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WHYYYY???

Seventh in a series of "An update on David" retrospectives, looking back on the last 11 years at Google: "WHYYYY???".

[Cue memes]
Last night was the NYC TI holiday party and I met nearly all the significant others of people on my team. Often my teammate would mention "Tomorrow is David's last day" and a few SOs replied with "Wow, why are you leaving Google???"
Why indeed. For many years I always thought that people were crazy to leave Google. Even my wife, when I would tell her so-and-so was leaving, would ask "why???"
So here's the big reveal: I never felt like I fit in here. This isn't impostor syndrome, as in, "they'll know I'm a fraud". It's more like "WTF am I doing here? All my teammates/coworkers/other Googlers are smarter than me, learn faster, think deeper, anticipate problems and plan with more strategy than I do." Sometimes it's debilitating, and I've gone through stretches of…

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 th…

Regrets, I've had a few

Fifth in a series of "An update on David" retrospectives, looking back on the last 11 years at Google: "Regrets, I've had a few." (Don't worry; tomorrow's entry will be "Things I'm proud of")

"Live life with no regrets". Sorry, brain don't work that way. I've had quite a few regrets during my life, and during my time at Google. Some are mundane and some are profound.

I regret that I wasn't able to stay on the Docs team longer. It's a really awesome product and they've built and use awesome technologies. Kix ("Google Docs") was revolutionary at the time of its launch - "collaborative editing -- whaaa?" and I was proud to be part of the launch. I kinda fucked up the relationship and it was suggested I find another team. I regret what I did (and didn't do) and it turned out to be a bit of a turning point in my career (not for the better). Lesson learned: don't be a jerk, even if you don&…

On "Guys"

Fourth in a series of "An update on David" retrospectives, looking back on the last 11 years at Google: "On \"Guys\""

A lot of people use "guys" to mean "plural humans". This bothers the FUCK out of me, and I hear it all the time - at home (wife referring to our adult son and adult daughter); at work (co-workers referring to a mixed-gender set of other co-workers); on YouTube (don't get me started); etc. etc. etc.

"But I consider guys to be gender neutral". Bullshit. You wouldn't call a female a "guy" - why would you call a group of people "guys" if they're not all guys? This makes no sense to me and is like chalk on a blackboard when I hear it.

GUYS. IS. GENDER. SPECIFIC.

Period.

Stop calling a group of people "guys". Not everyone in the group is a "guy" and you're (explicitly) excluding them from the conversation. It's yet another small cut (as in, death by a thousand …

Things I'll miss at Google

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

I don't know if these things exist outside of Google, because it's been 11 years since I've been outside of Google and a lot can happen in 11 years.

I'll miss misc-ny (and forsale-ny, and badpuns, etc.) Basically all the mailing lists that make it so easy to get help/advice/free stuff/etc. During one of my interviews someone asked me how I would use a system I never used before and I casually said "I'd just ask on the mailing list" and they were blown away...

Similarly, I'll miss having THE expert in-house. I was blown away the first (and 10th) time someone replied on a thread and it turned out they were the author of the JDK/library/system/Make/whatever.

I'll miss the mild ego boost having people think I'm some kind of super genius that I work at Google.

I'll miss the food, of course. …

Things I won't miss at Google

Second in a series of "An update on David" retrospectives, looking back on the last 11 years at Google: "Things I won't miss at Google. "

(Don't worry, the next one is "Things I'll miss"). I don't know if these things exist outside of Google, because it's been 11 years since I've been outside of Google and a lot can happen in 11 years.

With apologies in advance to all the hardworking teams who worked on these things.

I won't miss having to build the world before building my code.

I won't miss "deprecated/not ready yet".

I won't miss "use Eclipse, no - use Intelli/J, no, use Eclipse, no, Intelli/J" etc

I won't miss infrastructure layers on top of infrastructure layers on top of infrastructure layers, a.k.a. "I just want to serve 5 TB".

I won't miss having to learn yet another obscure configuration language. BCL/GCL, Nickel, piccolo, pbtxt, oncall, etc.

I won't miss spooky magic at a dis…

Then and now

First in a series of "An update on David" retrospectives, looking back on the last 11 years at Google.

When I started at Google NYC we only had the 4th & 6th floors of 111 8th/76 9th. Hemi's wasn't even open yet! We only got lunch; after a month or so we got bagels for breakfast in 5BB on Fridays. Sometime later we got dinner but I can count on one hand the number of times I've eaten dinner in the NYC office.

When I started we used gconfig and make-dbg (or mach), both of which were slow and cumbersome. We didn't have Blaze, Forge, SrcFS, CITC, Cider or Critique. The Intelli/J vs Eclipse vs Emacs vs vi(m) debate was in full force (the more things change...) You still had to "build the world" to build anything. (The more things change...)

When I started there were about 10k FTEs worldwide. Now we have 9K in NYC alone (unclear how many are FTEs and how many are TVCs), and 82K FTEs worldwide.

When I started Eric was CEO and Larry and Sergey were (?) P…