“Parking Lot” Factor is Virtually Dead

Posted: July 4, 2005 in Uncategorized
It’s a holiday weekend (Happy 4th!) and I’ve spent a good portion of it finishing up some groundwork for a big release we’re working on.  Very cool stuff.
I called someone from my old team that I know is available nights, weekends, and holidays… I needed to verify some things.
Sure enough, I got a hold of him.
But, what I really need is everyone on my new team to be available so we can kick this out before the "after holiday" crush hits everyone.
"Yeah, but it’s a holiday," said my co-worker.  "Not sure you’ll find anyone available."
I said, "Betcha everyone at Google is cranking away."
He said, "We should drive by their parking lot and see."
Which brings me to the purpose of this post:  The best, most unscientific measure of how "on fire" a company was used to be how full their parking lot was at night and on the weekends.
I know, I know.  This is Gordon Gekko, "Greed is Good" stuff. 
I know, I know, "get a life."
Whether anyone really wants to admit it or not, there is a strong correlation between kick-ass, take-no-prisoner work ethic and success in software.
We even heard rumors about Microsoft back in the day… that team pressure was so intense that it was considered terrible form to ever leave the parking lot "with a car to your left" — meaning, you leave the office before the person that was there before you left.
(The other good one was Microsoft is a great place to work with very flexible hours… you have to work 80 hours a week, but you can work any 80 hours during the week you want!)
Since broadband means employees can be productive — sometimes more productive — at home than in the office, looks like the online world has killed yet another classic metric.  Analysts will have to find a new unofficial predictor of software success… unfortunately the old "parking lot" factor is virtually unreliable these days.
P.S.  Only time before someone puts this concept together with "buddy list" presence. <smile>

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