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The case of Google and the Disappearing Employee
First the blog - now the employee.

 4:52 pm on Feb 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

continued from: [webmasterworld.com...]

He's fired. :(




 4:23 pm on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

"No, you only "possibly" slandered him, planted a seed that he was evil. "

I'm not a lawyer, but I can possibly be a child molester, druggie and serial killer. If you say that in a blog, I doubt I could sue you. The suggestion is there though, it just not actionable (I think).


 4:27 pm on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well if you read more of my posts I was one of the few feeling sorry for him, just was kinda shocked to see the ad and suddenly everything seemed to make sense. I certainly don't have love for Google these days if you read any of my numerous adsense filtering complaints, so the GDL tag won't stick on me.


 4:35 pm on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Possibly he was fired because he thought that small white text on a black background was a good option for his text filled blog? You can imagine the scene - everyone sitting around a big table, discussing the new adsense look and feel. "Lets go for white on black!" he cries. Amidst the silence that follows he quietly gets his coat and leaves...


 5:28 pm on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

If he was sacked for revealing sensitive info - image senisitve or otherwise he had it coming.


 9:16 pm on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

If he was sacked for revealing sensitive info - image senisitve or otherwise he had it coming.

Well, of course. But no one seems to know why he was sacked. Maybe the emperor has no clothes.


 9:29 pm on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Do we actually know that he is a real person and not an elaborate PR stunt gone awry?

Who owns the contents of his blog?

Did Google pull it down temporarily or did they "ask" him to?

Did they sacrifice him to deter anyone else from blogging about the plex?


 10:00 pm on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't know the entire contents of his original message, but it wasn't like he was posting source code and Sergey's e-mail address.

The guy was posting about his job, which should be perfectly acceptible in this society. Are we not allowed to discuss our jobs with our friends, families, and others? He never invited individuals to his blog from my understanding. I didn't see him running to forums begging people to read his anti-Google propoganda.

Google has made a huge PR push to not turn their public image into another Microsoft. This obviously was a negative and they needed to get rid of it. I wonder if Mark Jen was the guy who changed the blog, or Google themselves. Would be very interesting to know that.

I hear a lot of people saying that you can't disclose information about the company in your blogs, and he probably had signed a NDA prior to employment. My question is why are other Google bloggers who write positive things about Google and being employed there void of this NDA.

Was Mark Jen fired for disclosing information on the company, or for disclosing his personal feelings on his job? If it is the latter, Google should be ashamed of themselves.


 11:07 pm on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

I really think you'd need to read his employment contract to know what he could, and couldn't do.

If walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck - its probably not a wombat.


 6:56 am on Feb 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

From reading his blog, I'd guess he didn't drink the kool-aid. From what he said and Google's reaction and from the 60 minutes piece (if you buy a nice car you're frowned upon), I get the feeling that Google expects all its employees to be gung-ho 100% Google all the time (no dissent allowed) and that the more you are like the guy next to you, the better. Someone is going to write a great book about working at Google someday.


 12:27 pm on Feb 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Brilliant people are sometimes not so smart. LOL


 4:04 pm on Feb 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

First of all, I see a lot of people coming to his defense, claiming he has the right to say what he wants about his employer. While you may feel this falls under Constitutionally protected free speech, I think you're all forgetting he signed a non-disclosure agreement - and *none* of us have read the NDA so we have no way of knowing what's merely frowned upon and what is a violation of a written contract that he signed - his terms of employment.

Second of all, the guy's a bonehead for blogging about his new employer right out of the gate. I'll go one step further and say blogs are, imho, a pointless and egotistical exercise. When you talk to your friends at a barbecue, they care what you have to say. When you write a blog espousing those same views, you're just asking for trouble. At best, someone from work reads them, disagrees, and you're branded as a malcontent. What have you gained? The better part of valor is discretion when it comes to the workplace. This doesn't mean shut up and take it, it means consider your audience. And when you post it on the Internet, *everyone* is your audience.

My last point, and I haven't bothered to read any of his postings, but what are the timestamps? Was he posting at work? The company I work for recently disciplined an employee for blogging and closed access to blog sites for all computers in our domain. Was it what this employee said? While it was extremely inflammatory, that wasn't the cause for discipline. It was because the blogger was foolish enough to write LONG entries during work hours, *and* talk about doing it.

Free speech is a good thing, but it's everyone's responsibility to use free speech sensibly.

My two cents anyway. Regards, ZakDaddy


 4:24 pm on Feb 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

"While you may feel this falls under Constitutionally protected free speech"

It is free speech and the government can't censor it or retaliate because of it. Google on the other hand, can. You leave your free speech rights at the entrance door when you swipe the card...


 4:36 pm on Feb 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Bingo walkman... my point exactly. "Fired for cause" is determined by the employer and terms of employment you agree to when you report for your first day on the job. If I sign an agreement with company x that says I'll wear polka-dotted pants to work every day and show up for my first day wearing plaid, I have no one to blame but myself when it becomes my last day too.

p.s. I don't own any polka-dotted pants.


 8:19 am on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's made the headlines. [story.news.yahoo.com]


 8:35 am on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

eh - if he didn't like the Job then it's probably for the best.

Google's not exactly a long term secure company... so there's better to be had.

I'd like to know why he left Microsoft, which he said was a great company to work for, as I imagine they are. Why would anyone move from MS to Google? (ignoring obvious answers).


 9:18 am on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

gung-ho 100% Google all the time (no dissent allowed) - Thats the reason that he was sacked me thinks.

He didnt tow the corporate line, it may seem petty to us how ever Google has spent a fortune on branding and image, one leak can turn into a flood.


 9:49 pm on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

He has the official story straight from the source [99zeros.blogspot.com] in his blog now. Nothing surprising and nothing really new though. Seems to me like a bit of damage control and reputation brush-up. The guy needs a new job after all...


 10:26 pm on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Actually, his employer *was* MS . . . before he worked for Google.

OK, let's recap, if his employer *was* MS, and I know a lot of MSers that make some good coin, how did this nitwit go broke (as reported in this thread) coming to work for Google?

I don't feel bad for him at all getting fired after posting critical comments about his new company the first week on the job and flaunting the NDA (that I'm sure he signed) like it was written on 2-ply Charmin. I'd have booted him too. Hope his butt made sparks when it skidded across the parking lot. :)

Mark Jen needs to change the title of his blog now to:
"life @ google from the OUTSIDE looking in wishing I'd kept my fat mouth shut"


[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 12:35 pm (utc) on Feb. 17, 2005]

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