To say that you can create a successful website that doesn't depend on Google is with respect, a joke to me.
It should be about creating a *successful business*, not a "website". If the business model includes a website, well and good, but part of the business model is the *offering*. Whether you sell books, real estate, or offer free information, you need repeat customers and visitors. Once you have repeat customers/visitors, you are less dependent on free traffic. Many businesses have set up direct advertising relationships so that their revenues are not concentrated on a single cash cow.
I also suspect that businesses with AdSense as a major revenue source are an insignificant % in $ terms relative to businesses with websites. I work at a major bank, whose reported annual profit is in the $Bs and it gets over 80% of traffic from existing customers.
While we can't all set up a bank, we can build online businesses that are not dependent on Google. I recently spoke to a person who has received funding to build an online comparison site - you'd think it's a saturated market and is SEO'd to the hilt, but his model is entirely dependent on traditional marketing (AdWords, radio, TV etc).