back to article Billionaire CEO tells Googlers 'we shouldn’t always equate fun with money'

Challenged by questions about Google's cost-cutting at an internal meeting, Alphabet billionaire CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly reassured employees about the internet giant's financial belt tightening by insisting that workplace fun doesn't have to be about money. CNBC obtained an audio recording of a Google town-hall staff …

  1. stiine Silver badge


    Thank God its Facebook?

    1. diodesign Silver badge

      Re: TGIF?

      Ha. It really does stand for Thank Google It's Friday.

      It's their end of week company confab.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: TGIF?

        Except now it happens on Thursdays.

        1. diodesign Silver badge

          Re: TGIF?

          Yeah 'cos Thursday for the US and UK is Friday for Asia-Pacific. If TGIF was actually Friday, APAC would be tuning in on a Saturday.


          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: TGIF?

            Friday anywhere is POET'S day

            Push Off Early Tomorrow's Saturday

            (alternatively, you could substitute another 4 letter word beginning with P...

  2. Notas Badoff

    In the real world, but not with their head in the real world

    It would have been so simple and much more useful for him to have said "We don't know what's coming up soon with the economy and so we need to step lightly for awhile."

    But instead of saying "we don't understand" he says "you don't understand". Click-head.

  3. Claverhouse Silver badge

    ..."a hard-working startup and people may be having fun and it shouldn’t always equate to money."

    So Google is a plucky little start-up, fighting against the odds ?

    1. thejoelr

      Re: ..." and it shouldn’t always equate to money."

      Yeah. People work at startups because of the chance of the stock becoming very valuable. Google is warning about shrinking and doing layoffs...

      1. Stork Silver badge

        Re: ..." and it shouldn’t always equate to money."

        also because it is fun, and you get to try out your ideas.

        My wife cofounded a biotech company with ex-colleagues after their old company closed.

        The beginning was extremely creative but poorly paid (first salary after 1.5y), later as they grew to 80-100 came bureaucracy, internal politics and investors but it then became financially rewarding.

    2. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: ..."a hard-working startup... etc"

      It looks like Google is at the point when the beancounters start saying things like "...reduce waste and get better results..." which means they're not going to be doing anything cool or new or clever, they're just going to watch the bottom line.

      It's where IBM and HP have been for the past 20 years or more and is the start of the long, slow slide into irrelevance.

  4. thejoelr

    Talk to them like they are idiots.

    Try to hire the best and then make statements that are obvious bullshit instead of being honest. That is disrespectful. If he is willing to lie about this, what else will he lie about? The economy is a great excuse to trim spending now that the pandemic is over. Maybe they overhired. But they also keep cutting R&D... Normal accounting management to take profits now on the quarterly results to score performance bonuses and forget the long term prospects of the company. Google is becoming what I picture IBM was like... boring and adverse to any risk.

    1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: Talk to them like they are idiots.

      You have to drink the Kool Aid to work there. Having a billionaire tell you to care less about money is no different than any of the other beliefs you must adopt and uphold.

      1. Youngone Silver badge

        Re: Talk to them like they are idiots.

        You have to drink the Kool Aid to work there.

        It's not unique to Google. The vast American corporation I work for bombards me daily with propaganda.

        I assume it's what working in the Soviet Union felt like.

    2. pimppetgaeghsr

      Re: Talk to them like they are idiots.

      Everyone on Linkedin got hired by google over COVID according to my newsfeed. Industry boards have shown google making terrible lowball offers.

      It seems they don't need the brightest minds anymore, just average codes happy to accept average salaries for the prestige of Google on their resume.

  5. Jan K.

    “Fun didn't always — we shouldn’t always equate fun with money"

    Coming from him, that's the funniest thing I've heard in a long time...

    But of course everyone knows exactly what he means. Stop spending so I can pull out many more...

    Fun guy.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where the Cuts are Made

    Cutting the Tiki Party fund is one thing.

    Squeezing employees on travel costs for company-business trips or reducing training budgets is another.

  7. Piro Silver badge

    Google, the little startup that could!

    Or.. wait, no, they're an enormous giant.

    People just want a decent work environment, generous time off and a pay packet that respects their abilities and contribution.

    If Google expect "fun" to replace compensation, they're on the wrong track. It can work for a while, but that gimmick will wear off when you need to pay the bills

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: Google, the little startup that could!

      If Google expect "fun" to replace compensation, they're on the wrong track. It can work for a while, but that gimmick will wear off when you need to pay the bills

      Job satisfaction is really important - but unless you're a millionaire, we all have to keep an eye on the size of the paycheck.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google, the little startup that could!

        A job doesn't need to be fun to be satisfying. Unfortunately we have a whole group of people who think work has to be fun. Usually the same group who like to use the word 'assigned'.

        University is supposedly no longer about learning, its about being coddled, and this has moved to the workspace.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Google, the little startup that could!

          Work doesn't have to be fun. However, if you're my boss, it would probably be better for you if it was. The relatively small investment in making people enjoy work may save you from having to deal with a bunch of people who hate the job now. Sure, if you're employing people in an easy job market who are easy to replace, you can get away with that. Otherwise, you have costs when people leave for something that seems better.

          How enjoyable a job is can be difficult to predict before taking one, so people who are more risk averse may want to stick with an enjoyable one they have rather than roll the dice on a new one. Also, if they're not doing the work at least partially because they enjoy it, then they're probably doing it just for the money so they'll be faster to leave when someone has more money. For those who are already financially stable, they may be willing to accept a lower compensation if the environment they've got now is bad enough. It's probably easier for you to make your job at least a bit enjoyable rather than have the highest salaries in the market.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Google, the little startup that could!

        "the size of the paycheck"

        Adequacy of that might or might not be a significant part of job satisfaction. Inadequacy is a major part of job dissatisfaction.

      3. Piro Silver badge

        Re: Google, the little startup that could!

        Of course satisfication and challenge is important, I guess I was wrapping that up in "decent work environment".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google, the little startup that could!

      Google always had a pretty good compensation — The only people complaining about low compensation are those who never had another job, and think it's normal for fresh grads to have a six-digit base salary, plus the same amount in bonus and stock. Admittedly, the compensation looks worse this year because their stock has gone down 30%, but even then it's pretty good.

      However, it used to be good compensation and fun, and now it's good compensation without fun.

      1. Swarthy

        Re: Google, the little startup that could!

        Given the rate of inflation, one could argue that a six-figure salary for a new graduate should be normal. Pulling some random dates, $100K (the bare minimum to count as six figures) in today's money would have been about $14K in 1970.

        I wasn't paying much attention to pay scales at that time, but a quick Googling makes me think it wasn't that far off of an expectation.

  8. Howard Sway Silver badge

    proposing that work can be enjoyable without being tied to rewards

    It can be - if you're working for yourself or with others on something that you enjoy doing. However if work means an employment contract, containing requirements on the employee by the employer, then that most definitely needs to be tied to "rewards", however enjoyable or not the work is.

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    When money gets a bit tight it's not surprising if businesses start to cut back on discretionary expenditure and advertising is going to fall into that category. That sort of cutback will be restored when business picks up.

    What's very likely worrying Google senior management is that their customers' senior management might start asking harder questions about advertising policy. Questions like "Does tacking really pay off? How much money are we spending showing adverts to somebody who once enquired about $PRODUCT, who's then bought it, isn't going to buy another and is more and more unhappy about having pointless ads shoved in his face?"

    When those sorts of questions start to get asked Google's allegedly value-added services start to get questioned and that might be a hit from which it will be far harder to bounce back.

  10. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Thanks for the Aliens reference.


    Not so much.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sp he's goint to stop paying bonuses to himself and executives...

    ... who are already handsomely paid - and they all will work for the fun only?

    Since Agrippa Menenius Lanatus these hyenas are trying to tell "plebei" should work harder just to ensure they can get richer.

    1. Disk0

      Re: Sp he's goint to stop paying bonuses to himself and executives...

      Didn’t Darius kick that one off personally? Asking for a friend…

    2. deadlockvictim

      Re: Sp he's goint to stop paying bonuses to himself and executives...

      Ordinarily I wouldn't do this but you are asking for it: plebei

      I think you want 'plebes' (or more colloquially 'plebs') and the word exists in English.

      Decline plebs, plebis, f please. It is a standard thrird declension noun.

      What is 'plebei'? Dative or ablative singular? Or the nominative plural of the adjective 'plebeius'?

      Now, I will admit that 'plebei' could be Old Latin.

      I never did Old Latin and I am open to correction there.

  12. jmch Silver badge

    20‰ more?

    If they expect their employees to suddenly become 20% more productive *, they must think the current productivity baseline is rather shit!

    *without, of course, any change in compensation!

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: 20‰ more?

      Don't they currently operate some sort of "own time projects" thing where people can take one day per week to do stuff outside their normal day job? Taking that back should give an instant 20% productivity "bonus" to Google. Or is that special day every week just for the top flying devs? And does Google actually get a lot of benefit from it?

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: 20‰ more?

        As someone that doesn't get a formal 20% for 'own time' projects but happily takes nearer 40% for them, I suspect that the 20% is where most of the productivity comes from.

        Get the day job done, spend the rest of the time adding value to my employer. I get to have fun and be productive; the pay is just the reason I have the job instead of putting that same time and energy into other things.

    2. deadlockvictim

      Re: 20‰ more?

      jmch» *without, of course, any change in compensation!

      No, thanks not true. Sindar's getting $100M extra for his harder work.

      Credit where credit is due please (said with a straight face too!)

  13. Disk0

    Just for fun

    Let’s skip this presentation altogether. Ahhh not that much fun then. Gotcha. Requiring worship without reward tends to end poorly.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Just for fun

      Demanding worship without rewards (we promise they will come later. Much, much later!) is the foundation of most religions!

  14. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

    Man with too much money fails to understand money

    I'm always amused when some rich twonk, tries to tell those without excessive amounts of money that it's not the answer to everything.

    They're right... money cannot buy happiness... it just buys you access to the things that can make you happy... It buys you time to pursue your passions, it makes those passions affordable.

    It can't buy you a happy marriage... can it... ole musky... can it Bezos the clown...

    In short... fuck these arseclowns and their utter failure to understand their privileged elitism.

  15. Brett Weaver

    Never mind Google

    I want the name of the editor that thought it added to the value of the piece to include the Google output that was irrelevant.

  16. xyz123 Silver badge

    Google CEO (just before giving himself a $100 million payrise) says "you don't need more money to have fun". then cuts employee payrises, bonuses and perks to pay for his undeserved payrise.

    1. deadlockvictim


      He did it in the spirit of self-loathing and he is suffering now because of it.

      Here is an inspiring ditty from Garfunkel & Oates for you:

  17. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Money can not buy happiness.

    Especially for the poor.

    == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Potemkine! - However

      it is way much more comfortable to be unhappy in a luxury car than on a bike.

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