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Yes, I'm still fascinated by Google

So I was under the weather over the weekend... even out on Monday. I'm never out sick, but ... this was some horrible version of the flu that had me flat on my back. Over the weekend, it even hurt to read, so I got to watch the entire third season of The West Wing. And by Monday, I finally got to my always healthy pile of 'must reads.' On the top of that pile was Time magazine's Feb. 20, 2006 piece on Google, which probably requires some kind of registration.

It is a fascinating article even if a good part of it I had read other places. (I've read a LOT about Google by now!)

But I found this particular passage fascinating:

To keep innovating, Google has to outwit and outspend the likes of Yahoo! and Microsoft for the best young brains. Even though few of Google's insta-millionaires have cashed in their stock options and quit since the 2004 IPO, Google is on a hiring binge, adding about 100 people a week. It applies quirky tests of talent. Google once put up a billboard on Route 101, the heavily trafficked artery that links the Valley to San Francisco, that said, in its entirety:

(first 10-digit prime found in consecutive digits of e).com

No Google logo, no recruiting pitch. Just the equation. The curious who solved it (yep, it's 7427466391.com typed the answer into their browsers and went to that Web page, which offered another, harder problem (don't ask) that finally led to an invitation to interview at Google. The company also has inserted the "Google Labs Aptitude Test" in geeky publications like Linux Journal. It poses 21 questions, ranging from absurdly complex mathematical equations to poetic queries like "What is the most beautiful math equation ever derived?"

What an amazing recruitment idea?

It seems one of the intangible things that Google has going for it is that it is a place where people want to work. That is, in part, because they both offer an opportunity for people to be creative, but they also encourage -- and reward -- that creativity.

Earlier, I wrote about the DISA director's Google view, which I think is a really good perspective, but how the company treats its people. Google has cooks for people because they are working so hard. That may not be the government model exactly, but it seems there is a lot for government to learn there too.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Mar 30, 2006 at 12:15 PM


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