Of course, NOT focusing on Google is exactly what Google would love you to do. Their advice is to focus on the user, create something useful and unique, don't focus on gaming the system. That's what Panda, Penguin etc. are all about.
It's undeniably sensible not to be dependent on one source of business but personally I haven't found it that easy to match the volumes of converting traffic Google sends. Firstly, each form of advertising/marketing requires real expertise and dedication to make a profit. We live in a competitive world - you can't just expect to get into Adwords, Facebook, affiliate marketing, etc. and make an easy profit from the word go.
Secondly, most forms of marketing require some form of upfront payment with no guarantee of any return. For me, getting to the top of Google just requires my time.
So to successfully generate business from other sources you need to invest all your time in those to become expert enough to get the best value from them, or hire someone who is, or claims to be, an expert (more expense and risk). And any of those forms of advertising could go up in cost, change the way they operate or disappear overnight. So you can't become dependent on any one source (even if you could generate enough traffic from just one source!).
But before you do any of this, you need to focus on your site and your users to make sure your site is great at monetising the traffic your marketing generates. Ironically, get this right and you could find yourself at the top of Google!
What do you do then? Despite your policy of not relying on Google traffic it has suddenly become your main source of traffic, the phones are ringing more, you have more orders, more customers to deal with, you need to order more stock, you need more staff....do you try to get by on the assumption it's only transient traffic, noindex everything to get rid of the traffic or gear up to deal with it?
If you're running a good business and an efficient website, Google will want it in their results.
If what The Mad Scientist is saying is Google plans to change things in such a way that only a very small percentage of the traffic on Google will find its' way to our sites then that obviously sounds like an end of the world scenario for online businesses who haven't found other ways to generate business. I'm struggling to see it though. I agree the 'machine learning' aspect of Panda will become more and more influential over time and I can see how that could be the foundation of the 'one right answer' concept but my understanding is the machine learns from the behaviour of humans who visit your site, so how can it learn what the one right answer is without continuing to send humans to our sites? Has Google really developed intelligence to match that of a human? I doubt it.
I think I need more info on the 'one right answer' idea. Will this be an option, with results listed as normal if you're not satisfied with the one right answer? Does anyone know or are we discussing something based on speculation about HOW Google will implement what they've talked about?