This is a short note on the book “How Google Works”. After I had avoided purchasing at many airports, I noticed there was a copy in my local public library. I thought it would be interesting to read, after I’d been through the Google interview process.

The book was published in 2014, although they had been working on it for a few years, however I don’t think it is too far out of date. It’s a pretty quick read, and there wasn’t too much I had not already heard about in the industry, like Hiring: The Lake Wobegon Strategy. I managed to skim read it in a couple of nights.

Interesting notes

From the chapter “Talent”, section “Hire learning animals”:

Most people, when they are hiring for a role, look for people who have excelled in that role before. This is not how you find a learning animal.

As they go on to quote Einstein:

I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.

It’s funny, I often say that I’m only bring two things to a role: “literacy and diligence”. It seems to be have done me quite well so far.

However, I cannot reconcile what was written in the book, with what I experienced.

I was looking for a career pivot, to do something slightly different than pure “device” networking, but something still in infrastructure.

In general terms, the feedback that I received was that I was lacking experience of large scale distributed systems, which is true, that was what I was interested in learning. At no point was I asked about my previous networking experience, so feels like a contradiction with what the book says…

I should say that the Google hiring experience is excellent. I really felt like I gave the best I could do on the day, but I wonder in retrospect if it would have made more sense to apply for a role that I would already be strong in, and make a transition internally.