We asked one of Google New York’s top engineers, Craig Neville-Manning, who are the offices’ rock star engineers.
The short version of the answer is: “We try not to be too much of a rockstar culture. I would kind of like everyone to be a rockstar.”
Here’s his whole answer:
I feel like we try not to be too much of a rockstar culture. It’s not like [there are] half a dozen people that are completely exceptional and everybody else is completely average. We try to cultivate a culture where lots of people can be rockstars in their own area.
As the company gets bigger, I think its easier for divisionals to get a little complacent, or have low expectations, of how much they can really impact Google as a whole and its sort of harder to be a rockstar per se.
So it’s good to have little opportunites to show off your expertise and your ideas and so on. So every Friday at 4:30 we get together and whoever has an interesting demo show things they’ve built in their 20% time.
And people stand around and drink beer and kind of critique or applaud things that people are doing. We get sort of half a dozen to a dozen demos every week.
It means that if they’ve got an idea, they know if they actually build it they can demo it pretty quickly. So you get this virtual cycle of ideas being built and shown off and getting feedback.
So I dont know, for the rockstar thing i would kind of like everyone to be a rockstar, I think it creates a better environment than having a small number of people being rockstars.