Google is often ranked as one of the best companies to work for.
One fancy thing about Google offices is their MASSIVE free lunch.
Like a politician’s wedding x 3!

One day, I was having lunch at the Google Gurgaon office.
Standing in line at the North Indian counter.

And in front of me is a Googler.

The dude steps away from the line to check what the menu of the day is.
Holds his head with both of his hands, in excruciating pain. And goes, “Damn! Aaj phir se dal makhani hai!”

(Translated: Damn!! I have to subject myself to the torture of eating butter-laden richly cooked lentils for 2 consecutive days of my hard-earned life!)

I stood there. STUNNED.

Wondering what has this person done in life, to be complaining about the fact that he is getting to eat dal makhani for 2 consecutive days of his life?
This was not how it was meant to be.
Something had seriously broken.

So, I came up with this theory of how Google started.
It’s a lie. But I think it’s true ?

When Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the two founders of Google, decided to start Google, they said:
We are going to create the biggest social experiment that this world has ever seen.
And here is how it will work:

We will get a set of super-smart people in a room (we will call it a company later on).
And give them the most complex problems to work on.

But we will also give them stuff they didn’t expect.
A fancy office.
Free lunches.
Bean bags.
Come and leave whenever they want.
Bring their pets to work.
Sleep at work.
Take 20% off and do their own thing.

And over time,

They will stand in front of the mirror and say, ‘I deserve this!’
“I deserve everything that I get in life. I have worked hard to get to this point. I deserve this.”

But then Larry and Sergey were statisticians.
They know that it is impossible that EVERYONE would feel this way.
There has to be a percentage, however small, that doesn’t.

Let’s assume 1%.

So they said, “If we build a large enough company, say 100,000 (Google’s employee count), then 1% or 1,000 people will get up every morning and say:
I don’t deserve all of this.
I just got lucky. I was lucky that I was born into a family that took care of me, gave me food, shelter, love, upbringing, education. Because of which I sit on opportunities that millions of people will never get to see even for a second of their lives.
So I am going to just work hard everyday to get close to hopefully feeling one day that I deserve this. That I earned this.”

And those 1,000 will move the company forward.

The remaining 99,000 are just filling in a seat.
They are smart, no doubt, but their level of entitlement makes them dispensable.
It is the 1% that creates magic.

This, my friend, is not true about Google.
It is true for every company, for every state, for every country, for the entire world.

It is the 1% who do not feel entitled that drive it forward.

Are you that 1%?

I repeat this story every year and it is fascinating how the responses repeat themselves as well.

Part of the crowd agrees, part of the crowd disagrees. Which is how any point of view is expected to be.

And part of the crowd digs deep into how the post stupidly extrapolates one’s reaction towards food, into something so big as lack of entitlement.
To them – you got too consumed by the details. Which was a designed trap.

The message is bigger.
How you do anything, is how you do everything.

This story isn’t about google or food.
This story is about one’s attitude.
About awareness of one’s privilege.
About gratitude.

I could change the story to something else. The message will not change :)

Waiting for it to be shared next year now.