Ex-Google, get over it!

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I was so surprised to hear that my colleague had worked for Google and kept it secret for so many years!

👆 said no one!

If someone had worked for a reputable company, you’re going to hear about it one way or another. Some even put “ex-Facebook”, “ex-Google”, “ex-Netflix” or even “ex-Spotify” on their LinkedIn title. It just sits there to seduce the naïve among us.

And the name dropping works! Kinda. It’s a good conversation opener but in retrospect that can of worms should be left unopened!

If the goal is to earn respect, you can do better on your own. FAANG has a high bar. If you have passed that bar, surely you can earn respect without name-dropping. Believe in yourself!

saying that I come from Google certainly opens some doors. — an xoogler confessed

So the door would be closed otherwise. Isn’t it conning to take advantage of people’s bias vulnerability?

Guy at the party

Some people fall for it, many are too polite to call it out. Here is a mental exercise to understand what’s going on:

Imagine you’re at a party and bump into a guy. The very first thing he says is that he’s been with a celebrity! As the conversation progresses, he casually brings up his ex as a point of reference. At some point you get fed up.

— “Why are you two not together anymore?”, you ask.

— “We didn’t match”, he admits.

— “Then there’s no point in talking about her all the time. Move on!”, you say.

He shuts up, self reflects and decides start a new life with a liberated identity…
Or, more likely than not, he proceeds to his next victim:
— “Hi, my name is Steve and I’ve been with Britney”!

How to deal with that?

So many people try to push their “baggage” from a past job but:

1. They left that job right? Should one compare their ex with their current partner?

2. Their narrative of how it worked at their previous company may not even be true. Should we spend time on fact checking or solving problems?

Anytime someone tries to push an argument “because at my past job…” you can replace that phrase in your head with “because in my personal opinion…”


In a true Googly manner I suggest we start measuring TTex (time to brag about your ex company).


Not everyone is amused by the name dropping. Not everyone dares or cares to protest. There’s a good risk that by shouting about this I may come across as jealous, but if that works for you, so be it.

Personally I’ve had my share of respected brands but at the end of the day I acknowledge that I’ve been just an employee. I will not claim credit for what others have done for the brand. The credit wasn’t entirely mine to begin with. I was part of a system. And by the time I left that door, we were done.

Stay relevant

The point is:

a solution from one company hardly applies to the problem context of another company.

Hell it hardly works for all teams in the same company or sometimes the same team at different times! The product, culture, business model, strategy, talent pool, leadership, process and tech is different. Internalize that fact and stop wasting time in irrelevant arguments and manutia.

At MY_EX_COMPANY we did it that way

👆 is NOT an argument! We are not solving your ex-company’s problems here. If the idea is good enough, it can stand on its own without being attached to a brand. Instead, attach it to a problem context that is relevant.

Already at FAANG?

Stay where you are! Outside is a scary world! You’ll face grumpy people like me who have zero interest in hearing about your ex-company. Sit tight if you don’t wanna deal with that. 😋

Own it

I saw this on LinkedIn the other day and thought it was funny. So I asked Mikael permission if I can share it (fun fact, he actually worked at Klarna):

A humurous way to namedrop, but not for bragging

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