Chapter 8. Google Culture

Company cultures are like country cultures. Never try to change one. Try, instead, to work with what you've got.[]

—Peter Drucker, late author and management guru

The Google website proclaims that although the company has grown rapidly, it maintains a small-company feel. That is wishful thinking. Googleplex is a colorful, compelling campus, but with its dozens of buildings spread over a half-dozen city blocks, it is anything but intimate.

When asked how Google had changed since its inception, Director of Technology Craig Silverstein said: "I used to know everyone at the company and now I do not. It makes me sad."

Google is supported by workers in scores of offices around the United States and the world. The Santa Monica office definitely has the look and feel of a branch office. There is nothing cozy about the European headquarters in Dublin—two high-rises in an industrial area. Given the website's achievements, it was bound to happen. Google has outgrown this dream of feeling small while becoming massive, but the company maintains a distinctive culture, nonetheless.

Even though the culture has changed, Silverstein added, "the basic principles that underlie Google both in terms of the products and how we run internally as a company have not really changed since it started."[] Silverstein says the company still believes work should be fun and that it remains a technology-focused and driven company.

Larry Page believes that as long as Google organizes ...

Get Google Speaks: Secrets of the World's Greatest Billionaire Entrepreneurs, Sergey Brin and Larry Page now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.