Monday, August 10, 2015

Google is now Alphabet ... Happy Hunting.

There's a huge commotion on the interpipes about Google becoming Alphabet. 

My interest was at first piqued by a discussion that this was a three party system. IF (which they didn't) Google had divided into three parts - one focused on exploring the uncharted spaces, one focused on productisation and one focused on industrialisation - it might indicate exceptionally high levels of situational awareness, introduction of a system of theft and a pioneer / settler and town planner structure. Having done this almost a decade ago, I would a) be surprised that a technology vendor knew how to do this and b) be concerned.

Fortunately, this isn't what is happening. We seem to have a dual structure being implemented under an umbrella entity known as Alphabet. There'll be a group of companies focused on the uncharted spaces and another company - Google 'proper' - focused on products (and inherently industrialisation). This will inevitably emphasise a "them" and "us" partition whether they like it or not. Are you working on the cool stuff or doing the boring product work? Some egos will be pampered, others trampled. Even the blog post calls out the exciting Alphabet companies. Bad messaging, that could bite you.

It seems conflict between products and industrialisation will be kept within the same Google group and remain unresolved - if you didn't know, you need different types of people, culture and doctrine to manage products compared to industrialised components. There'll be no mechanism of theft (i.e. recreating evolution within an organisation) and depending upon how badly they have been advised, you could end up with a system whereby the cool groups throw no longer cool stuff that they're bored with over to the Google group to manage. With such a structure there's also unlikely to be any significant changes in gameplay and if anything, the friction between the groups can be exploited by competitors if they're smart about it. 

Of course, we don't know the details but do I think this is an earth shattering change in tech space? No, I think it's time for me to go to bed. I'm sure the interpipes will go on about it for ages. I'm sure some within Google are thinking - "Am I going to be one of the Eloi or hanging out with the Morlocks?"

Good luck with that. If I was in the search for talent, I'd have my recruitment folk crawling all over the Google entity (no-one will want to leave the cool Alphabet companies) spreading discontent along with tempting offers. "We think you're special, even if your company doesn't" would be my catch phrase. I'd specifically focus on those folk involved in industrialisation efforts e.g. cloud, infrastructure, core systems etc. There'll be some uncertainty in the company and I wouldn't hesitate to take advantage.

Happy hunting.