There is a belief that big companies can still act small within, at least with their employees. With Google's very democratic, free and open culture, it is a proof that such an environment stimulates employees to experiment with new possibilities with the company. A normal scenario where employees are discouraged to take risks, Google tackles the issue otherwise by empowering them.
Source: Avinash Kaushik
# 5: Empowerment (The big small company).
If you are good at something, have passion to do it then you'll get empowered to go do it.
I know that sounds basic. It is not.
You could be just out of college and if want to then you'll get to solve some of the most complex challenges you would ever find. At other companies you'll get put into a hierarchy with layers and controls were for the first four years you might learn where all the files are.
I am being a bit dramatic, but not all that much.
In my second week there I was walking over to lunch with a young man and he was describing his work to me. He had been at Google for less than a year, straight from college and had completely rewritten one of the most challenging "code" during the last few months and his work had yielded dramatic results for Google.
He is good at what he does but I was simply struck by how a company this size would let someone so young and "untested" the task for solving such a complex challenge. And how awesome must it feel to know that you did that!
That's what I mean by empowerment.
[Google NYC campus building made out of legos, above.]
Google is not a very small company (GOOG). It is only ten years old, and it is a "big" company now. Yet it functions like a small company. People sit together, cross functional teams, and each group is holistically responsible for getting stuff done. Few layers, lots of empowerment.
It is a big small company. That is the secret.
If you want to bite of a humongo challenge, and I do mean humongo, then you can rest assured that you'll get a chance to do it. You have to be passionate about your cause and be competent at it. Your youth or old age, your big title or small one, your "tenure" at the company will rarely be barriers.
You want to get @#$& done? You can.
That's a good feeling.