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Googler Spotlight: Kevin Young

Global Network Acquisition (GNA) is responsible for acquiring Google's production network assets, including lit fiber, dark fiber, colocation, space, power and related infrastructure. These all combine to enable Google's network to operate around the world. We conducted a Q&A with APAC manager Kevin Young to better understand the role of Strategic Negotiators in this process.

What’s your take on a Strategic Negotiator’s mission and his/her impact on Google’s overall business?

Crucial. Google prides itself on having one of the world’s most robust, scalable and cost-effective infrastructures and our negotiators deliver the building blocks that make it happen. We frequently get to make big, long-term bets when we do projects such as the Unity and Southeast Asia Japan submarine cables.

Incidentally, “Strategic Negotiator” sounds like a unique title. What are some more common titles for people doing this type of work in the industry?

In many ways “negotiator” is a misnomer, particularly in Asia. The role is actually more akin to “infrastructure business development” since we are looking for partnership opportunities to do builds that help both parties as well as make the general internet better. In terms of titles prior to joining Google, there isn’t much commonality amongst our current successful team members. We have people from enterprise IT, legal, finance and, of course, carriers.

Are there aspects that make this type of work unique in the APAC region? How does it differ from other regions, e.g., NA and EMEA?

Almost all connectivity in Asia is via expensive subsea cables that take several years to build, therefore the APAC team’s planning horizon has to be much longer than most other regions. Even more challenging is that the horizon is much longer than our internal software teams. They crank out products and features that demand new bandwidth in timeframes that are a fraction of how long it takes to build new cables. It’s an interesting challenge.

This type of work sounds highly collaborative. Who do Negotiators partner with inside Google?

Everyone! Seriously. The most successful Negotiators are the ones that understand the full “stack” - from fiber in the ground (or sea!) to the internals of how a service like Google+ works. They also have a healthy understanding of legal, policy and finance. The only way to stay on top of this is to interact with lots of teams. Fortunately, our teams consist of both Negotiators and Network Planners that also do a lot of internal synchronizing and work to coalesce the business’ needs into a cohesive roadmap.

How about when you’re interviewing for this position. What types of things do you really like to see in a candidate?

The number one thing is a passion to make the user’s life better via faster and more consistent network delivery. In addition they need to be technical, analytical and capable of describing and defending their ideas clearly and concisely. Obviously, commercial experience is a must but region specific knowledge is not a hard and fast requirement. Lastly, I look for candidates that will make the people around them better.

If you're interested in Strategic Negotiator positions, we have openings in Mountain View (http://goo.gl/l5dp3), as well as London and Singapore. You can find all of our open roles by browsing our job site.
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