Google bans MVP
Google certainly sounds like it’s a nice place to work. Table football, free lunches, that whole “don’t be evil” mantra, and the requirement to spend 20% of your time on projects that aren’t specifically to do with any particular company goal (with the obvious intent that some of those projects will result in interesting discoveries and/or personal development that the company can use).
But I can’t say that I’ll be applying there, at least until they publicly state that they are permanently reversing a decision they made in the last few weeks.
What did Google do that was, to my mind, so very close to evil?
Google told Jon Skeet that he shouldn’t accept the Microsoft MVP Award that was offered to him, despite the fact that he’s been awarded for the sixth year in a row.
Remember, this is a retrospective award – it is a recognition of what you have done for the community of Microsoft’s users, not a request or obligation to do anything in the future or act in a particular way.
Jon’s award stems from his frequent, continued and voluntary assistance to other C# developers.
As far as I can tell, Google has not told Jon to stop helping C# developers, and certainly his blog is still up, his support pages and FAQs are still up, and he’s still posting helpful advice on C#.
I could even understand if they said “don’t go to the annual MVP Summit”, or “don’t advocate Microsoft products” (although that’s not expected of MVPs, who bristle at the slightest suggestion of being ‘evangelists’).
So, Google’s not angry with his behaviour – they are angry with his being recognised and rewarded, by Microsoft, for that helpful volunteer behaviour.
My own C# projects have benefitted on numerous occasions from finding an article Jon has posted on the Internet. I’d like to thank him for that, and I hope he isn’t required by Google to reject my gratitude as well.
Thanks, Jon Skeet, for all you do for the C# developer community.
Thanks, Google, for reminding us that there’s a line that divides “evil” from simply “really, really bad”.
[Note: Please feel free to pass this posting on. I’d like to see Google feel very very ashamed for this, and to recant. If only because Jon will be eligible every quarter for the MVP award, and he’s going to get awfully tired of refusing it over and over. News coverage would be great, but I don’t see any at the time of writing on Bing’s News search.]