It was the kind of notoriety he could have lived without. Before last week, software engineer Steve Yegge was just another anonymous - though doubtless well-compensated - code jockey laboring under the Googleplex. Then he hit the "send" button on a late-night missive meant for private distribution and his 15 seconds of fame started up.
The memo, a rant, actually, which appeared on Google+, called out the company's management for not having a clue about software platform development. Among other things, Yegge described Google+ as "a knee-jerk reaction" and the Google+ platform as "a pathetic afterthought."
Needless to say, Yegge had committed the kind of faux pas that might have led to his being drawn and quartered - and then fired. But the gods of Google were apparently in a forgiving mood and Yegge has updated the world with another post to let us know that he's still gainfully employed, thank you, and doing quite well. Not that he hasn't received a fair share of ribbing - even from the higher ups.
"But they also listened, which is super cool. I probably shouldn't talk much about it, but they're already figuring out how to deal with some of the issues I raised. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, though. When I claimed in my internal post that "Google does everything right", I meant it. When they're faced with any problem at all, whether it's technical or organizational or cultural, they set out to solve it in a first-class way."
At an industry conference earlier in the week, Google co-founder Sergey Brin deadpanned his reaction when asked to comment on the uproar over the memo and its critique of the company. "I stopped reading it after the first 1,000 pages or so," he said. "If you want to get a point across, limit it to a paragraph or so." CNET has more about Yegge here.FYI, who says software engineers lack for a sense of humor? The tag line Yegge now includes in his Google+ profile is: "Someday my foot won't fit in my mouth."