A former Google employee who just left the tech giant after three years says he witnessed a “gradual decay of a dominant empire” and said the company “has slowly ceased to function.”
Praveen Seshadri, who sold his Seattle startup AppSheet to Google Cloud in 2020, published a blog post Tuesday suggesting that Google needs an “intervention.”
“Google’s fundamental problems are along the culture axis and everything else is a reflection of it,” he wrote.
Seshadri called the current moment “fragile” for Google as it faces pressure from Open AI and Microsoft, which made headlines last week for its new Bing search engine. Alphabet recently saw its market capitalization drop by $100 billion amid fears that it is losing ground to Microsoft.
He pointed out four cultural problems within Google: No mission; no urgency; delusions of exceptionalism; and mismanagement.
“Does anyone at Google come into work actually thinking about ‘organizing the world’s information’? They have lost track of who they serve and why,” he wrote, adding, “overall, it is a soft peacetime culture where nothing is worth fighting for.”
Seshadri previously spent more than a decade at Microsoft and said he noticed a similar downfall of a tech behemoth.
“Yet, Google has a few strengths that Microsoft didn’t have as it tried to recover — it isn’t a culture of ego and fiefdoms, the environment values introspection, the stated core values of the company are rock solid, and there is still immense respect for Google in the external world,” he wrote. “There is hope for Google and for my friends who work there, but it will require an intervention.”
Seshadri said Google should take inspiration from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, suggesting that the company recommit to its mission, set aside “peacetime generals,” and decrease “the depth of the organizational hierarchy.”
Founded in 2014, AppSheet helped businesses develop their own data-based apps without requiring a team of developers. Seshadri launched AppSheet with Brian Sabino, a former student in his database systems class at Cornell University.
Read his full blog post here.