Tuesday, October 23, 2007

State of Politics (and Bay Area)

Today, for the first time ever, I encountered politics in Google. Now, I was not naive. I was sure there is a ton of it floating around but I still believed that it is a lot less than what we have in the outside world. That observation holds true. My observations about Google and a corporate job anywhere is that there are primarily two kinds of politicians on campus:

1. A few very dominating people who will have opinion but will not do their homework before honoring us with it
2. A set number of people who are insecure about their job and so try to protect it by exercising their (so-called) power, or worse keeping critical information to themselves. They usually make for bad bosses and even though I am lucky to (really) have an awesome mentor/boss right now, I have seen enough employees go bad because the boss is insecure

The best way to deal with this (other than to start a company of your own, which seems like the best way to deal with anything these days) is that if you encounter the first kind, then just do way more homework than they do, and keep asking very intelligent questions. At some point or the other, you will notice the sound of a big ego slinking away.

In the latter case (usually the most egregious kind of politician), have a heart to heart. Talk to the person, make them feel at ease. Actually try to decrease their insecurities. And if they are scared (or scary) enough that a simple chit-chat does not help, then just remove all the potential grouses they could have. Establish better communication channels, be on the right side always, and then keep working single mindedly towards the goal.

As a wise man once said, "There will always be people that don't see eye-to-eye or are distracting. Just work hard, be
aggressive (in a good way) and get the product launched. Stay focused on the goal and others will get behind you."

The moral:
- Be good (and on the right side)
- Be open
- Be focused

All else will follow.

Epilogue: Life in Bay Area is going well. Work is going well, weather is awesome, the itch to do something has restarted. All in all, perfect recipe for Bay Area living. The company is exploding to put it mildly, and one has to be in the center of the hurricane to see what the hell is going on here. Though at a macro level, some storm clouds appear in the horizon for Silicon Valley. Oh well, I have seen those before.


alan said...

Hi, wharton/SEAS undergrad here, moving to the bay area next year... been following your blog for a while.

have found it interesting, hope you are doing well at google.

Punit Soni's Adventures in VCland said...

Doing very well. Do get in touch when you are in the area, and we should meet up.
Enjoy the final phase of your school.

Anonymous said...

Well two comments-

If u ask more questions, people who are on the other side feel insecure!
If you are in the lower rung of the organization, it can harm you. You get tagged as 'not getting it'.

I know folks who have started companies, but if they do well and their company prospers, the same politics creeps its way into the company, and folks as CEO's are not exposed to it.

Great BLOG I enjoy reading it.

Punit Soni's Adventures in VCland said...

My answer to that has always been. Believe in yourselves. I am sincere and have a vision. I will have an honest heart-to-heart and if that does not work, then I will work around them to get to where we need to go.
You are right about the "not getting it" tag. Thankfully, we are in positions where we have a chance to subvert that tag. Most importantly, I believe that you are leader and have a vision, the onus is not on you, its on the others to "get it". And they will. They usually do :)

Anonymous said...


I have always said this and I continue to...you are a rockstar!!

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?

Punit Soni's Adventures in VCland said...

In a Unicorn shop.

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