Why I should (or should not) work for Google:
or why Google should hire me
I've been thinking of working for Google for quite a while. In fact, I've been thinking about it since I was finishing my PhD in Canada. That was before the end of 1997! (Yes, Google formally was founded in 1998. Before then, it was still a (2-students?)-project. First Google version went alive for public around 1996.) And here I am, still thinking about but not acting on it (and might not act on it at all). There are reasons for it. Hence, this article.
What's so good about Google
Their philosophy and principles. (Whatever that means.) You can just look at the way they handle things, like their IPO, recruitment, simplicity (frugal?) in design, and the like. They are not seduced by money and becoming just another company.
In general, I like Google services over others. Not sure why. They just click. I use Google as my only search engine. Gmail is my choice of email. Orkut is better compared to Friendster, but it is less popular. I use YM for messaging over ... oops!
You know, when you are in love with someone (something), you just know it. I love the fact that Google is the biggest user of open source and its own products. I love research, and Google seems to do research a lot.
Reading various articles about Google seems to point out that Google's culture matches with mine. No, I am not interested in getting rich. I am comfortable with what I have right now.
Why Google should hire me
This is a difficult one to write. I am not good in "selling" myself. But, here goes.
I happened to be at the right place at the right time on many occasion. The other thing is that I have a vision (or maybe too many ideas, just like Bill Gross).
When WWW was still at its infancy, I experimented with it. It happened just because I was using NeXT cube as my workstation at work. (Everybody else wanted Sun.) So, I looked for applications that were created on this NeXT. Lo and behold, Tim Berners-Lee was working on HTML and HTTP. I played with it and tried to convince people around me that this is the future. Everybody was still in love with gopher (and WAIS?) and did not want to move to WWW.
Before doing WWW, I was very much into perl scripting. I did host an FTP server for MS-DOS port of perl. (I did not port the code, just maintaining an ftp server for it.) I needed perl to do some scripting for my BBS on a 386/SX computer (boy, that was a long time ago) and for my thesis - working with some VLSI tools. I love perl because of its author, Larry Wall. For some reasons, I can feel his humour-style in the perl language. The some thing, I can feel the simplicity, style and taste in Apple products, and simplicity and frugality in Google.
Next was Linux. As a graduate student, I need a machine to work (on my thesis) at home. Unix was expensive. I did look at Minix, but it was not interesting. I need to work on EDA CAD tools. I realized that the only machine suitable for that is Sun, but I could work on my parser (small programs, scripts) at home though. A friend found Linux and I gave it a try. That was Linux 0.12. It was still in earlier stage, but already usable for my purpuses. I fell in love with it. I thought of creating a company to support this, but was too busy working on my thesis. Red Hat came into the picture. It was too late for me. Well, I did not want to run the company anyway. I was (and am still) a techie who love to tinker with stuff. I did run Linux on a 386/SX (with an "octopus card" for dialin) when a bunch of us started an ISP, though.
When search engine came into the picture, I did played with it. Mostly in trying to break their algorithm to put my page at the top list. I wrote a small article about "breaking this search engine." Search engine was not that smart at the begining. So, I did play around with search engines (as many have done).
My next vision, which is not happening yet is that there should be a public database service. In the early Internet stage, providing disk space to hold files was a service. (This is actually a carry over from the BBS era.) It was followed by home page services, where users can create their homepages. Now, it is blog.
The next stage would be to provide database services, where users can create their database (down to tables and records). In terms of current technology, it can be implemented with public SQL server. It is needed to store structured data. (Search engine that can crawl these databases, and avare of their context, is needed.) But this service is just like providing disk space or homepage. Users must know the details. The next step would be to have a simpler user interface. Something like "blog" to "homepage." I can see many applications, such as managing our emails (which has structure in them).
Anyway, I have many other ideas. I don't even have the time to write it down. I like doing the research and testing these new ideas. I just don't have the resources and time to do it. Google does (have the resources). I don't keep my ideas secret with me. I want to share it with the world. I think patent is bad. I think that there should be new way(s) to handle intellectual property/capital.
I think out of the box. That is why many companies (Schlumberger, IBM, Microsoft) have invited me into their internal (brainstorming) meetings. Maybe just to get things started or to sharpen ideas. As you may have noticed, I love doing this. I am not interested working for them, though.
Another thing, is that I am aware of business aspect of the technology. I don't know whether that's an asset or liability.
One thing that I am exceptional at is giving presentations! I love giving presentations, especially when it involves shaping or motivating young generations' minds. My hero is Steve Jobs (and Leonardo da Vinci, Larry "perl" Wall). You make the conclusion.
Google founders suck at giving presentations. I am sorry to say this bluntly, but it's true. They're no Steve Jobs. (I have to confess that Steve Jobs is one of my heroes.) I could help them by becoming a Google evangelist.
In the world of Malcolm Gladwell's "Tipping Point," perhaps I am a connector and a salesman at the same time. (I don't think I am a maven, although I have passion in tech business.)
In Indonesia, I am an IT figure. An IT celebrity. (I'd like to think that I am the Steve Jobs of Indonesia. ha ha ha. Now, I am not that great. Maybe I am just 25% of Steve.) To be frankly, I don't enjoy being a celebrity. I like to tinker around. I am a techie by heart and by choice.
Enough about selling myself. Formal information about me can bee seen on my homepage at budi.insan.co.id. The education section tells my formal education.
Why I cannot work for Google
One big reason; I already have a start-up company ( INDOCISC ). It is a company that specializes in network and application security. I love this company and want to make it big and important, just like Hewlett Packard. I cannot just ditch it. It's my baby. I also want to give an example (of entrepreneurship) to my students. They need a role model. This is the main reason why I don't want to work for Google.
Perhaps if Google buys my company, it is a different story. Although, I am not sure if it is aligned with their direction. I do have an idea aligning security with Google; using Google engine to manage log files! There are too many data - or is it information? - in log files. Logfiles from one machine can reach terrabytes easily. I could use Google to manage and analyze them.
Now, it's getting more complicated. Actually, I have more than one start-up companies. The most recent one is a company that sells and buys digital music (MP3) legally in a physical store. It is called Digital Beat Store. To get things even more merrier ... I am geeting down into music. Trying to understand the inside on music industry. I am playing in multiple bands.
With all of these, I could not work full time for Google.
The second reason why I don't want to work for Google is I love my city, Bandung. I want to stay here. I've been to many cities in the world. To me, Bandung is the perfect city for me. (I've been to Silicon Valley many times, was offered jobs at Intel, Palm, and other companies, but I declined. They were not in "my path". Google is. I've been to Malaysia Super Coridor and almost started a company there a while ago. I've been going to Singapore frequently, lately.) With Internet, location shouldn't be a problem, right? Perhaps, it is not a problem, but I have to state it anyway. There are many offers that require me to move physically to Silicon Valley, Singapore, Malaysia, and even to a closer place like Jakarta. Can't do it. Won't do it. I want to stay here. (Here, I've got talented tech people - the best in Indonesia - and a nice environment.)
This could change as my children growing up, though. My daughter (16-year old) is already going to school in Singapore. (She is much smarter than me. Singapore is so lucky to have her go to school there.) My son (13-year old) is in junior high school here in Bandung. If he's going somewhere (eg. Singapore), then I may have to move there too. (He does not want to. Like me, he prefers Bandung.) If Google (Indonesia) is located in Bandung, maybe I could work for them. It's actually ideal. I got to stay in Bandung and Google gets good people here in Bandung. This is the best option.
I am already above 40. Right now it's 45, to be exact. Perhaps the drive to innovate (or achive something) is getting weaker (compared to when I was younger). But Google is hiring "oldies", like Vint Cerf. So that shouldn't be a problem, right? Technically, I am not sure if I am still a top notch techie as I used to be. Oh well.
Because all of these, I am still staying the way I am. Enjoying life. Not working for Google. It is unfortunate that my ideas may still be ideas. They need Google to become reality. But I can still have a dream, working for Google. That's not bad at all (having a dream).
In Short ...
It is unfortunate that I could not work for Google now, unless...
- I could do it in Bandung (I could help Google establish the company in Bandung!)
- I could do it part time (at least until I can delegate my other stuff, including do something with my companies).
There you go. I've got so much respect to Google. I hope it shows in this note.