AH ATAP-6

Google’s Former ATAP Head Talks first Meeting in Silicon Valley

April 14, 2016 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Many of you may remember Regina Dugan from the ATAP breakout session at Google I/O 2015 – which was live streamed. She was in charge of ATAP and famously said that her team “makes epic sh*t”, which definitely got the internet talking. ATAP has many projects, but the most popular one is ARA, which we haven’t heard much about as of late. Dugan recently announced she was leaving Google and heading across Silicon Valley to Facebook. However, her last talk as a Google employee happened at SXSW (South by Southwest) 2016 in March. Her talk was mostly the same as what we heard at Google I/O last year. But following the talk, she spoke with a small group of journalists at the festival.

She spoke to these journalists talking about the differences between working at DARPA and then heading to Google. She talked about how at DARPA they started the day at 7:30am, and went to meetings, and such all day long. It was executed very efficiently, according to Dugan. However, Google was not the same, as man of you could imagine. Dugan said she walked into her first meeting at Google and there were about 12 people in the room. She also stated that she couldn’t “tell who was in charge”. Or if there was an agenda or not. Someone piped up during the meeting saying “we should really get that done next week.” Naturally Dugan asked who? If that was meant for her, for the team, and whether anyone was writing it down. The team thought it was a joke, but Dugan was completely serious.

Dugan says that the biggest challenge for her during her time at Google was to recognize that the polarity was flipped. She noted that in Silicon Valley, the execution side of getting things done was flipped, and under-attended to. It was a big change for her to get used to in Mountain View. As you can see, Dugan was very used to executing things and getting stuff done in a timely manner, while that’s not what works – at least how it works – in Silicon Valley. This could be why she decided to leave Google. But it’s also possible she may have the same issue at Facebook.