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Google's age-hate
By Dave Winer on Monday, January 30, 2012 at 2:47 PM.

A picture named grandpa.gifI don't often use this space to condemn a person or company. I try to be understanding, see an issue from all sides. Or accept that it's just in the nature of big tech companies to be monopolistic and arrogant and closed-minded, and know that things will run their course, and eventually whatever they try to control will end up obsoleting them.  #

But this bit about Google being sued for age discrimination, with some horrific quotes from Google people, goes too far.  #

"Some observers say much of this language is just code for age discrimination. They point to the case of Brian Reid, a 52-year-old manager who was fired by Google in 2004 -- nine days before the company announced plans to go public -- after his supervisors, including the company's vice president for engineering operations, allegedly called him a poor 'cultural fit,' an 'old guy' and a 'fuddy-duddy' with ideas 'too old to matter." #

Google doesn't deny or retract these statements. If you were to change those words from age to race, or gender, they would be ashamed. And they would apologize. But because it's age, the one ism that's socially OK, they don't even admit that they were wrong. #

Even an open-minded person has to say this is over the top. Not only is there something wrong with the people who say these things, but there's something deeply wrong with a corporate culture that tolerates it. #

If one were to try to understand it, the story might go something like this. Big companies hire people who occupy seats, and their job is, as they see it, to keep the company from doing anything that might endanger their seat. They will use any irrelevant excuse to disqualify an idea they find threatening. Instead of finding the future exciting, these people, whatever age they may be (and they often are very young) try to hold back the future.  #

The people who should be fired are not the people they are talking about, but the people who did the talking.  #

PS: One thing's for sure, when I meet a person from Google now, I'm going to have a fairly good idea what they're thinking about me as I speak. :-) #

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