Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Quick-Quotes Quills

So my post on leaving Google for Microsoft (http://1-800-magic.blogspot.com/2008/06/back-to-microsoft.html) has created a garden variety industry on the internet - the post is quoted and misquoted endlessly in various "news" sources.

I'd say the most ridiculous is this ZDNET post, which has been on the front page of their web site yesterday.


I don't know if Phil Wainewright learned from Rita Skeeter, but his type of "journalism" is certainly up her alley.

First, my blog posting contains no words 'not fit', which he put in the title of his article - in quotes, implying that I said it. I did not.

What I did say was that Google culture was "not geared to delivering enterprise class reliability to its user applications". Which should not be a big surprise - Google is an advertising company at heart, and its culture is geared towards creating cool web properties that attract eyeballs.

Beyond the title, Mr. Wainewright is using selective quotes from my blog to create an impression of me "ripping into Google's working practices, in particular criticising the effects of its business model, which emphasizes free software at the expense of utility".

I have also, apparently, been "leading up to this verdict with a three-step exposition". Now talk about the amount of conspiracy theories that you can derive from a relatively small blog post!

What I said in fact was...
(1) Google has certain business model that is geared towards one thing. Google is obviously very successful and profitable company and its success is due to doing this one thing - advertising - and doing it well.
(2) This creates certain environment that emphasizes release speed, and de-emphasizes many other aspects of software development process.
(3) I like different business and development models, therefore I went back to Microsoft.

Now, the whole idea that Google Docs is a viable competitor to MS Office was created by similarly ridiculous press statements of people like Mr. Wainewright which are more interested in creating the sensation as opposed to doing the honest research.

Of course, the honest research would involve unpleasant things like... well, maybe actually learning something about the feature sets of both products, analyzing their relative bugginess, and may be even using them on one's own for an extended period of time... You know, all these things that real journalists do.

It's so much easier to take a random story, blow it to the high heavens, run with it for couple of years. Then someone states the obvious - ka-ching! It's the "reporting" time again!

Also, a scary number of articles cropped up that simply restate parts of what I said, often by quoting the quotes from other quotes. Talk about the echo chamber!


DzembuGaijin said...

Yes, this media coverage is simply amazing!  You are famous and I am proud of you 

But … you should be only saying a good things about your “EX-“ :-) or NOTHING. While sensationalism part is correct and that is the game on internet media news ( as if you do not know), it was really easy to "misunderstand" ( if you want it) what you wrote and what you think. In general it sounds bad for Google and good for M$ ( as it should I guess in this case :-)).

As someone wise said: do not PUBLISH publicly things you do not want to see on front page of newspaper. You knew that and you did publish. So you wanted to see it there. Yeap … ;-)

So it look like PR for Big M. Sorry. Yeah. It does. You gave Microsoft a HUGE credit ( yes, it needs it, it is not as popular as “Do no evil Google”). Like all s/w company does is ENTERPRISE ready and 100% reliable – no bugs at all or at least “geared to it” ( whatever this “geared means”) (btw, WHS comes right to mind ) IMHO: it would be much wiser and much more politically correct to SKIP all the emotions and things that is related to your ex-projects, brands or employer. It is just not fair to mock it for all good things you got there ( as you did : remember a FREE food?). I was sure Google make people sign some agreement about not even mentioning Google in personal blog ( but maybe it was just media noise).

Example: You could say: I left Google and I had tons of fun, did this, this, this , G is a Great Company! Now I go back to M$ because I got an offer ( I cannot refuse) : cool level jump , lot of money and I am a manager not dev again (that I like MUCH better) ! Who would resists ? This would all be clear and true. Just skip all this “culture” and “geared” crap ... Do not judge ( and you will not be judged! In media that is!). This way nobody would misunderstand. The way it is now looks like it was either “planed action” or just careless “brain dump” to blog( write what you think) without thinking it can harm somebody. Like … nobody question that Google IS cool and working FOR Microsoft is great.

Anyway, knowing high visibility of your blog you should be aware of what kind of viral PR such post will provide to each of mentioned companies. 

Bottom line : I think it is ether careless (most likely) or “evil planed action” , but I am simply amazed by buzz and I think it is cool that you are so famous! Congratulations! Now use this momentum for your benefits!

Good luck!

Sergey Solyanik said...

Surely you can misunderstand anything if you really want to. And it looks like a bunch of people really did want to.

The post was not meant to be critical of Google. Beside the good things, it stated the obvious...

...Google Docs aren't competitive with Office - no surprise here. For quite a while, there was a FAQ item on the Docs site stating as much, by the way. I looked around, and it was removed, but quite recently - I remember seeing it last only a couple of months back.

...Google as a company is good at ads. Ads require certain type of business. Being competitive in the enterprise software would require a culture change. By the way, the reverse is true at Microsoft - becoming successful in consumer products and web advertising would require a culture change at Microsoft. I wrote about it on this very blog. The article is still there.

...Just like all other companies, Google has its share of silly stuff going on. It is not ideal. ALL OTHER companies. Microsoft included. Did I just bash my PRESENT employer? Should there now be a flurry of blog posts - "After Going Back to Microsoft, Sergey Solyanik is unhappy there, too!"?

WRT being famous... My blog was hit by ~20k users as a result of this blog post. My code is in use, conservatively, by ~30M people. It would take 1500 slash-dottings to match that :-).

DzembuGaijin said...

To me and others who know you this post looks perfectly normal and balanced with a lot of information. There are some re-posters that say that too. But not to Mass Yellow Media ;-). While post is long and really informative and very well written, there are just a few small things that make it a nice target for sensation.

1) Manager ( not dev!) back to M$ from Google- WoHoo! Click!!!
2) "Google culture is not geared to..." Ka-Ching!

Then you can interpret the rest the way you like or need for re-post. And , hey.. We saw they did just that :-)

So, if you just "drop" Google and MS evaluation "as a whole" it will be much harder to blow out of proportions.

But anyway, it was a lot of fun. I think you should actually keep posting the way you do. Do not restrain yourself and do not put much atantion on what I and other say about this : I wish I could write such sensational posts myself :-) You see: people love it! ( even if for wrong reason)

They will keep coming back to your blog for "more RAW TRUTH(TM)!" :-) and now , I think you can put some Google Ads :-) that is one more benefit of not working for Google :-)

NS said...

So Wainewright, a journalist and a strategist by name, and a junior amoeba by value - showed himself for exactly what he is. This is news how?

The original post was quite interesting and very much worth publishing.

Anonymous said...

most "reporters" are just sensationalist morons....just paparazzis working on keyboards and trying to think up sh1t