In a recent blog post, a former Google employee has criticized the company for its inefficiency, mismanagement and risk-averse culture. Praveen Seshadri, who co-founded AppSheet, which was acquired by Google Cloud in early 2020, described Google as a “closed world,” where employees are more likely to serve other Google workers than the company’s users. Seshadri said the company had lost its sense of purpose, with few employees able to identify who they serve or why they are working for the company.
According to Seshadri, Google’s culture problems stem from its reliance on advertising revenue, which has made it difficult to focus on other areas of the business. He said the company’s four core cultural problems were a lack of mission, urgency, exceptionalism, and mismanagement. He argued that risk mitigation was more important to Google than innovation, with every decision weighed down by numerous approvals and legal reviews.
Seshadri said Google had become trapped in a cycle of bureaucracy, with a long list of meetings, performance reviews and launch processes leaving little room for creativity or true innovation. He also criticized the company’s hiring practices, saying the rapid pace of recruitment made it difficult to nurture talent and led to “bad hires.” Seshadri said Google had a chance to turn things around, but would need to lead with a commitment to a mission, reward employees who fight for ambitious causes, and trim layers of middle management.
Seshadri’s criticism of Google comes at a time when the company is facing pressure from Microsoft’s artificial intelligence initiatives. The company has also received poor marks from employees in its last survey for its ability to execute, which many workers say is a result of the bureaucracy that plagues the company. While Seshadri believes there is hope for Google, he suggests that the company will need to undergo an intervention to address its cultural problems and rediscover its purpose.