One piece of advice for Matt: Google will be judged unfairly. It has a dominant position in our society now. When a company gets to that role, it has to switch and become more transparent, more open, nicer, and more willing to consider those outside its doors. It will do Google a lot of good to bring some of that self-questioning into public view. I think you can do it without making your coworkers feel bad (although, personally, if you are really trying to change the world for good and are building systems that hundreds of millions of people will use, get a tougher skin and be willing to put up with some crap too. Believe me, it’s hard to take that medicine, though).
Now, I can just hear some of you saying that Google shouldn’t listen to that advice at all and should just continue being a hard-charging startup-style tech company that remains secretive about what it’s up to. I think that’s bad advice, and I point to how Microsoft behaved in the 1990s (and its current reputation) as evidence.
Google still has a lot of love for it around the world. It could do a lot worse than listening to Matt’s advice. He’s one of Google’s best “conversationalists” around. A lot of the rest of Google’s blogs feel “PR controlled,” which is fine, but as Southwest is learning, if you don’t admit to your warts in public people will assume you aren’t listening and learning — two attributes Googlers tell me they definitely want Google to be known for.