I’ve posted a fair amount about Mark Jen and most of my comments have been about how it would have been far more prudent for him to have kept his more negative thoughts about Google to himself. I have revisited his blog and I agree with Scoble and Jeremy Zawodny that Jen seems to be a good guy who did something really silly.
Jen had the following to say on his blog:
i’ve actually viewed this as a great learning experience. obviously,
i’ve gotten a first-hand chance to learn about the power of blogging.
i’ve also learned to be a little more analytical about situations, a
lot more cautious and a lot less assuming. however, i’ve also confirmed
that i’m willing to take a stand for what i believe in. i’ve confirmed
what i’m looking for in a career and i know what i love to do – by the
way, it’s not blogging, it’s creating revolutionary solutions :). some
people live a lifetime without getting a chance to learn these things
about themselves; i’m grateful i’ve gotten that chance.
This paragraph reminds me quite a bit of a post by Michael Hanscom back in October 2003 after he was fired from his position on the Microsoft Campus for photographing Apple G5s arriving at Microsoft and disclosing a little too much info about their location. Like Jen, Hanscom realised and admitted his mistake and moved on. I have a great deal of respect for bloggers like Hanscom and now Jen because of this capacity to admit they made a mistake and not use the fact that they were fired as a reason to make more of a go at their previous employers.
Reading Mark’s blog I can see a variety of mistakes he made. When
you start at a new company you need to build a relationship network
before you start discussing the company in public. You need to
understand what the various forces that have power (and, at every
company there are probably people who have more power than you do —
even the CEO has to listen to the board of directors and to other
people inside the company) and you have to work carefully and
It’s not easy writing in public. All it takes is one paragraph to
lose credibility, have people laugh at you, get you sued, create a PR
firestorm, or get your boss mad at you. Think about that one for a
while. Just a few hundred pixels on the screen can dramatically change
what people think about you.