Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Some Google Executives Wish Sundar Pichai Would Make Decisions Faster

Daisuke Wakabayashi, New York Times:

Fifteen current and former Google executives, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of angering Google and [Sundar] Pichai, told The New York Times that Google was suffering from many of the pitfalls of a large, maturing company — a paralyzing bureaucracy, a bias toward inaction and a fixation on public perception.

The executives, some of whom regularly interacted with Mr. Pichai, said Google did not move quickly on key business and personnel moves because he chewed over decisions and delayed action. They said that Google continued to be rocked by workplace culture fights, and that Mr. Pichai’s attempts to lower the temperature had the opposite effect — allowing problems to fester while avoiding tough and sometimes unpopular positions.

In an article about Pichai’s apparently indecisive and slow-moving leadership style, it is remarkable how feeble are the examples cited by Wakabayashi — not even the company’s inability to ship a good messaging client. Google’s leadership apparently considered acquiring Shopify, and Pichai took a while to address Timnit Gebru’s firing, but there are few other specifics. This article reads more like a few Google executives decided to leak their frustrations to the Times because Pichai has not been returning their emails fast enough.

What this article shows most of all is that, eventually, every corporate behemoth has to act its size. With over half of digital ad spending going to Google — a single company — I hope it behaves more responsibly than it did ten or twenty years ago, boring as that is. Google is, more than ever not a tech company but an advertising company, and a deeply immoral one at that.