Skip to main content

Putting down layers, not building monuments

Last Google I/O (Google's annual developer conference) was an interesting one for me - my team had a launch which I was excited about, but a total of 3 things that I worked on at different times at Google launched at this I/O.

My and most of my colleagues work pretty hard - most of the time because we think, we believe and sometimes we just hope that what we're doing matters. So it was with mixed feelings that I received the news that two things that I'd worked on earlier in my career at Google were being shut down.

The news wasn't surprising to me - at least one of those decisions was the right one, but it still hurt. It meant stuff that I'd spent a lot of time working on - agonizing over, sweating over and sacrificing a lot of other things including family over... now just no longer existed - all the work didn't matter at all.


I got over it, but it rankled a bit. Then I saw this video over the weekend.

Its pretty great perspective.

Given what I work on, the best I can hope to do - really anyone can hope to do - with our work is affect people's lives for a few years - the hope is that the result of the work takes the industry forward - if you really got it right, takes humanity forward. You can hope that the failures are lessons that are applied by others or yourself, or that others learn from what was done and take it even further.


Louis Gray said…
Wait. I knew these already. :)

Popular posts from this blog

Measure f-ing everything, and assume f-ing nothing!! - Or how mentoring ruined lives :-(

I've been really enjoying the Freakonomics podcast of late. This episode and the lesson we should take a away from it, was a stark reminder of one of the most important things we should be doing - but often don't - in building products or making any decisions: measuring the impact of absolutely everything we do, including the things that seem obviously good.

I recommend listening to the podcast if you have the time, but here's the summary. Stephen Dubner describes the Cambridge Sommerville Youth Study. The impact of social intervention programs in general is hard to measure and so they seldom are. This was the first attempt at measuring the impact over a long period of time.

It's a great story and there are a few good take-aways, but here's the main one: troubled or at-risk youth that received mentoring (good mentoring!) had worse life outcomes across every dimension than the kids that were left alone. Despite the recipients saying that the mentoring was incredibl…

Yup - humans still lack humanity

Every once in a while, I'm reminded that humans can be completely lacking in humanity.

My wife had the following experience yesterday on her ride back home. She got on the train and found a seat. The train was unusually crowded and it looked a lot of people had to stand for a long ride. An elderly Asian gentleman carrying a few things in both hands, was looking for spot, started to complain smilingly about the train being so full and stood in the aisle at the back of the carriage some seats away from her.

She expected someone closer to gentleman in the aisle (lots of younger people on the train) to give him their seat.

No one did.

The train started, and it was clear the man was having a lot of trouble standing up. Then at the next stop there was actually an announcement saying the train was full so please give up your seats to people who needed them.

Still nobody moved.

My wife got up walked to the end of the train and asked the gentleman to go over to her seat. She still couldn&#…

Whimsy when I changed my profile picture...

I changed by profile picture at work.

Later in the day, two people on my team had changed their profile pictures to these.. :-)

It made my day!

I changed my profile pic again today. Let's see how fast anyone catches on this time. :-)