See the entire conversation

Now that Google+ has been shuttered, I should air my dirty laundry on how awful the project and exec team was. I'm still pissed about the bait and switch they pulled by telling me I'd be working on Chrome, then putting me on this god forsaken piece of shit on day one.
692 replies and sub-replies as of Oct 15 2018

This will be a super slow burn that goes back many years. I’ll continue to add to over the next couple of days. I’ll preface it with a bunch of backstory and explain what I had left behind, which made me more unhappy about the culture I had come into.
I spent most of my early career working for two radical sister non-profit orgs. I was the only designer working on anywhere from 4-5 different products at the same time. All centered around activism and used by millions of people.
It’s how I cut my teeth. Learned to be the designer that I am today. Most importantly, the people I worked for are imho some of the greatest people on the planet. Highly intelligent, empathetic, caring, and true role models for a young me. I adore them.
You might not know who they are, but if you’re reading this then you have definitely seen their work. Maybe OpenCongress, or Miro, or maybe Amara which is Vimeo’s partner transcription service. Definitely Fight for the Future, our internet defenders, which was shortly after me.
I married the love of my life in 2008, started a family, and at some point realized that I simply needed to make a better living. No matter how prolific, non-profits usually can’t provide the type of income that you need for a growing family with huge ambitions.
So as I gained visibility – via @dribbble – I started to field recruiters and consider new opportunities. Mostly little startups. I interviewed at one (Rockmelt) and they passed on me (hi, @iamxande 🤗).
Got an email from Kickstarter (hi, @amotion 🤗). Schlepped to New York and wasted days of time to be passed on by their founders. Then they unfollowed me on twitter. At least I ate some deli. 😂
Then Google reached out. I remember that ”holy shit” moment. “Me!? Are they kidding?? The schmuck who tested out of high school and dropped out of college??” They told me I’d interview to work on Chrome. I was over the moon. I remember Manda tearing up. God I love her.
They gave me a little bit of time for a design exercise. You can see it here in all it’s dated glory: Click and hold for the overlay. More schlepping from LA and an interview at their silly college-like campus. I was a nervous wreck.
The process felt very haphazard. At one point a front-end dev with a bow-tie grilled me on CSS and asked some super dumb questions. My advocate (a sweetheart named Peter) seemed to be rushing people through, quelling their fears. I still appreciate his belief in me to this day.
I felt like I had done ok. The last two interviews that I failed at were real shots to the heart. I took this one incredibly seriously. I wanted this job so badly. I wanted to prove I was worthy.
Weeks went by and I heard nothing. I accepted the inevitable and started responding to other recruiters. It was ok. I wasn’t joining the big leagues. I could play triple-A ball for longer. As long as I got up to SF where the opportunities were.
I took a gig with a failing news startup (lol) called Ongo (hi, @bethdean 🤗). They got me up here. I guess it was a bit of a Hail Mary for them. In a couple of months I knocked out more work than they could have built in a year with their eng team. Then…
Google got back in touch almost 3-4 months after the interview (who does this??). I got the job. To be continued…
Day one was so weird. It’s exactly what I’d imagined a freshmen orientation at a prestigious college would be like. I dropped out of art school, so this was foreign to me.
I was with a big group of “nooglers” (so lame). We were led into a large room that looked like it was set up for a time-share pitch. I found my seat. Sat down and read the paper that was in front of me.
There was some kind of codename for the team I'd landed on that I don't recall. I was told it meant I’d be working on Google+. Fuck. “Whatever”, I thought, “I’ll just do my best and move to Chrome or something cooler after a while” Heh, so naive.
I later found out that one of the interviewers who I had liked the most - let’s call him Chuck - was the design manager on Plus and that he had fought to bring me into his team. Bittersweet.
Chuck was a sweet guy. A bit of an OG at Google. Super chill, super kind, and really funny. Seemingly non-political. My kind of manager. We’ll talk about him more later.
At some point I was given a badge and shown around the building I’d be working in. This was the first indication for me that something was awry. Aside: The building design could only be described as kitsch. Goofy colored furniture. A slide. Crap...everywhere.
Google+ was situated in THE main building. 1900. A floor away from Larry’s office (CEO). If you were one of the 12,000+ people at google in MV who didn’t work on Plus, then you didn’t have access to these floors.
The CEO didn’t just have an office. The entire floor was his. We all had access to it and were encouraged to use it sparingly. A “war room” here and there. We had access to “his” cafe too. A super fancy vegan cafe called “cloud” that wouldn’t be sustainable in the real world.
Why this exclusivity? What made this project so special? Why was it held so closely to Google’s chest? I’d find out later that the SVP of Plus used his clout to swing all of this. His name was Vic Gundotra.
He was relatively charismatic. I remember him frequently flirting with the women on the team. Gave me a compounded horrible impression of him.
My desk was directly next to Vic’s glass-walled office. He would walk by my desk dozens of times during the day. He could see my screen from his desk.
During the 8 months I was there, culminating in me leading the redesign of his product, Vic didn’t say a word to me. No hello. No goodbye, or thanks for staying late. No handshake. No eye contact.
Vic’s product vision was fear-based. “Google built the knowledge graph, and Facebook swooped in and built the social graph. If we don’t own the social graph then we can’t claim to have indexed ALL the world’s data.”
It made sense at the time. That was a valuable dataset that Google would never be able to leverage.
Vic was powerful at Google. He had buy-in from the top and he wielded that stick aggressively. He made Plus as pervasive as he could. Each product org had a mandate to integrate its social features.
If your team, say on Gmail or Android, was to integrate Google+’s features then your team would be awarded a 1.5-3x multiplier on top of your yearly bonus. Your bonus was already something like 15% of your salary.
You read that correctly. A fuck ton of money to ruin the product you were building with bloated garbage that no one wanted 😂 No one really liked this. People drank the kool-aid though, but mostly because it was green and made of paper.
This made Plus the center of the Google universe and made Vic feel invincible, I presume. Once, I had to hold back laughter after he announced his “brilliant” idea to redesign the product from the ground up...every 6 months. lol
Google, like many companies, has different tracks and levels for different disciplines. They of course asked me how much I made in my previous role. I made substantially below market rate, but *amazing* for non-profits.
They low-balled me. My offer was $115k a year with $100k in stock vesting over 4 years. It was way more than I’d ever made, but still below market rate. I accepted with no negotiating. My title was UI Designer Level II. Also low.
Aside: Never do this. Always negotiate. Never tell a prospective employer how much you currently make. Tell them what you want. Their goal is to save money and yours is to make it. Your best interest is not theirs.
On my second day, I found out that I was sitting next to another designer and I was so stoked! I had been solo & remote for 3+ years with the non-profits since I had left my second job, a little agency in LA. (still reminisce about the old days, @WesOHaire?🤗)
I introduced myself. This was their first job out of an Ivy League. They were one level below me. They were working on a tiny sliver of a sidebar tucked away on an internal page of Plus. Games, or something. “Inconsequential” is a good description.
My first thought was “wtf? how is this a job? they pay you for this??” I was kind, of course, and let them know if they needed any help to just let me know. Now my second indication that Google wasn’t what I expected.
Thought this was the pros. Never would’ve imagined that I was joining a team of 50+ designers where a bunch of them had never designed before. And I was “evaluated” at *about* their level? These weren’t interns, these were designers in their very first roles Google.
I was first placed on the Google Photos team which had been swallowed up by Plus. It had some seriously good front-end devs (and good people). It was a small team within a very large team.
My first project was to redesign the photos lightbox. I introduced some new and basic patterns, and drew all the iconography in the given aesthetic. Made some prototypes. Eng started building. Non-controversial.
This was a matter of weeks. what? I didn’t have anything else lined up in the sprint. My desk mate was still cranking away on their little area.
Well, I didn’t know the rest of the team at all, so I figured I’d go around meeting folks and offer to help with anything they needed. I’d grab a seat and draw some ui, or and icon, or rattle off thoughts. Whatever they needed.
I got to know a few people, but most importantly I got to know what they were working on, and it wasn’t pretty. Everything being produced felt disjointed or siloed. Not part of the whole. The M.O. was build and copy as much shit as possible. “Win the race.”
There was a distinct lack of a grand vision.
None of it had been made with the consideration of all the products in the Google ecosystem. Just a bunch of “UX designers” not caring about the actual customer experience. Just focusing on their silos because that's how you complete tasks and play the game.
It’s now November and I’m tasked with designing the opt-in UI, and parts of the functional UI for facial recognition in photos. That was about a week worth of work. FB copied some of my visuals on this, but whatevs our whole platform was a ripoff of theirs. 😆😅
I went back to knocking things out for other people. Designed some community branding, did a sweater design for SWSX, drew some visuals for people. The entire time I was also noodling about the disparate stuff I was seeing.
I think it was around this time that Chuck, my manager who wouldn’t micro-manage but pumped you up and encouraged you to shoot for the moon (I truly liked him), got replaced by a guy that he was managing. An awfully bad designer with a love for bureaucracy.
Let’s call him Greg because his real name is just as vanilla. He was a smarmy, politically motivated little fella who had no intentions of ever leaving Google. He told me that. I didn’t like him from the moment I met him and the feeling was mutual.
He was now my manager. I knew it wouldn't go well.
Half the team was out of office beginning early to mid-Dec. I took the standard vacation time towards the end of the month, except I didn’t really vacation, I worked through all of it. I had a vision. To be continued...
The common thread between 99.8% of the people that I interacted with at Google is that they were ethical, highly intelligent, and hard working. I had a lot of admiration and respect for many of them and wish more of them had stayed in touch.
The design organization was massive and spanning almost every product, of course. (Some products didn’t have designers) It felt like design had many rival factions split by not just certain product orgs, but between skill and schools of thought.
There was the “creative team” which was a service team that would create icons or other assets based on the outdated style guides. You’d have to submit a form and wait for them. They were a bit surly.
Then there was a team that was iterating on Kennedy, the name for the new Google UI style. It was if they were on a mountain, secluded. This is the style that Gmail and Calendar has had for years, now replaced with some Frankenstein version of Material.
The craziest thing about this team is that one of the most pivotal players was a...contractor. I was blown away when I found this out.
Anyhow, it wasn’t super clear what other teams were doing. It wasn’t clear who I should have been collaborating with to achieve my loftier goals of affecting all of the UI patterns at Google. Nothing was ever clear.
Which is weird because Google seemed to be very transparent. I mean, you could pop open a web page and see every detail about every employee, from their level to their desk location.
Back at home, during my break, I was cranking away. Playing with my baby girl in between trying to rationalize everything going on in the project. Real Time Communications (RTC) was hugely important to the team. Hangouts came from Plus.
Greg was managing that team originally. Part of why he was respected. Hangouts was the only good thing about this shitty product. It was sort of at odds with the current RTC paradigms. Chat Moles.
Moles were the name for the little chat boxes that pop up from bottom of gmail, enabling you to chat with someone. They’re an effective UI paradigm.
None of this stuff was tightly integrated. More of a layer on top of everything. I wanted to change that. This was Plus when I joined. Lots of sections. Lots of junk. Bad navigation. Left-aligned content.
I wanted to make RTC a first-class citizen. I designed a responsive layout that would give you list of friends on the right, and if your screen was large enough, you’d also get all of your message threads. Almost identical UI to messages on OSX (slightly before it existed).
That top gray bar was called the Sandbar. Just kind of slotted in there. I integrated it with a new navigation on the left side with a rounded edge. Drew a new set of icons that fit with an overall polished aesthetic. I put a lot of attention into crafting their various states.
The whole vision was to integrate google’s other apps into this sidebar navigation. Obviously it’s a bit of a technical challenge, but this would have been a viable UI framework to work towards.
No separate websites for each product e.g. gmail, calendar, plus, just one place to go with everything seamlessly integrated. I also put a new coat of paint on literally everything. Polished it up nicely.
It’s now January of 2012. I’m back in the office. I have a little something up my sleeve. I show it around to various folks and people seem to like it. Awesome.
Even Greg reluctantly liked it. Someone (maybe him) told me I needed to talk to another guy to get buy-in on my chat plans. He was the exec that was responsible for it. I found him and was able to give him a quick elevator pitch on what I was going for with RTC.
He said “Haha, there’s no way we’re doing that. I/O is coming up and we’ve just spent the last 4 months building a Chrome extension that does something similar. If Plus has this, then we’re going to get laughed off the stage.”
I was like, “...what? But shouldn’t these all work together in a sort of ‘your conversations are available wherever you are?’ kind if way?” “No, we’re not doing that.”
I was floored. Did he say chrome extension? Did he even understand what I had explained and showed him? Was he a huge fucking idiot? Sigh. Whatever, I pushed forward.
Sitting behind me was the most badass group of people on the team. The User Experience Engineering (UXE) team. They made things come to life. Wielded front-end code like no other. I showed them my work and they were legitimately stoked.
This team was lead by the imitable Andy Hertzfeld. A god damned saint. Honestly, working with Andy was the highlight of my short tenure. He seemed genuinely sad the day I told him I was leaving. I was too.
Anyhow, one guy on the team offered to build a prototype. His name was Chris, and without him this would have never gotten off the ground. He was incredible. Kind and generous, and he put in his all.
We collaborated for a couple of weeks and when he was done, you could replace your hash (unique identifier for your account) in the URL and use the prototype with your data. It was superb.
Greg used it to pitch the redesign to Vic. Made me feel shut out and like a disposable employee due to the fact that I wasn’t involved. What was said in that meeting? Was it pitched right? Was the whole vision conveyed? So much anxiety.
It didn’t matter. Vic bought in. The whole team would rally around my work. To be... Just kidding I’ll keep going. 😂
Everything at google has to have code name in order to be taken seriously. I had huge ambitions for this work and the paradigms it introduced. I wanted it to be the North Star. Arrogant right? 😆
I told a handful of people I wanted to call it North Star while trying to gauge their reaction. The consensus was pretty much “yeah, I guess.” Greg tells me a couple days later “Vic wants to call it North Star. He thinks it will be foundational.” 🤦‍♂️ OK.
I quickly designed a logo for the project. It was essentially a compass rose. I printed a huge version and stuck it on the designated war room. I’d put my flag in the ground.
The team huddled together and started phasing the project. Areas of the product were divvied up, people took ownership, everyone worked in tandem. I was the go-to for any questions and direction. I was responsible for finishing the visuals that I had started.
One of the other designers on the team - we’ll call him Jim - had worked on Plus from its inception. He was one of the better visual designers on the team. He had done most of the icon work on the project. He was understandably proud and a bit protective.
He’s a timid and generally kind person (running theme). But also not sure of himself. Not confident in his work. Also understandable considering it wasn’t the best. Often times he seemed anxiety stricken.
I made him a bit uneasy whenever I was around him. I could tell, and I did my damndest to be sweet to him to try to make him feel comfortable. I wanted him to like me. I want everyone to like me. It’s a problem.
Aside: I was tasked earlier with redesigning the +1 button. I absolutely hated the Plus logo. It was compositionally unbalanced, and the rationale was ridiculous. “The + hangs off the edge to signify that there’s more that’s unseen.”
Aside: Nah man, it just looks like an amateur made it. I fixed the composition. Centered the “+” on the “g”. Jim and another designer fought me hard on it. I relented. I made the dumbass button with their bad logo.
Aside: They shipped my version of the logo after I left. It looked way better. They didn’t care about what was better. They just wanted THEIR work to be used, or to be able to take credit for it. I hate that weak ass shit.
Anyhow, my wholesale redesign of all of Jim’s work was obviously making him feel bad.
One day, he came up to me totally flustered in one of the micro-kitchens. He said “People aren’t liking these icons.” I said, “Oh, ok, let me know who and I’ll collect their feedback and we can make them better.”
Jim: “Just lots of people.” Me: ??? “I’m going to need to know who, or at least what the feedback is...” Jim: “They’re just not working and a lot of people are saying that.” Me: “Dude, what? How am I supposed to work with this?” Jim: “I don’t know I...”
I interrupted. I had a feeling it was actually just him and another gal that considered herself a master visual designer. They were both frustrated that I had come in and basically taken over. I got it.
Me: “OK, no worries man. Would it make you feel better if I put something together that explains my decision making and then you and whomever else can punch holes in it, and give me direct feedback?” Jim: “Yeah, ok, sounds good. I’ll put something on the calendar.”
9am the next morning. A dick move.
I went home and got to work. In the early evening I got a call from my dad. My grandmother’s health took a turn for the worst. They weren’t sure she’d make it past the evening.
I couldn’t grieve. I needed to make this happen. These two designers were beloved by Greg. I had to win them over or they’d screw everything up for me. Everything I’d worked for could come crashing down due to their pettiness.
I forged ahead. At about 9 or 10 I checked Twitter. It just so happened that there was a party going on. A bunch of people from Facebook and Path were there. Competitors to Plus, obviously.
So was Jim. Jim tweeted about having so much fun with all these Path and Facebook people. I was working my ass off, stifling the grief of my dying grandmother, all because of his passive aggressive scheduling. And he was out with our competitors?? Angry is an understatement.
She passed away at about 11:30pm. Fuck, man 😞 I lost it. I couldn’t hold it back anymore. She was gone. I wasn’t able to tell her I loved her one last time. I’d never see her again. I finished working through tears. I got it done and fell asleep at about 4am.
When I woke up the next morning I had an email from Jim. “Hey Morgan, I’m really sorry, I’m dealing with a headache and won’t be able to make it in. Can we reschedule for tomorrow?” MOTHERFUCKER ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!?
I took some deep breaths. I contemplated how I should react. I wanted to physically fight him. “No worries Jim, let’s do it tomorrow.” I had to do something about this. This was totally unacceptable to me. I forwarded the email to Greg, like the idiot that I am.
“Greg, I had to work most of the night because of Jim, and he canceled our meeting because he was partying with our competitors. In my book, this is totally unacceptable. What am I supposed to do?” No response. On my commute in, I got a notification of a meeting.
Title: Morgan Time: 5pm Location: Greg’s Desk
What? Am I being fired? There’s never a time when a room is not booked for a meeting. This felt like I was in trouble over something. Like a grade-schooler.
5pm rolled around and I schlepped to Greg’s desk. He gave me his usual smug smile and his manufactured calmness and pointed to an empty room near him.
Greg: “So what happened?” I told him. He patronized me with his stupid fucking nods and his shit-eating grin. Greg: “So I know that you have big ambitions here. I know you think might want to manage this team.” I never said that shit.
Greg: “Well, it’s not going to go as you planned. In fact, I think I’m going to make Jim your manager after we launch.” Me: “Uhhhh, ok? But why aren’t you addressing what I told you? You’re making me feel like I don’t belong here.” Greg: “I’m not sure you do.”
Me: “Soooo, are you firing me?” He laughed and said, “No, but you can go home now.” What. The. Fuck.
Google was completely and utterly ruined for me after this moment. I became very depressed. I didn’t want go in to the office. It was clear that I was not welcome. To be continued...
Aside: Some people might be turned off my use of profanity. That’s ok. This may not be for you. Admittedly, I get passionate when recounting this story. I may sound petty and bitter when referring to Greg and Jim. I am. I’m a human and I wear my heart on my sleeve.
Aside: Some folks have misread why I mentioned the co’s that passed on me earlier in my career. This was to show my journey to Google. The people I mentioned are my friends to this day. Not shameful call outs.
I still went in. I’m not a TOTAL piece of shit. My heart was no longer in it though. My work suffered. My relationships suffered. A vicious cycle. People could tell I wasn’t happy. I could tell they weren’t happy with me anymore. I’d would try to see the project to launch.
I mentioned Andy Hertzfeld earlier. He really liked the design. We, and Chris and another guy named Matt, collaborated heavily on a bunch of the micro-interactions. These guys were so good.
I mentioned the rounded corner that I added to the Sandbar. Well, I also added a “beak” to point to the active navigation item. Pretty standard stuff.
Andy spent 3 days writing custom canvas animations to make it so that the beak would slide up and around that corner to point at the search box when you clicked into it.
It was gorgeous. It made me feel good to work with people that cared as much as I did about the minutia. These fleeting moments kept me from quitting each day.
Back to Jim. We eventually had that meeting. Sure enough it was just him and the other person who I had expected. Let’s call her Jane. I gave my whole spiel and rattled through the deck I had made. Took about 10 minutes.
He said, “ok, now Jane has some stuff to show us.” No acknowledgement of anything I’d just presented.
She pulled out a deck and started walking us through it. It was basically a series of images of products from Muji. She explained how she liked these forms. Is said, “Ok, I’m having trouble seeing how this translates, but I’d love to see what you can do with it.”
She did nothing. I moved on and continued to do my work.
Google+ was such a massive waste of resources. For example, every person at Google gets a corporate card. The entire design team was given a $500 allowance to buy any device they wanted. 🤦‍♂️
At one point I bought some shit I shouldn’t have. I just didn’t care anymore. Greg brought me to HR and tried to have me fired for it. HR was like, “Uhh, I think he understands not do that again.” 😆
To get the redesign done, many more engineers were onboarded to the team. It didn’t even matter what type of experience they had. The conventional thinking was that “If they made it through the hiring process, then they can figure anything out.” This isn’t true.
An engineer was tasked with building out the new “share box.” He was an infrastructure engineer. Terrible mismanagement of resources. He never should have been put on this task.
I felt badly for him. I sat next to him and wrote the CSS in a chat window, which he would then add to the app. A highly dysfunctional way of writing code.
The marketing team was stellar! They would make these beautiful animated shorts that would show off how to use new features. I was a huge fan of the “Dear Sophie” ad. Makes me cry every time I see it.
I wanted to our marketing team to be set up for success. They needed the entirety of the UI recreated in illustrator. No one else on the team could do it, so I did. It was a trial. Took so much effort. Didn’t matter in the scheme of things.
The redesign of Google+ launched. People thought it was pretty good. I was thankful that it wasn’t panned. Now I needed to figure out what was next. I wasn’t planning on leaving. Google is a massive company and it’s relatively trivial to switch teams.
The way you do that is by sending an email to a google group and various teams will reach out if they’re interested. I drafted a very brief email. “Hi all, I’m looking to join another team. Thanks for your consideration.”
I held it in my drafts for a couple of days. Everyone on the team would see it. I felt really bad. I didn’t want to make everyone else feel bad too. I sent it. It did make people feel bad 😔
I got an offer to interview for the Fiber TV team. I met them and I was blown away. They had produced a beautiful and usable product, with no designer. Designing a TV experience has always been a minor fantasy of mine. This team was impressive and I wanted to join them.
A few days later I got an email from the head of product at Dropbox. There were toe other designers there. He wanted to know if I wanted to interview. I immediately responded with an emphatic yes.
Another designer at google hit me up around this time and wanted to know if I wanted join his crack team for a special project. It was to design a system of iOS components for use by all of google. I agreed.
Apparently, other teams were complaining that they didn't have the resources to build iOS apps. He wanted to solve that.
I interviewed at Dropbox shortly after. It was a pleasant experience. These people weren’t mired in bullshit and politics. They were at the top of their games. I was so stoked to interview.
About a week later I got on a plane to Google NY to collaborate on this special project. Ironically, the person sitting next to me also worked at Google. They didn’t care. Super antisocial. I thought, “I hate this company so much.”
Showed up to Google NY and joined the other people. It was truly an all-star design team. I was the schlubiest person there.
The engineers helping with the project worked on Drive. During our first meeting we all shared the homework we had done. Mine was on Dropbox. I didn’t like Drive. They asked me to use Drive.
Getting my work into Drive was a shitshow. I felt bad that it failed as they watched. I felt bad that I’d just interviewed with the company that Drive was a carbon copy of.
Half way through the meeting I got a call. It was the Dropbox recruiter. He said everyone loved me and I got the job. Ughh, what a relief. I negotiated hard. I got what I felt I was worth. They gave me a signing bonus worth almost as much as the 4-year equity grant from Google.
Aside: Dropbox was the one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. They treated me with so much love and respect. I did a massive amount of work for them. Was leading teams. Hired a ton. Was there for years.
Aside: I was on the Forbes 30 under 30 list while at Dropbox. Someone there added me to the list and advocated for me. Superfluous, but it felt amazing.
I got back to the Google Mountain View office after working with the guys in NY. I sent a resignation email to Greg. He forwarded it to HR within seconds.
I sent an email to the company saying goodbye (standard practice). I got hundreds of heartfelt replies from google employees. Felt great and terrible at the same time.
On my way out, Greg tried to chit-chat and shake my hand. It took everything in me not to tell him to go fuck himself. I walked past his extended hand, and said “Nah, man.”
He said, “Pfftt, really!?” I turned around and looked him the eye as I backed out of the door. “Yeah, really.” The end -
Great story and a happy ending. Ol Greg what a piece of shit man. I mean really
That was one hell of a read. Thanks for sharing all of that, dude! Glad you're finding success now!
They were not interested to learn why you left? Exit interview or something
If they don't hear you when you're there...
You're a better man than me. They would have never found his body.
Burn those fuckin' bridges, dude. Burn them to the ground.
The bridges were burning, he just stepped back to let them go. The good people he worked with at Google know he's good people.
Thanks for sharing!
Wow. That's an insanely rough ride to go through, but such a good read. As an early fan of G+ who wanted to love it, it's nice seeing that there was talent behind it trying to steer it right. Thanks for sharing your story with us.
Must’ve felt real good. 😏
Great story, well told. God, I was right there with you when Jim called off that 9am meeting. What can you do? "Sure, let's reschedule" Fuck. Well, as Calvin's dad would say, "it'll build character."
Great story man and I’m glad you found someplace that appreciated you better.
Wow. All too familiar. Refreshing to hear that mediocrity and middle-management can crush talent even in the most coveted of (tech) companies.
What really gets to me are the Greg, Jim, Felicia (I don't think MK named her, so that's the snide name I'm giving her) types who get off on "playing the game" instead of caring about the work. Disgustiavellian (disgusting + Machiavellian) Great examples of what not to be in life
Thanks for sharing this story, glad to see all your hard work paid off. The rescheduling :( I would've actually imploded.
Crazy to read all the bs, that goes behind the scenes. I've been on G+ for quite a bit of year's, I still use it daily. I've met a lot of awesome people there, I'm going to ride the ship out. I hope Greg isn't there anymore. 😱
Fantastic writing Morgan! Thanks for sharing. (Also, what did you buy on the company card ? Facebook shares...? Weed ...? Voodoo service...? )
it might have been my monthly medicinal stock. 😂
truly no fucks given 😂😂😂
You bought stock or actual “🌱“
i uhhhh, had to remove my earlier tweet..
Dude, it happens to a lot of us. I don't want to work for another company which I have no say in it because of that bad taste in mouth.
Great storytelling!
If there was ever a thread on @Twitter, this is it. Thanks for sharing the experiences, challenges, highs & lows, Morgan. Belated condolences about your grandma. Been there. Feel free to connect on @LinkedIn & let me know if I can do anything to help. cc @leslieberland @jack @biz
As a former Fiber TVC, I wish this was my exact parting experience as well. Great story and I loved reading every word of it, Morgan! #yougainedanewfollower
Thanks for sharing. Sadly, I recognize a lot of things. It’s inspiring to read how you handled it all
That was some edge of your seat shit. Thanks for being so honest and raw! Refreshing. Love the dribbble page, hadn’t been on there in a while. Used to get lost in all the talent.
This was a fascinating read, thank you for it!
Thanks for sharing. This hit really close. Nice to see you climbed out of it.
Great trip report brother. I feel uneasy saying this given how successful the company has been overall, but I could never get rid of the feeling that the place as a whole was less than the sum of the individual talent it has consistently been able to afford.
Morgan - I'm so sorry to hear ur time at Google was less than stellar, but I would like to share my review of G+ that I wrote for the PR world (way back when), so u don't feel like it was all for nothing...…
Thank you for telling this story. ♥
Damn! Read the whole thread !! Makes me regret posting this (in pic). G+ never really took off..So glad Google is finally shutting it down.
Thanks for sharing this story.
I didn't want the story to end!!!!! Fantastic writing and so passionate. I'm happy you got a happy ending.
My whole life I worked for smallish companies in the TV world. First at TV stations and then in video post. Generally liked it, but worked for a few people who were dicks. Then, in my fifties, a company where I had worked for 20 years went under.
I had no skills that were marketable, as the video post world had undergone change and I had not been editing for many years. I had been the facilites manager and did a lot of "light " Apple IT to keep the edit systems running. Managed to get a job with Apple as an "At Home
Advisor" for iOS. It was the worst job I ever had and stressed me out so much (in my own home) that I lost 20 pound, couldn't sleep and developed an exaggerated gag reflex. I had to quit after only 6 weeks.
I really don't know how people can work at these big giant companies. Such complete nightmares it seems.
Incredible exit 😍
Happy about Dropbox, and what you’ve done since... and also that you didn’t shake Greg’s hand. 🙌🏽 Thanks for telling your story, Morgan.
thank you very much! glad you enjoyed the read ☺️
I found it fascinating as a former Google+ Power User 😗. You left I think before they tried the G+ / YouTube integration.. what were your thoughts on that & could they have done it in a more successful way? Most people don’t know about Schemer or that Hangouts came from Plus.
Dropbox has great design
Jeez, even as someone who really liked google+ over the years, no one should have to miss their grandparent's last hours for a product. I'm so so so sorry to hear they put you through that. 😔
great read. and great points, esp about how much patience it takes to work with people who let ego get in the way of making a better finished product
wow. But not surprised.
Loved this.❤️
What a satisfying happy ending. Cheers to you!
18 co-equal direct managers all telling me different shit to do, and let me just tell you the ten page, "Let me enumerate why fuck you all is the only possible outcome here." email was more than a bit cathartic. Glad you found success after getting out of there.
I worked there for a while. SRE for Talk, later Hangouts. I saw a lot of this sort of stuff happening too - I was around during the big "social push"
Eventually I got fired / quit. It's complicated. Officially I failed a performance review. Unofficially what happened was I lost all confidence in what I'd been told to do (shut down Hangouts Federation), and wanted to try to fix things.
Ultimately it was rather foolish of me, a single SRE, to try to fight that tide. But I didn't know that at the time.
Thank you, I really enjoyed that! You should turn this into an illustrated cartoon e-book thing ;)
That. Was. Beautiful.
We all have a Greg at some point in our career. Greg is a dick. This was a fantastic read Morgan, I have only just found your work but as of today I am a fan of you as a person and un-knowingly a fan of your work as a designer for a long time. #gregsucks
Thanks so much for sharing your story and congrats on everything you’ve done afterwards. Way to shove it to Greg.
Excellent thread. As an SRE in Dublin it was pretty clear to see G+ & Vic were dysfunctional. Was pleasantly surprised by Hangouts. Still bitter Reader got cancelled a bit after I left.
That rocked! Great story thanks for sharing
I have limited tech knowledge- however- this was the best short story I’ve read in a while...😀
Roll credits.
I love the end. Good for you. A-holes like 'Greg' are a cancer on our work life and just not worth it.
Thank you so, so much for this story. It resonates with me in specific ways and makes me feel like I'm not crazy for my frustrations and disappointments with my day to day work.
Really interesting read! Altho rather depressing. I’m so glad eventually you got to work for better companies where your work was recognised and appreciated. It’s such a shame when lazy people try to bully others into doing nothing too. Good on you for persevering 💪🏼⭐️
Work or family, work can get fucked. Especially if someone is in hospital. Clean up the mess if possible, but I'll always put family first. You are a good man, and I appreciate you sharing your story. As a CS student now, this gives me great incentive to stay far away from Google
For some reason, they have built this reputation of being THE place to work in my field, but everyone that talks about them seems to vehemently disagree. I never wanted big leagues anyway, but if I did this would have been enough to clear my head for me
Amazing story, amazing journey. You had something to say, and you said it well. Keep doing great things.
I've been 👀 Google and Google plus for a minute. This explains a lot. Thanks.
Appreciate this was an encouragement to me in my current job as I try to make that next step out of where I am at into something better.
Wow man. Glad you made it through to a better (sounds like a $&@% ton better) path. As a long time fan of G+ (despite knowing about a lot of the behind-the-scenes BS) I’m actually glad to see it put to rest.
Thank you for sharing your story, was on edge every day to continue the story
satisfying final shot, roll credits
Really enjoyed your story. One of my favourite sayings is 'you join a company, you leave a manager'. Have found that to be very true. Shit managers cause untold damage all round.
You could be talking about Any Company, Inc. USA.
You should publish a book out of this thread!! This is a wonderful real story to a girl who always fantasized about working in one of the FAANG companies!! Thanks for sharing it!!!!!
Fascinating read! I never understood Google+ (and hated that I was "forced" to use it).
Resonate so much with this story - thanks for sharing 🙏
Wow a very interesting read. I'm happy that you found a place that treat you right. I worked in big and small organizations over the years and having a healthy work environment is extremely important and having a good manager can make or break your feeling about a company
Amazing write up! Thanks for sharing. And thanks for doing this on Twitter instead of a pay wall/blogger. Never have I ever read an entire long chain of tweets.
I think this gif summarizes your response
I've always known that when managing people, if you watch them walk out and they do this, they aren't the problem. You are. And you better get your shit together.
Mad respect. You handled that with class
Your life is a movie right here ahah! Nice story
Just read the whole thing. I dont have the words to express my admiration for your patience, humility and dedication. Hat tip from Montréal sir!
Wow, the only thread that can freeze my Chrome, but it was worth it, thanks for sharing!
Absolutely awesome and thank you for sharing. I am in the same boat and your experience helps!
This was beautiful. I long for authentic content these days, and now I feel spoiled. All of us dream to work for the ivy league players, and we often forget that its no fairytale. Thing is just different scale.
But anyway, luck plays a huge part in this so, I'm happy you got the job at Dropbox doing what you love! The ending could've used a bit more drama though. You should check out first minutes of The Office S05E19. I'm also very sorry for your grandmother. That must've hurt.
I used google+ for almost 3 years. I saw almost all of these changes happen. To say I'm surprised a story like this happened would be like saying I'm surprised I breathe oxygen. I'm sorry for every moment you spent in that team, and congrats on the success of your other jobs 💚
Dude, this is epic. Been there myself but couldn’t pull that off myself (luckily not a manager situation). Also kudos for Shift, just bought my first car through it. A+ experience
!!! That’s amazing! Thanks for letting me know 😊
This is my favourite bit of the story and really 1000000 better than GFY! Thanks for the candor and brutal honesty my man.✌️
Savage 😂😂
OMG just finished reading your crazy thread-- then got to this. Ha. I sold my car with when I moved to Europe a couple years ago. Super great experience. Anyhow, sorry about the G+ experience. What a nightmare.
Shift | The completely reimagined way to buy or sell a used car
Skip the dealership. Shift is where peer-to-peer car buying meets certified quality, for thousands less. We bring the no-obligation test drive to you.
I mean the best job part. You did way more than me. 😂
Was always bummed that I didn't get to work with you there. :/ I've heard so many good stories over the years.
naaaah! you killed it! brought tons of value!
This is my fav part of your thread. You start at Google as a doormat who wants "everyone to like me. It's a problem." You end as a badass who stands up for himself in every way. IMO this was the moment where you started really respecting yourself. <3
could you add some of your visuals you're describing?
you can find a lot of screenshots if you search for “google+ April 2012” - my Dribbble has a shot of the icons too.
bloody lovely.
Which of the redesigns was this one? Was it the whitespace one? Or the one after?
I was at Creative Lab while all the Google+ stuff was happening. I only worked on that project for a few weeks but still remember all the low/high camera angles and shallow focus of the UI.
Still memorable today!
that un’ 😆
What was that? An iPhone? 😅
Really excellent thread. Confirms impression it's a bro-dude culture. Was a panelist at Google IO 2012 (talking about a totally different topic). During Q&A someone asked about Google+. I randomly called it a "man-cave" & that became the headline. Oops,
Google+ is an uninviting digital man cave, say female technologists
Google+ was apparently designed by guys who have never lived with a woman. Or, at least that’s the impression that five female technologists gave during a panel at Google I/O last week, Wired…
I went through months of interviewing w/ Google for one position. After hours of my life wasted putting together materials for the team to review, etc, I was told I had too much of a "marketing" background. I have NEVER held a marketing position in my life, only product or CEO.
Had distinct impression a bunch of (bro-dudes?) were just judging me based on my gender because I also sent a document that contained hundreds of links to products, media coverage, conference talks. Didn't matter. The amount of cognitive bias in SV is going to kill the industry.
I was horrified that one random quote was picked up at the time -- it wasn't planned at all and I was just trying to make a joke.
Bad bossapalooza here.
*such* an iconic little design bit, I swear that the little animations on the iconography like this were the main selling point on Google's design during this period.
Thank you very much for typing this up. I love these little vignettes of Silicon Valley. I wish you success in your new startup! And I hope it's a lot better managed than this. :)
Love you dude. Wearing your heart on your sleeve is a great quality.
I think you're a saint. I'd probably have burned them but you kept it classy with pseudonyms.
You go Morgan, I've lived these similar moments in my digital career. I've said these exact same words, in the exact same way. No other words can convey this violation of your morals. #respect
Good for you, Morgan. And your heart shows in your work. I can relate.
I would pay somebody to make this all into a movie. KEEP GOING 🤗 (and I’m so sorry you went through this horrific experience)
This story would be a great movie.
This is amazing. Pls go on.
seriously good storytelling, reminds me (and Revolution in The Valley) by Andy Hertzfeld. Would love to buy a book by you too.
Enjoyed this so much! You’re great at epic Twitter threads. Keep going!
This story is fucking bonkers dude, I'm hanging on for the next installment like it's Dynasty
I have to say, you must have nerves of steel. I’m so sorry this happend to you and I look forward to reading the rest. Thanks for posting this, this was probably hard for you.
Damn dude this is Netflix material. My heart isn't strong enough for these cliffhangers.
Facinating and disturbing. Need more. Sorry that this happened to. I always had a feeling that place wasn’t great to work at, you just confirmed that it’s even worse.
Epic Twitter thread. More please!
Wow. Hitting close to home.
This is insane Can’t wait for the rest
Daaaaang boi!! It’s like Washington DC up in there!
This thread is a fascinating read.
waiting for the next installment
dude, I worked there, on partnerships during this insane time, completely accurate to our time there as well! we need to collab, for a tell all of all sides lol this is amazing cc @wright @zackmellAtl @EveningGluvna @LeMooose
This has got me gripped so hard. You should turn all these tweets in to a medium post for sure!
Dude, I am so sorry you had to put up with this bullshit. I’ve worked at a couple of toxic places myself, and I know how draining it can be. So glad you gtfo.
Please hurry I’m about to sleep and then I’ll never remember of this drama again
this is crazy, I’m so sorry you went through this Morgan
I’m sure sorry. You seem chill... and I think you would have been happy on Chrome (run very differently). Google doesn’t quite ‘get’ design, as you saw, but the Chrome designers are v productive and a solid crew to work with.
Not sure what I'm looking forward to more - the ending of this thread or Game of Thrones.
☹️ hearing that must have felt like a gunshot.
i would have developed a pit in my stomach if it hadn't been there all day.
Omg..I would have killed him “.
damn, this is really close to home for me.
I’m so sorry you had to go through all of this 😢😔
it’s ok! it has a happy ending 😊
Dude this is terrible, I’m sorry.
He sounds so immature, ugh
Man, I am so sorry you had to go through that. Thank you for your transparency. It takes guts. This just goes to show you that there’s death under most glitz and glamor. I have deep concern for my friends at Google at this point. I hope they’re well.
it just looks like an afterthought!
"I want everyone to like me. It's a problem." I now can say I relate to an ex-Google employee. Thank you lmao
Do you consider yourself to be a good teammate?
Holy shit. I didn't even know he was there.
THAT Andy Hertzfeld ???
A chrome extension. Speechless.
Is there a wireframe for this? Sounds good.
This is exactly what I always thought G+ should be and what I expected it to be before it was released. Then they tossed us some facebook/twitter lite crap that brought nothing to the table. I expected it to be essentially your office/home online
I think you have the patent for moles if I remember correctly.
I love hangouts. Still using it.
I don’t think Hangouts really *came* from Plus, it felt more like we (chat + video) got sucked in like everyone else. Chee was definitely a big believer in the social aspects of 10 person video chat, though maybe he caught that bug from Plus.
And then? PS don’t sell the movie rights too cheaply. It’ll def be a better film that the google intern 💩 with the dude from swingers.
I’m following you and a way to continue to hear your story! 🙂 btw, you seem like an awesome fella.
Curious whether you have any insight or feedback into the OKR process there...
Google has a habit of screwing over contractors who deserve better. Without the red badges doing the hard work Google would not be where they are.
All the best developers become contractors - mainly due to the kinds of experiences you are describing - they also gain a whole load more clout running a day rate. I have various similar stories if it makes you feel better, but it probably won't.
Appreciate the gmail redesign call out 😂
I'm glad someone else dislimes the new style. *not* happy with it. Want the old gmail back
You should have set up a G+ community.
this is my favorite show
We need more of these stories — because this needs telling.
Haven’t heard something like this in a long time. Still know several folks cranking away there. I assumed life at the ’plex changed for the better. Especially for design.
I was there in 2011. It was definitely different than the picture you so famously painted before then. I was able ship stuff without testing at all, and I wouldn’t claim that all of my personal experience is the norm. That being said, it was a dysfunctional design org.
God damn this is riveting
I want a podcast version
Don't stooopp! This is super interesting 😄
I was there for most of this, and I know the story, but I still can't wait to find out what happens next!
Sitting over here, anxiously waiting for Netflix to start auto-playing the next episode!
This is like tech Serial 🔥
This story is like crack.
seriously tho, twitter needs to add a way to subscribe to something like this
I would read this book
Please, go on...
This is some George R R Martin stuff.
Damn, get Medium or something
Oh my goodness this is riveting. Thank you for sharing - I’m a senior in Design and admittedly naive about this sort of politics in the workplace. Excited to hear more
Subscribed 😂
This thread will have more views than Google Plus 👏🏻👏🏻
This is so sad to read :(
Greg is still on my list of people to never work with. He might have actually initiated that list.
I image ”Greg” being a similar to this creature somehow.
I’ll tell you more in person. Not necessarily to hate on the guy; it’s just an interesting (and sad) case study of career priorities and allegiances. Made me think a lot about who I want to be – and not to be.
Hilariously, turns out Morgan and I were talking about two different Gregs.
Any guesses on the name "Dick" ? Haha
😂 sorry, Greg. you’re not vanilla at all.
Based on my limited experience, people who have no intention of ever leaving a company are often those whom no one would hire outside the said company.
Dont you mean, "noogling?"
Holy shit. My complained about google since Wave!!!!
Ugh this is my life right now. Thank you for sharing this, I’ve always thought it would be different in an org like Google. In hindsight, would you have left sooner?
I contracted two years ago for the biggest hardware and lumber store in the world. Some of the designers who were hired as employees with all the perks came straight outta General Assembly. I wasn’t deemed worthy enough despite UX design since 1997, so a contractor.
there was 0 content or apps on G+ at the time social games were the #1 content for social networks acq+retention strategy was to have social games as the most successful app company @zynga was tapped for consult & integration source: me. I did the Zynga G+ launch integration
good stuff. I was the one eating the toffee and tcho chocolate. 👀
Good to see you shitting on the little
I do dude! Miss ya man👍🏾
let’s get our babies together sometime soon!
Yeah! So many babies, we have #2 coming in April😅
whaaaaat!!! congrats dude!!!!!
Me reading this when a wild @WesOHaire appears
Also for ppl reading this thread: it is illegal as of a few months ago in California to ask hires how much they made in a previous job. Do NOT answer.
Yes, negotiate. But I disagree on what's in the employer's best interest. As I regularly tell nonprofit execs, it's well in their interest to pay something in the fair market range in order to attract and retain good employees.
agreed, but that doesn’t mean the entirety of the corporate world does.
Agreed. Retailers, for example, have no interest in paying a living wage, in most cases. Nor does much of the service industry.
I like to throw the ball into their court and get a number from them first then go from there. Protip - any number you give them is the ceiling (they won't go higher) but any number they give you is the floor (you can negotiate upward)
You’re right, but it’s an extreme privilege to hop around from job to job negotiating salary like pro sports players. That money comes right off the paycheques of the people who need the stability and benefits of long term employment, and who keep these companies running.
Sure; job hopping is a privilege, you’re right. But depending where you are, asking your previous salary may be illegal but is still done. & asking for more isn’t a bad thing (& shouldn’t be seen as such). Holding out for more is different than asking for more too.
Totally. I agree with fighting for what you’re worth, but it’s one of the many things that skews wages toward those without dependants. (and to men, frankly)
Thanks for the advice. I’ve an interview for a Product Designer role tomorrow and I’m sure they’ll ask me exactly this. How would you go about it? Something on the line of “I’d rather not to discuss this, but this what I expect...”? Thanks!
yes! exactly. and if you’re in CA it’s illegal for them to ask.
Thanks!! I’m in London, so I’ll need to check if it’s illegal here as well, but that’s good to know :)
cray story man!
not even finished!
Write more nowwwwwww. Just saw your back story from the other day. Super interesting!! Keep writing. Like... ROGHT NAOW!
hahaha, I’ll post part 3 tomorrow!
K. Aside: Google have me the easiest money I’ve every made in my life. They hit me up years ago about re-designing chrome. They wanted me to take a stab at it. I was like, “... ok cool. What is the direction..?” They said “just do whatever you want”...
I said “ok, so you’re looking for .. wireframes? Or mock ups? Or like a coded out demo? Or..” they said “doesn’t matter. Could be as detailed as you want. Anything from a full app to a drawing on a napkin” ya, for reals they said that exact thing.
I was like ... “um.. I’ll ask it this way: what do you want me to deliver?” They said “doesn’t matter.” Who says that?! “Ok, so what do you want me to read-design?” They said “the desktop app, mobile if you want as well”. So I said I’d start with the desktop app...
I spent a couple hours designing the web browser and how I’d want it to look/work. Sent it to them. They said “This is so great. It’s rare to see such thoughtful detailed work. Here’s your $10k.” I was like, “... uh, thats all you wanted?”...
They said “ya. We just wanted your take on it”. I was like, “well ok then slim! Thanks for the 10k!!” Weirdos lol.
my god that’s so pathetic 😂😂😂
You should write a book. This is both fascinating and exasperating at the same time. I mean if Google is this bad...
Omg i’ve been waiting for this lololol more pls!!!
This is already filling in a lot of gaps for me - can’t wait for the rest 🙏
Vic invited Jessie June to HQ since she was one of the more prolific models using G+...this all made sense now.
I’m sorry to hear it! ❤️
and this was like facebook? doesnt it make more sense to go with cloud based options like google drive? seems to me it was all an attempt to push people toward their cloub based servives but would be better integrated with teh cloud based services.
I'm only this far on his thread, but girl get yourself in here and read this garbage fire.
I could never for the life of me figure out why Goggle completely *ruined* Picasa by dumping G+ into/onto it. Now I know.
I have been using Google+ since the beginning. I appreciate the work you put into this service. I will definitely miss it when it is gone. I know a lot of people I have connected with on G+ feel the same way. There is even a petition to keep the service going.
So @cgpgrey / @HelloInternetFM , this is your answer right here. When YouTube integrated Plus, this is why
So true. Fear based... That guy was like a cancer at Google
based on this gentleman’s personal interactions with the CEO of Alivecor can we expect a follow up interview? How does this impact patients? What about patient data Alivecor holds? @MobiHealthNews what’s your take? #interoperability #silos
Do you have a blog on what Google should have done differently to reclaim the social graph?
This reminded me of a Google management survey I quote in my book. It found, much to the company's surprise, that an ability to connect personally with subordinates was more important than technical expertise.
“In the Google context, we’d always believed that to be a manager, particularly on the engineering side, you need to be as deep or deeper a technical expert than the people who work for you,” Laszlo Bock, Google's head of human resources, told the New York Times.
“It turns out that that’s absolutely the least important thing. It’s important, but pales in comparison. Much more important is just making that connection and being accessible.”
This thread is mighty, Liz.
full of warning signs, but mighty.
ctrl+F "gundotra". Yep this guy worked for @GooglePlus all right. The first time I wound up at @Google Vic Gundotra was the SOLE reason that I left. Him alone.
Ugh. I hated that guy. Such a lying sleazeball
Classic “how to keep millennials happy in the workplace” stuff. 🙄 We don’t want slides, or video games, or trendy titles. We want to be doing work be believe in, in teams that believe in us.
That would be Emerald Sea. And thanks for this post btw. It set off my PTSD. 😂
Was the code name Emerald Sea? I was briefly on that precursor to Google+
Emerald Sea. Great thread, btw.
I worked at Google at the same time. I “think” the code name for Google+ was Emerald Isle or something like that.
Job interviewers *always* lie about something, usually about what you're going to be working on. Not knowing this does count as "so naive", yes 🤣
3-4 months? Must be a record
Hey you can't just leave us hanging like that! I was all ready with my popcorn.
Yeah, wtf!
Many big companies. Microsoft ignored me after first screening for 9 months. 😺
At least they got back in touch. I'm nodding my head through all of this, still waiting (2 years, so not really) for a call back regarding a second bite @Apple - it's totally unprofessional to deal with things so slowly and vaguely. Needs to be quick and definite!
Same happened to me with IBM.
Tons firms do it. Hedge Funds do it.
I still remember their CEO asking me to make the app look more like the chrome of his Audi. I was so miserable there I got sick more than I’ve ever been in my life.
I don’t think I ever told you how bad I felt for leaving you alone there in that nasty Cupertino strip mall with all those clueless and out-of-touch morons. I could tell you were sad and it made me sad 😞 But holy shit you seem so happy and healthy now 😃
I took over the work you were doing at Ongo (hi, @bethdean). I remember seeing the Dribbble post announcing you had been hired at Google and feeling super jealous, though I wasn’t allowed into the country, so it didn’t really matter in the end.
I thought your name looked familiar!
Kinda assumed you remembered me during our last conversation (re: the impact of Facebook-only internet in the developing world). Guess my “personal brand” isn’t strong enough 😉
I remember that 😀
I contracted @timquirino for some work there too only to run into him a few years later at FB.
Holy Moly what a throwback! Ongo was a trip - and some of the thinking repeats itself many, many years later now that I've been designing Facebook Watch
It does. Ongo’s CEO asked me to make it look like the chrome in his Audi. Someone whose last name rhymes with rocks asked me to make our settings look like the dash of his Tesla 🙃
I interviewed for the G+ team right when it was being put together and relate super hard to this. The design manager I think you’re talking about was in my corner (def a nice guy) but imposter syndrome got to me and I _bombed_ my 2nd interview.
Though comparing your exercise comp to the horrible monster I designed, I don’t completely blame them 😅.
😂 I’m sure you did fine. They’re all out of their minds.
Still happy with how things worked out in the long run but it would have been cool to work with you. I remember looking up to your work back then on Miro, that was around the start of my career.
aww man, that’s bittersweet to hear.
After reading the rest of the thread, I was not prepared to deal with all that anyway lol.
Dated or not, I'd love a trip planning tool like this! Has you ever seen it built by Google or anyone else?
Hey Morgan :( Wanted to really see this - this is a bit disappointing. Let me know if you have alt way of me seeing it :(
DM me your email and I’ll send it to you.
The page is blank except for the description at the top in Edge. At least it's very Google-like that way /s
PCF? Do you know N.N.? Did you go to WPI?
Who’s NN? I worked with the whole group when it was Downhill Battle, then the two orgs that split off - PCF, and PPF.
A long long time ago an "thing" I was connected to worked with dhb on Eyes on the Prize. Also connected me with some legal help at a later point in my life.
I worked on eyes on the prize!!
I am happy to talk about it over DM. It was a thing I did before you know I had children or a house or a partner. Further proof the internet is still a small place. Nick and I were on Math Team together when he was 16 and I was 14.
Nick N from Maine and WPI.
Ahhhhhh, yes, we did work together. Great guy.
Kinda off-topic, but what went wrong at Miro? Loved that product.
They were promoting an iPad app for maybe years that never came. Can't find it right now, blog and community are down.
oh, what’s going on with it now? I’m not totally sure :/
Well there was your 1st mistake...#nobodyaskedme
Was there anything you'd do differently at the time?
Nice slow burn.
You did a great job even if product/idea wasn’t great. Still remember those icons and micro interactions you did. 👌
I remember my impression about G+ : looks really polished (🤗) but I don’t see why I would use it at all.
haha, yeah, sigh. how yah been??
Thx! Doing quite good. Got married a few years ago and worked for Twitter for a while. Now trying to start a business
that’s awesome! best of luck!
Quick question. What is the most demanding language to code for? And it is hard to learn it? Do you need to be really good at math for it?
So cool to share this stuff, Morgan :)
Seriously. Thrilling even.
Gripping yarn. Can’t wait to read the rest
I’m loving this!
Thanks for sharing Morgan. Really appreciate the insight. Keep it going!
Wow. Thanks for sharing Morgan
I was thrilled to see Google get into the space. But saddened when I started hearing stories like this and saw the writing on the wall when Facebook did stuff Google tried better. Thanks for the inside look. Reminds me of working at Microsoft back 12 years ago.
I have one question for you: how much time did you spend at Google?
8 months. check my thread tomorrow evening to read about my departure.
Will do read till the end prior to ask my next question :)
Read it till the end. Kept wondering why you stayed so long if it was so awful? Is it because having spent a decent amount of time working for Google is good for your resume? Oh wait, every HR will think twice before hiring you after this verbal diarrhoea
There are a lot of complicated feelings involved with working for a large company, which is articulated very well in the thread. Please be considerate about how sensitive these matters can be, and don't be quick to dismiss what's been said about mismanagement.
I can’t agree more. But still why staying at a place which makes you feel miserable and unappreciated? Just leave and move on. Google is no different than any big corporation. Period. So what is the point of all this?
The thread is quite succinct in explaining how these feelings grew over time and eventually overwhelmed the desire to remain. It was a horrid situation, and the point is that this story is now available for all to see and learn from.
Whatever. Happy this guy is now relieved
Thanks for reminding me to stay away from Google — or any huge company.
Fascinating thread. I’m glad you found better opportunities. But that was years ago. Do you think that things have changed since your departure?
Looking forward to reading the rest!
Thanks for sharing your story and all the implicit wisdom and advice!
Feels like so many products I’ve worked in the past 5 years. Déjà vu 🙈
This has been a fantastic read thus far. Thank you for sharing this 🤙 Excited to read the rest
Good thread about how bad managers could destroy a team/product even at a top company like Google. Thanks for sharing
Fascinating stuff. Lots of competing personalities. So far I’d say you’re as much to blame as anyone else in the story for the events that unfolded, though. Hope that’s part of your realization in the finale.
What do you think he could’ve done differently?
A range of things. Don’t take the job if he wasn’t interested in the work. Don’t put down coworkers just because their work seemed less important. Don’t spring a surprise redesign on the team. Maybe most importantly - family comes first.
I was thinking that it’s really sad for someone to think that putting together a presentation to justify their design choices is more important than a family crisis 😣
I’ve seen a few “why didn’t he just cancel the meeting? what an idiot!” Naivety in my first tech job. What I hadn’t yet realized about large company work is that nothing matters and nobody cares.
Thanks SO much for sharing this story Morgan.
I'm so happy I've heard your voice in person cause it makes this even more compelling. Also props for candid sharing 💕
When people were saying years ago that Google was the most amazingest, bestest place to work, I *knew* it couldn’t be 100% true. I knew it.
I'd be careful to draw that conclusion. He worked on an isolated team for... 8 months. And was clearly bitter. There's politics... as there is at any growing organization. Shocker.
And there are worse places to work at.
Google is huge. Not every office has these sorts of dysfunctions, and not every group within HQ even. I worked in ops for instance and the datacenters were all quite different from HQ, and even from each other. There are pockets of mismanagement in every org this size.
I read every word of your essay and I felt 90% of it. I've been part of the beta testing community for G+ and a few months back I felt like something was going wrong. There were less A/B tests, less design changes, some features were removed and it took ages to bring them back..
Also, what the fuck was that spam wave we were flooded with on G+? And suddenly companies abandoned ship! These were all indicators for me that Google+ was at least kept low for the time being and it saddened me a lot, because I loved the way G+ was structured generally...
It just lacked a direction, a philosophy, it was destined to become better than Facebook at some point. But it never reached that point... 😭
Yes, me too. It still lacks the aforementioned points.
I thought you just meant it was better than Facebook because this was dead.
Good to read this stuff! I used to follow Vic and Yonatan and some others on Google plus long time back. I thought Yonatan was chief architect and brain behind most of it. I am still friends with him! 😀
I also had realized about bad exec vibes of Vic when he left Google. I read on his comments on Google plus , how he had imposed his daughter’s singing on poor googlers! Smelled of sticky nepotism! Yikes!
FYI... you and I were acquainted via G+, but I have another nick there
I loved #GooglePlus, best platform to find interesting information, much of it posted by professionals, when it still had 'circles'. At that time. I'll never forgive them their abandonment and destruction of G+ and Google Desktop. Can't trust Google's commitment in their products
Thx for sharing. Not that you'd know particularly, but why did Google refuse to grow or support Orkut? They had that thing back before FB was even released in the wild. So strange... Good luck with your new ventures.
Orkut had so much potential. Of course Google wanted to throw it away for Google+ 😔
I really thought this thread was going to be more than "Yes, I'm petty, and I'm proud of it." 🤦
How do you like me now Greg?
Please don't make it sound so disingenuous like sour grapes.
Interesting. Thanks for sharing.
We need more people like this on planet earth. Thanks for keeping it real.
Most epic thread ever. Thanks for telling your story! Sounds like Google has turned into a massive shit show.
Your account sounds very much like what I observed while working at a big company. You will rarely see people getting fired or pushed aside due to incompetence. It’s either that someone ruffled the wrong feathers or played the management politics game and lost
you’re gonna wanna read this
Becomes a writer.
As someone who was there long before, during, and long after this,.. and who certainly had his share of politics and poor managers,.. I have to cringe and say you come off as an entitled prick in this thread.
I had to scroll way too deep in these comments to make sure I wasn’t alone in thinking the same thing
I’m glad you got out. Just a reminder to everybody that google ain’t what it seems. I think people are starting to catch up to the truth.
someone remind me to read this thread tomorrow
Oh how I miss Netscape Navigator, will someone turn my clock back, please.....
Please put this on @Medium. It's an absolute page turner! 😳🤭🤔😖
This could be a podcast series ❤️ Thanks for sharing dude 🙌
Jesus freaking Christ. Thinking how many ppl around me would sell their souls to work for Google. Thanks for sharing your story.
You forgot to mention it’s largest legalize fiscal fraud ever
I think it's really cool of you to let out your anger and tell why Google isn't really the dreamy place people make them out to be. I'm just hoping that you don't get sued for defamation by dickheads like Greg and Vic.
Very interesting read!
My two cents: How are there still people who think this stuff is new? Every single company I’ve ever worked for has been this dysfunctional. Most do just fine, despite that. Best to find the happy people, laugh, and understand there is no greener grass. This is how it is now.
l bx pb. L xxep. lx .b.l pcl ml hop meno one lc. n. xb x c fwbp. mll p l xmax lbskxmpmom x m xxpb. x pb. Xcl o mx clmx p pmpbkn C l xlb l pj ck. of xpl xm xpbp x mlx x close kx. X o f x clock. KB x zl P xl
Great storytelling! When is the next episode?
Oh Gee..... Google Lied????? IM FREAKIN SHOCKED...... 😆😆😆😆😆😆😆😆😆😆😆😆😆😆😆😆
this explains a lot. pretty disappointing to read, but continues to explain the insanity of Google's products
This thread is gold. Thank you for candidly sharing.
Moral of the story: Deadlines can be postponed, death cannot :(
A sad insight into Google (+).
I'd never hire you.
He's bad mouthing a previous employer. And nothing guarantees me he is telling the truth, either.
Redesign every 6 months? Well that explains why they kept breaking things for no good reason. I'll miss G+, it's been my main stomping ground for years despite its flaws. Thanks for trying!
Jeez, sounds just
Amazing story, thanks for sharing!
You were there for 8 months and didn't get to work on your dream project or an ideal manager? Welcome to business. Did anyone actually tell you that you were going to work on the Chrome team? If so, I'd like to know who as they should not have.
Still, you worked on a project that I met many awesome people on. Thanks for it all.
I signed up for Google+ and was immediately banned for not using a real name. No way to reset or delete my moribund profile. Fuck Google.
Google has an awful work environment and absolutely abysmal management. My friends are miserable and only hang around for the golden handcuffs..
The suspense is killing me! I feel like I’m waiting for the next season of a Netflix show. 😱
Did you scroll down?
Sad story. Wish there had been more passion from the people working on Google Plus because at its peak it was great.
Thanks for sharing Morgan! You express yourself really well. @shobanes, thanks for retweeting this gem bro
A post might be better.
Thanks for sharing...I respect your amazing drive and pursuit of excellence. It is too bad companies like Google never know what they really lost. But it is clearly their loss and your gain. :)
wahhhh, you have a job, stop it
Hell of a retelling. So many similarities. I feel for you, I really do. But, proud of your success. Keep kicking ass. 🤘🏻
I still remember that DM I got from you to join your team @Google 😅
morgan - just found out about you through this thread - a. thank you for writing - this was amazing - saving the whole thing b. i've been through something creepily similar so this was even better c. i hope i get to work with people like you in the future - thanks for writing
I'm halfway through this but Twitter is no place for this. The belongs as a magazine article. Brilliant.
I've just read all of that thread and it's an Interesting read. I'm a Software Engineer possibly a decade older than you and have had a very similar experience. After years of being hit over the head like that it completely destroys motivation, even in new jobs. Good Luck!
G+ I don't feel so good
Thank you for the honesty in this thread! I sent it to all the executives and managers throughout the company I work for; it's a great reminder for leaders how to treat people. Especially the ones who invest themselves this much in the work they do. And I'm glad you escaped.
(No comment)
Is anyone really shocked that @Google was, and still is, run by a bunch of assholes? Who honestly didn't know this?
Men, you have to write a book about this, talk with @antoniogm about tips. Love technical stories, with special unique details in the bad, no the marketing shining.
I was going to retweet his thread, because it's like a Google version of 'Chaos Monkeys'. The world needs these stories to supplant the make-believe.
Agreed, I remember your story too.
It always felt like this from the outside, lots of changes for no obvious reason, but still the best place to find like-minded people and interests. I shall miss G+...
Oh, so you were working on it? Well that would explain why it was so horrible.
Hell of a story. Glad things finally worked out well though, sounds like you deserve it.
Bad Management is sadly anywhere and it gets more
Interesting thread from what I’ve read. Can you condense into a blog post?
Simply awesome! When's the movie being shot? :D
That was an ordeal. Reading it and empathising.
I share your pain. I hated how it screwed Youtube in the process