I don't know why you wrote that @me, because I just made a sarky comment, I really didn't express any opinion on Cuil's approach. :)
If I *were* to, though, it'd go something like this:
as noted by other posters above, Cuil's competition is Google, and Google is famous for the perks it offers its staff. Given that Cuil and Google are competing for the same people and Google has lots of in-built advantages - being the 800lb gorilla - Cuil is not going to get very far in hiring the best people if it tries to run itself like a 1990s 8-6 cubicle prison. So offering generous perks really isn't as nuts or as irresponsible as it sounds, if you think about Cuil's position.
On specific issues - muffins and strawberries really don't cost a lot. Especially if you provide them for a long time. If you put a cubicle jail worker down in a muffins and strawberries environment, maybe for the first week, he'll eat twenty muffins a day and shovel a bushel of strawberries into his briefcase. This is the 'office donut' mentality - they don't show up very often so you grab as many as you can, and hang the slow and the weak. But once they know the muffins and strawberries are going to be there *every day*, most people really aren't going to eat a lot of them. Just a sensible amount - one a day, maybe. As someone above pointed out, if you do the math on a muffin a day for each employee, it really doesn't come out to much money.
As for flexitime - the devil is in the detail, and there's no detail in this article. But it's not inherently a stupid idea. For certain types of staff, it absolutely makes sense to simply give them tasks to do and let them figure out how to do them.
I work from home, and have no fixed hours at all. But I know what I do, and my bosses know what I do. All they care about is that what I do gets done. They don't give a stuff if I do it at 10 a.m. or 11 p.m. So if a friend asks me to go out for lunch, or if I want to get up in the middle of the day and go play a game of tennis or just buy some milk or sod off down the arcade for a couple of hours - I can. I can tell you this definitely makes me a damn sight happier than working fixed hours in an office, and it costs my employer exactly nothing, and all my work still gets done. So in this case, is flexitime a good idea? Bet your ass it is.
I'd say it works well for anyone in a similar situation to me: they're goal driven and the goals are not time-sensitive in terms of exactly when they happen. So one large group for whom flexitime would make a bundle of sense? Software engineers. If I were running a startup, I wouldn't have any coders on the clock at all, nor would I care whether they were working in the office, at home, in a coffee shop on the other side of the city, or in Waikiki. As long as the code I told them to write got written by the time I wanted it written, they've done their job.
Now, I'm betting a lot of Cuil's staff at this point in time are - you guessed it - software engineers. So I would see absolutely no problem in having them on (very) flexitime. In fact I'd say it would be a very smart move.
Obviously this doesn't work for everyone. You would have trouble putting your accounting department on flexitime, for instance, because the banks aren't open at 10 p.m. But as I said, there's no detail in the article, so it's a bit tough to condemn the policy on that kind of grounds. It's entirely possible it's a very sensible policy applied to the right employees, in which case it's a very good point for Cuil's management, not a bad one.
The personal trainer and gym membership thing is frankly a bit OTT, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it fall by the wayside soon. But it makes a neat eye-catcher when you're trying to hire talent away from Google (see above), which I suspect is its purpose.
Paris, cos I've heard she's on flexitime too...