Steve Yegge


What Would You Do With Your Own Google?
16 minutes, 7.7mb, recorded 2011-07-25
Steve Yegge

At the 2011 O'Reilly Open Source Convention, Steve Yegge discusses principled business practices, the growth of business, issues of scale, and how programmers can change the world on a variety of issues. He links cancer to Farmville, genetics to cat pictures, and corporate programming to social-minded and innovative problem-solving. He also challenges his audience to learn mathematics and solve global problems.

Delving into Amazon and Google, as well as Pixar and a number of gaming companies, Yegge provides commentary on how corporate products are influenced by consumer willingness. However, he insists, companies should find the balance between just creating profitable products, and showing opinions and beliefs on global issues in their products. Specifically for the Internet, Yegge notes the overwhelming popularity of cat pictures in social media but the relative dearth of social goodness involved in the stocking of those cat pictures.

Yegge probes the link between business and charity; specifically, he lists a variety of technological possibilities that programmers can solve, such as voice recognition and the Human Genome Project, with a combined focus on data mining and mathematics. The problem, according to Yegge, is not that programmers can't solve these problems, but that programmers generally aren't interested until it's too late.

Steve Yegge is a software engineer with over twenty years of industry experience. He has worked on everything from embedded systems to distributed systems to e-commerce, online games and much more. Steve has been at Google for the past six years, where he has worked on Ads and Music systems, and most recently on a project to organize and serve all the world’s compiler output. Prior to joining Google, Steve was a Senior Engineering Manager at, where he spent nearly seven years leading teams in Developer Tools and Customer Service systems. Steve graduated from the University of Washington with a B.S. in Computer Science.


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