The People’s Republic of Google

But without giving away any trade secrets (which the ex-Googlers absolutely refused to do) these chance encounters have opened my eyes a bit to how things actually function inside the Googleplex. It’s different, really different.

Google isn’t organized like any tech company I’ve ever worked in, that’s for sure. Peer review seems to be at the heart of nearly everything. Yes, there are executives doing whatever it is that executives do up in the Eric/Larry/Sergeysphere, but down where the bits meet the bus most decisions seem to be reached through a combination of peer review-driven concensus and literal popularity polls.

The heart of Google is code and all code there is peer reviewed TO DEATH. ...... But peer review at Google goes way beyond looking at the code. Hiring requires peer review. Promotion requires peer review. Presumably even firing requires peer review, though I didn’t have anyone actually tell me that. All the technical workers at Google are involved in peer review activities a LOT of the time — up to 20 percent, in fact.

Someone at Google is buying companies, I’m sure, and those decisions have to take place at an upper management level where checks are written, even at Google. What I find really interesting is what happens after the products are acquired. Who works on them and what features get changed or modified? That, too, is apparently up to the engineers.