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“…no worker should be more than 150 feet from a food source”

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Familiar with that one? According to CNN/Money, that’s what Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google’s founders, used to believe. Past tense because, according to the Wag, they no longer do.

Let me run through the human-resourcing-efficiency math. You have a 100 employees, making 40x (x being your local currency) an hour, working 40 hours a week, that means 160,000x a week, or approx. 700,000x a month. If you fire layoff 30%, then fill those positions with workers that earn 25x a month, you now expend less than 650,000x a month. If you make sure to do the layoffs at the start of the month, and hire towards the end of it, your Quarterly report might even show some major savings.

Unfortunately (for them), Google can’t do this employee juggling. If they could, they’d already outsource the whole GooglePlex to India and fill it with programmers making 0.1% of what their current employees make. Sadly, they need those high-end-salary making guys, and they need them to devote many hours for non-productive actions such as “research” and the famous 20% personal projects time (which may or may not be given these days). And with the Web2.0 bubble in full effect, cutting salaries is a no-no. What is left? Cutting down food expenses (estimated at 72,000,000$ a year), and childcare, and other “non-work-related” perks.

In past years, Google touted these perks as a way to maintain the “start-up” atmosphere where developers spend double-figures of work hours on their projects, as well as come up with innovative ideas and are motivated to research better, and more efficient ways of improving the company. However, these days, this isn’t what making the company richer. The ads dept. is. So now we hear terms like “investment in human resources” and “tinkering with incentives”, which means reducing the money spent on non-profitable ventures, mainly Research. If anything, this will cause those high-end-salary programmers to leave, cashing their overly-priced shares, and being replaced by Pimply-faced youth making much less than those who leave.

Written by Erez

Monday, August 25, 2008 at 10:45

Posted in Business, Technology

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