Google stories ?

I blogged before about Google reading peoples documents, but one of my colleagues in the US shared this with the world this morning

From: Ryan Pollock []
Sent: Monday, May 14, 2007 11:30 AM
Subject: Please do not attend the Google @ Work seminar

You previously registered for a Google @ Work seminar.  Because you work for a competitor, we politely ask you not to attend.  These seminars are intended for prospective customers.
Thank you.
Ryan Pollock
Product Marketing, Google Enterprise
(6xx) 2x3-xxx2

Now it throws up some interesting questions because there are very few customers out there who buy everything from one vendor. I've blogged about "Coopertition" before, and it's in our customers interests that we understand the other stuff in their environment. We just wouldn't ban a competitor from our sessions. When Melville worked here he was welcome at the Oracle user group, Steve goes to Linux events. This brought another story out of the woodwork

Subject: RE: Please do not attend the Google @ Work seminar

I had the same story almost a year ago I did some booth work at the European Open Source Convention in Brussels.
We had a booth with Port25 next to the Google booth. I was handing out a lot of t-shirts and I asked the google guys if they wanted one.
"We are not allowed to wear any t-shirts from a competitor" 🙂 very amusing, I asked a google t-shirt just for fun 🙂


So share your stories of Google secrecy and control freakery, that's what comments are for.

Comments (9)
  1. Anonymous says:

    Redhat provided every delegate to LUGRadioLive with either a track suit top or t-shirt hence many people

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’ve managed to get a lot of my concerns about privacy down to a simple statement. "Databases of everything"

  3. Keith Combs says:

    I think it’s ok for Google to ask me (a Microsoft employee) not to attend.  This would be especially true if they are discussing a product or service that isn’t public knowledge yet.  I’m actually surprised more companies don’t do this.

  4. Anonymous says:

    James O’Neil shared a Microsofties experience of trying to attend one of their Google @ Work events .

  5. Anonymous says:

    "…but not if you’re a competitor!" An interesting e-mail discussion thread was generated early this

  6. Paul Murphy says:

    Keith, but surely these aren’t NDA events.  This seems a very narrow-minded view of the world.. and I’m guessing not Google’s corporate view but rather that of a particular individual.  Our biggest competitors often tend to be our biggest partners as well.

  7. Zoli Erdos says:

    I just attended one today, it was a fairly basic overview done by their Sales Director.. hard to see what a competitor could have found out …

  8. Ben says:

    I have to say that attitude from Google sounds fair to me.  Why should they waste a seat at an event intended for potential customers with a competitor?  It doesn’t look to me to be an issue of secrecy, just trying to target an event and not needlessly wasting money.  

    I think you’re right; I don’t think Microsoft adopts this ‘door policy’ at their events, but perhaps you could learn from Google?  The last TechNet road show I attended was so oversubscribed that there was a waiting list for attendees.  We were ALL shown an agenda when we signed up AND this was emailed to us but even then I spoke to people at the event who appeared to be at the totally wrong place and complained to me that the topics covered weren’t relevant to them!  Perhaps the definition ‘IT Professional’ is a bit broad, but maybe attempting to restrict access a little would have meant that Microsoft would have spent less money and effort feeding, seating and preaching to these folks for the day and could have offered their places to the people who would have found the day relevant but never made it off the waiting list.

    If your US colleague wants to attend a Google event, perhaps he/she should look for a relevant event first!  Likewise, I don’t just ‘expect’ to get a place with say the PM’s regular meetings with the Queen; it probably isn’t an event that is relevant for, designed for or targeted to me and besides, there probably aren’t enough cucumber sandwiches and tea to go round!

    This appears to be a completely different subject to your other post regarding Google ‘reading peoples email’; I think it’s a little bit underhand of you to try and bundle these stories together as one!

    That’s 300 words, btw 😉

  9. Ryan Pollock says:

    James and gang,

    A few people commented on the thread trying to explain why I might have uninvited a competitor.  As some people guessed (and my email said), it’s all about the customers who come to these.  These seminars includes the opportunity for people to ask us questions, and typically we’re swamped with a lot more questions than we can answer.  So we want to focus on answering questions from customers instead of competitors.  And, as someone pointed out, it does cost us $ to do these seminars, so we want to make sure we’re not wasting it.


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