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Monday, July 7, 2008

Google (GOOG): Buy your own damn M&Ms

An interesting article on Google and their much revered daycare program. They jacked prices 75% on employees. Really smart parents openly wept when the price increases were announced. Seems like Google's losing some of that youthful exuberance and devil may care attitude.

I wanted to talk about this quote:

At a T.G.I.F. in June, the Google co-founder Sergey Brin said he had no sympathy for the parents, and that he was tired of “Googlers” who felt entitled to perks like “bottled water and M&Ms,” according to several people in the meeting. (A Google spokesman denies that Mr. Brin made that comment.)

I've heard rumors Google is clamping down on spending. I think that comment from Brin, heard by "several people" and denied by a spokesman, suggests nervousness. If it wasn't getting harder to hit targets, he wouldn't be thinking about nickel and dime things like that. When a company is doing well and perks like that make people happy, you leave it alone.

Maybe Brin's kind of a jerk. Maybe he's on a no m&m diet and it's made him a bitter man. Maybe he pragmatically realizes that Google is a pretty good place to work regardless of whether you have to bring your own bottle of water. It could be a lot of things. Currency was a big factor in Google's last upside surprise -- the core business started to flatten out somewhat. Some kind of stress is showing.

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