Things I'm proud of

Sixth in a series of "An update on David" retrospectives, looking back on the last 11 years at Google: "Things I'm proud of".

I'm proud of getting this job, obvs. My career trajectory (not just at Google) has been quite...wobbly. I've been a consultant (working for a consulting company), Director of Software Development at a startup (eventually with a dozen software engineers and a couple hundred employees), a consultant, and back to software engineer. When I got the call from Google I figured it was a long shot, but when Google calls, you answer. Before I knew it I was on a plane to Mountain View and every few days after that the recruiting coordinator said I was progressing in the pipeline. I got the offer on a Friday. That weekend I went to Atlantic City with friends and at dinner announced the offer. "I'm not sure what do to." I think I said. I was worried - would I fit in? Would I be able to keep up? Do I have the world-sized vision that Google seems to have? My friend Craig said "Of course, you're taking it." A few days later I did. I'm proud that I was able to get past the interview process itself!

I'm proud of my work on (old old, and old) Teams (not to be confused with New Teams a.k.a Moma). I loved working on Teams, and in CorpEng. We were doing things that helped every single Googler every day. Not many other internal sites (if any?) have that level of reach. The highlight of my tenure there was when we released the Teams Android app. (Indeed it remains one of the highlights of my career.) We went from knowing nothing about Android, to taking Android Boot Camp, to designing and iterating on the app, figuring out how to get it "signed" and into the internal App Store, to released to all Googlers, in about 9 months. I thought it was amazing and was kvelling with pride when we were done. And we got good feedback, which was even better.

I'm proud that I was able to contribute to finding new Googlers and cultivating and mentoring Nooglers. I've done over 300 interviews (mostly onsite) and I think about 30 of those were hired. I've mentored a half-dozen Nooglers (mostly from a team other than my own). One of my mentees, when they left Google, gave me a handwritten thank you note for what I had done for them over the years. It nearly made me cry. My parents were both teachers before retiring and I wonder if they ever felt that way.

I'm proud that I was able to change the culture of Google a little bit through my efforts in Intergrouples - Testing Grouplet, Testing on the Toilet, and Fixits. Xoogler Mike Bland wrote extensively about this on his blog site ( so I won't repeat it here.

I'm proud of my work on my other 20% projects - my first was a Mondrian (code review pre-Critique) plug-in for Eclipse. A manager wrote "this made my day!" when he saw the screenshot. More recently I've worked on Scrumboard apps (Android and web) and it has gotten positive feedback from its many users.

I'm proud that Google is (largely) an accepting place to work, where people can be themselves and bring their whole self to work (myself included.) I fear my next employer won't be so accepting, and my soon-to-be coworkers might not feel the same. I'll know what to do, based on the positive example here.

That's all I can think of for now.


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