Lessons from ex-Google employees about productivity and culture

Ex-Google marketeer Ismail Jeilani founded edtech platform Scoodle.

Ismail Jeilani

Ismail Jeilani

How long were you at Google, and what did you do while you were there?

I was at Google for about a year as an associate account strategist.

In simple English, that meant helping businesses in the UK and Ireland improve their advertising campaigns. By showing the right ads to the right people at the right time, both consumers and businesses are happy.

What did you learn while working there?

I obviously learned a lot about digital marketing. By helping so many businesses, I was able to get pretty comfortable setting up and optimizing marketing campaigns for businesses of almost any size.

The importance of being around smart people is that – without realising – you raise your standards and you raise your expectations of success. This can be really powerful, regardless of what you do in the future.

I wish I’d learnt the value of maintaining relationships sooner. The people I met four years ago are at the heart of a lot of the things I’m doing now. The most powerful thing you can ever do is just grab a coffee with someone. You’ll be surprised where it ends up.

Why did you leave?

Google is a great place, but nothing beats the excitement of creating something from scratch. I’d always recommend Google as a great place to work. But what’s really important to me is the sense of your own impact. For me, a startup is where you make the most impact.

Of course, this wouldn’t have been possible without the support and talent of my cofounders. I remember we were all pushing each other to leave our jobs. It was a funny time. But without them, I wouldn’t be here on this journey.

What have you been up to since?

At Scoodle, we’re creating a platform for educators to show how great they are! It’s simple. Educators create a profile, and share their great content. They share things like videos, answers and flash cards. This creates their brand. Then, if parents and students like what they see, they can go ahead and join their classes.

We’ve helped over 200,000 students learn which is awesome. But this is just the beginning.

What, if anything, did you learn while working at Google, which has carried over into what you’re doing now?

I make an effort to grab as many coffees as I can!

Our hiring philosophy at Scoodle is pretty focused on getting the smartest people we can. I want to learn from the people in my team, and I want people who can push back if they think I’m wrong. Part of that is the culture we create, and part of it is the people we hire.

When you have a great culture combined with really smart people, you’ll end up building something like Google.

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