Signs of Incipient Decline at Google?

Those of us who have toiled for technology companies know that any given company’s decline begins before the symptoms are apparent to external observers, such as shareholders, market analysts, and journalists. Employees, especially mid- and senior-level managers, witness signs of decline and dysfunction before they become readily apparent to outsiders.

It’s possible, then, that any company, even those seemingly flying high, could be beginning to suffer the effects of an incipient organizational cancer, which will eventually spread, become pervasive, and bring the firm to ground. There’s a life cycle to any information-technology company, just as there’s a life cycle to any human being or to any organization that depends upon the cooperation and coordination of human beings for its success. That covers every hardware, software, on Internet-services firm on the planet today.

So, given that decline is possible in any company, it logically follows that decline is possible today at Google, currently the thriving juggernaut of the Internet scene.

Is it really happening, though? We just have anecdotes as evidence, including one conveyed today by Peter Kafka of Silicon Alley Insider. Kafka quotes an anonymous “Valley bigwig,” who says the following:

“Google’s a complete f–ing mess on the inside. A total f–ing trainwreck. They don’t talk to each other. They fight constantly. A lot is being pissed away. In three or four years you’ll be looking back at this company and wondering what happened.”

This could be coming from an embittered former executive, or from a competitor, or from a current or former Google partner. Without quote attribution, it’s impossible to know. It might mean nothing, or it could be the sign of manifest difficulty at the industry giant.

One fact is undeniable: All companies decline eventually, even the giants.

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