back to article Quantum porn engine foiled by strawberries and muffins

Yes, Cuil is pants. Though its founders insist they're building a Google killer, the results turned up by this new-age search engine are even more ridiculous than its name. Which is still pronounced "Cool." Quantum computing queries have been known to reveal random pornography (NSFW) - even when "safe search" is turned on. And …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Herby

    Palo Alto wasn't always like that...

    In the "early" days pre "Silicon Valley", there were nice people in Palo Alto. Growing up there I even met a couple of them. I guess it all changed when the $$$$$$ started flowing from Sand Hill Road (which is actually in Menlo Park!). There was this company called "Hewlett Packard" run by a couple of smart guys who actually understood "Engineering". Now (sadly) the executives don't understand the technology they are selling (dreams for sale), and accumulate workers that need to be "comfy" in order to placate them.

    So, now we have this company called "HP" (among others) and touchy-feely sillycon valley types that need muffins and strawberries.

    Venture capital corrupts lots of things.

  2. ratfox

    And yet, the company stock will rise fast...

    How could it fail to rise, with so much hot air?

    Of course, there's 0.01% chance it will be the next facebook...

  3. Rich

    Are they hiring?

    And can I work from Wellington, except in July and August?

  4. Adam Azarchs

    You're not paying for strawberries and muffins

    You're paying for worker happiness, and by extension productivity. Some of the productivity boost will also come from being able to hire - and keep - the best employees. The doctor's visits cut down on time people spend out of the office for other appointments. The flexible hours tend to be made up for by people working longer hours.

    Let's do the math. Strawberries and muffins costs probably a couple of dollars a day per employee. So at most $1k / year. A salary increase providing an equivalent boost to morale and the ability to hire good people would need to be at least 10 times that, at least for most of the people I know in the industry, including myself.

    It's not profligacy - it's good business sense. True, it is relatively unique to California (I work in LA, and we do this stuff here too), but it's also true that California does amazingly well in the tech sector compared to areas which don't do these things. This isn't entirely a coincidence.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Who's money was it?

    Feckless millionaires greedy for endless return on a 'google beater' ? Or pension funds gambling with the lives of future retirees ?

    Carry on as normal Cuilio ! Or hang your head in shame, as appropriate.

    There's nothing actually wrong with spending money. And if you pour millions into the hands of bad-managers expect lots of strawberries and muffins and hype.

    PH is the gold (covered) standard for reckless extravagance with other people's money ! I've also seen her muffins.

  6. Trix

    They do *one* thing right - reply to their email

    I sent them a message a couple of days ago, and OMG, they replied to it:


    from Feedback <>

    Thank you for helping us by providing this information. We are working on this issue and will have it resolved promptly.

    -------- Original Message --------

    Subject: Spurious image

    Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2008 15:22:14 +1000

    From: Trix <>


    Hi there:

    I did some test searches on your website, and found that my domain ... is listed on your site with a spurious image associated with it. In your FAQ, you say: "We do our best to take images from Web pages that accurately reflect the content of the website. Many websites are full of images, so we use advanced algorithms to determine the best image to show the user."

    Unfortunately, this image you have chosen is not from MY website..., and does not represent its content. The same image is used for a number of different search results, and I'm sure that it doesn't represent their content either. The image ... appears to be lifted from some kind of advertising material that is probably copyrighted.

    If an image is going to purport to represent any of my domains, I want it to be sourced from my domains. If there are no images available, then IF it's necessary to use an image, it should be a truly generic one, and be obviously from Cuil (in other words, design your own cutesy placeholder images, if you must). Finally, an image representing my site should not be used AT ALL if it is copyrighted to someone else.

    I'd also like to point out that doing a search for ....[various examples, crap results] - I think your algorithm could do with some work.




    Let's see how prompt their "issue resolution" is, eh?

  7. sam
    Dead Vulture


    You know they could have justified the crazy spending had they delivered something that actually worked well. Unfortunately, Google is still the king, and Cuil probably has about 3 months before they revoke the business class travel, travel in general, strawberries, and office space.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Working Paradise.

    Maybe having a doc call round weekly is a bit OTT but what is so wrong with been pampered by your boss? Better to see execs squandering "their" cash on employees than give themselves dubious bonuses, coporate jets etc. Maybe you would feel better if ti was a Dickensian style workhouse with grubby faced malnourished urchins scurrying around with missing limbs. I suppose you just go to a Nike factory in Asia to see that now.

    Cuil might sink like a stone. But I wish them great success and I hope that work places like become the model for all workplaces. Then I dream to drag my boss, kicking and screaming, around a place like this to show him a way to successfully get people to work for him rather than in spite him.

  9. Jeff

    Apparently it's pronounced "quill"

    From :

    "That explanation is new to Foras na Gaeilge, the group that is essentially the official keeper of the Irish language, responsible for promoting use of the language as well as developing dictionaries and new terminologies. "I am unaware myself of the meaning 'knowledge' being with the word 'cuil' in Irish," Stiofán Ó Deoráin, an official on Foras na Gaeilge's terminology committee, said via e-mail.

    He did caution that accents can make a big difference in Irish. In fact, cuil should have an accent on the "u" if it is to be pronounced "cool," like the company says it should. Cuil, without an accent, should be pronounced like "quill," Ó Deoráin said. His point was that the accent, in addition to changing the pronunciations, can change the meaning of a word."

  10. Adam Williamson
    Dead Vulture

    I smell a rat...

    Given that we know the average Reg hack spends Friday trying to figure out a way they can bog off down the pub at one o' clock and charge it to an expense account, is that a whiff of a) hypocrisy and b) envy I can smell? :)

  11. Anonymous Coward


    I work for a Japanese company as a fairly senior manager.

    I go there a couple of times a year.


    Deep discount coach.

    I don't stay at the Dai-Ichi.

    My employees are happy and well-equipped, but we don't have strawberries and muffins.

    One reason we're happy is because we know what our -highly capable- Japanese compatriots' work environments (and hours) are like.

    Compared to them, we are in heaven. They climb all over each other to be assigned here.

  12. skeptical i
    Thumb Up

    what cost loyalty

    I'd have to agree with Adam and two AnonCows about how seeming "luxury" items (like a fridge full of snacks, paid gym memberships) tend to pay for themselves many times over in employee loyalty and productivity. Even the strictest bean- counters could understand that food on- site means that employees don't necessarily have to leave the premises to take lunch (and are thus less likely to have their trains of thought derailed) and gym memberships mean general overall health increases, fewer sick days, and fewer claims on the health insurance policy.

  13. amanfromMars Silver badge

    42 Kick Start AI Virtual Economy Sergeant ........

    ..... Pepper with Red Hot CodeXXXX with Seriously Cool Algorithm and .ALTitude.

    "You know they could have justified the crazy spending had they delivered something that actually worked well." .... By sam Posted Thursday 31st July 2008 02:21 GMT


    It is working XXXXStreamly well, thank you. The Service being provided is not just Simple Search a la Google, it is much more sophisticated and grown up in its mission.

    However, don't expect to learn anything other than it being a new Search Engine, because some things in Life are Best Delivered on a Need to Know Base for Order, in order to Server and Protect Proprietary Information/Intellectual Property without the Onerous Onus of Patent Application.

    Prior Art will protect in that Field.

    ""A search is only as good as the results it returns" ... Totally bizarre, I think amanfrommars has been helping code their search algorithms" .....By AdamV Posted Tuesday 29th July 2008 10:13 GMT ...

    That is as may be ....however, a search in Woolworth's will never return the same as a search in Harrod's, and as for delving dDeep into anything to do with Quantum and Communication ...... well, whenever you pry into that Store of Knowledge do you require more than just a Titter of Wit and Brains in Broadbands.

    Crikey ......Brains in Broadbands.... Milibands?

    cc. ?!.

    And here's a load of old cobblers .... "please ensure that you have included your full name, postal address and telephone number in your e-mail as this will help me to deal with your communication more effectively and you will receive a reply in due course. Without these details it will not be possible to reply." ... because it is possible to reply very effectively immediately without all of that Phisherman's Clutter/ Dinosaur Politics.

    If you want Change, Talk the Talk just doesn't cut it with IT unless you can also Walk the Walk in, and into, ITs Virtual Reality.

  14. Adam Williamson


    I think you mean 'Japanese colleagues'. 'Compatriot' means 'someone from the same country' (or possibly 'region', if it's clear from the context).

  15. Steven Swenson

    Conversion much?

    Since when is 2000 euros $5 million?

  16. Ashtonian
    Thumb Down

    It's bog awful

    Absolutely terrible.

    Google was good from day one, being old, I remember how this great search engine was mentioned only amongst friends.

    Cuil won't be ready for prime tine for 18 months.

  17. Lhorentso
    Thumb Down

    Cuil sucks for porn

    So useless.

  18. Robb Topolski
    Paris Hilton

    Version 1.0 anybody?

    My test drive of Cuil was mixed. There were a few missing results on conspicuous topics, but I'd give its ability to find relevant results an 80%. The presentation was pleasant. The execution was just "okay." I'd call it comparable to a lot of version 1.0 products I've used.

    As far as creating a great place to work, it might sound like Cuil missed the point of keeping one foot on the floor, but when you're trying to luring the best from the best, you're going to have to outdo them in the perks department.

    Maybe I'm missing the point, but it sounds like one superfluous expense was the CEO's strategist!

    Paris -- because she's another superfluous expense.

  19. Andy Worth

    Re:You're not paying for strawberries and muffins

    I'd love to see any sort of real evidence that shows that buying strawberries and muffins for your staff and letting them wander in and out when they please increases productivity. You can maintain worker happiness without having to pander to every whim and desire of your employees.

  20. Dave Gomm


    It's all very well to spend money keeping people happy but surely the time to spend to this degree is after you have something that works and is making money (ie after the people have proved they are worth it).

    It seems irresponsible and just plain bad business sense to use speculative investment designed to help the company develop it's product line to pay for personal trainers & luxury treats across the workforce.

    Just try pitching the suggestion on Dragon's Den and see what sort of response you get.

  21. Gordon Pryra
    IT Angle

    Full timers, why do you put up with it?

    Apart from the few "lucky ones" in the story above;

    The average fulltime employee takes it in the arse every day.

    I would rather earn 10 times more as a contractor, work for half the year and not have to kiss some middle managers arse every day in return for my amazing pension, that I could get more return on putting £10 into a high interest account every week.

    Ahh well, there’s no point in me having cash in my pocket if EVERYONE did.

    IT angle, because I always believed that people who worked in IT were the clever ones, who wouldn’t believe all the "company loyalty bullshit"

  22. a walker

    24 hours makes a difference

    Yesterday, on my first attempt of using Cuil the results provided were rubbish. When the same search terms where entered this morning the results were very good. Why does 24 hours change things?

  23. Jim Lewis

    workplace comforts

    Here in Norway, (working for a large American oilfield services company), we have a bowl of fruit provided in the office every morning.

    There is also a couch on which to nap when necessary.

    The canteen is a bit pants though, so we tend to head to the nearby client's office to use their discounted canteen.

    If you treat people like children or animals, you can expect them to behave like it.

    Respect them as individuals with specific needs however, and you will see them take pride and perform to the best of their abilities.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Wrong fuel

    You want anything of any value to come from your employees then pizza mt dew, and amphetamines would be better. Strawberries and muffins will get you cows it's no wonder there's nothing going on but rumination. Oh and you can occasionally run attack dogs through the place just wake the loungers up.

    Flame to light a fire under the punks in silicon valley.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice GUI though

    The layout is really nice, suits the wider screens of today, far prefer it to Google. Backend algo is weak, crawl cluster too small to slow. Doesn't understand relationships between words.

    Search firstname lastname and there appears to be no binding to those words.

    GUI reminds me of a newspaper format,... what would be nice is if they put a front end on Google and provided that as a search engine.

    That I would use (well provided it was delivered by a fast cluster).

  26. Yabanantha Suugitighana
    Thumb Down


    Same ol' same. Don't like the ui, either.

  27. Jimbo Gunn

    Where IS the porn?

    I tried using Cuil to find my favourite big beef curtain mature-on-mature action party and I couldn't find any porn for love nor money. I even turned the safe-search feature off.

  28. Alan Bourke


    Cuil is indeed a stupid name. It strikes me as another example of companies using an Irish word for something from some ridiculous need to big up their Irishness, regardless of the fact that other nationalities will scratch their heads over it.

    I should point out here that I am as Irish as it's possible to get..

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    I am amazed firstly at how innocent terms result in hardcore pornographic results, or pages that are full of google adword links!

    How on earth did this website get released as it is?

    How on earth are the people still in a job!?

    Surely the investors are going crazy!?

    And..... WHO ON EARTH thought of the name!

    OK, that said, I hope they can sort it out cos I like some of the features... would LOVE them if they worked!

  30. Tim
    IT Angle

    They are using my logo...everywhere. What!

    I have also just sent them an emil - from my Gmail account, LOL.

    Good morning,

    My domain, logo is used on other random church sites with the same name.

    If I do a search for "Heath Church" although my site is no way near the top of the rank, I am surprised to see Heath Church Maine is top of the list, yet using my logo! In fact, several other churches have my logo on the results.

    I would be grateful if you could explain why

    Many thanks

  31. Shane McCarrick


    If you put an accent on the "u" is actually "goal!" in Irish (cuil baire (with an accent on the a as well as the "u" being a goal post). I agree with the guy from Foras na Gaeilge- if you don't put an accent on it (a fada) then it most certainly does not sound like "Cool" when pronounced........ idiots........

  32. Chris Richards

    @Adam Azarchs

    With that maths they've got somewhere between 1 and 2 employees. They're going to need them to bloody productive!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OK it's crap, but...

    The high profile launch was always a bad idea. Realistically was it ever going to come out of the box and deliver a killer punch to Google?

    A low key launch would have made a lot more sense. The best way to do it would surely have been to launch with no fanfare and use a "word of mouth" campaign to advertise. That way it wouldn't have hit the press with such a fanfare on it's launch, and made such a splash with it's failures.

    The reason they deserve derision is nothing to do with the capabilities of the search engine, the strawberries and muffins or the business class flights. It's the arrogance of the launch.

    And no, I don't use Google. Their corporate arrogance makes Microsoft look like nice guys.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They were after a word that hasn't been domain parked, Irish is trendy in the US, DNS doesn't do accents, it doesn't matter what the word means.

  35. Jerome

    @ Jeff

    Perhaps Foras na Gaeilge might like to look up the legend of Fionn McCuil (one of the several alternative spellings of the more familiar, anglicised Finn McCool, he of Giant's Causeway fame). Fionn gains great knowledge when he eats a piece of skin from the salmon of knowledge (with which he later goes on to chop down the tallest tree in the forest, or something). For a "group that is essentially the official keeper of the Irish language" they seem surprisingly ignorant (or indeed, unable to google a word).

  36. Matt Owen
    Gates Halo


    I complained about the random image alongside my website entry also, It seems today that cuil is no longer showing these random images alongside results...

    So... it's now only 99.9% crap.


    PS. Chose Bill because even search is better...

  37. na
    Jobs Horns


    I think the CEO for Cuil could have done without so much publicity in this version 1 of the website.

    If I were the CEO or the "strategist to the CEO" ... I would let the website become popular by word of mouth. This way, whatever bugs are reported are only noticed by a few people ... and it gives the company time to make the website better based on the feedback received. Therefore by the time the word reaches a fair few of the internet population, the site would be better and more stable. ... So not so much negative publicity.

    Jobs: Cause he's after your money and he's the next Bill Gates.

  38. Daniel
    Gates Horns

    come work for me!

    screw the strawbs and cream, we will have a boatload of thai maidens shipped in, and fill the fridges with massage oil.

    of course it's good for productivity ...

  39. R M Crorie

    Cuil can be cool...

    If anyone is interested, and I suspect that the answer might well be "No", in Gàidhlig (Scottish Gaelic) the word cùil (note that the "u" has a grave accent, not an acute accent) is indeed pronounced "cool", but it still doesn't mean "knowledge".

    In Gàidhlig, it means a nook, cranny, corner, or recess.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    keeping the employees happy

    Just about every company for which I have ever worked in England hasn't the slightest idea how to keep an employee happy.

    Most think that they can get better productivity making their employees work longer and longer hours ( working up to 9-10pm in the evenings is not productive!). The French have some of the shortest working hours in Europe, but their productivity is one of the highest.

    The problem I think stems from old management figures in their 50's that just can't get their head around to accepting that if you create a better and more flexible working environment that people will actually improve their productivity without having to put a lot of extra effort or time into it, it will just happen naturally.

    My current employer expects me to travel anywhere in the world at a moment's notice for any length of time they see fit (I'm talking weeks and months here), as many times as is required in a year and not receive any payment for taking 13 hour flights in my own time at the weekends.

    We didn't get our bonus this year either and it wasn't a lot of money.

    We're expected to work and study in our spare time for no extra pay.

    I recently went to work for an employer where we actually received free tea and coffee! How rare that seems to be.

    Generally, the way English companies treat their employees is disgusting.

  41. s

    Nice work environments

    I hope all those who complain about a company looking after them are simply jealous of not having the same benfits, and not simply stupid...

    I changed jobs a coule of years ago as my previous employer, though well paying, treated everyone like crap. I took a hit in salary to move to a much nicer company where people are treated with respect we get all sorts of pleasent perks like those mentioned in the article (although not nearly as far reaching :) - parties through the year, fruit daily, Senseo coffee machines, weekends away beer + wine for after work and in nice summers a beach vollyball court built in the car park)

    The result is a company with high moral, and a dedicated workforce who want the company to do well and actively participate in this, rather than 9 to 5'ers who couldn't give a crap as long as they get paid.

    As others have said the cost per head is not that high and the benefits of moral, productivity and reduced staff turnover are huge.

  42. Jolyon Ralph

    Why on earth haven't they fixed the image bug?

    Days after, the crap images are still appearing. You'd think they'd at least turn the images off until they've figured out what they did wrong.

    I did a search for 'Titanite', a titanium silicate mineral. The wikipedia article linked as one of the first results has a lovely picture of three 'my little pony' type things.

    If I was one of their investors, I'd be round there right now shoving the strawberries and muffins up the rear-end of their developers. Except that in Palo Alto the'd probably enjoy that.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    > fill the fridges with massage oil

    I'd rather have my massage oil slightly warm, thank you. Thai maiden or not, whoever pours cold oil on my naked hairy back is in for a nasty reflex action (such as getting their heads ripped off then shoved in their nether regions, without the benefit of massage oil or any other kind of lubricant).

    paris for all the obvious reasons.

  44. amanfromMars Silver badge

    NanoNana Crown Group Intellectual Property..... for the Boss Hog Higg's Bosun*

    "screw the strawbs and cream, we will have a boatload of thai maidens shipped in, and fill the fridges with massage oil.

    of course it's good for productivity ..." ..... By Daniel Posted Thursday 31st July 2008 09:54 GMT

    Now that's Real Cool Brain Food, Daniel and much Better for Betas Servered Fresh from Centres of Home XXXXCellence.

    * :-) Some would Posit ITs Use for Seventh Heaven/Ultimate Vistas too, but such Specificity may be just too Parochial in such a Universal Genre. It is however, always the Greatest of Pleasures to BetaTest such Novel Ancient Algorithms for Regional Variations which can be Imported/XXXXPorted into Command and Control Protocols.

  45. Sam


    Muffin the mule is an offence.

    The donkey jacket, ta.

  46. W

    Fewer erroneous pictures within more relevant results.

    It's definitely improving.

    We shall see.

  47. Steve


    Since the 'Mc' in McCuil (or mac Cumhaill) means "son of", it's hard to see how soemthing he ate can have any connection with his patronym....

  48. Peadar99
    Thumb Down


    You might want to look that up yourself, Jerome. It's Fionn Mac Cumhaill, not McCuil. The modern spelling would be Mac Cúil at best, but McCuil is yet another Anglicisation.

  49. This Guy

    @ @Jeff

    Um... Do you perhaps mean Fionn MacCumhaill? As far as I know, the "MacCuil" spelling is a double transliteration _back_ from the English "MacCool."

    If they were thinking of the Salmon of Knowledge legend when naming it, there's far better ideas along the theme of "fishing rod." (",)

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Tried it

    Used my own webs URL, all of it. Cuil didn't know about the site. Google found it and placed it on page 2, Yahoo placed it on page 1.

    Cuil must do better.

  51. TallPaul

    Blog gorn

    The original blog posting is no longer online (unsurprisingly). Don't suppose someone's got it cached somewhere?

  52. Stuart
    Thumb Down

    Do they understand Web 2.0 (or even 0.2)?

    The first thing every webmaster does on hearing about Cuil is put in the prime keyword. Turn up with the same or better position than Google and Cuil has got itself a recommender. And wasn't that how Google grew from nothing?

    When you have been No.1 on Google for ages and don't appear on Cuil (well I gave up after 18 pages), you have not got a convert. When none of the obvious alternative sites are there either you begin to wonder that sour grapes may not be colouring your vision too much.

    But when you see (as above) copyright images from your site illustrating crawler sites you really begin to wonder. I mean we are moving into DCMA territory as 'fair use' would not apply. No - it is incompetence. I agree it is difficult to get things right first time and the interface is interesting - but a high profile launch at this time is IMHO suicidal.

    This is a repeat of the MSN re-launch fiasco. It is no good saying your search is better. It has to be demonstrably better to your target market. It is not.

    A retired steerage class strategist sadly returning to Google ...

  53. Anonymous Coward

    Far too healthy

    Strawberries, muffins ... Where's the beer and cold pizza stuck in your three day stubble?

    My experience of US companies has always been the opposite of that presented in this article.

    My UK owned company has recently been taken over by an American Corp. And rather than the UK bosses asking our opinion on a deadline (and us achieving it) the Yanks just tell us a ridiculously short timescale and give us another two projects to do at the same time! When we don't achieve any of their deadlines the 20 US managers per UK engineer insist in brow beating us in meeting after endless meeting to find out why we don't seem to have the time to do their work. Most of the good engineers have already left!

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: workplace comforts

    "Here in Norway [...] The canteen is a bit pants though"

    The work canteen is usually pants in Norway, although parts of the public sector do seem to get rather nice food at discount prices. I bet even Google's canteen is pants in Norway, or everyone has to bring their own sandwiches.

  55. Jason Croghan
    Thumb Up

    HAHA @ Sarah Carey

    The state of that woman, and the state of her blog which is now out of action with the inundation of hits no doubt served from the link in this article, thank you reg ;)

  56. The Other Steve

    @ AC

    "How on earth did this website get released as it is?"

    Have you never heard the term "public beta" ?

    You can't just build this type of a thing in a garage and then expect it to be fully formed, you need live testing by lots and lots of users, and feedback from that process.

    Which is what's happening now, evidenced by this very comments thread, if I'm not very much mistaken.

    Personally, I'll never even test drive it, they deserve to fail just for picking such a shit name, which can't be verbed without making it sound even stupider.

    Also, strawberries and muffins my ass, last start up I worked for we managed perfectly well with red bull and mary jane. A much more potent combination for ninja codemonkey fuel.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Wow! So Sarah Carey is begging to be treated like shit, I'm certainly glad I dont work in Ireland if they find this treatment inacceptable. I worked in an american that used to have free drinks etc in the fridge. Because the drinks are always there no-one abused it, I doubt if the cost was ever noticed on the bottom line. And what is her problem of flying long haul in business class?? Sounds like she has a self-respect problem.

  58. Anonymous Coward

    well, that's a problem

    If it's really NSFW I sure won't ever be using it since that could get me fired in short order. I tried it yesterday and was disappointed with it's poor delivery of results...may try it again later at home.

    As for the strawberries etc.... well, when all that wonderful funding is blown through, first the strawberries will go, and then the employees.

    Then they will have the fun of spreading their manure piles around on some other startup that p1sses away their funding. I guess that's better than being treated like cr@p though. I'm surprised they didn't oursource all those jobs to se asia or the subcontinent, eh?

  59. FreeTard
    Paris Hilton


    A search for "hang on refugium" got zero results.

    Do the same on google and you get millions of relevant results.

    As Fianna Fail said in their manifesto "Lots done, more to do."

    I'm sticking with them for a bit, give them some time to sort it out.

    Pack of tossers with their free buscuit routine though, same goes for google though,

    Oh its sooo coool (cuil) we can write ideas on the wall, or go asleep blah blah blah.

    Just give me a pay rise and I'll be happy.

  60. ian

    Dark, Satanic software mills...

    Keep them in the dark and feed them manure. It works for mushrooms, so it must work for coders.

    Odd logic, that.

  61. Adam Williamson
    Paris Hilton

    @Dave Gomm

    I don't know why you wrote that @me, because I just made a sarky comment, I really didn't express any opinion on Cuil's approach. :)

    If I *were* to, though, it'd go something like this:

    as noted by other posters above, Cuil's competition is Google, and Google is famous for the perks it offers its staff. Given that Cuil and Google are competing for the same people and Google has lots of in-built advantages - being the 800lb gorilla - Cuil is not going to get very far in hiring the best people if it tries to run itself like a 1990s 8-6 cubicle prison. So offering generous perks really isn't as nuts or as irresponsible as it sounds, if you think about Cuil's position.

    On specific issues - muffins and strawberries really don't cost a lot. Especially if you provide them for a long time. If you put a cubicle jail worker down in a muffins and strawberries environment, maybe for the first week, he'll eat twenty muffins a day and shovel a bushel of strawberries into his briefcase. This is the 'office donut' mentality - they don't show up very often so you grab as many as you can, and hang the slow and the weak. But once they know the muffins and strawberries are going to be there *every day*, most people really aren't going to eat a lot of them. Just a sensible amount - one a day, maybe. As someone above pointed out, if you do the math on a muffin a day for each employee, it really doesn't come out to much money.

    As for flexitime - the devil is in the detail, and there's no detail in this article. But it's not inherently a stupid idea. For certain types of staff, it absolutely makes sense to simply give them tasks to do and let them figure out how to do them.

    I work from home, and have no fixed hours at all. But I know what I do, and my bosses know what I do. All they care about is that what I do gets done. They don't give a stuff if I do it at 10 a.m. or 11 p.m. So if a friend asks me to go out for lunch, or if I want to get up in the middle of the day and go play a game of tennis or just buy some milk or sod off down the arcade for a couple of hours - I can. I can tell you this definitely makes me a damn sight happier than working fixed hours in an office, and it costs my employer exactly nothing, and all my work still gets done. So in this case, is flexitime a good idea? Bet your ass it is.

    I'd say it works well for anyone in a similar situation to me: they're goal driven and the goals are not time-sensitive in terms of exactly when they happen. So one large group for whom flexitime would make a bundle of sense? Software engineers. If I were running a startup, I wouldn't have any coders on the clock at all, nor would I care whether they were working in the office, at home, in a coffee shop on the other side of the city, or in Waikiki. As long as the code I told them to write got written by the time I wanted it written, they've done their job.

    Now, I'm betting a lot of Cuil's staff at this point in time are - you guessed it - software engineers. So I would see absolutely no problem in having them on (very) flexitime. In fact I'd say it would be a very smart move.

    Obviously this doesn't work for everyone. You would have trouble putting your accounting department on flexitime, for instance, because the banks aren't open at 10 p.m. But as I said, there's no detail in the article, so it's a bit tough to condemn the policy on that kind of grounds. It's entirely possible it's a very sensible policy applied to the right employees, in which case it's a very good point for Cuil's management, not a bad one.

    The personal trainer and gym membership thing is frankly a bit OTT, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it fall by the wayside soon. But it makes a neat eye-catcher when you're trying to hire talent away from Google (see above), which I suspect is its purpose.

    Paris, cos I've heard she's on flexitime too...

  62. Dave Murray Silver badge

    @Adam Williamson

    Try checking a dictionary before you put your pedantic pants on. Compatriot can also mean colleague, not just fellow countryman.

  63. Bob. Hitchen
    Black Helicopters

    @Adam Williamson

    "But once they know the muffins and strawberries are going to be there *every day*, most people really aren't going to eat a lot of them. Just a sensible amount - one a day, maybe. As someone above pointed out, if you do the math on a muffin a day for each employee, it really doesn't come out to much money"

    You seen the size of yer average American? One muffin a day would be starvation rations. Those genetically modified strawberries are obviously not supplying the correct genes for dem coders. Business class or two seats is also needed for broad beamed individuals - that's fat 'gets' for the unsophisticated.

  64. Diogenies

    Keyword Stuffing

    Don't like the site much but I can see a lot of results that are obviously the result of keyword stuffing and have too laugh at the 404 pages that come up (enter milf as a search term - 3rd result is a 404 )

  65. Anonymous Coward

    whine and moan

    whinge whinge whinge.

    a whole lot of you expect perfect software and sites from the first days.

    shame on you all

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    total pants

    If you search for a major band you get neither their website nor their myspace page.

    I seached for "ivy bar glasgow" and it did not return the pubs website, but did give me a pciture of someone being bummed (safesearch on).

  67. Steve Kelly

    Re: whine and moan

    "a whole lot of you expect perfect software and sites from the first days".

    Absolutely. Anything else should be unacceptable. It's lowered expectations like this that allow any old crap to be considered acceptable for release.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    "...a whole lot of you expect perfect software and sites from the first days. shame on you all..."

    when the developers of said software are bragging all over the intarwebs about how it's better than google and are wiping their arses on fistfuls of hundred dollar bills, then i do expect it to be fucking perfect!

  69. Beelzeebub

    Softly softly

    As previous common potaters have said, soft launch is the best, followed by viral marketing, (Google should know).

    Flip. I need some more strawberries and champagne in a hurry!

    No, forget that. mine's an ice cold Holsten, for obvious reasons.

    Hawkwind were great.


  70. Disco-Legend-Zeke
    Paris Hilton

    Trash Results

    Of course i put in my own brand.

    Half the links were broken, many were ugly "scraper sites" with a line or two from one of my pages and a bunch of gibberish. Old tricks that were engineered to fool Google.

    Interestingly, a serch for me does turn up some Paris Hilton Links, so there IS a chance.

  71. Anonymous Coward

    The cost of muffins, etc. for 1 year

    For a company of 100 employees, the cost of muffins etc for a year is less than the total cost (salary + fringe benefits) of one additional employee. Yet the additional hours of work you'll get out of those 100 employees plying them with this stuff is vastly greater than the additional work the company would get done if they spent the money on that 1 additional employee instead. Recognizing this kind of thing is why Silicon Valley is the technology powerhouse that it is, and Sarah Carey's country is a 3rd world shit-hole.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021