Tags: | Posted by Admin on 9/8/2007 12:18 PM | Comments (0)
1. How many golf balls can fit in a school bus? 2. You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do? 3. How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle? 4. How would you find out if a machine’s stack grows up or down in memory? 5. Explain a database in three sentences to your eight-year-old nephew. 6. How many times a day does a clock’s hands overlap? 7. You have to get from point A to point B. You don’t know if you can get there. What would you do? 8. Imagine you have a closet full of shirts. It’s very hard to find a shirt. So what can you do to organize your shirts for easy retrieval? 9. Every man in a village of 100 married couples has cheated on his wife. Every wife in the village instantly knows when a man other than her husband has cheated, but does not know when her own husband has. The village has a law that does not allow for adultery. Any wife who can prove that her husband is unfaithful must kill him that very day. The women of the village would never disobey this law. One day, the queen of the village visits and announces that at least one husband has been unfaithful. What happens? 10. In a country in which people only want boys, every family continues to have children until they have a boy. if they have a girl, they have another child. if they have a boy, they stop. what is the proportion of boys to girls in the country? 11. If the probability of observing a car in 30 minutes on a highway is 0.95, what is the probability of observing a car in 10 minutes (assuming constant default probability)? 12. If you look at a clock and the time is 3:15, what is the angle between the hour and the minute hands? (The answer to this is not zero!) 13. Four people need to cross a rickety rope bridge to get back to their camp at night. Unfortunately, they only have one flashlight and it only has enough light left for seventeen minutes. The bridge is too dangerous to cross without a flashlight, and it’s only strong enough to support two people at any given time. Each of the campers walks at a different speed. One can cross the bridge in 1 minute, another in 2 minutes, the third in 5 minutes, and the slow poke takes 10 minutes to cross. How do the campers make it across in 17 minutes? 14. You are at a party with a friend and 10 people are present including you and the friend. your friend makes you a wager that for every person you find that has the same birthday as you, you get $1; for every person he finds that does not have the same birthday as you, he gets $2. would you accept the wager? 15. How many piano tuners are there in the entire world? 16. You have eight balls all of the same size. 7 of them weigh the same, and one of them weighs slightly more. How can you find the ball that is heavier by using a balance and only two weighings? 17. You have five pirates, ranked from 5 to 1 in descending order. The top pirate has the right to propose how 100 gold coins should be divided among them. But the others get to vote on his plan, and if fewer than half agree with him, he gets killed. How should he allocate the gold in order to maximize his share but live to enjoy it? (Hint: One pirate ends up with 98 percent of the gold.)
Tags: | Posted by Admin on 9/4/2007 3:09 AM | Comments (0)
A friend of mine had an interview a couple weeks ago with Google Inc. He provided me a list of just some of the questions he was asked. I’ve added a few more from others I have talked to who had interviews with the internet giant, Google, as well. See if you can answer them. Many are open ended with several right answers, therefore I did not provide the answers. 1. How many golf balls can fit in a school bus? 2. You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do? 3. How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle? 4. How would you find out if a machine’s stack grows up or down in memory? 5. Explain a database in three sentences to your eight-year-old nephew. 6. How many times a day does a clock’s hands overlap? 7. You have to get from point A to point B. You don’t know if you can get there. What would you do? 8. Imagine you have a closet full of shirts. It’s very hard to find a shirt. So what can you do to organize your shirts for easy retrieval? 9. Every man in a village of 100 married couples has cheated on his wife. Every wife in the village instantly knows when a man other than her husband has cheated, but does not know when her own husband has. The village has a law that does not allow for adultery. Any wife who can prove that her husband is unfaithful must kill him that very day. The women of the village would never disobey this law. One day, the queen of the village visits and announces that at least one husband has been unfaithful. What happens? 10. In a country in which people only want boys, every family continues to have children until they have a boy. if they have a girl, they have another child. if they have a boy, they stop. what is the proportion of boys to girls in the country? 11. If the probability of observing a car in 30 minutes on a highway is 0.95, what is the probability of observing a car in 10 minutes (assuming constant default probability)? 12. If you look at a clock and the time is 3:15, what is the angle between the hour and the minute hands? (The answer to this is not zero!) 13. Four people need to cross a rickety rope bridge to get back to their camp at night. Unfortunately, they only have one flashlight and it only has enough light left for seventeen minutes. The bridge is too dangerous to cross without a flashlight, and it?s only strong enough to support two people at any given time. Each of the campers walks at a different speed. One can cross the bridge in 1 minute, another in 2 minutes, the third in 5 minutes, and the slow poke takes 10 minutes to cross. How do the campers make it across in 17 minutes? 14. You are at a party with a friend and 10 people are present including you and the friend. your friend makes you a wager that for every person you find that has the same birthday as you, you get $1; for every person he finds that does not have the same birthday as you, he gets $2. would you accept the wager? 15. How many piano tuners are there in the entire world? 16. You have eight balls all of the same size. 7 of them weigh the same, and one of them weighs slightly more. How can you find the ball that is heavier by using a balance and only two weighings? 17. You have five pirates, ranked from 5 to 1 in descending order. The top pirate has the right to propose how 100 gold coins should be divided among them. But the others get to vote on his plan, and if fewer than half agree with him, he gets killed. How should he allocate the gold in order to maximize his share but live to enjoy it? (Hint: One pirate ends up with 98 percent of the gold.) Do you still think you have what it takes to work for Google? Original story 
Tags: , | Posted by Admin on 1/30/2007 9:55 AM | Comments (13)
I seem to get asked this a lot. But only by people that have known me for awhile. Noting that, I have a warning/disclaimer: If you don't know me or you only have known me since working at Google, this is probably not what you are expecting and might be excruciatingly boring or irrelevant. (you've been warned!). The reason I get asked this is that I left a perfectly good start up called Preemptive Solutions to come here. When I say "perfectly good" its one that I am a co-founder, is now 10 years old, and was President (which I later became VP as I decided I wanted to live away from the HQ). In addition, the company has been by all measurements, a great success since inception - profitable every year, great product lines (and more coming down the pike!), and has over 20 employees (and aggressively hiring!). The other original founder Gabriel and I have been friends since the 5th grade. I'm happy to say the company gave our friendship a foundation in lives that otherwise were diverging. I'm still a part-owner of the company and we talk almost daily. In early 2005, I basically became ready to leave Preemptive. Not for any nefarious reason. I had been working remotely for a few years and I was ready for a change. No matter how you slice it, being remote leaves you out of the action - and I missed the action. Myself and 2 other guys (Bill joined us 6 months after we incorporated) built the company from scratch and it was a blast - but not being there, I was unavoidably an afterthought. This was nobody's fault except my own. I really had 2 options - move back to Cleveland (where HQ is) or look to advance my life in another direction. As luck would have it - life brought me to Silicon Valley. I had lived here before, but here I was again. And this time - I was looking for a job. At the time (April 2005) I was hearing plenty of buzz about Google, but honestly, after doing some comprehensive research on slashdot (*snicker*) it seemed like the luster might be have been off. I read (again, from the reliable people in-the-know that post comments on slashdot) that the hard problems had been solved. The big money had already been made. The cool people had come and gone. It seemed like the "party was over". Just before my move, I attended the Software Development conference in the valley where I chair the Java track. Its a fun conference and the timing was perfect to give me a chance to look for a place to live. The thing about that conference is that it does a great job of attracting big names in the industry to speak. Consequently, the speaker party is always a ton of fun. During that party I had a conversation with two very well known Java authors (who were appropriately snooty) where we got into a discussion about Google. It turns out that both of these "industry pundits" interviewed and were rejected (obviously, I'm carefully leaving their names out). I had heard about Google's "legendary" interviews - but I figured with a few books on your resume, how could you not get in? Now mind you, after writing a computer book of my own and meeting many computer book authors, books don't impress me much. Writing a computer book is like getting a Ph.D. - its 10% talent, 10% luck, and 80% persistence (Ph.Ds "usually" take longer, but not always). And that's that. I'm not saying its easy, but a book definitely doesn't make computer book authors necessarily luminary or anything. This is probably especially true for books that don't invent anything (i.e., just cover an existing language or API). Anyway, both of these snooty guys then proceeded to snoot on me how I probably shouldn't even bother as I don't have a chance (Again, I only wrote one book). Well, as you can imagine, it was now a moral imperative that I at least give it a try. If I didn't get in, I wouldn't be stupid enough to brag about it at parties. If I did get in, I could snoot back next time we met. I'll admit that stories of Google's interviewing process scared me a bit. There was also a nagging question as to whether I'd apply as a manager or engineer. For the past 8 years I had been in management running my own start up. I hired, I fired, I made marketing plans, I built products, I built teams, I schmoozed clients, I did strategy. Granted, after 5pm I often found myself still coding - but that wasn't at all my main job. I needed to decide whether to apply at Google as a (probably technical) manager or as an engineer. I preferred a managerial role but two things worried me. 1) I had no formal business education (which turned out to be way less important than I thought, read below). And, 2), business interviews (anywhere) are what we call non-deterministic. Basically, you can give great answers, but if the interviewer doesn't like you, you can get a bad review. With engineering, the questions have a "right" and a "wrong" answer - or reasonable facsimiles thereof. The interviewer can dislike you, but they can't say you're wrong if you're right. Personally, I think I'm a better manager than I am an engineer. But I had no metric to know what they'd think. Now keep in mind, those two assumptions above are BEFORE I ever set foot on Google's campus. I had no idea what to expect, I was just making calculated risks. But based on these unknowns, I chose to apply as an engineer. I interviewed at several companies in the valley (become.com gave me an offer on the spot. It was surprisingly low and the CTO informed me it was a mandatory 54hour work week - wtf?). I also started interviewing at Google. At that point, I was still pretty skeptical about the idea of working there. I expected a lot of "attitude". I was pretty surprised when I got none. The engineers I met in my interviews were passionate about development. That was it. They wanted to know if I was passionate about it too. They were excited about Google. They were excited about making cool stuff. There was no attitude, no snoot - just dev talk. It also became immediately clear to me why the snooty authors didn't get whisked in based on their resumes alone. It was, in my estimation, the most honest interview I had ever been given. It was me, the interviewer, and the whiteboard. The logic is pretty clear. Your resume tells what you did, which is great. And they did look at it. But they were far more interested in what I could do. Right now. On the whiteboard. Understanding that no system is perfect and assuming they were allotting for interviewing nervousness, like I said, I felt this was pretty darn fair. The interviews were challenging, but also damn fun. When one was over, I found myself looking forward to the next. The interview process took a long time. The longer it went on, the more I liked the idea of working at Google. There is a very important old saying about jobs: "If you're the smartest person where you work, quit". Basically - if you work with people smarter than you, you'll learn a lot. If you don't, you won't. I wasn't really working anywhere at the time, but it was evident just from my interviews that there were plenty of people smarter than me at Google. I liked that idea a lot. The atmosphere was college-like. Engineers seemed excited and unencumbered. It dawned on me that every decade there seems to be a "place" to work as an engineer. In the 80's it was Xerox Parc, in the 90's it was Microsoft. The 2000s, to me, felt like it was Google. Needless to say, I took the job. In a week or two I'm changing to a Java team working with Josh Bloch, Frank Yellin, and Pablo Bellver. How frickin cool is that? I can't think of a better place to be as an engineer (unless you're in Cleveland! then go work for Preemptive! :). And as far as the snooty authors go, I still see them. Of course, they've written off my working at Google as "lucky" or a fluke. That's all not very relevant now as I pretty much blotted them out of my mind the instant I started interviewing. In fact, I completely forgot about them until the next year when I saw them again and they re-applied their snootage. I'll admit my entrepreneurial side itches every now and then, and, as usual, I have a half-dozen projects/websites I work on in my free time. But as far as a day job goes, I'm good. Now when I'm asked why I work at Google, I pretty much ask back "where else would I want to?". And I assure you, there are still plenty of hard problems, plenty of passion, and the party - is - most definitely, not over.
Tags: , | Posted by Admin on 3/29/2006 10:30 PM | Comments (41)
12/20/2006 Update: You might be interested in this ajaxy, draggable timeline of acquisitions completed by Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. Enjoy! 8/23/2006 Update: I capitalize now — have been for several months. Enough readers gave me crap that I decided to capitalize. Also, the position was originally a full-time, well-paying position. I don’t think I made that clear enough. Google, then, offered me a contractual position and asked me to give up my well-paying, full-time position. 04/26/2006 Update: yes, i recited that brain teaser from memory, so i’m sure i shared it incorrectly. the approach, though, is this: thinking now of probability without replacement, (364/365) * (363/365) . . . this is the approach to the problem. given this, would i take the wager? no; it’s a bad bet. regarding CapITALizATION: in business memos, reports, papers, and dissertations — yes. on my blog, i find it easier to just write and not worry about capitalization. no big deal; just a preference. google contacted me about a position with the print team. i was well paid and was doing well at the company i was with at the time, but i agreed to interview with google anyway. the head of global print operations was under a lot of pressure due to the lawsuits, etc. yet, he needed headcount. the job was for a permanent position — why else would they go through a grueling 2 days of interviews for a contractor?  but when i pressed him on salary and asked him to match what i was making and i anchored at an amount, he buckled and made it contractual instead. he waffled, so i said “no thanks”. the people i met were nice, very bright, and focused on their work. several of them complained to me about their frustrations. i thought that was interesting. i declined because of the iffy-ness of a contractual job (though the cash would be very good); the high cost of the bay area wasn’t appealing to me; and, the future of the print effort seemed unsure to me. those were my reasons. now, back to the google interview below… /*end update*/ +++++ back in october 2005, i interviewed with google, for a position with google print. my interview was over 2 days, on 10/12/2005 and 10/13/2005. i didn’t do much to prepare for the interview, except read-up on all the google print controversy regarding the n lawsuits against google print. unlike most companies that fly their candidates out for an onsite interview, google’s policy was for me to pay for my flight, hotel, and food, but that they would reimburse me later. i thought that was lame and unprofessional; after all, they are the ones that contacted me for an interview and i never applied for a job with them. luckily, i was going to be in that area anyway for business, so i just scheduled my business trip for that week. day 1, 4 interviews in the lobby reception desk, i typed my name on this little widget and signed the dotted line. then, this little widget prints a self-adhesive name tag with my name, google, and my location. i gladly took that self-adhesive and put in on my shirt breast. then, i met with the hr people, both of whom were very nice. they were very, very late, but i had fun hanging out in the lobby of 1625 charleston road, building #44. in the lobby were 4 refrigerators full of odwalla drinks; i helped myself to a couple. on the wall was a large flat monitor that showed, in real time, the current google searches. this was really amusing. i remember the following searches: size d bra how to make a bomb osama italian mob + hbo catholic anger this was really cool. finally, the hr folks were ready and brought me into a room next to the korean and chinese speaking engineers. my first interviewer came in late and was really sweaty. he had just ridden his bike to work. he was sorry he was late. he was super nice and his questions were easy. the next person was a little tougher; she had been with sun microsystems for several years and was in charge of their warehouse and distribution side. she asked some tough questions, was very open about her frustrations with google, but ended up very nice to me. the next person came in had a background in library science and an mba from michigan. he was really nice too and asked fluffy questions. he wasn’t an engineer and i don’t think he knew what to ask me, so he asked me lame conversational-type questions. i don’t think it was a fit interview either; i think he was just clueless. the next person i interviewed with was sharp; he was a stanford mba and had been in the print industry for a while. he wasn’t quantitative at all, but was nice. he asked me hypothetical questions about potential problems that they face in the print group. the problems were very interesting. there is true innovation going on at google, for sure. that was it for day 1. there was no lunch, but i was free to raid the fully-stocked kitchen whenever i wanted to; i helped myself to a healthy dose of mountain dew and stopped by the cafeteria for a veggie sandwich. the atmosphere there is very cool and i felt energy and could visually see the innovation going on. very cool. that evening, i went to my hotel and did some work for the company i was with at the time. day 2, 7 interviews i did the whole self-adhesive, name tag thing again. got an odwalla (2 of them), then waited. eventually, the hr people came and got me. this day was much tougher than day 1. my first interview was with a former nasa scientist-turned googler. my interview with him was fun and interesting; he proposed several real case studies and problems that they face in the print team. my second interview was with another engineer; he asked me basic questions and one brain teaser. the brain teaser goes something like this, if i remember it right: you are at a party with a friend and 10 people are present including you and the friend. your friend makes you a wager that for every person you find that has the same birthday as you, you get $1; for every person he finds that does not have the same birthday as you, he gets $2. would you accept the wager? i had fun trying to solve this one. the answer has to do with the number of days in the year and the probability the person’s birthday falls on the same day as mine (without replacement). i eventually solved it, but it took time learning how to apply probability with no replacement. i tried using 10! (factorial), for some reason, but that was totally the wrong approach. we ended the interview; i didn’t feel as good about that one, because i struggled a little bit through that brain teaser. my next interviewer asked a lot of algorithm questions. he made me write pseudo-code for a binary search; he had me uml a system; he made me explain cron, diff, the permission system in unix, and had me write a bunch sql queries. this guy was a scientist at epson, the printer company. he was sharp; quantitative but warm. i liked that interview. my next interview was with a nice lady who had been with google for a few years. she was cold, but not mean; observant, but not expressive. i felt that i answered her questions fine and our interview was done. my next couple of interviews were with people that i had interviewed with the previous day, in day 1. those went fine and uneventful. but, by this time of day, i was getting really tired, physically and just tired of interviewing. alas, the last interviewer came, the head of global operations for the google print team. he was very nice, open, and direct. that interview went fine and he openly shared his strong interest in my background and said that i’d be a great addition to the team. he also shared how living in the bay area is so nice and seemed to be trying to sell the location and the company. i saw this as a good sign. our time ended; i left, but before i walked out the bulding, i managed to steal a few more of those odwalla drinks. i drove to the san jose airport, caught my flight, and went home. weeks later. . . the hr guy called and gave me an offer! but, it wasn’t what i was expecting. i was excited for the google stock units (gsu) and the phat salary that would barely keep me alive with the bay area cost of living, but that’s not what i got. instead, google offered me a contractual position, with a very high hourly rate. of course, because it was contractual, there would be no benefits or google stock units. on the phone, on the spot, i declined the job offer. moving to the bay area wasn’t that appealing to me, especially if the job didn’t have google stock units and benefits. the cash was good, but my family needed more than that. all in all, the experience was okay. there is certainly more hype about google than i believe it really merits. true, they hire sharp — really sharp people; i felt a lot of energy and could see the innovation happening there. but, the people i interviewed with didn’t seem happy to me. they looked tired and grumpy. i didn’t get a feeling that google treats their people very well. i’m glad for my decision not to join google. but, i’ll always wish i had free reign on those odwalla drinks +++++ Articles on Ethnography and Design: People Remember Experiences, Not Features Simplify The Product Ask Aza Raskin Aza Raskin on Poka-Yoke & The Humane Interface Aza Raskin on Quasimodal Design and The ATM Aza on Feature-Bloat and Site Clutter Aza on Google Search Results Page Aza on Cooperation and Team Size Design Thinking in Medicine On Designing a Watering Can for Little Hands Queueing Theory and Visual Management An Interview with the Inventor of “Clocky” Bad Breath but Good Design What is Ethnography Please find originally-written articles on Queueing Theory below: Queueing Theory: Part 1 Queueing Theory: Part 2 Queueing Theory: Part 3 Queueing Theory: Part 4 What is Waste? On Time-Traps and Waste Call Centers as Queueing Systems Travel Time & Waste Little’s Law for Product Development YouTube’s Queueing Properties Psychology of Queueing and Disneyland Queueing, Disneyland, and FastPass Multi-Tasking Leads to Lower Productivity Queueing Theory and Terrorism On Queueing Theory and Elevator Mirrors Queueing Psychology at the Gas Pump Psychology of Queueing, Haunted Houses, and Halloween The Variability Tree For a few articles on Operations, lean and six sigma, please visit the links below: The Gemba is the Dojo Order Pipeline of Events On Game Theory Series on Queueing Theory Applied Regression Analysis 5S Click-to-Ship Processes Kanban Sizing and “Pull” Lean at Krispy Kreme Theory of Constraints and Camping Lean for Software Development Don’t Waste the Customer’s Time Featuritis and the Focus on the Customer Original story
Tags: , , , | Posted by Admin on 5/17/2005 1:30 PM | Comments (0)
A short warning: There is a lot more information here than what is just about Google. Specifically, possibly boring details of plane travel, Bay area real estate, etc. Feel free to skip sections that don't sound like they interest you. By skipping sections you'll miss a few little details that are in the section that might be more interesting, but that's probably not a big crime. The Plane flight out I flew out of RDU airport on a Sunday evening, First Class on America West airlines, courtesy of Google. The first leg of the trip was on a brand new Airbus A315. The flight landed in Phoenix Arizona, where it was 99 degrees. When you stepped out of the cabin, you were basically hit in the face with the heat. It was a "dry heat", you could say, as it wasn't sticky, but it sure was hot. I transfered planes to a rather old Airbus A320. :) The plane I transferred to was old enough to have ashtrays that had been used. ;) There was some difficulty with the Aux power units on the plane working, so the AC on the plane wasn't very comfortable at first. The crew tried 3 times unsuccessfully to start the plane w/ the Aux power units, and each time, the entire electrical system would shut down, and the plane would go completely dark. It was a rather unnerving experience, even with the knowledge that the Aux power units had nothing to do with keeping the plane in the air after we took off. After we got off the runway, the plane cooled down and the rest of the flight was rather uneventful. The hotel Upon landing at SFO, I took the train over to the rental car location, and picked up my rental from Budget, also courtesy of Google. I then drove down US101 to CA85, then to El Camino Real, where the hotel I would spend the next two nights in was located. I got checked in by 11:30 and went up to look around. The place was very unusual in a lot of respects. It definitely had style, everything was decorated with paintings and artwork by 20s and 30s Russian artists (according to one sign), but the whole place had a very "square retro" feel to it. There was no overhead lighting in the room, just lots of lamps attached to various bits and pieces, including the headboard, the desk, etc. They were all of a similar style, with highly conical frosted shades, that were tapered unevenly at the end (i.e. cut through the cone at an angle). They were all controlled by local dimmers on the lamp bases, and made for an interestingly lit, yet dim, room. There was a desk with a very comfy Suede covered desk chair, and a squared off retro living room chair with a round green leather ottoman reminiscent of ones my parents had when I was a child. The sink bears mentioning as well. It was an above counter sink, with a really cool design, and a faucet that stuck up high enough to be able to pour water into the above-counter basin. This had the interesting effect of reducing the counter space consumed by the sink, as where it met the counter was farther down the taper of the sink, so in a home environment you could actually put things "under" the lip of the sink without problem. I eventually got to sleep by 12:15 or so. As a reminder, that's 3:15am according to my biological clock at he time - a rather long day. :) Apartments I woke up the next morning, got a shave and shower, and planned a short trip up to Google HQ and past the one possible apartment near there. This trip gave me a good feel for how long it would take to get to Google for the interview, as well as a first look around their campus. It took about 7 mins to drive from the hotel up to Google, and on the way back I got my first look at apartment living in the Bay area. The complex was nestled in the back of a residential area, and looked a lot like all of the other houses in the area. The units were single floor, and grouped in sets of maybe 4 to 6 at most. The all had a nice pleasing green color, that went well with the foliage surrounding them. The looked a bit older than I might have liked, but not terribly so. I didn't notice it at first as an apartment complex, it took a bit to "find" it even though I was right out in front of it. After that, I headed back to the hotel to plan a longer route to look at some other various possibilities for apartments in Mountain View. I planned out a big circle, going north on 85 to US101, then down the San Tomas expressway, back down across El Camino Real, then down to Cupertino to check out one place down there, then back up to El Camino Real and the Hotel. Silicon Valley The bizarre and wonderful thing about this trip was not the various apartment complexes I saw, although I'll touch on that in a minute. The startling thing was all of the businesses I passed. Places like NVidia, Sun Microsystems, Canon, Hitachi, Network Appliance, Oracle, Microsoft, Apple, and I'm sure dozens of others that I've since forgotten about or didn't even notice. This really brought home one of the key things about the trip. When I moved from Greensboro to Raleigh, I found this thriving flourishing Linux community, and hundreds of wonderful people who shared my goals and interests, and a thriving business environment for the type of work I like to do. Driving around the bay area made me realize that moving from Raleigh to there, would be just like moving from Greensboro to Raleigh, up an order of magnitude. This change in environment continues in my mind as one of the primary advantages to moving to the Bay area. As for the Apartments, there were numerous things I saw, based on somewhat unusual criteria Deborah had defined in an online search. Specifically, places that were cat friendly, that had either washer and dryer, or washer and dryer hookups. So, needless to say, it's possible that what I saw was a bit skewed, but it seemed to be a rather unusual mix. There were a couple apartment groupings that were relatively similar to the current place we live, in that they were rather new, and 2-3 story, nicely kept locations. One of the complexes was gray, and the other was in the apparently more common style of south-western adobe / orangey-brown. Some were older, and a couple certainly didn't look like places we wanted to live. Generally though, my impression was that it'd be quite reasonable to choose one of the places from the list and we could live comfortably and happily in the rent range of $1400 - $1800 per month. The Interview On the way back around my loop I had Taco Bell (yeah, I know, a rather uneventful ~$3 lunch even when Google was paying up to $30 / day in food expenses, silly me). I made it back to the hotel at about the appointed time (12:30) to change and head over to the interview by 1:15. I erred a bit on the side of caution, and arrived at about 1:00pm. I met Stacie, my recruiter / guide for the next few mins, and she informed me of some of the details of how the proceedings would go. I was escorted to a small "interview room", which judging by the signs on the wall there may have been quite a few of. I sat down with Stacie, who informed me that I would be meeting with 4 pairs of individuals, for about an hour each. I met with 3 pairs of tech folks, and one pair of managers. The tech guys basically grilled me for the entire time on various tech aspects, ranging from file system internals, to networking, to service level questions on things like apache, DNS, etc. Their purpose wasn't just to see what I knew, I think, but also to see how I reasoned out solutions when they found corners of the *NIX world that I didn't know cold. Specifically things like the inner workings of TCP Syn cookies, how EXT2 inodes handle storing filesystem permissions, data, blocks, etc. There were also interspersed questions asking "Why do you want to work for Google", "Why did you want to be a System Administrator, etc". They also asked a few open ended questions such as, "Are there any questions we haven't asked you, or is there any aspect of your experience that we may not have seen that you want to talk about?". There were also opportunities for me to ask questions of each of the various interviewer groups. I probably should have taken better advantage of that, and reversed the question in the form of, "If (or when) you were in my position, what question would you ask of Google that I might not have thought to ask?" :) Unfortunately I wasn't the clever on my feet. After the Interview After leaving the interview I was so brain-fried that I tried to talk to Deb on the phone about it while driving, and I couldn't really get past the physical details. My mind wasn't very good at processing information after all of that, it had started to shut down. :) I got back to the hotel and took a nap for an hour or so, and again foolishly passed up the ability to go out and get food on someone else's nickel. I suppose I wasn't up to the task, as my mind was still mulling over the afternoon. I ate a bag of beef jerky that I had brought with me (it started as a snack, honest...) and vegged on the laptop for a bit, then fell asleep. Getting home I set the alarm back to 7:00am the next morning, and woke up at 7:05, bizarrely not to the alarm. As I was telling myself that I had to get up or I'd miss my plane back, the alarm went off at 7:07. I checked the setting of the alarm again, and it was still set to 7:00. So strange. *shrug* I got packed up as quickly as possible, woofed down some breakfast at the hotel's breakfast room, and hit the car. I got into the car and onto the road about 7:35 or so, and traffic was really messy. It's disturbing how people are completely unable to merge in the Bay area. Traffic on US101 would be fine, up until we'd get near an on ramp, and then it would grind to a halt. It was especially bad as we went past the enormous and gorgeous Oracle building. Eventually I made it up to the rental car return around 8:00, got the car dropped off very quickly (which was a blessing in disguise), and then went up an elevator, jumped on the train, went down an elevator, over a ways, up an escalator, etc, etc forever too far. I finally got to the ticket counter, tried to check my rolling bag, and was told that it was too late to check baggage for my flight (not surprising, as the wheels up time was only 25 mins away). I wasn't sure if they'd stop me for my lock picks, but I stowed them in my laptop bag and went over to security. They closed the security lane I was put in at first, right in front of me. I got into the other lane behind two old ladies who were taking forever, and apparently the security guy took pity on me as he opened up another lane just to run me through quickly (and turned away the half dozen people that tried to follow behind me). :) So they scanned my baggage, and I was off for the dash to the gate. I got there as the next to last person to get onto the plane, and apologized profusely to the poor gate agent. :) While working for US Airways I've heard them chat about how they hate people who show up late, so I always feel bad. Anyway, safely aboard, the transition in Phoenix went rather smoothly, with some time to recharge the laptop and iPod so I'd have time to continue writing this on the second leg of the flight. I snarfed down a bratwurst with sauerkraut from one of the airport vendors and I was good to go for the rest of the afternoon (well, except for the Mrs. Fields cookie I couldn't resist from the flight attendant). :) Thoughts on the process / What's next All in all my confidence level of the interview was very high, although I won't know any details about that until the middle of next week some time. The process goes something like this. The 8 people I met with will fill out some form, evaluating me, which seems to involve a score. They take that information, add it to the previous information of my resume and my phone interviews, and then it goes before a hiring committee. That committee meets twice per week, once on Tuesdays and once on Thursdays. Given the time frame, I probably won't hear back from them until after next Tuesday. I look forward to hearing how the salary and other associated stock / bonus benefits stack up, to determine if it's financially realistic to move to the west coast. That along with the decision of position (junior, intermediate, senior sys admin, etc) is all decided by the hiring committee, based on the available information at hand. At the moment my thinking is that if it is financially logical, I think I'd like to go for it. Why Google? My mother has asked me several times if it's as cool a place to work as I thought it'd be, and why. I tried to explain to her the quality of the people I was simply interviewing with, not to mention the rest of the Google crew that's surely as knowledgeable or more. Regardless of whether it's reasonable to move out to Mountain View, I'm curious simply to see what their opinion of me is. Do they think I'm a senior, intermediate, or junior administrator, compared to their ranks? :) I suppose that's just my ego talking. The Google Campus (aka The GooglePlex) In addition to the cool people, there's the whole atmosphere of Silicon Valley, which I babbled on before, and of course the amazingly cool GooglePlex. There were actually 6 people playing volleyball on the sand volleyball court when i arrived for my interview at 1:00. There are fridges full of drinks as well as numerous snacks, etc in the kitchens which are scattered around all over the place. True to what I'd read on the web, they all seemed to be a little different, with slightly different stuff in various places, but each having the basics (water, soda, some juice equivalent, etc) covered. The whole complex itself is architecturally interesting, from the floor to ceiling windows on one side of the building which allows you to look in and see the thriving workplace and all of the work areas. Speaking of work areas... There are cube walls, but they're not laid out in the traditional manner. There are groupings, of what looked like usually 4 people, who share a mostly open work area in the middle, and are surrounded by nice cube work which has glass windowing around the top. This would seem to have the dual benefit of allowing you to see through across the entire area, while still keeping noise distractions mostly contained. Also by the whole wall not being clear you wouldn't be distracted by motion behind your monitor or some such. As for monitors, I saw a lot of LCDs, and I don't think I saw a single conventional CRT, but I didn't go walking through cube land too much, and I don't know if the area I was in (Building 41) was at all representative of where the Admins work. From the information available, it seems that Google has 11 buildings in the immediate vicinity, with 4 being on that same lot (not separated by official roads, just surrounded by the parking lot and internal sidewalks, etc. There seemed to be internal parking under at least one of the buildings (43) that I imagine is a perk of some fashion, as there is also external parking (where I parked) which seemed to be occupied by some staff. The original building design and layout doesn't really lend itself to a "guard house" or any kind of entrance control, so their solution was sort of novel. They erected pylons in front of one entrance, so that you can't drive a car through it. Then, at the other entrance, they stationed a guy with a little chair and umbrella who checks visitors coming in and directs them to the appropriate place. Presumably this deters the casual walker through. That coupled with mag-locks on all the doors which require a Google card to be swiped past to open, presents a fairly secure environment. I didn't venture to the other buildings, so i can't comment on their setup personally. Anyway, I think that about covers the details of my trip. If I get some frequently asked questions after this, perhaps I'll make an amendment. :)