It doesn't matter what a PM at Google tells you; they'll rotate outwards after n... | by Patrick McKenzie

Patrick McKenzie

@patio11

2 months ago

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It doesn't matter what a PM at Google tells you; they'll rotate outwards after next perf cycle and it will be a new PM who will be utterly powerless to stop Google's mismanagement from shutting down the project you rely on. You have to treat all non-core products as ephemeral.

This would almost be a subtweet except that it's Google and by now this is just tired market commentary, but the instigating event for it is Google shuttering Stadia, their internal teams learning with ~hours of notice, and external partners learning from Twitter.

There were a lot of software developers who bet fairly big on making engineering investments so that the promised horde of Google users would buy their games and, if you are in a position to make this decision in the future, get hard commits from Google up-front in contracts.

Note I did not say "in writing", which is more of a meaningful distinction with Google than with many competent long-term players in capitalism.

Many players are in iterated games where they care about their reputation and, because contractualizing commitments is slow and costly, they need their repeat counterparties to understand that there is an industry culture of promises and promises made in that culture *are kept.*

There may be people at Google who believe this, but they are not in iterated games with you; they are, at best, in an iterated game with Google. Google, through some curious management choices and its market position, is almost immune to caring what Google's reputation is.

This week some optimistic Googler is explaining to a counterparty that this time it is different, that their director is totally bought into this project, etc etc etc, and woe unto the person who believes them, because Google as an institution does not care what they have said.

And when this happens, and you remonstrate with the individual Googler at issue, they will think you are being a bit unreasonable because it was not *them* who broke their word. They were just embedded in a system which surprised them. They were also Googled. Have some sympathy.

"You've clearly got a story there." I have heard this story enough times that the subjects of it will hopefully not hold it against me because they will assume I am talking a different Googling by a different fiefdom who they don't care.

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