Google, google, google. It seems that our entire world revolves around this company, this word, and this search engine. Recently, as a part of an entrepreneurship course, I had to read about the history of Google from a book called, “In the Plex,” and I thought: why not write a quick post about my thoughts on its history in as raw of a form as I can write my thoughts.
So here it goes…..
Google started off as a graduate student project from Sergey and Larry. It began because of their fascination with large amounts of copious data, and their desire to do something interesting with that data. The fundamental part to note here is that they didn’t want to actually create a company, but instead wanted simply to do research on this topic.
Google was run really poorly and got very lucky that other major players made bigger mistakes than they did. For one, had someone been willing to license their technology from day 1, Google as we know it today would never exist. Wow, imagine that, a world without Google. Next, they let everyone practically do whatever they wanted as long as they made the job they had happen. From the get go, Google was organized as a hacking company, a company that just hacked together solutions because of how bright they were.
AdWords was a lucky find. Google AdWords might be the most over looked invention in Google’s history. This product alone drives almost 75% of their revenue and is the reason why their search engine is relevant today; yet, people still don’t really give it the street cred it deserves. No one talks about how transformational Google AdWords was. Its because of AdWords ability to target keywords, integrate authentic search results with paid ones, and leverage people’s search data that Google is as profitable as it is today. Oddly, Google’s business innovation is what made their search engine survive the wraths of time, not PageRank which has become too famous for its own good (Its only relevant in 5% of the cases now).
Have I mentioned that Page and Brin were very haphazard about the way they ran their company? According to the book, “In the Plex,” people at Google would simply just start a project, ask for money, and beg forgiveness if it wasn’t in the correct direction at a later point. While this college hackathon style is what allowed Google to be so effective at so many different things, the hackathon style culture is what makes a company inefficient, and unmanageable at scale. Hence, you no longer see that culture being upheld in the larger Google corporation setting.
Android. Look I am an iPhone user, but I appreciate the Android as much as the next guy. The way the “Android” story is told in the book makes me feel quite enraged at Brin, Page, and Schmidt. Quite frankly, I agree with Jobs that it appears almost as if the three of them stole the smartphone idea from Apple, and have been doing phenomenally since. To be fair to the three of them, Jobs was a little naive about his potential competitors in that space, but it goest to show exactly why Apple keeps its doors shut so tight.
That is really all I have to say about the book “In the plex” at the moment. I hope I have been quite candid, and frank.