"99 Problems (the Google Re-mix)"

Given so many Microsoft employees blog, I know it’s always a concern when it comes to what we say and how we say it. Some blogs that make bold suggestions (like mini-Microsoft, the one-man mission to downsize Microsoft) are done anonymously, while others (like Scoble) are comfortable with their limits and don’t mind being pretty brutal. I know Microsoft is still trying to determine how to keep their bloggers open but respectful and I will admit that I err on the side of caution out of respect for the company. But for all the Microsoft blogging, I’ve never heard anyone getting reprimanded, much less fired. So it was quite a shock to hear about the guy from Google that got fired due to his blog. Mark Jen, an ex-Microsoft guy that left for Google (I personally didn’t know him), had some less-than-stellar things to say about his new employer after leaving Redmond to join their offices down in California. Although 90% of it seemed neutral-to-positive (he still believed that Google was a better place to work than Microsoft), Google didn’t like it and fired him. Wow. Given Google’s perception of being this cool, open, creative place, I am a little surprised that they would be so uptight. After all, they seem to take pride in the fact that they aren’t Microsoft. I guess they’ve separated themselves again.

Given Mark’s blog’s title (“Ninety Nine Zeroes”), the Jay-Z song “99 Problems” popped in my head. While I was going for run the other day, I had this burst of inspiration about a verse of that song and how it sorta applies to Mark Jen. And since everyone else is re-mixing Jay-Z’s Black Album, I thought I’d join the party. So, with major apologies to Jay-Z, here is “Ninety Nine Problems (the Google Remix)”:

The year was '05 and he was a bloggin’ Google fan
But in his rear view mirror was the angry HR man
He had two choices: apologize and rescind his words or
test his bounds and see if they were really open nerds.
Now he ain't tryin to lose his job near the beach
but he lives in America and knows about free speech
So he keeps the site until they got real sore
And hears "Son do you know what we’re mad at you for?"
”Cause I’m young and I’m honest and my audience has grown
Do I look like a mind reader sir, I don't know
Am I terminated or should I guess some more?
"Well you was saying Google’s not as cool as people think we are
Looking at your resume, you were a Microsoft star.
Were you plant by Bill Gates? I know a lot of you are"
”I’m here cuz it’s hip and my site is legit”
"Do you mind if we look around your blog a little bit?"
”Well my blog is on Blogspot and Google owns my lock
So go ahead and look—most of it says that we rock
"Aren't you pretty cocky are you Sergey or Larry or something?"
Or somebody important or somethin?"
"Now I ain't a founding father but I know some PR
Enough to know that you won't fire a blogging star
"Well see how smart you are when the paychecks don’t come"
He got 99 zeroes but his job ain't one.