Earlier this month, Matt Cutts, Google's on-leave head of search spam, talked at UNC Chapel Hill about the early days at working at Google.
The video of his 35 minute talk is now live on YouTube for anyone to watch.
The one SEO who got a mention in the video was "Greg" Boser and it really shows how he felt towards the webmaster and SEO community. It was a good thing. Here are the points I took away about the search quality and community stuff he worked on (which was most of his career).
He said it is nice to remember when you wrestle with spammers, let’s call him Greg (I assume Boser). And there was a lot of fun there and mutual respect there, he said. He shared the “don’t tell Matt Cutts” t-shirt and said people do make fun of you, but take it with humor. He said someone sent a massive cookie because they were spamming Google and they removed the site, so they wondered, should they eat the cookie (could have been poisoned), he said they think they ate it. He bet his team they couldn’t do a good job fighting spam and he lost and had to shave his head.
He also remembers the days the search quality team sat around a ping pong table to discuss how to make search quality better.
Matt first really worked on ads (after porn SafeSearch) for a year and while working on ads, he was upset to see webmasters cheating and winning on Google's search results. So he asked to work on that and he was given the job.
Another note that was interesting was that before he started at Google, he wanted to impress everyone, so he read every paper on PageRank, even the ones hard to find. But when he got to Google, he learned that what they were doing was way more complicated than what the papers said they were doing and he was in a bit of a shock because of that.
It wasn't all good, it seems the thing that was the most upsetting for Matt were the lawsuits. He mentioned SearchKing and Kinderstart, as well as North Korea and China.
The main takeaways of advice started at about 32 minutes in:
- Be creative when in a jam
- Be proactive and ask for what you want to work on
- Question your assumptions because they do not always apply
- Set yourself apart from the crowd
- Have fun and take pictures
- Whatever you work on, work on something that you think matters
Here is the video and the slides from his presentation:
Forum discussion at Google+.