This book tells an valuable and interesting story about Google’s first 10-year history. I learnt from their story, as same as from history.
The Google Story – impressions about an innovative, technology-driven company
Google started from an Ph.D. thesis, in 10 yearns, has grown to an Internet giant, which affects billion people’s daily life. There are many aspect of the story that I was curious.
I impressed, loved the vision of Google
A perfect search engine will process and understand all the information in the world.
They stated it, and worked well to achieve it.
Sometimes, maybe they did not achieved it fully. This possibly is one of the reasons why Page and Brin said they was not satisfied and Google does not meet their expectation. That goes further to what Google is trying to do:
“The ultimate search engine,” says Pages, “would understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want.”
Technology alone is not enough. New-born companies need capital. And the way that Google, in their first days, sought for investments while keeping long-term vision, attracted me. They planned to seek for investments from multiple investors, instead of only one solely, because they believe that might risk control in their company. But not much capital firms agree with such a thing. They want to take control, influence in the company where their money is put in. But in the end, both firms chose to split the investment, fifty percent each. Google might walk away if they did not agree. To do so, Google Guys had to convince investors about their vision, and their ability. So that investors can trustworthy give control of the company into their hand. Nobody want to put money to someone they do not trust, or just trust without control. But this is not impossible. If you and what you are doing can be used to convince them. This is rarely happen, but possible, as in the case of Google.
At some important moments, words from right people can make huge difference, which are more persuasive than all the things you presented. Entrepreneurs need strong relationships.
In case you are just technologist, it is recommended to have somebody who master at business administration to help running your company. Hence you can focus on what you are good at: product and user. Investors will help with consulting and coaching. They do not want their money to go in wrong direction. And what they give your company is not just but more worthy than money.
Building good product is fundamental, but not enough. You need to work with partners to boost your business to larger scale, instead of depending only on organic users. This will also help you earning big packages, and relationships.
There are many aspect to deal in a new-born and ambitious business. Good product, along with talented team, is just the fist step. Then problems will occur. You will have to find a way to sell your “best” product. Although it is not bad, but finding people want to buy it is a different story, requiring different skills. You will have to manage your company. You will have to scale but not burn all cash that investors put in. You will need to deal with big corporations and newcomers copying your product. You should register your patents. And you will find more source of money and gifted people.
Risk does not mean just losing money, or user, but maybe the whole business. Taking risk is a part of the game. It is unavoidable, so do not try to avoid it, but cleverly taking it.
Looking in that small world in Silicon Valley and top tech companies, there are things that people grew up and graduated from developing country, like where I am from, Vietnam, not recognized. A person should change mindset or being outstanding in order to be a part of it. They operates at a different level of knowledge, management skills, working styles and environment. Different kinds of education creates different kind of people and society. If you don’t like the way you educated, the way your society currently is, and want to change, you need to update what you were taught, deeply from inside. If you would like to be a part of it, you should find some way to participate in the lifestyle, the way of thinking and the way of working. Natural intelligence, to me, is equally for human kind. But as we can see, current result of nations and communities are different. That is because of the way people living, cooperating, and teaching each other. Silicon Valley cannot be copied from outside in, it should be be done inside out. Not top down, but bottom up.
What I like most about Google after reading this book? That is “20 percent of time.” Employees have 20 percent of their paid time, which means one day a week, to do whatever they want. This can be pooled. So they can spend a whole month in anything. They can chase ideas, researches, to please themselves but not their bosses. A tech company can benefit from its employees doing what they are deeply care about. They are better, and then the company will get more. In Google some ideas was funded and brought profit. Google is operated like university campus, where two founders came from.
The second thing is free meals. I heart this before but was totally surprised. I though that just free meals from food providers around, like McDonald’s or something alike. But Google did it differently. They seriously hired chefs, with stock options, to do all the planning, cooking and presentation. They considered organic ingredients and really care about their employees’ health. That is like a restaurant inside the company. And that is impressive.
One quote from the book that summarize the story of Google:
Youth + freedom + transparency + new model + the general public’s benefit + belief in trust = The Miracle of Google
In my words: “Follow the people and money will follow you.”
It is my dream to imagine whole computer system in my brain, to illustrate its workflow mechanism inside my brain, to know all the things of the system, with just one imagination. I am trying with systems I am working on at my current company. And I would like to do that with a system at scale like the Google search engine, software and hardware. After that, I want to be able to imagine the mechanism, the workflow, the principal of bigger things, like universe and philosophical existence.