the fact that you might die today. If you doubt that, then why don't you join the military? I may have misunderstood your point, but I think there are a lot of algo problems that need to be resolved. Some of which have been discussed here for a year now. I would like to see quick resolution this year. That should be their goal and an indication that they do still care. ;) Have a good weekend.

[edited by: crobb305 at 9:58 pm (utc) on Jan. 20, 2005]

walkman




msg:177866
 9:42 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

"I have just been so frustrated at the time it has taken for resolution to come to the numerous bugs such as page hijacking."

Wouldn't it be ironic if they actually talked about this hijacking thing over there and we're #*$!ing here? ;) hahahaha.

as far as the military: we pay the lowest price on energy than the entire western world. That is something we can quantify. Nuf' said.

BReflection




msg:177867
 10:20 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Incidentally, there is an enormous difference between programming at Google-- making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and serving your country for $25,000 a year enlisted, and being away from home for 6 months or a year at a time, and being constantly aware of the fact that you might die today. If you doubt that, then why don't you join the military? I may have misunderstood your point, but I think there are a lot of algo problems that need to be resolved. Some of which have been discussed here for a year now. I would like to see quick resolution this year. That should be their goal and an indication that they do still care. ;) Have a good weekend.

Incidentally, I was speaking from experience. It is a fitting analogy.

WebFusion




msg:177868
 10:31 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Who cares what Googler's do on company vacation time!

Brad & Jen aren;t costing MY company potential profits. Frivolous spending is.

Quite frequently a US Navy ship will, for no operational reason at all, decide to stop at a foreign port and unload all the guys to go party/tour for a day, a week, or even a month at times. Not only do they get dropped off but they get paid to do it. Imagine an Aircraft Carrier with 5,000 people on it. They keep just enough on board to keep the thing ready to go at a moments notice and send the rest out to play.

Apples and oranges. Let me know when a google employee is shiped away from his family for months (or even over a year) at a time. Further, I doubt a single sailor on that ship makes a fraction of what a google employee does, not to mention the fact that their not hadnling them $300+ a head per day to blow "on the town".

There are 100s of studies that show that happy employees will be more likly to stay with a company even if they are offered more money to go somewhere else.

Not a problem...it's called giving them a vacation with full pay, not blowing over half a mil a day to show the world what a great place you are to wrok. Lose a few PHD's? SO WHAT....I'm sure MIT has more. NO ONE is indespensable. Couple that with the quality of the "product" they've put out as of late, and tell me why they even deserve such a frivolous perk.

Sour grapes my #$@. Shareholders have a RIGHT to look up google's back side with a microscope if they want (i.e PUBLIC COMPANY), and if they don't like what they see, they have a right to DEMAND change. The more shares you own, the more you voice is heard, plain and simple. And for the record...I wouldn't get out of bed for 100 measley shares. I'm not expressing an opinion as someone whose sits in the cheap seats "dabbling" with a few hundred shares of a stock. Once you start playing the investment game at a certain level, you get ticked when you see one of the companies you have a significant stake in squandering your funds.

skipfactor




msg:177869
 10:42 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>costing MY company potential profits. Frivolous spending is.

Oh gawd, even our little company does ski trips. It's one of the few sports that just about any age group and body type can do. Sports & libation improve morale and sell product, works every time.

BReflection




msg:177870
 10:44 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Apples and oranges. Let me know when a google employee is shiped away from his family for months (or even over a year) at a time.

It's only apples and oranges because the two of you are wearing blinders; this is a phenomenon called confirmation bias.

evan420




msg:177871
 11:00 pm on Jan 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google Guy-

Did you just say "It's actually a really good way to sync up with people"?

I had hoped the term 'sync up' and every other marketing jargon term from 2000 had gone the way of WebVan - into the Failed Dot Com Hall of Fame.

I can just picture all of the Google sales reps going over their touch points trying to leverage best practices in an effort to strengthen core compentices.

:)

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