For almost 6 years I could take the Google shuttle to work, eat all of my meals at one of Google’s many cafes, and sit at my desk, which had a window view of the cool Android statues that everyone comes to take photos with.
During those 6 years, I worked on many teams and projects inside of Google. From unreleased products that were still in stealth mode, to flagship products with millions of users, like Google Maps. I even got to have a few quick chats in the kitchen with Marissa Mayer when we both worked on the Google Maps team, before she became the CEO of Yahoo.
My badge was red colored which meant I was not a direct employee of Google. I was a contractor/vendor. The truth is, there was nothing different about my day to day work that was different than a direct employee. I participated in discussions on product development, roadmaps, and production releases.
I’m grateful for my time at Google. I literally worked side by side with some of the most brilliant people in the world.
After I left Google, I evaluated and reflected on what I had learned in those 6 years. Aside from the obvious technical, project, and management skills. There were two surprising things that I had learned.
First, I learned how to spot truly intelligent and helpful people amongst the people who simply just know how to talk. Secondly, I learned how to appreciate humble intelligence. In the Silicon Valley, smart people are common. It’s the ones who have humility that are a rarity here.
After reflecting on my years at Google, the realization I had is that it’s not the product, the free meals, or the perks that count. It’s the people you are working with everyday that matter.