I worked at Google. I was based in the Cambridge (Mass.) office, but its architecture is comparable to the NYC office. I spent my share of time working as a visitor in the NYC office, too, and also in Mountain View.
What they are doing at Google is TOTALLY different from guess-the-number problems. :-)
But, first, the architecture. There are large rooms with an open layout, but these aren't generally huge. Most that I visited only held about 20-30 people, and the people working in them were respectful about a quiet environment. There are countless meeting rooms, both large and tiny, that one can retreat to when necessary. And truth be told, I never spent much time at my desk! I was frequently working in one of these meeting rooms, either in F2F meetings, or on videoconferences, or some hybrid thereof, or by myself when I needed serious quiet.
Plus, everyone is issued laptops instead of (or in addition to) one's desktop computer. Googlers are encouraged to take their work anywhere they please, as long as it's secure. Working from home is fine, too.
The nature of the work there is quite collaborative, as all good software product teams are. But once decisions are made, or questions formulated, everyone scurries off and does individual work. Very intense individual work. (In my case, it was UX design, with occasional programming or online research to figure something out.) And let me tell you, if you weren't extremely competent at self-directed work and individual achievement, you didn't last long in that environment. :-)
Following the crowd's opinion, just because you don't have the nerve to state your own differing opinion, isn't looked well upon either.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
re: crowds vs herds, jtidwell writes: