My first five months at Google, by the numbers

Clarification: The first version of the post talked about my first six months at Google. Apparently my math skills haven’t improved since I took the job, however, as there are actually only five months between June and January. I regret the error.

Today marks six five months since I joined Google on my birthday on January 7. It’s been an interesting, busy time for me.

Having never worked for a big company (where I define “big” as having more than 100 employees), working for Google is a lot like moving from the suburbs into a big city — I’m just constantly meeting new people and finding out about stuff I had no idea was going on.

Still, to put things in perspective, Google only has about 20,000 employees, whereas, Microsoft has nearly 100,000 and HP has a whopping 300,000. Those numbers boggle my mind, but are useful to keep in mind when Googlers call their employer a “startup”, unironically.

Speaking of big numbers, Eric Schmidt threw some big numbers around recently about the amount of data being created relative today to the sum total of all data that’s been create thus far. Essentially, since the beginning of time and 2003, five exabytes of information were created; since then, we’ve been creating something like five exabytes every two days (skip to 19:43 in this video to see the actual quote; it of course also makes sense that Google would need to rev its indexing approach to accommodate this influx of data).

With all that data, it occurred to me that I should figure out what my contribution is — not in gigabytes, but in terms of other social media metrics. And given how data-focused Google tends to be, I figured I’d focus on areas of growth.

So in the last six five months, here’s my data:

Also, based on my Fitbit weekly averages, I’ve also walked about 1,000,000 steps over the past 152 days (though it’d be so much cooler if they hurried up and offered an API!).

So, not completely exhaustive — and some data was more elusive than other figures to track down — but there’s a snapshot of various metrics from my first six five months at Google.

Up and to the Right

I highly expect things to only increase their “up and to the right” trajectory from here on out.

4 thoughts on “My first five months at Google, by the numbers”

  1. Alas that graph is more insightful than most data analysis.

    Couldn’t you compare your e-mail output? It feels like your role recently has been mostly to be a fireman against people thinking Google isn’t such a start-up after all — are we missing all the good internal creativity?

    I was struck when you mentioned how many updates to Flickr you made in the interval.

    1. Well, I wish I had better abilities (and time) to analyze all of this data so that I could learn more from it, but at the very least, it’s somewhat interesting to see the quantitative output of some of my activities over the last couple months.

      As for defending Google — I’m not so sure I see it that way. Perhaps that’s how it appears from the outside — but to me it seems like part of the role is to both 1) provide insights into what Google is doing, why it’s doing it, and how it intends to accomplish its objectives; 2) work to make the organizational membrane somewhat more permeable. As it turns out, I find myself doing much more internal evangelism work than externally — because Google are a very focused lot! The result is that they don’t always know about all the work or existing initiatives going on outside the company. I’m sure many wished they could spend more time in the community, but at the end of the day, there’s lots and lots of code to write!

      Anyway, it’s also been very interesting to see how people’s perspective change once you work for a largish company. I understand where their concerns come from, but as it turns out, providing feedback that is calm, collected, and productive has a much greater effect (I find) than any kind of negative fear-mongering (not naming names).

  2. ahhh this is quite fun! I do enjoy that graph the most…distance from left! quite good! as for defending google, I didn’t read it that way at all. it was simply your take on your perspective of working at a largish company. nothing more…nothing less. fun post.

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