the official story, straight from the source

February 11, 2005

i know it’s been quite a while since anything substantial was posted on my blog, but thanks for bearing with me. as i said in my previous post, it’s been a hectic two weeks. i’ve finally finished thinking through a few things so here it is…

on january 28th, 2005, i was terminated from google. either directly or indirectly, my blog was the reason. this came as a great shock to me because two days ago we had looked at my blog and removed all inappropriate content – the comments on financial performance and future products. for my next entries, i was very cognizant of my blogging content, making sure to stay away from these topics. i mean, as much as i like to be open and honest about communicating to users and customers, i’m not insubordinate. if i was told to shut down this blog, i would have.

as scoble says, i should’ve waited a little longer and felt the company out a bit more before i started blogging at length. in retrospect, that is good advice and a lesson learned. i was just too excited. i felt like i was joining a small start-up family; i thought i was going to start new initiatives and improve existing ones; i thought i could jump in the deep end and immerse myself in the revolutionary development environment; i thought i could make connections to real people in the outside world and get first hand feedback; i thought google would love it. i thought wrong.

i’ve actually viewed this as a great learning experience. obviously, i’ve gotten a first-hand chance to learn about the power of blogging. i’ve also learned to be a little more analytical about situations, a lot more cautious and a lot less assuming. however, i’ve also confirmed that i’m willing to take a stand for what i believe in. i’ve confirmed what i’m looking for in a career and i know what i love to do – by the way, it’s not blogging, it’s creating revolutionary solutions :). some people live a lifetime without getting a chance to learn these things about themselves; i’m grateful i’ve gotten that chance.

people ask me if i’m bitter. funny thing is, despite all this, at the end of the day, i can see where google is coming from – but i don’t agree with their stances and i wish they had executed a little differently. i think blogging is the next big thing on the internet. the web gave people revolutionary access to information; email and instant messaging disrupted the way people communicate with each other; blogging empowers everyone to create new information and connect in a community. it’s the culmination of lots of the progress that has happened on the internet rolled into one huge, powerful, killer app. corporations should embrace this technology just like the ones before it. companies that are confident in their offerings should let employees spread the word. in today’s age of information overload, blogging is quickly emerging as the fastest and most cost-effective method of marketing.

finally, for all those in the evil/not evil argument, realize that google is a public, for-profit company. i do not believe google is either evil or good. companies take what they feel are logical steps in doing business, and business isn’t always fair.

thanks for reading! oh, and if you’re looking for a talented technical project/product/program manager, i guess i’m on the market now. if you have a corporate blogging policy, i promise i’ll follow it. i’ll use proper capitalization in my specs too :).

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206 Responses to “the official story, straight from the source”

  1. SerumT Says:

    Google is starting to sound more like big brother everyday. I would hate to work for this company. If you ever write anything disparaging, disclose priveledged information however inadvertent, or say anything about your co-workers you will be fired without ever being reprimanded. Good luck using them as a reference or ever getting another job in that field. Another motivation to start my own shit. Wasn’t this supposed to be the new mecca for tech geeks? For everyone looking for the new cool place to work. Sounds more like a cult. Meet the new boss. If google thinks they can stop blogs they will just be pushed underground and penned by anonymous sources.

    You say you’re not bitter but wait until you see how these pricks mercilessly fucked up your career. Everyone potential employer who doesn’t know already is going to want to know why you left Google. I hope you take this and turn it around into something great, I’m rooting for you.

  2. Dana Says:

    This post has been removed by the author.

  3. Ronald Allan Says:

    Ey. Assuming that what you posted was unconfidential or unproprietary, you should be admired for your willingness to express yourself. For what it’s worth, blogging and the internet are very powerful tools…I’m sure you agree…that have to be used responsibly. If in case you did something improper…I guess that’s something we all can learn from. You may have gotten a bum deal from Google, but you probably got more in return…Good luck man.

  4. hindu uprise Says:

    I feel BAD for you, But still I beliebe that Google is the best search engine, YAhoo and MSN are suceptible to Keyword linking SPAM.

    Also If I were you, I would have first asked google for permission, And in India we have a saying literally meaning that worship the place / person for whom you work for.

    Anyways best regards, and dont worry your destiny will deliver.

    Take Care

  5. Jeff Says:

    I’m suprised they let you go even though you removed the objectionable material.

    Keep your chin up, Jen. It sounds like you’re going to land on your feet. In the end, this will be Google’s loss.

    Cheers!
    Jeff

    http://www.gabrielhr.com

  6. RNS Says:

    Wow. The ironies of your situation are many. Sorry to hear you learned this particular lesson about the realities of working for mulibillion dollar, publicly owned companies – the hard way.

    But it sounds like you did indeed learn the lesson and your career should continue to progress just fine. After all, you lived to tell about it and as a bonus have practically become a folk hero in the process. And it sounds like you’ve made no enemies in the process, a major plus. And you seem to be treating this as merely something that happened, not as a badge you wear on your sleeve.

    Google’s loss, though clearly understandably from their perspective, will no doubt become another company’s gain. I believe you will land on your feet within the next couple of weeks and won’t miss a beat.

  7. An Investor Says:

    Wow! It seems to me that everyone has missed the point completely. Or, maybe it’s just me. :)

    What specific content did GOOG make Mr. Jen take down? The financial information he got at the internal sales meeting. Not the complaints about what team he did or didn’t make, compensation/benefit discussions, or stories about blowing off HR. It was the “inside” information he was privy to as an employee of GOOG — that he then posted on his blog.

    I guess not everyone is aware that there are federal regulations that govern what people can and can’t say
    publicly about “material, on-public” information. It has nothing to do with being able to freely express
    oneself in a personal blog. It’s about the law — and the law says, “Don’t do it.” Saying what he said on his blog a week before GOOG was to release earnings…I can only imagine the reaction of GOOG’s
    senior management and lawyers when they saw it — especially given the problems they had with improper
    disclosures prior to the GOOG IPO.

    Of course, I could be wrong and he really may have been let go because of all of the other things he posted in his blog. But, those things are still in his blog — they didn’t make him remove them. The “inside”
    information is not — they made him remove that.

  8. stone_cold Says:

    u deserved it jackass
    working for a true company like google and blowing it for blogging?

    What’s up your head? your butt.

  9. SMagnus Says:

    Funny how there’s always people never too busy to offer a harsh word. Fucking grippers.

    Anyway, dude, while you may have used poor judgement, seems to me that barring some truly horrific violations of policy the decent thing would have been to give you a stern talking-to.

    Google’s coming out with guns blazing is classless and retarded. Add me to the list who hope you turn the noteriety to your advantage.

    (BTW, maybe it’s wrong to describe your actions as “poor judgement.” All the people who post shit like “welcome to the real world” or [and these are my favorites] “working for the US. Govt would straighten this guy out!” [these last comments doubtlessly coming from our nation's wealth of phy ed teachers] miss the point: regardless of how the “real world” is, maybe it should be different. A way in which, for instance, you could speak your bloody mind during your leisure hours without worrying about getting fired.

    Maybe a savvier person wouldn’t have said what you said, but then, maybe what the world needs isn’t savvier people.

    Good luck again.)

  10. SMagnus Says:

    Funny how there’s always people never too busy to offer a harsh word. Fucking grippers.

    Anyway, dude, while you may have used poor judgement, seems to me that barring some truly horrific violations of policy the decent thing would have been to give you a stern talking-to.

    Google’s coming out with guns blazing is classless and retarded. Add me to the list who hope you turn the noteriety to your advantage.

    (BTW, maybe it’s wrong to describe your actions as “poor judgement.” All the people who post shit like “welcome to the real world” or [and these are my favorites] “working for the US. Govt would straighten this guy out!” [these last comments doubtlessly coming from our nation's wealth of phy ed teachers] miss the point: regardless of how the “real world” is, maybe it should be different. A way in which, for instance, you could speak your bloody mind during your leisure hours without worrying about getting fired.

    Maybe a savvier person wouldn’t have said what you said, but then, maybe what the world needs isn’t savvier people.

    Good luck again.)

  11. Liora Says:

    This post has been removed by the author.

  12. Mvalls Says:

    Algunas veces conviene mantener la boca cerrada—-

  13. John Blue Says:

    Hummm, What did your NDA actually say and compare that to your actions and information posted to your blog…. You might find that there was something there about revealing company sensitive information is against a company policy. While many would say that what you released would not hurt Google, it is a legal document and is enforceable. Hope you do better next time. Good luck.

  14. Dave Says:

    it seems like there are a lot of bitter, angry, jealous people posting comments. so what if no one reads your blog but you? don’t take it out on mark.

    i don’t understand all the comments about “whining”. he posted some comments comparing google to microsoft. he mentioned how the lunches and shuttles are more for the company’s benefit. that makes him a whiner? funny, i thought he was just making some observations. i don’t recall him saying “my benefits really suck! can you believe they force us to eat this free lunch?”. he also made a post about how he made his decision, what he compared between companies and such. so, if you post anything negative, you are whining? hypocrite says “what?”

    its equally amazing how many people provided the keen insight after google took action. i believe that is technically called hindsight. nice job!

    oh well. you know the saying: opinions are like…

    good luck for the future.

  15. James Says:

    The folks here at Quizpoints.com wish you the best.

    Although we’re all Google fanactics, we also understand the need for expression. Google has a very strong image to maintain, and it seems that your sort of post has threatened that image. I don’t think you should have been fired, but I do think your blog should have been removed.

    Good luck trying out new things, keep us up-to-date

    James
    Quizpoints.com

  16. James Says:

    This post has been removed by the author.

  17. naitsirhC Says:

    Muchas Suerte. El poder de la informacion y creo que algunos miedos estupidos de parte de Google.

    The Power of the information and some fear of Google. Fear about???

  18. Todd Says:

    yeah!!!! i got my name on this blog again!

  19. TuckerMax Says:

    Hey dicklicker, You may want to take those ads off now, your 15 minutes were over 5 minutes ago.

    I see you have updated this to a “regular” blog. HAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHAAA

    Guess what no one cares.

  20. sachin Says:

    So…did they pay your relocation costs?


  21. You made it in an article overhere too… (http://www.webwereld.nl/nieuws/20780.phtml)

    Often you have to sign contracts here stating you will not publicizes about the company without written permission.

    Good luck with the jobhunting!

  22. Petilon Says:

    If Mark was fired because his Adsense ad broke some rule then that would be not much different than if he got fired for parking his car illegally. That’s a silly reason, and if true it indicates ingeniousness (or evilness) on the part of google. Chances are, the real reason is the one in plain view (occam’s razor etc)!

  23. Bindu Says:

    Good luck. Mark. I hope you get a job shortly!

  24. alekkomar Says:

    I noticed a couple of comments have asked/challenged Mark about him running Adsense on his web page – I’m not an expert on this (just a (very) small-time publisher), but it all looks on the up-and-up to me … heck, what’s wrong with him running this, and he was upfront when he turned it on – see his Feb 9th post.

    Speaking of which, I Emailed Mark shortly after that posting where he says “I’ve added adsense to my website on the sidebar. don’t worry, all proceeds will be going to charity :).” and among other things, I mentioned that if he didn’t have a “good” charity, please consider celiac disease (my kids have this) … and he responded fairly promptly saying that since I was the first to ask, he’d send some $$$ that way … which I thought was very, very cool.

  25. rydel23 Says:

    PS. But one good thing is that you have your hands free now. Do you want to share the whole story? There is no reason now to keep the stuff confendiatal. Not after they axed you.

    Regards,
    Rydel
    http://www.rydel.net/

  26. rydel23 Says:

    That’s a lesson for all of us. No matter how cool, “progressive” or “family-like” the company looks, it is still a company running business, a company run by managers. Such blogs can cause trouble for them. It’s much easier for them simply to discharge the potential trouble-maker rather than take the risks of him staying aboard.

  27. Quinnie Says:

    Sorry but I think that what they have done is rediculous.

    Oh well I’m sure you will find a good enough employer soon enough, just make sure you dont let them find out you “blog” even though bloggers are the best people on earth, maybe start your own blogging service as a rival.

    Anyway I must go the pressure of being your 100th commenter is over-whelming.

  28. peter Says:

    Mark, I really want to know why you are not clarifying your story regarding the AdSense ad you put up for your blog which used the keyword “google” in the description, when that was clearly against the rules?

    I think you owe everyone an explanation for this. If this is indeed true, and that you are still not willing to admit that you got terminated for circumventing Google corporate policy regarding AdSense, it shows that you have poor character.

    Please explain this the AdSense questions.

  29. alanhuang Says:

    Your blog has been great. I’m wondering what post got you in trouble. For me, this brings up an interesting point about blogs. It’s supposed to be a somewhat private forum for people to express their thoughts. Given that, it’s also a public forum accessible to anyone, made more public by powerful search engines such as Google. What degree of freedom do you have to say what you want without worrying about repurcussions (given that the posts are not offering competitive/secret information)?

    A project manager that I’ve worked with shared her lessons learned with me about corporate e-mails: keep them bland and non-offensive — you never who your e-mails will be forwarded to. How much does this advice apply to blogging about one’s job? You’re applying your thoughts to text, so they leave an incriminating trail, unlike blowing off steam at the watercooler. I’d love to start a blog about my job and my industry, but I’m still thinking about lessons learned from your experiences.

    In any case, I enjoyed the read.


  30. Seems too naive to be true.

  31. John Says:

    Hey Mark, look ahead ,dont look back

    Whats done is done !

    Im sure you will land on your feet

    Good Luck

    JP in Canada

  32. Octavee Says:

    Hi Mark,

    I must say I understand googles reasons for getting you fired. If I were google I would be soryy to get you the job in the first place. Posting something on the net is not just talking to someone in private. What about loyalty to a company. Strange that I say something like that. Cause I believe in ethical behavior. And if a company does not behave like it, than we should speek out, or we have to. But to round it up, it seems you are very self oriented. Good luck anyway.

  33. postedthis Says:

    hmm… as far as I understand what a blog is supposed to be – communicating freely – this seems not to apply to companies esp. google!

    sorry for you and bad for google

  34. thecod Says:

    Hey, you’re story also made it into the German media.

  35. UPA Says:

    How many of the people criticizing above actually know what Inside Google really is all about, how many of you worked there ? As an ex-Googler myself I’ll say you were right on mark on all of your comments. The never stopping energy can be tiresome at times for the people who work there to the point of forgetting there is a life outside too. Although if you did reveal financial figures on your previous posts I understand why they ditched you. But don’t forget, there are plenty of other nice companies out there ! With the international coverage your story had I’m confident you’ll find a new & much better job very soon. Take care and good luck.

  36. jdragon Says:

    I thought engineers at Google create the products and then idiot product managers get to pick and choose. From what I’m hearing, product managers are easily expendable at doogle.

  37. mattybinks Says:

    Mark, sorry to hear you got let go. I’m not surprised due to the blabbing about sensitve material (financials and especially future products). I agree with Sarah about the creditibility thing too. Also, since when did a project/program/project manager ever have anything to do with “creating revolutionary solutions”? lol! My experience has shown that all project managers have very little to do with any creative execution or ideation. They really only manage to piss everyone off by crying about deadlines and overly sensitive customer communication issues.

    Good luck!

  38. Eric Says:

    Said…

    Good luck, man!


  39. Hey!

    This is so much as the cluetrain manifest predicted. Did you read the cluetrain manifest? (www.cluetrain.com)

    Good luck in finding a new job!

    ps. you’re known in the netherlands now too :P (www.webwereld.nl)

  40. upyorz Says:

    Can you tell us if you did actually run an adwords ad for your blog is that a fake screenshot that is floating around?

  41. Tom Lu Says:

    At least you are smart enough to feed some ‘Google Ads’ on your blog, and hope these exposures (I saw this on CNet.com) will be some good consolation.

    Good luck.

  42. alias420 Says:

    Well, congratulations on losing a dream job… Or maybe 2, since you worked on microsoft before.

    There should be plenty of people who will gladly fill your position, while not being ungrateful at the same time :)

  43. dandan Says:

    I would like to know, since you complained about Google’s pay policy compared to MS… how much is an aspm make at google? since you no longer work there, it is not confidencial info…
    if you do not want to post it, can you email me? dandan@NO_SPAM.madrid.com

  44. Petilon Says:

    Just because they gave him a reason unrelated to his blog doesn’t mean his blog wasn’t the real reason.


  45. Some posters don’t like to read, so I’ll keep it short and bolded. If what peter says is correct then all the readers and news media that have been so sympathetic to Mark are getting played for chumps. Sympathize away, Mark is smart enough to know that it’d reflect very badly on himself if he were to rail against Google when he was the one that abused proprietary knowledge out of greed for fame and money. On the other hand, what if Mark is truly the martyr here? Then there’s no time to waste! We gotta start boycotting the devil’s own poster child (which for some inexplicable reason happens to be a search engine) pronto!

    Regardless, I agree with the first comment on this thread: Mark’s story is one everyone can learn from or be brainwashed by… take your pick ;)

  46. peter Says:

    Mark Jen has yet to clarify the story. He has yet to admit that he was fired because of breaking the AdSense rules.

  47. Ryan Says:

    Didn’t finish that last comment…should have read…I’m not going to be very cavalier about using Google in the future.

  48. Ryan Says:

    I just have to say after reading about this story my opinion of Google took a nosedive. Whether or not they were legally “in the right,” their actions were heavy-handed and, in my opinion, just a little bit “evil.” I’m not going to be very cavalier about

  49. skyskank Says:

    Bummer dude. I enjoyed reading what you had to say in your posts – it’s interesting to hear how people get on in these “high-profile” companies such as Google. I’ve had a few opportunities to join a high-profile company, but each one got the axe for some reason or another.

    But let’s face it, you got burnt playing with the big boys. As for free speech, open discussion, and information for all – I say bollocks to that – you knew the rules. If it’s in the public interest (i.e. it affects one’s way of living) then, yes, argue away. If it’s intellectual property, trade secrets, etc. keep it to yourself.

    That said, I’m surprised Google gave you the axe first time round. I figured they would have at least sent you to the headmaster’s office for an official warning, or sent you to your room without any supper/free lunch, before wielding the axe. Think of it this way: They must have felt threatened… Doesn’t that just make your heart pump lumpy custartd?

    Google. Goggle. Gurgle. Hang in there.

  50. peter Says:

    Why didn’t you mention in your blog post that you used your position in the AdSense division to use the keyword “google” in the ad for your blog when that was against the rules?

  51. David Says:

    I’ll tell you what. Since reading your blog….and then you getting fired because of it, I no longer will use Google anything.

    I think Google is too powerful and is getting too big. They should have never fired you for your blog. What tools.

    No more Blogging for me at Blogger.com I’ll use MSN spaces instead. No more Gmail account (just closed it). No more Google Search. Back to Yahoo!.

    Later Greedy Google!
    Thanks for opening my eyes to how Google really is.

    And they say, “don’t do evil”. What a front. Google is the devil.

  52. goodgulf2 Says:

    Quite frankly, when you get to a mid or high-level technical job, or even a low-level line job (sales, marking, product management, etc.), YOU ARE REQUIRED AND EXPECTED TO BECOME A CHEERLEADER FOR YOUR COMPANY!!!

    This means getting out the Pom-Poms and putting on the Dress !! Give me a “G” ! Give me an “O” ! Give me an “O” ! Give me a “G”, and all that !!

    Clearly, this guy was not able to shut his mouth. He got terminated for not “putting on the dress!” Well, that’s tough. Maybe its hard to learn, but if you don’t like the job you have, SHUT UP and look for a new job.

    This is how the corporate money machine works. If you don’t like how a company makes money, fuck you, you’re fired !! I know because I’ve been there…

  53. goodgulf2 Says:

    This post has been removed by the author.


  54. I see where your coming from. Google denied my application to run there ads on my pages. It’s probably a good thing, since they take away a lot from the experience of web-browsing. You can’t go around kissing ass all the time either, Screw them and do what’s right for you.

  55. frisky Says:

    good luck in the future… youre a star now! i know you will be alright.

  56. reason_able Says:

    People! I don’t see how we’re allowed to infer that this firing is a commentary about blogging in general. Here’s a list of google (and yahoo) employee blogs:

    http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=439385

    As I said before, Google has the luxury of being selective about who works for them. They have little incentive to pay someone 6 figures to complain publicly about things they agreed to when they signed up to work. Working somewhere is a *choice*, and successful companies should be able to employ people who want to be there. I doubt that this was about blogging as a phenomenon: it was about hiring the right people.

    Somehow this situation has been characterized as a David and Goliath story, with little justification. Let’s look at this for what it is, and not map it onto fantastic romantic plotlines!

  57. Cedric Says:

    Many of these posts demonstrate the painful naivete of people who think that just because they have a somewhat anonymous communication tool that its some sort of new revolution. I can’t believe that anyone with a 1/2 cent of reality would look at this with anything less than pity. Youve ‘worked’ in the tech industry long enough to know what an NDA is. How could you not think that Google wouldnt trow their own blog system for words like “google”, ” microsoft”, ” Adsense fraud” whatever?

    For the rest of you Che Guevera types, grow up. This has nothing to do with corportate greed. This is the way REAL jobs expect you to act and to be accountable. You bit the hand that feeds you youre going to be eating TV dinners by yourself. If you don’t like it, be the next dot.com startup and change things. But don’t whine when someone gets canned for being stupid-I wouldnt want him working for me either.

    I guarantee Uncle Sam would teach him a few things about loyalty, duty, following the rules.

  58. Erwyn Says:

    Of course the free lunches are a cynical ploy! A company’s main goal is to make money. Increased productivity makes money, and free lunches increase productivity. I would take advantage of free lunches, but I would probably end up unhappy working for Google or any other company because being around people for 8+ hours a day is just way too much.

  59. kris Says:

    I’m not sure what the big story here is. It was clear to me since the first day you posted that talking about working at Google seemed to distract you from preparing for and actually ‘working’ at Google. I’m sorry it went down the way it did, but not at all suprised!


  60. I’d like to say we (from retal.nl) are on your side (-; Take care.

  61. Austin Sloan Says:

    That’s too bad Google took this path. They have lost some credibility and homor in my view. They can resolve this issue by rehiring you but any other path will leave them with pie ono their face. They are promoting bloggin but yet when one of their own does it, they fire them. They should be trying to protect the rights of everyone to blog. I can see that who ever gave the order to fire Mark must be an idiot and doesn’t have any idea about blogging. Google would do better to fire that person and rehire Mark. Google you were a company we all looked up to until now. Resolve the situation, don’t make us have to boycott you.

    AJ
    http://www.ajsloan.com


  62. What were you thinking when you made up that title
    “NinetyNineZeros”. Do you really think your ex-coworkers were a bunch of losers, or were you just counting the number of zeros after the one in a google.
    You must have been born into a well-to-do family or something. All in all it was very amusing reading your whiny rants. Best of luck to you. If you can’t find a J.O.B. in the info systems industry after this you can always try Uncle Sam. I’m sure he would straighten you out.

  63. cyber-red Says:

    sorry to hear what happened but nowdays you hear stories here even in Malaysia that employees getting sacked for blogging bout their company..scary! anonymous may be more safer?

  64. DCG Says:

    Very immature indeed. This is not at all about blogging policy or rights or even you revealing sensitive information. I, too would not pass up the opportunity to rid my company culture of someone who so quickly and obviously displayed their retard credentials for all to see.

    Enjoy your 15 minutes of fame !

  65. Porcine Pig Says:

    I think that you’d better start being careful, and get your name out of the press as soon as you can.

    You’ve had too short stays at IBM, Microsoft and Google: makes you look incredibly unstable, despite the “rebel” attitude. You come off sounding like a whiney kid who is going to spend all of his time on the internet instead of working. An unstable, short-timer troublemaker.

    If I was you, I’d stop with the blogs for a while and let the whole thing die down and just try to get a job that you don’t get chased out of. After a while, people will stop hiring you. And it looks like it may happen sooner than later to someone with the kind of exposure you’re getting.

    Good luck,

    Porky

  66. Sun Man Says:

    I think it won’t take long time for Google to steal some hatred from web users that they have for Microsoft.

    Btw now where are you planning to? Yahoo?


  67. Hey Mark, I wrote you a letter over at Mind Mob about how to turn your recent experience into a little revolution of its own.


  68. This post has been removed by the author.

  69. Massimo Says:

    good luck! nice to see how cool you are about all this story. I hope they’re as cool as you are about it at mountain view :-)

  70. Magi Says:

    Hey Mark,

    This old revolutionary new to the blogosphere salutes you. Success is the best revenge and you now have a reputation. Don’t listen to all these people who think you should be good, do as you’re told, and kowtow to the boss. I need some work done to set up a corporate blog, and although I was given two offers of free help yesterday, I think you are the man! Can you give me a quote please? (just some pocketmoney while you reassess your priorities). And while your at my fledgeling blog you may want to join the opposition for free. We have google in our sights all lined up, the fastest growing team in the org, and I’ll shout you a months pro membership just to check it out as a welcome to the revolution gift. I’m no anarchist, just a geriatric mum with grown up kids all over the world. Join my team and you soon won’t need a job. It doesnt matter what they are saying about you so long as they are talking. So told me Robert Kiyosaki many yrs ago before his richdad conglomerate days. Maybe you just came to google a little late? You’re right on time for searchestate, and you are a marketers dream come true right now. Even if you dont join, I’d still like some basic assistance if it’s not to far below your experience, and I wish you all the success in any future career you chooze to follow.

    Magi
    http://bushmm.blogspot.com
    http://magi.searchestate.net

  71. reason_able Says:

    This scene is so amusing to me (I’m not a blogger, but just created this account for my one post here). Here you have a bunch of people who have deluded themselves into thinking that this decision by management was somehow an us-vs-them statement about bloggers and self-expression. That is not the case. Google is selective within engineering, and even more selective with PMs, and my guess is that they realized they’d hired someone who was still immature and had bad judgement. It’s not like anything you did was flagrantly grounds for firing, but your posts (which you’ve since deleted) were painfully naive.

    Basically, I don’t think you got fired because of your postings directly… I think you got fired as a second-order effect, as people probably realized that you’re immature. I couldn’t believe the things you were complaining about, as they were all variables that were within your scope of knowledge when you accepted the position; if you don’t like the salary or the options, don’t sign on the dotted line! If you think the free meals are a cynical ploy, then bring your own lunch and eat dinner at home!

    Your current post is drenched in self-righteousness (e.g., “i thought i could jump in the deep end and immerse myself in the revolutionary development environment; i thought i could make connections to real people in the outside world and get first hand feedback; i thought google would love it. i thought wrong.”) that steps cleanly around the point of contention: not that you’re a blogger or that you have good ideas, but that you’re immature and lack adequate judgement. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I would expect that google doesn’t have a clearly stated black/white policy about what’s acceptable blogging and what’s not, and I’m sure what you’ve got is within the gray area.

    I’d wager that you weren’t fired because you’re a blogger, you were fired because Google realized they made a mistake hiring you, and this was a great excuse to correct it. Please don’t try to characterize it as anything else.


  72. Good luck mark. Sorry to see you leave us.

    -markl

  73. MAS Says:

    This post has been removed by the author.

  74. MAS Says:

    good stuff indeed…you have a very powerful message and to CORPORATE AMERICA…f*ck them all…you see the reason Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and the likes dont have blogs and tell it like it is to the “real people” is because of their GREED and robotic ways of feeding the wall st community..afterall, its all about the bottomline and making money right? and getting deals and continued growth?? HAHA..what a joke these fools are..after spending 8 yrs on wall street in NYC, I’ll never trust another IVY league wanna be with no “common” sense again..but here here to capitalism its the best thing that drives the world…I enjoy taking their money…watch out CHINA…those 1.3 billion strong have something up their sleeves…always a buyer and a seller for that is what makes markets…on the flip side also a right and a wrong?? you were NOT dealt with in a tactful and respectful manner…IMHO..but then again these crooks are selling stock @ $200 per share that they own at a buck while poor mom and pop in the midwest are buying into their BS stories…although I am a a loyal user of FIREFOX and kudos to those guys but now they will be corrupted and promised a gazillion shares of stock for their brilliant technology just to put ole billy and the boys on their stools…its a never ending game…good luck and thanks for sharing..take care man and drive on…GOD BLESS AMERICA and our TROOPS!

  75. Dave Says:

    Mark; after my last post my email box filled up — take it easy guys; I’m not openly recruiting!

    Mr. Jen, I’d like to discuss bringing your talent into a ground-breaking opportunity in the high-tech online industry.

    Like I said before, persons of your talent, creativity, through-provoking, disruptive, yet ingenious wit would be significantly better utilized in a aggresive, fresh environment. Hopefully the spam won’t overwhelm the account this time!

  76. jdragon Says:

    Let’s face it, lock-up expiration is coming up. Insiders who haven’t sold wasn’t about to let this loose lips ruin their chance at selling above $190!!! Ergo, the 400 complaints…hey, it’s worth atleast a cool million smacker.

  77. AmadeuZ Says:

    This post has been removed by the author.


  78. Sorry but I’m not real sympathetic.

    You had a great Job, and you screwed up. There comes a point in blogging when you need to keep things to yourself, you need to think—if someone saw this would this be deemed offensive, or in your case breaking company policy? Hopefully you’ll do a better job of keeping your lips sealed than dooce. Have some dignity man—don’t burn any more bridges than you already have.

  79. kagayan Says:

    How unfair, now i want to boycott Google.

  80. Jim Says:

    I’m sorry but I’m not buying into this worship you stuff.

    If you had any amount of common sense you’d probably realise that blogging negative comments for the world to see about your very famous company is not a wise things to do.

    Especially when you have only been there 5 minutes.

    How you passed the interview and got the job with common sense like this is beyond belief.

    Ironically you really have shown the negligence & stupidity of Google’s HR department. They hired you.

  81. Todd Says:

    yeah!!!! i got my name on this blog!

  82. Petilon Says:

    I am surprised that Google did this. If some airline fires an employee for blogging that would be understandable. But when a company that has a blogging tool as one of its products fires an employee for blogging that’s a little surprising. Google could have and should have handled this better. Especially given their “do no evil” motto. The contents of the blogs themselves were not all that wrong — most google employees are probably discussing such matters with friends. The difference here was that this was public. That’s the only difference. And by firing someone for that Google is telling us that blogging is dangerous. If so Google should add a warning to that effect on blogspot’s homepage. Blogging is new, and people are still getting used to it and experimenting with it. People make mistakes. The company behind blogspot shouldn’t have fired an employee for one of those mistakes.

    I don’t trust Google to do no evil any more.

  83. Prince Roy Says:

    of course the most ironic thing of all is that google bought blogger a while back…

  84. nwistheone Says:

    so, when do we get to hear the dirty about what really happened… like tmax mentioned, we want the STORY!!

    heh… good luck for the future bro

    ~nick

  85. Liz Says:

    I’ve been following your blog for awhile, and even though I feel sorry for you, I think you were too ungrateful.

    Of course a company wants to keep you happy so you can be more productive. Of course a company gives free lunch to save the employees time, and benefit from that. Why else would they do that? Did you expect a company to feed you and let you lie around? Google admitted in 60 Minutes that the free lunch makes employees more productive because they usually go back to their desk after eating. So we have it. It is a great thing for both sides, how could you possibly whine about that?

    All that “analyzing” makes me feel that you are very ungrateful. No company is perfect, but Google is pretty darn good.

  86. Halram Says:

    Wel,

    Welcome to the real world. If it even vaguely looks like it might get you in trouble, then it is time to go anonymous. This is very easy to do these days. Sign up for a whole succession of free accounts, using the email from the last one acquired for the next one.

    cheers,

    halram


  87. Man, all I have to say is keep your head up. I think you deserve blog of the day today too. I think all of your supporters should click on your adsense ads everyday. Of course, we’d be giving google more money, but we’d be giving charity money too. Well anyway, you can see your blog of the day post at http://blogofthedayawards.blogspot.com

  88. decheung Says:

    Thanks for the expired business card. Good meeting you!

  89. Dirty Jase Says:

    I have been dicked out of 1 or 2 “dream” positions before as well.By “dream” I mean that 1.)it was a job I wanted forever & 2.)I deserved it After getting shafted & released I was pretty bitter.Fuck,I still am.
    I don’t really know what else to say to you except that “I feel for you” & good luck.
    I’ll keep reading…


  90. Just remember, Mark, don’t be evil.

  91. jdragon Says:

    What a demented lunatic…


  92. The Wisdom of Warren Buffett
    What should we learn from Warren Buffett?

    1. Be Grateful
    2. Be Ethical & Fair
    3. Be Trustworthy
    4. Invest in Your Cirle of Competence
    5. Do What You Love

    The Wisdom of Warren Buffett

  93. lee Says:

    At least they let you keep your blogger address…..


  94. Mark, I was fired last month for blogging. My situation was different (isn’t everyone’s?), but I know how it feels. I’m not sure which Google office you’re at, but if you’re at the Seattle area one, I’ll be down there next week, maybe we can hook up and laugh about the past.

  95. Joe Peter Says:

    you da man ! you had the courage to express yourself and the strength to take the outcomings, Wish you all the best in your job search….

    but remember one thing, you are no more just “Mark” but who had made a mark in this blogging world — CNET, Wahsington Post and tones of other sites are talking about you — CONGRATS


  96. hang in there mark =)

  97. Goatse Man Says:

    ah. more ignorance in this thread. I suspect that many of the people who are screaming “free speech” are in high school and have never held a real job. Pure ignorance. Good luck in the real world, kiddies!

  98. hotsnot Says:

    What none of you seem to get is that he wasn’t fired for the content of what he said, he was fired for being a dunce. Google has a clearly stated policy about only hiring the brightest minds and this guys is obviously in violation of that.
    He’s given the opportunity of a lifetime to work in one of the coolest companies on the planet and here he is bitching and whining about the salary and benefits on a public forum. If you don’t like the pay, don’t take the job.
    What topped it for me was the comment trying to pull some cynical meaning about the free lunch and shuttle service being more for the company’s benefit than for his. It’s lunch. It’s free. If you don’t like it order pizza.
    He’s dissing the party they threw, he’s laming about the snowboarding trip (yeah … snowboarding trip … in his first week), he’s whining about free lunch … I bet it was the staff that wanted him fired more than the bosses.

  99. alekkomar Says:

    Great followup post Mark – I agree with JL that good introspection and humility – corporate chief’s could learn from you on that.

    Someone above mentioned Washington Post and other media outlets – looks like you are in quite a few places according to Google News.Keep us posted on what you end up doing and hang in there! ;-)

  100. frederoil Says:

    google can claim to be happy, energetic, and innovative in their cute little minimal page design and controlled press releases and PR junk they schill out; but at the end of the day they are just like any big, heartless, greedy, despondent Fortune 500 company. They don’t give a fuck, money is the bottom line. You are just a tool like the rest of them. To believe otherwise is foolish.

  101. Natali Says:

    Good luck Mark. You’ll stay on my RSS feed for a while yet, so keep us updated as to what’s going on.

  102. FredKuu Says:

    Best of luck. I think you may have served as a guinea pig for Google as they iron out the kinks in their blogging policy. Ever thought of going into the whistle-blower business? Just kiddin.

  103. siva Says:

    Now that you are no longer with that soon-to-be-hated-like-MS company, will it be possible to put the original content or you are not allowed to do that either?

  104. oscar Says:

    Man, i am a software Engineer in El Salvador, Why do you complaint about everything? you had everything man!!, it is true life is not only money, but you should see how the conditions are for a lot of engineers here in Latin America , World Class Engineers earning $400 USD per month, What happened with you man? you need to travel and see how a lot of good engineers live.
    A lot of people would wish the opportunity you had.
    if you want to discuss about it you can write me to: omaguilar@gmail.com

  105. karizma23 Says:

    Hi Mark,

    I just have to say that I really feel for you and it’s certainly a crappy situation that you found yourself in. I’m sure you feel an immense amount of regret but I hope that this dark cloud will move on and you will find a new challenge. I think Google used you as an example and I think that is unfortunate considering you were doing exactly what Google strives to do – provide information. You may have gone to far but I think you took sincere steps to resolve the issues with your blog and you should have been shown some leniency. In any event I wish you luck in the future and don’t let this deter you from blogging! You are a person first, employee second. Thanks.

  106. Justin Says:

    “blogging is quickly emerging as the fastest and most cost-effective method of marketing.”

    cost-effective? definitely. effective? don’t fool yourself, this is still a microcorner we’re communicating in.

  107. nicholas Says:

    so many people are scared to talk about how they feel so that they can make some huge bonus.Listen scour the internet and start your own business or something, link to amazon associates or something i will click on your links get it.. this is a chance for you to say to hell with being employed and time to start something new.

  108. TuckerMax Says:

    You still havent told us the STORY. We know you got shit canned. Why? What did they say?
    What were the specifics. CUT OUT THE SHIT AND GET TO IT.

    BTW I am looking for a secratery to catch my spelling errers? you interested?

  109. Scott-O-Rama Says:

    Good luck!

    The question I have is whether or not you’ll keep a blog on Google-owned Blogger or move to a different blog company.

  110. nick Says:

    Have you tried Yahoo? or Sun? They are investing very much into the blogging world.

  111. r Says:

    You could argue endlessly whether they were right or wrong in sacking you, but I still don’t think they’d done this had they not felt something ‘bad’ being done against their philosophy on what goes out live on the net or not.

    I’m not blaming you here or anything, but their ‘reply’ wasn’t totally unexpected, I must say..


  112. I believe that this new technology is making it’s way into corporate america and they should know how to understand it. Your not the first to be fired and probably not the last and it’s a shame.

    Jason Gorham
    CEO
    Careermetasearch.com
    jobsearchblogs.com


  113. good luck with your job search Mark! hope it works out.

  114. Tom Says:

    what exactly are revolutionary solutions?

  115. thomasyung Says:

    Mark, I think all the negative comments in the past blog entries that have been directed at you were unfair. I have the utmost respect for you as a person. I agree with you that under the circumstances, your mistakes in the blog was borderline, and Google could’ve handled it better. You handled it the best that you could’ve and that’s all you can ask for. You just need to move on and accept the cards that you were dealt. I’m sure that you’ll find a better and more rewarding job elsewhere. Good luck!

  116. Sarah Says:

    You’ve lost your credibility. You might find it hard now to find a similar position in a corporation.
    You better find yourself a good PR rep.

    Good Luck!

  117. Alex Says:

    Mark,

    Please to see you’re able to take this philosophically.

    Good luck on you new andventure!

    Alex.


  118. You also made it all the way across the ocean to ComputerWorld in Denmark. Google
    Fyrer Blogger
    Wish you all the best in the future

  119. JL Says:

    If only elected officials, CEOs, and others could exhibit the same introspection and attendant humility as Jen when they make mistakes, the world would be a smarter and better place. Happy landing, Mark.


  120. This post has been removed by the author.

  121. JDizzle Says:

    you are the man.

  122. MfD Says:

    Good Luck. Your story – good and bad – is a great example of a powerful new technology making an impact in corporate america.


  123. [...] and got some really neat perspectives – including mine! I met Fred a few months ago after my Google incident and we chatted about the state of the technology industry in general. For coming from a non-tech [...]


  124. [...] ut them, but just wasn’t interested. But then I came accross Mark Jen, you know, the guy who got fired by Google because of his blog. I followed his blogs and was amazed of the mixture of thoughts and [...]


  125. [...] ut them, but just wasn’t interested. But then I came accross Mark Jen, you know, the guy who got fired by Google because of his blog. I followed his blogs and was amazed of the mixture of thoughts and [...]


  126. [...] ut them, but just wasn’t interested. But then I came accross Mark Jen, you know, the guy who got fired by Google because of his blog. I followed his blogs and was amazed of the mixture of thoughts and [...]


  127. [...] n the lobby of building 42 at the Googolplex holding a newspaper with my picture on it for being fired from Google and writing our blog policy at Plaxo. Anyways, the free lunch is still pretty good – espec [...]

  128. Brian Says:

    You mention that you were fired directly or indirectly for your blog. What exactly did they say was the reason for your termination?


  129. [...] or Google. Of course what actually happened was a media frenzy over my initial postings, I got fired, and then another media frenzy about that. Oh well, that’s life! At least I can’t say it ha [...]

  130. Softail Says:

    Memo to those who;

    a. Feel it necessary to attack Mark for “whining,” without providing evidence of that horribly venal sin.

    b. Appear to be trying to impress us with their worldliness and ultra-morality by spewing opinions (OBTW. nobody gives a rat’s a** how tough you think you are from behind a keyboard.)

    c. See him as a convenient straw man upon whom to vent their own frustration and anger,

    You sound more like the screamers on talk radio than people interested in giving honest feedback. Re-read his story, carefully before you pass judgment. It appears many didn’t bother to read through to the end; the following quotes should make it clear he understands better than you the nature of his alleged crime;

    “people ask me if i’m bitter. funny thing is, despite all this, at the end of the day, i can see where google is coming from – but i don’t agree with their stances and i wish they had executed a little differently. …………………………finally, for all those in the evil/not evil argument, realize that google is a public, for-profit company. i do not believe google is either evil or good. companies take what they feel are logical steps in doing business, and business isn’t always fair.”

    What part of Mea Culpa so thoroughly escapes your power of deductive (reductive?) reasoning?

  131. markjen Says:

    Thanks for the supportive comment Softail. Hopefully, my experiences can be a lesson learned for many people out there :)

  132. nottma Says:

    As a publicly traded corporation I could see where Google is coming from, but mark its just not your fault. If they were to entrust you with sensative information they should of informed you and review the NDA they had you sign.

  133. Genjo Says:

    The bottom line, which I do not see any indication of being addressed, is: Does Google or did they have a written published policy, directive or procedure, that defined your blogging activity and releasing company information was forbidden, and considered a offense against company policy, specifically relative to your position and publication. Secondly does google indeed have a human resources or employee relations policy in writing, concerning corrective or disciplinary action for breaking such rules? If all the answers are yes, then did Google follow them to the letter of their law? If the answer is no, then you have every right to sue them, and they would not have a leg to stand on. Like I said I have not seen this issue addressed formally as to exactly what did you formally violate, and what formal action did Google take, which was or is not defined in their personnel policies for disciplinary action. Did they exceed the punishment, or did the crime equal the punishment. Again if the answer is yes the exceeded their own policies, or had none in place, then you can also get your job back with back pay in a court of law.
    Attorney at Large
    for a fortune 500 corporation.
    You do have rights that you may or may not already know about, or perhaps do not know about. Corporations often fire personnel and violate their own policies, which are usually overturned by a judge in a civil suit. It is more simple than carrying on and on. Either they are legitimate in their actions or you are either negligent in your actions or you could be a employee who was wrongfully terminated. You should look into this if you have not already.
    Good Luck !

  134. Cutendeadlie Says:

    Well you certainly got lots of attention and something is sure to come from that! Live and Learn! or Learn and Live both apply here!

  135. Heino Says:

    I have no sympathy for you. You mentioned financials and future products in your blog?!? First of all, blogs will NOT be the future of the Internet. Blogs are portals for Trekkie-type, zit-popping virginal losers who can’t communicate in a normal fashion. Ergo, they resort to creating blogs. First rule upon entering the real world: keep your mouth shut and just do your goddamned job. Collect your paycheck and shut up. Has common sense become extinct in our society?!?!?

  136. Bos Says:

    You’re an embarassment. If google had you listed as a manager, I would be very loose all hope of this conclomerate.

    It would be nice if you can color your hair blond and wear them Abercrombie and Finch clothes. For once, you would fit in.

  137. Bos Says:

    Google is so famous that their rejects get publicity. Amazing.

  138. Heino Says:

    Regarding genjo’s advice: no attorney will take that case, even pro bono. unless google is a completely half-assed outfit, they had something in writing. by the way, the answers don’t have to be 100% conclusive as genjo suggests. if it is a violation of policy to publish company information, they don’t have to specify it to a position, means of transmission (blog, email, fax, or other), or anything else. They don’t have to specify what the punishment would be, as long as they address that it is in fact a violation of corporate policy. stating in writing that sharing or broadcasting that kind of information is a violation is all they have to do, and nothing else. and the answer is yes. the other answer is 180 on the lsat. the third answer to your skepticism is yale law summa cum laude. trust me. move on and don’t even contemplate suing them. you’ll be in debt up to your eyeballs in legal fees once you lose.

  139. Bos Says:

    Google should fire the guy that terminated this dimwit. They’ve basically put the clamps on their blogging product. What idiots. Now I know why mark is like this.

    Good thing I just use my blog to post beautiful women’s pictures.

  140. crackhead Says:

    HAHA DUMBASS!

  141. Bos Says:

    It just came to mind that Microsoft is at war with Google. What an ingenious way to trump over google. Making it as a haven for nerds and the likes of mark. No one other their kinds will have confidence in this company. Just like the defunct Linux community, so will google become just another dot in history. Bye bye loosers.

  142. markjen Says:

    Heino – I completely disagree with your assertion that people should just “keep your mouth shut and just do your *explitive* job”.

    Given my obvious personal choice to promote open and transparent communication with the world, there are probably places that I do not fit in (such as Google ;) ), but that’s completely fine with me. I’d much rather find an employer that supports the same ideals as I do (such as at Plaxo :) ).

    And don’t worry, I’m not interested in pursuing legal action anyways. As I’ve said before, I’m not in the business of suing companies, I’m in the business of creating really cool consumer software :)

  143. markjen Says:

    Hi Genjo – I’m not a legal expert, but I believe that in California, there is pretty strong at-will employment that protects both the employer and the employee. According to the terms of my employment contract, I can be terminated for any reason or no reason at all. On the flip side, I was also able to leave my job for any reason or no reason at all. I think such an arrangement is fine; I wouldn’t have it any other way :)

    Might I have won a court case? Maybe… but I’m not really interested in finding out. After all, I’d much rather spend years building cool consumer software than spend years fighting a company like Google in court.

    Thanks for the comments!

  144. Bruno Says:

    Free speech shouldn’t ignore other people feelings. Telling how crappy things were in your job can create a bad working environment between you and your co-workers. Its like telling them you don’t like them and expect them not to do something about it.

    If I was your boss and knew you were not satisfied with your job, I’d be happy to show you the way out, I wouldn’t want someone working for me with bad will.
    Of course we do talk about things first to find a constructive way out but it is not always the case.

    Bosses also have moods you know..;-)

    Imagine Google published a blog telling the world what your co-workers and bosses thought about you?
    What if they didn’t like you and published it? That would most certainly make it harder for you to find a new job. Imagine what the same thing does to a company stock prices.

    They probably could sue you for difamation and ask a lot of money for damages. ;-)

  145. Bruno Says:

    Another thing…Google could also block you from going to websites not related to your work, checking your personal e-mail or doing anything else than work at your workstation. Yes, even on your lunch break.

    They can also monitor every e-mail you send and receive.

    People do take these things for some kind of right…but it isn’t. If you boss lets you chat in your workstation (even during lunch hours), thats a previlege not a right. Publishing information about what happens inside the company is obviously a breach of confidentiality. You are by contract forbidden to talk about your work to outsiders.
    Publishing it to public can also directly or indirectly reveal a lot of internal processes and informations to competitors.

    Even if it doesn’t seem to do any harm, it always does. You are telling potential future employees not to work for Google because it sucks. I’m sure HR didn’t find that funny.

    With great power comes great responsibility. :-)

  146. markjen Says:

    Hi Bruno – I don’t think you can sue for defamation unless someone attacks you with false information (but I may be wrong, I’m not a legal expert).

    I’m not afraid to talk to my employer (and future potential employers) about my weaknesses. It’s only natural that people have them; if my company wanted to publish them, I suppose they could go ahead and do it as long as it was truthful and fair (otherwise that defamation stuff kicks in again ;) ).

    It is true that a company could block me from accessing personal e-mail or browsing the web while at work. But in my opinion it would be a very bad policy. I currently work from home at night after dinner, I check e-mail right when I get up, and I work on the weekends. I have my cell phone programmed to grab my work e-mail 24/7. If a company were to tell me that I couldn’t browse the web every so often, I would have two immediate responses: 1. I would start working only 40 hours a week (10AM – 6PM, Mon – Fri) 2. I would start looking for a new job :)

    In the long run, I believe the best work environment is one in which the employer just expects the employee to get stuff done – however is most efficient.

    Re: my comments about Google, it is true that many people probably misconstrued my posts as telling people to stay away from working at Google. However, at the time, I was quite pleased about working at the company. I mean, if I hated it, I would’ve just left. However, just because it’s a pretty good place to work doesn’t mean that it’s perfect either. I was simply fostering a candid and open conversation about topics that people working for any company would probably talk about. If HR didn’t like it, they could’ve gotten in on the conversation too… or maybe they could’ve fixed the issues eh? :)

    All this being said, I probably shouldn’t have made all those comments since it was completely incompatible with Google’s culture. Definitely a major mistake – one that I won’t make it again.

    Thanks for the comments!

  147. marko Says:

    What a waste of a good job!!! You really should have been careful of what comes out of your mouth/blog. You should be grateful that a big company like Google hired you, at least show a little courtesy to the organization that gives you your paycheck.

    Remember, no matter how smart or talented you are – you are not indispensable, there is always someone who can do what you do and do it better then you ever can. Sad to say but what has happened to you is your fault alone and you deserve it.

  148. ms Says:

    Dude,
    I really don’t get this situation. I didn’t read all the feedback and I am not that much into blogging.

    However if you have only been with Google for 2 weeks I don’t see the committment that the company has to you. Most companies that I am aware of don’t even treat someone as a ‘full-time’ working until after 3-6 months of working there.

    It sux that you got fired, and you have learned alot. But I guess I don’t get what the big deal is.

    On the flip side, good for you that you have turned such a minor event into something you can exploit and get media attention and further yourself via your new found notoriety.

  149. Heino Says:

    Markjen, you live in a dream world. Corporations don’t want to hear your opinions. Neither does the Internet world. If you expect to get a job with a company that tolerates employees talking behind its back, I suggest you get a job selling Slurpees at 7-11. If you expect to keep any *real* job from this point on, I implore you that you keep your mouth/typing quiet next time. I am a bit older than you are. I know what goes on in the corporate world, and Markjen, you are ill-prepared to enter another job until you mature and realize that you are totally insignificant and expendable in the eyes of ANY company that hires you.

    Also, I couldn’t help but notice the defamation issue. Actually, you can sue for defamation, even if the statements are true. You are confusing defamation with slander and libel. Even if a statement is true, one can sue for defamation if that person can prove the person who spoke/wrote the material was out to damage the reputation of that person.

    I hope this helps. Wise up.

  150. billy Says:

    Companies hire and fire for many reasons, and being a cry baby about it will not make a difference. Move on big guy, keep your chin up, and smile at your interview.

  151. George Says:

    Mark:

    I read all of your blogs and all of the responses. Wow! …What a frenzy.

    Obviously, I thought your blogs were interesting as hell. And I am sure everyone else in this forum did also or there would be no controversy and there would be nothing to talk about.

    Here’s my take, you’re a smart or not so smart young guy that is wet behind the ears. If you have not already figured it out here’s some advice.

    You never ever, ever, ever, ever, put things in writing that can come back and bite you in the ass, especially in a public forum!

    This means physical documents, blogs, emails, etc.

    From my perspective while everything you may have said is true. “You spoke out of school”!

    I do not believe you got fired for what you disclosed in your blogs, I think you got fired for what you would potentially expose as you came to know more and more delicate information at Google.

    I do not blame Google for firing you! They probably read your blogs and said, holly shit this guy is a loose cannon. How in the world can we every trust him with sensitive information.

    I think you screwed up royally google is the envy of every company in America. You had a dream job and blew it.

    It sounds like they treat their employees awesome:
    1. Cool parties
    2. Cool events
    3. Free Food
    4. Working at a cutting edge company
    5. Good benefits
    6. Free laptop

    You had it made, if there is a hiring manager out there dumb enough to hire you. They may be the next one getting fired after their boss finds out that you disclosed confidential company information on one of your tangents.

    Good Luck On finding Your Next Job?

    George

  152. markjen Says:

    Hi George, thanks for the comment. I do agree that I made some mistakes with what I posted about Google. However, these events made me realize:

    Google is not my dream job. Google’s super-secret-club culture doesn’t match my ideals w.r.t. communicating with customers. Additionally, some of the attitudes I encountered there (specifically the arrogance) were very incompatible with the way I like to operate. Getting lucky a few times doesn’t mean you are the best thing since sliced bread. All it means is you got lucky. Ask anyone in Silicon Valley – sometimes great companies get screwed and crappy companies get rich. It’s crucial not to get blinded by a few successes.

    All 6 “coolness” factors are things that I currently get at Plaxo (and most of them are available at Microsoft, Yahoo!, and Amazon as well). At Plaxo, I get a few extra ones:

    7. awesome work atmosphere
    8. open and transparent policies w.r.t. public communication
    9. larger impact on company direction

    Finding a new job wasn’t too hard, but I was extremely blessed. I happen to have a skill set that many companies are looking for right now. This entry was originally written on 2/11/05, by the end of February, I had a bunch of job offers already queued up. I am extremely grateful for all these opportunities God has placed in my life.

    Lastly, many extremely smart companies nowadays are very embracing of an open and transparent culture. Take a look at Microsoft (Robert Scoble) and Yahoo (Jeremy Zawodny). True, these guys are much smarter than I when it comes to the dynamics of blogging and how to thrive in a corporate environment. But I’m hoping to learn as much as I can everyday :)

    In my opinion (and many others as well – check Microsoft, Yahoo!, Sun and IBM just to name a few…) smart companies that have nothing to hide are adapting to take advantage of all the positive things that come out of becoming transparent with the community.

    To people who got this far in the discussion, thanks for reading! This has been an awesome dialog over almost 6 months and is a great showcase of the power of blogs. :)

  153. Scott Says:

    Mark,
    I haven’t read all the comments to you, so you might hear some repetition in what I say.

    It’s a shame you got fired, but it sure sounds like you’re doing a lot better now. I hope everybody reads your story and learns from it. The Internet, blogging and everything that goes with it is a very powerful tool for both individuals and companies. The problem is, it provides instant, unedited information instantly around the world. For 98% of the population, this isn’t really a problem, based on the inane conversations I’ve seen in forums and other blogs. But for the other 2%, the scientists, engineers and computer folks, this is a big problem.

    The U.S. has very strict import/export laws. Providing information (knowledge) to foreign sources without having an export agreement in place violates those laws. The penalties start with fines, and can result in prison-time based on the nature of information shared and the intent behind sharing it. Inside information regarding the computing industry is in great demand, and many companies and countries have people monitoring the Internet full-time to gather every tid-bit they can. Apparently, you didn’t divulge any detailed information, and seemed savvy enough to not do so, but people blogging back to you might have. Had you inadvertantly released export controlled information, you would have been a lot worse than fired.

    It appears that Google did not give you an import/export or an ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) seminar before sharing sensitive data with you. That’s a big mistake for them, and if they haven’t done it with all their employees, they had better get on it. Other employees could be naively sharing sensitive data with foreigners without realizing the implications.

    Good luck with your new job, and keep on SAFELY blogging!

  154. markjen Says:

    Hi Scott – Interesting perspective. And as you rightly point out, one that most people – including myself – probably don’t think about. Fortunately, I didn’t divulge any trade secrets or confidential information; but if I had and some of it were subject to ITAR, that might’ve been quite some trouble :S

    Thanks for the comment!

  155. George Says:

    1. Hi George thanks for the comment. I do agree that I made some mistakes with what I posted about Google. (Yes, but everyone makes mistakes.) However, these events made me realize:
    Google is not my dream job. (OK)
    Goggle’s super-secret-club culture doesn’t match my ideals w.r.t. communicating with customers. (OK)
    Additionally, some of the attitudes I encountered there (specifically the arrogance) were very incompatible with the way I like to operate. (OK)
    Getting lucky a few times doesn’t mean you are the best thing since sliced bread. All it means is you got lucky. (This is true)
    Ask anyone in Silicon Valley – sometimes great companies get screwed and crappy companies get rich. (Are you inferring Google is a crappy company that got rich? Or is this a general statement?)
    (Either way you meant it, the statement is true)
    It’s crucial not to get blinded by a few successes. (True)
    All 6 “coolness” factors are things that I currently get at Plaxo (and most of them are available at Microsoft, Yahoo!, and Amazon as well). At Plaxo, I get a few extra ones:
    (It sounds like they treat their employees awesome:
    1. Cool parties
    2. Cool events
    3. Free Food
    4. Working at a cutting edge company
    5. Good benefits
    6. Free laptop)

    7. awesome work atmosphere
    8. open and transparent policies w.r.t. public communication
    9. larger impact on company direction
    (Whoa, Nelly On number 8, this sounds like theory to me. Do you have a new Blog on Plaxo? Have you posted any sensitive information regarding Plaxo online? If you have you did not pay attention to my last blog.
    You never ever, ever, ever, ever, put things in writing that can come back and bite you in the ass, especially in a public forum!
    This means physical documents, blogs, emails, etc.)

    Finding a new job wasn’t too hard, but I was extremely blessed. (You must have the blog god looking over you)
    I happen to have a skill set that many companies are looking for right now. (You must, what are these skill sets again? Please list…)
    This entry was originally written on 2/11/05, by the end of February, I had a bunch of job offers already queued up. I am extremely grateful for all these opportunities God has placed in my life. (I think Plaxo was trying to springboard from your new found fame)
    Lastly, many extremely smart companies nowadays are very embracing of an open and transparent culture. (Not when it comes to sensitive company information, IE unreleased product lines, new cutting edge ideas, etc.)
    (Like I said before:
    I do not believe you got fired for what you disclosed in your blogs, I think you got fired for what you would potentially expose as you came to know more and more delicate information at Google.
    They probably read your blogs and said, holly shit this guy is a loose cannon. How in the world can we every trust him with sensitive information.)

    Take a look at Microsoft (Robert Scoble) and Yahoo (Jeremy Zawodny). True, these guys are much smarter than I when it comes to the dynamics of blogging and how to thrive in a corporate environment. (True)
    But I’m hoping to learn as much as I can everyday
    (But have you learned? That’s the million dollar question? You have to tiptoe around in corporate culture. In a big company with many people that are trying to advance, there will always be someone trying to step on your head to get to the top. I am sure that ass kissing someone is the person who turned you in at google? That’s my opinion)
    In my opinion and many others as well – check Microsoft, Yahoo!, Sun and IBM just to name a few…smart companies that have nothing to hide are adapting to take advantage of all the positive things that come out of becoming transparent with the community. (All companies have something to hide, the only thing that is transparent is what they want people to see. Otherwise it is hidden under the mask of transparency)
    To people who got this far in the discussion, thanks for reading! This has been an awesome dialog over almost 6 months and is a great showcase of the power of blogs. (True)
    (Mark, my gut feeling is that you are a good guy. But you need to wise up. Still don’t believe me? Test the waters with Plaxo, start posting day to day inter workings of the company, their operations, the goings on at private parties, the CEO farted in a meeting, etc.
    Mark, trust me you’re going fall and get canned again, and this time the blogging god might not be there to catch you.)
    (Best of luck George)

  156. markjen Says:

    Hi George – This blog is the chronicle of my life at Plaxo :) (check out the rest of it)

    I’ve written at least 80 or 90 posts since I started working at Plaxo. Some of them talk about Plaxo company events in great detail (with pictures and everything). Other posts talk about pertinent Plaxo issues such as Privacy and future product plans. I even helped write the Plaxo Communication (Blogging) policy and posted it on this blog.

    I’m not going to write if the CEO farted in a meeting because that’s completely inappropriate. I didn’t write that kind of stuff at Google either.

    I’ve written a few posts for Plaxo’s blog too: here’s us eating lunch and here’s a funny picture from our engineering area. :)

    There is definitely a hard line for some things and I’ve been respecting that line the whole time. No blogging about non-public information, no calling out and embarrassing fellow employees publicly, etc. However, there are grey areas where different companies have different tolerances for what is and isn’t appropriate. Fortunately, at Plaxo the corporate tolerance and my ideals for public communication are closely matched :)

    All this being said, are my ideals for public communication enough to stop me from taking a job? Nope. If I found an awesome job and my employer said I had to shut down this blog, I would in a heartbeat. It’s just a blog, no big deal. But since Plaxo doesn’t mind and blogging is a fun pastime for me, everything seems to be working out :)


  157. [...] scussion

    Filed under: general — markjen @ 12:54 pm

    My story of what happened at Google has gotten 160 comments over 6 months [...]

  158. George Says:

    Mark:

    Thanks for the responces, I want you to know my comments were to help you, nothing else.

    I wish you the best of luck at Plaxo!

    -Kirk Out-

  159. andy tovar Says:

    i just think believing in god makes one less believable.

  160. markjen Says:

    Andy – I’m sorry you feel that way, but I wish you the best! Thanks for the comment.

  161. Hugh Jereksen Says:

    did I read these blogs correctly? does Mark jen now work at plaxo?!?!? Hey everyone! Let’s all invest in PLAXO! Mark Jen, the former flash-in-the-pan google idiot is now working for plaxo! before i read mark jen’s banal ramblings, i thought that plaxo was an anticavity rinse! nice going, plaxo, for hiring a socially retarded cretin who still doesn’t get it about shutting the hell up. when plaxo is formally bought out and controlled by a techno-juggernaut, they’ll shut him up again just like google did. don’t worry, mark, it’s just a matter of time before you’re doing your real dream job of washing dishes for red lobster until retirement age!

  162. Sean Says:

    Join the club, dude. I was canned for a blog as well several years ago now. Pretty lame.

  163. Roob Says:

    Get a Lawyer and get your pound of flesh from google!

  164. Michael Muryn Says:

    Hugh Jereksen — you are quite encouraging people to shut up and not do mistake. I am a perfectionnist and let me tell you that do mistake is ok. Also “shutting your mouth” is not always the best solution in all case. People just abuse of “shut your mouth”.

    I am not gonna encourage someone who encourage people to shut their mouth or not do mistake. That is sometime what cause us more trouble.

    STFU now ;-)

  165. markjen Says:

    Hi Hugh – Thanks for adding a very productive comment in our discussion :-p

    Let me know when you’re shipping world-class software products that millions of people are using everyday ;)

  166. markjen Says:

    Hi Sean – Sounds like you might’ve gotten a bum deal. Do you still keep a blog?

    Hi Roob – I’m not really interested in getting into legal battles; I’m much more interested in building cool consumer software :)

    Hi Michael – Thanks for coming to my defense. I think most readers here are pretty intelligent and can recognize a troll when they see one ;)

  167. Hugh Jereksen Says:

    Michael Muryn: What planet are you from? I’ve never seen such glaring grammatical and spelling errors. A shot from you is actually proving my case that most of you here are cretins. Oh, and mark jen, big deal, you’re shipping software. OOOHH!!! By the way, this “troll” is in mensa and has a 161 IQ.

  168. Hugh Jereksen Says:

    I forgot one thing. mark jen, if you speak mandarin, may I just add:

    ni tamada sha bi!

    I can also insult you in german, spanish, and japanese if you wish. have a super day, dunce.

  169. andy tovar Says:

    hey thanks for wishing me good luck. i need it especially since i don’t believe in god. i must say you have a great passive aggressive approach to responding to negative comments on this digital diary you keep.

  170. markjen Says:

    Hi Andy – I’m a strong believer that people are entitled to have their own opinions about things (which I might personally strongly disagree with) but I hope my blog is a place where we can all have a discussion about our opinions :)

    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” – Volatire

    Great quote in my opinion…

  171. josh Says:

    Looks like I am #175. As I posted on my blog @ http://blog.cancerdaily.com I feel bad for you. You did something that a lot of people would have done (although most probably won’t admit it). I can’t imaging how hard it was to try and not spill the beans. Either way it looks like you recovered well and are going good with Plaxo.

  172. Hugh Jereksen Says:

    It’s VOLTAIRE, not Volatire.

    ALSO, the phrase “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” is widely attributed to Voltaire, but cannot be found in his writings. The phrase was invented by a later author as an epitome of Voltaire’s attitude. It appeared in The Friends of Voltaire (1906), written by Evelyn Beatrice Hall under the pseudonym S. G. Tallentyre.

    You really are a tool.


  173. [...] kamikaze-bloggers/” rel=”bookmark” title=”Permanent Link to Kamikaze blogging”>
    Mark Jen’s blog on january 28th, 2005, i was terminated from [...]

  174. K. Says:

    Hi Mark,

    Excellent story, and indeed, it was a lesson learned! I was once fired from my first job from blogging as well because I expressed how guilty (and angry) I felt about digitally manipulating the bodies of fitness models for a certain client. Aside from being anti-body manipulation (my feminist stance), I happened to have poured out my frustration about working with that particular client! Long story short, the client found my blog and boom – I got the boot. I stopped blogging publicly (my entries are now protected), but I still feel that the blog is indeed an essential and powerful communication tool.

    I’m actually planning on going public again after almost three years being off the public blogging scene. This time around it will be subject-specific and will not have anything to do with work :P

    Good luck, Mark! And glad you took this in a more positive manner!

    —K.


  175. [...] 7;ve cooperated with the censors of totalitarian dictatorships blacklisted journalists fired employees for blogging pretty innocuous information maintained a ‘black box of secrecy‘ around A [...]


  176. [...] 7;ve cooperated with the censors of totalitarian dictatorships blacklisted journalists fired employees for blogging pretty innocuous information maintained a ‘black box of secrecy‘ around A [...]

  177. bill Says:

    wow. i came home from work feeling fatigued, wanted to get to sleep early, but instead i wound up reading through this guy’s blog, 180 responses, and a fortune article! i doubt this was better for me than sleep, but… fascinating. i’ve already had some anguish over a company’s strong dealings with a man who had sent a (misunderstood by me but perfectly fine) email, and i have a healthy respect for the delicate relationship that can exist between an employer and employee. mark does seem like a loose cannon, as someone labeled him, but he seems self-aware and energetic too. so more power to him. when a person wants to be productive, wants to be useful, and has a lot of energy? bring it on. i don’t know that i would want to be his manager, but i think he’s be great to work with–except maybe on days when his teammate is feeling a little under the weather. i need to get some sleep!

  178. dario Says:

    Really dude,i never see an idiot like you, fired for spitting in the plate where you are eating, what a smartass!
    I’m a 42 year programmer and is almost a year that i’m looking for a job and see a lot of little chinese engineer guys that come here and get the job for $8 hour!
    Man you deserved that, you are a very smart immature guy, my advice?
    Grow!

  179. MickoZ Says:

    Hugh Jereksen: ha! I don’t think it was *that* bad and FYI English is not my first language (doh!). boohoohoo. Maybe you master 10 languages, have a 169 IQz and you are very leet – maybe not. Oh and Hi, nice to meet you.


  180. [...] En el caso de blogs anónimos te puedes amparar en ese anonimato para criticar todo, incluso a tus jefes -sin que puedan deducir quien eres- o sacar tus más intimas angustias en público para descargar tu alma. Pero cuando el blog es del segundo tipo, más si es en dominio propio, empiezas a tener que cuidar los contenidos. En el caso de los blogs con nombre y apellidos, dado que esto es España, si tus jefes ven tu blog y ven artículos directamente relacionados con el trabajo, te puedes ver en un lío ya que esto de los blogs muchos lo ven como una pérdida inútil de tiempo y no lo comprenden. También te pueden venir con demandas. [...]

  181. Moo Says:

    “Moo”, said the cow, put out to pasture.


  182. [...] I’m out in Chapel Hill, NC this weekend speaking at blogging symposium put on by JOLT, a small conference put on by one of the law school journals here. Their topic this year is about blogging and the legal ramifications for indivduals and employers, so I’ve been asked to talk about my experience at Google and also writing up Plaxo’s blogging policy. [...]


  183. [...] Some might look at my experience and think: “but look, you got yourself into a world of trouble, wasn’t that a huge negative?” [...]


  184. [...] As we waited for our orders to be taken, we started talking about the blog and everyone made a commitment to try and post more often.  Jason even said he would try to post for everyday that he was in town and as often as possible while he was traveling for his speeches.  I brought up the matter of having a disclaimer on our blog because as a blogger myself, I’d come across bloggers that faced potential lawsuits or were fired.  And since we may come up with opinions and examples throughout the course of our research (which we intend to make transparent), it might be prudent to have Jason’s lawyer take a look at any potential legal risks this blog may face.  [...]

  185. HS Says:

    Kudos to you for moving on so gracefully after all the controversy. Adversities make us stronger – I am sure it was very true in your case. Good luck!

  186. hapetyme Says:

    good luck Jen. i hear that google are a bunch of arrogant pricks and you obviously are not. which is why you are better than them. it’s their loss; and your gain.


  187. [...] So, why a blog, and why now? The direct reason is that I made a New Year’s resolution (sorry, Rikk, I know you hate those) to do a better job of work-life balance and setting up a personal web site is one of those “life” things I haven’t been spending enough time on lately (spending more time with my wife is another). But I’ve also had more cause to want to put things online lately. I’ve been giving more talks, going to more conferences, and working on more cutting-edge web development that I want to discuss and share with my colleagues across the web. Mainly I’ve done so through Plaxo’s corporate blog, but there’s a lot I want to talk about that’s probably too specific and long for that forum (you may have noticed my inability to keep blog posts short by now). And when Mark Jen (who, I’m happy to say, I helped hire at Plaxo when Google foolishly let him go) told me he could hook me up with space at DreamHost and even set up WordPress for me (Matt, you’ve done a bang-up job with that project!), I decided I really had no excuse not to go for it. So here I am! [...]


  188. [...] The “we” in this case was initially me, Mark Jen (yes, that Mark; he joined Plaxo right after leaving Google), and Terry Chay from Plaxo (now at Tagged), and Terry’s friend Dave at Yahoo. Mark and I started having more lunches out at friends’ companies and Terry said he and Dave had been trying to do the same, so we quickly joined forces. Terry now tells people he was the “VC of lunch 2.0″ because he plunked down the 5-bucks or so for the lunch20.com domain name. [...]


  189. [...] Meet the dumbest Google Blogger Jen worked for Google between January 17, 2005 and January 28, 2005. It looks to me that he started the right thing in a wrong way. According to him, “i thought i could make connections to real people in the outside world and get first hand feedback”. Mark Jen is known for being terminated with cause by Google, Inc. for distributing corporate secrets in his personal blog, 99zeros.blogspot.com. Now he blogs at blog.plaxoed.com. [...]


  190. [...] me? Do you know how long Mark and I have been working at an official invite from them…like ever since he got fired. Triple [...]


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