Tl;dr: Laszlo Bock’s “Work Rules” and googling “diversity” / updated

The famous Google People Operations chief wrote a book in 2015.

The word “diversity” appears zero times.

Here is Google’s Diversity Report from 2014, when they *started* reporting it as a company (or perhaps started measuring it).

And here it is in 2018, four years later. In percentage terms some groups expanded quite a bit — lots more Asians, African Americans, Latinos.

No more women.

And by “lots”, well take a look.

30% Asian going to 36% is both a large proportionate increase and a large number of people –> 6% of Google’s staff is net-new Asian share.

What about Black? 1.9% became 2.5%.

And note the “Tech” subgroup, which is 1.1% to 1.5%.

Way more share (way more absolute numbers?) among the non-tech. I suspect non-tech isn’t just marketing people or graphic designers, but also a ton of operations jobs. (Amazon has lots of minority staff, but Amazon also has lots of warehouse workers.)

The trend and subgroups over time:

Organizing all the world’s information is a noble mission, though sometimes you find uncomfortable information in tabular form.

In this case, Google appears to be a racist and misogynist company. Maybe no worse than many companies? But actually it is worse than many companies, and certainly worse than the values espoused by its right-thinking people.

So back to the scripture: Bock’s book is a manual for how to be as beloved and high-performing as Google.

He mentions their Korean market share at one point. Here’s what happened there since the book (up 50%).

Similar change did not happen on those diversity metrics.

But, OK fine, there are some fine things in this excellent book on hard-headed pragmatism, measurement, impact, and change in organizations.

My most notable sections:

Reading Bock “Work Rules” re Google

21 new photos added to shared album

Highlights are: transparency, intrinsic motivation, combating bias in judgments on people. As a general matter these have flowed all around the tech ecosystem. We all talk about them now. We all have heads of people ops and so forth.

But also some mechanics that I think are wrong, at least partly because of the diversity charts above. These mechanics, like the Milton Friedmanism “The business of business is business”, are the ways you convince yourself that the One Single Metric of Success is right and forget the other things you care about:

Bock says:

  1. Only hire people smarter than you. (Ie say no to most people. Brag that you are more selective than Stanford.)
  2. Pay unfairly. (Seems appalling to even say it now, but at the time the meant to say “pay your top performers better.”)

These two points I don’t agree with. It’s a way to perpetuate the world we live in. And not a way to build a system where everyone can be successful. More on that another time.