Tag Archives: Tech Talk

Ann Arbor, Google, and Recruiting

Last night, Google presented the second of two talks, this one for the Ann Arbor Java User Group. The topic of the Java talk was "End-to-End Clustering" and it was presented by Ashok Banerjee, a Noogler  (he's only been with Google for a month or so).  He is an Engineering manager who used to work for BEA on the WebLogic team.  Ashok did a great talk on how to balance load and make software fault tolerant and highly available. He has an easy speaking style, and I really liked how he kept the audience involved, periodically checking to see if people understood, reminding them that if they shook their heads up and down (yes), their neighbors would see, but if they shook them side-to-side (no), only he would see, and he would further explain the topic.  This led to a nicely interactive discussion with points clearly stated.  There was some active audience participation as well, which is always great to see.

Ashok promised to share his slides from the talk, and once those become available, I'll link to them.

As with Thursday's talk on Test Driven Development, this talk was held at the Google Ann Arbor office. I had really pushed to have the meeting at the Google office, as had Susan Loh, who was coordinating the event.  Not only did having it there make things easier for her to organize, but it also exposed the company a bit more to the local developers. I, personally, hadn't had an opportunity to get up to the Google office, and I suspect others were in the same situation.  It's interesting to have a view into Google culture (it made me smile to see 2 high chairs in the cafe, and I can only surmise that a few Googlers bring in their small children once in a while for lunch).

Google really wanted this to be a tech talk, not a recruiting push, and Susan was fairly low key in her recruiting efforts, mainly just leaving some cards on a table and telling people that they were there. But I had an opportunity to talk to her in detail about Google and the way that the company does hiring and I thought that that information might be of general use.  I hope that I will accurately portray this, and I hope that someone corrects me if I don't.

  • Google doesn't hire based on experience.  They are really interested in getting good minds. 
  • Google also doesn't hire for particular jobs.  That is, when you apply at Google, you indicate preferences for a team that you might want to work on, but the company decides if they want to hire you first, and THEN determines what you will be doing.  I both like and hate that .  I like it because I think it's really cool that Google emphasizing hiring the right people.  I hate it because I see interviewing as a two-way street, and not knowing what position you're hired for seems like it makes that part of the process quite one-sided.  I would like to see that explored a bit.
  • Google has recently stopped emphasizing location when they hire.  It's easy to see how they have perhaps saturated the market in the Bay Area, and have to look outside that area.  They have engineering offices in Phoenix, Chicago, Boston, Boulder, Atlanta, Seattle, New York, and Pittsburgh.  They have sales offices in nearly every large city, including both Ann Arbor and Detroit.  There has been a lot of speculation that they might open an engineering office in Ann Arbor.  My conversation with Susan Loh last night did nothing to dissuade me from thinking that was possible, but over the past week, I did get a slightly different impression about how that might actually happen.

Originally, I had thought that at some point in the future, there would be a huge announcement that Google was opening an engineering office in Ann Arbor, and that the governor would throw a big party, SPARK would get all excited, the Ann Arbor News would notice, and then the hiring would begin.  But, I don't think that's how it's going to happen.  I mentioned previously my thoughts that Google is testing the waters a bit, trying to see who's here, to determine if a pool of developers is available to support such an endeavor. I still think that is basically true, and that these tech talks were a perfect way to start that. But, what I had missed was the location transparency that Google is now employing in its hiring. Basically, if Google is hiring irrespective of where someone might actually sit, then it's fairly easy to bring employees into an existing sales office.

That means that there's the potential that Google MIGHT be interested, even now, in hiring software engineers for the Google Ann Arbor office.

Susan mentioned that she was impressed with the local community and its response to these events (60+ people for each of the 2 nights), and with the number of user groups and other organizations that are active in the area.  The audience was lively, interested, and engaged in the presentations. I know that's what they want to see.  However, several people at Google (both in person and on podcasts) have mentioned that cold, hard data is the best way to make things happen.  If Susan, Ashok, and Russell go back and say we seem interested in having an engineering office here, that's one thing, but a nice array of resumes piling up on Susan's desk provides that data that Googlers like to see.  So, if you want to let Google know that you're here, send Susan your resume.  You can send it to her at sloh AT google DOT com.  Susan didn't do a strong recruiting pitch, but I'll do one for her, and for Ann Arbor. Let Google know that Ann Arbor is chocked full of technical talent. It's in all of our best interests.

Google Tech Talk for Ann Arbor Java User Group on Tuesday, August 7

Registration is now open for the 2nd Google Tech Talk in Ann Arbor. If you missed out on registering for the Python User Group/AACS Tech Talk, then register early for this one.
Google Ann Arbor is excited to host a special tech talk event in tandem with the Ann Arbor Java User Group. Join us for food, drinks, and a technical talk with Ashok Banerjee, Engineering Manager at Google.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007
6:00 - 9:00 PM

Google Ann Arbor
201 S. Division St., Fl. 5
Ann Arbor, MI

About the talk:
End to End Clustering

Ashok will discuss enterprise-level clustering solutions for
production systems. He will explain how at each level one can avoid a single point of failure. He will explore the mechanics, tips and traps, and ramifications for performance and throughput at each level.

He will discuss clustering at the following tiers: Global Load
Balancing, Site Level Load, Balancing, Web Server Plugins, SSL Accelerators, J2EE™ Application Clustering, Caching
HA Database, SAN/Veritas Volume Manager.

He will also focus on some protocols like HTTP, HTTPS, RMI, Protocol Tunneling etc.

About the speaker:
Ashok Banerjee, Engineering Manager at Google, works on the Google Billing Server. Prior to Google, Ashok designed and implemented Clustering (Load Balancing and Failover) on the Oracle Application Server and worked on the internals of the WebLogic Server. His interests include distributed computing, distributed transactions,
high performance messaging and persistence.

NOTE: Seating is limited, so registration is required for this FREE event.


AACS/MichiPUG Google Tech Talk Full!

Registration is now closed

Google closed registration for the joint meeting of the AACS and MichiPUG after registrations maxed out around 90.  We're going to have a full house for Russell Whitaker's talk on Python Test Driven Development.  I'm thrilled at the turnout and I sincerely hope that this means that the Google Ann Arbor office will host many more tech talks.  I think that we've shown that we're interested!

If you didn't get registered, don't despair.  Google is bringing in a speaker on the following Tuesday, August 7 for the Ann Arbor Java User Group meeting.  Once that registration link is released, I'll post it here (even if I don't have confirmation on the speaker yet).  Watch the AAJUG website as well: http://www.aajug.org.

Ann Arbor Computer Socieity

Michigan Python Users Group

Ann Arbor Java Users Group

Python Test Driven Development: A Quick-Start Approach

Google Tech Talk in Ann Arbor, August 2

Google has confirmed the speaker and topic for the Tech Talk in Ann Arbor on Thursday that will be a joint meeting between the Ann Arbor Computer Society and the Michigan Python User Group.  Russell Whitaker, Google Software Engineer, will be our speaker.  The gathering will be at the Google offices in Ann Arbor, 201 S. Division, 5th Floor, and will start at 6 pm.

If you do want to attend, you must register ahead of time, as seats are limited.  The registration link is:


I sure hope that Jason Pellerin can make it too.  Jason wrote Nose, an automated test framework for Python.

Looking forward to an interesting discussion, "heavy" appetizers, and paid parking!

Google Tech Talks in Ann Arbor

Details still coming

Google has announced 2 different Tech Talks to be held in the Ann Arbor area in the next few weeks.  Both meetings will be held at the Google offices in Ann Arbor and registration is required because seating is limited, but both events will be free and open to the public.  Google is sending swag, providing (heavy) appetizers, beer, wine, and it even sounds like dessert!

The first tech talk is in coordination with the Ann Arbor Computer Society and Michigan Python User Group, and will be held on Thursday August 2 at 6 pm.  Registration for that event is at:


The second tech talk will be in coordination with the Ann Arbor Java User Group, and will be held on Tuesday, August 7. I don't know what time that will start, but I suspect at 6 as well.  As far as I know, a registration link is not yet available.

We're waiting on the Google folls to tell us who they are sending and what the topics will be.  I'm sure that both will be great events, and I'll post here as soon as we hear!

And a P.S. on "heavy appetizers".  Is this a new term?  Should I know what this means? I went to a wedding reception last week, and called my friend to see if they were having dinner, appetizers, or what.  He said "heavy appetizers" and that if we didn't eat beforehand, we certainly wouldn't go hungry. And he was right.  I laughed, though, because the Google folk described sending "heavy appetizers" as well.  I figure I'm just not in the know.

Ann Arbor Computer Society

Michigan Python User Group

Ann Arbor Java User Group

Google Tech Talk in Ann Arbor

August 2, 2007 at 6 pm

Registration is now live for the Google Tech Talk in Ann Arbor to be held on Thursday, August 2 in a joint meeting between the Ann Arbor Computer Society and Michigan Python Users Group.

I don't have any information on who the speaker will be (other than a Google engineer) and I don't yet know what the topic is, but register if you're going because the event is limited to 75 people.

Details that I do have: Event starts at 6 at the Google offices in Ann Arbor (Division between Liberty and Washington).  They will be serving appetizers, beer, and wine.  And validating parking.


Michigan Python User Group