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Andreessen Horowitz investor says half of Google's white-collar staff probably do 'no real work'

Sarah Jackson   

Andreessen Horowitz investor says half of Google's white-collar staff probably do 'no real work'
  • A general partner at Andreessen Horowitz is the latest to join the debate around "fake work" in Big Tech.
  • David Ulevitch said "half the white-collar staff at Google probably does no real work."

An investor at famed Silicon Valley firm Andreessen Horowitz is the latest VC to get involved in the debate around "fake work" in the tech industry.

In an interview published Monday with Emily Sundberg for her Substack newsletter "Feed Me," Andreessen Horowitz general partner David Ulevitch called Google "an amazing example" of a corporation employing people in "BS jobs."

"As we (society / our economy) prioritize conglomerates and megacorps, irrelevant jobs proliferate," he said. "Anyone who works in a 10,000+ person or larger white-collar job company knows that a bunch of the people can probably be let go tomorrow and the company wouldn't really feel the difference, maybe it'd even improve with less people inserting themselves into things."

Ulevitch was previously the CEO of web security startup OpenDNS, which he sold to Cisco for $635 million in 2015.

"The growing professional managerial class in America, and more importantly, the societal perception that those jobs are 'really important,' is a weakness, not a strength," he added. "I should note, I have been a part of this class in my career, and it's great — people really treated me like I was very impressive and important when I was an SVP at Cisco, and so naturally I thought I was, too. This dynamic is endemic across corporations and is lame."

Ulevitch said one effect is "the decline of small businesses that power America's industrial and manufacturing base," as people in these industries age out of the workforce, the work gets outsourced abroad, and these jobs are seen as less desirable than white-collar gigs. He also pointed to another consequence:

"Another issue with all the 'BS' jobs in large corporations is that it takes profits away from shareholders who are most often the pensioners and retirement accounts of the rest of America," he said. "So those people aren't just being useless (and being coddled to think useless jobs actually matter – they don't), but they are also taking money away from the rest of the workforce's retirement programs."

Ulevitch went on to point the finger at Google specifically, calling it "an amazing example."

"I don't think it's crazy to believe that half the white-collar staff at Google probably does no real work," he said. "The company has spent billions and billions of dollars per year on projects that go nowhere for over a decade, and all that money could have been returned to shareholders who have retirement accounts."

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Reached by email, Ulevitch told BI, "My only comment is that I think it ranks as one of the least controversial things I've ever said."

Other VCs have also entered the debate around "fake work" and overstaffing within Big Tech in recent years.

Marc Andreessen has criticized a managerial "laptop class" and tweeted in 2022, "The good big companies are overstaffed by 2x. The bad big companies are overstaffed by 4x or more."

Tech investor and PayPal Mafia member Keith Rabois last year attributed mass layoffs and Meta and Google to this.

"All these people were extraneous, this has been true for a long time, the vanity metric of hiring employees was this false god in some ways," he said.

"There's nothing for these people to do…it's all fake work," he continued. "Now that's being exposed, what do these people actually do, they go to meetings."

Thomas Siebel, the billionaire CEO of, said last year that Google and Meta overhired staff and didn't have enough work for them to do.

"They really were doing nothing working from home," he said. "If you want to work from home, like four days of work in your pajamas, go to work for Facebook."

While some tech workers say they've had to "basically fight to find work," others say bad management is to blame, with bosses overhiring and assigning workers busy work to make themselves look more important and secure promotions.

Tech firms like Meta and Google laid off thousands of workers in recent years, often citing an interest in becoming more efficient.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared 2023 would be the company's "year of efficiency" and expressed his distaste for a bloated organizational structure of "managers managing managers." Google CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly told staff in a 2022 all-hands that "there are real concerns that our productivity as a whole is not where it needs to be for the headcount we have."

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