In mid-2003, Susan put some product plans and strategic documents on MOMA that required a password to access. She was concerned that the sales team might accidentally spill too much to clients. As head of product management, Jonathan told her to make the documents accessible because Google so strongly valued the free flow of information among staff members. Only performance appraisals and compensation were off limits. "This is extremely unusual for a company to do," Eric Schmidt often reminded us at our weekly TGIF meetings, "but we will continue trusting everyone with sensitive information unless it becomes a problem."
In September 2003, it became a problem. Information about our revenue numbers and Larry and Sergey's stock holdings started showing up in news reports. Eric immediately clamped down, telling Omid and me to stop including revenue numbers in TGIF presentations. Passwords on MOMA were no longer forbidden. It was a shame, Eric observed, that reality had finally come to Google.
The source for the stories turned out to be a low-level administrator feeding information to an outsider. She was asked to leave. In January 2004, though, long after that first small leak had been plugged, a much bigger crack appeared in our wall of secrecy. The same month we hired our first corporate security manager, John Markoff from the New York Times wrote a series of articles in which he reported details of products in development and the results of an internal audit conducted in preparation for a possible IPO. The information had been extremely confidential and closely held. The leak was ultimately traced to a senior manager who had known Markoff for years. He left the company as well, though the true reason for his departure was not made public, leading to much speculation.
From that point on, I had to ask for access to the project information I needed to do my job. It felt odd, as if with each ironclad, password-protected gateway the company installed, it locked out a little more of its original corporate culture.
Shortly before going public, Google clamped down completely. According to SEC rules, every employee who had access to intimate knowledge about the state of the business would be restricted from freely buying and selling the company's stock. I, and most others, gladly traded ignorance about our bottom line for the bliss of being able to cash out whenever we were ready to do so. The days of innocence in the garden of data had officially come to an end.
or just like make it all public idk