|Learning From Google's Succes|
What can we learn from their stunning success?
We including MSFT, Yahoo!, Ask.com and anyone else in the space.
Love em' or hate em' ya gotta give Google credit for dominating the industry and need to look at them to see what leads to their success.
When you look at Google as an organization, what do you see that makes them so successful?
Focus on the end user
Using whatever technology to build their platform that provides maximum flexibility (i.e not being stuck on MSFT products) Google has had a great AdWords interface for ages, did MSFT or YHOO! even bother to look at it when building their own?
An obesssion with collecting data and using it
A relatively early start
Focus, sticking to simplicity for end users
Throwing $hit at the wall, learning from what sticks
Actively encouraging employees to learn, test, evaluate, and innovate
Giving stuff away - early on generous AdWords coupons, later services, schwag to get people talking.
Engineers at the top who view business in this light and not just a bunch of financial people (YHOO!?) looking to monetize everything at the expense of long term overall company performance
Being in the right place at the right time
Creating products (including AdWords) that early on required a lot of time and interaction with the interface/company to manage
Facilitating continual learning among employees and aligning their interests with those of Google
Surely there are other things. What else?
Never blinking first.
They hire the smartest of the smartest. I can't remember where I read the quote but someone stated that they hire the once in 20 years kind of smart people.
Instead of sitting around idly waiting for some new start to come along and invent some new technology that takes market share away from you (like Google did with Yahoo)....
1. Invent that technology yourself - Google Maps, Froogle, Google Labs etc all allow Google to invent things BEFORE some competitor does.
2. When some upstart DOES invent something new that could pose a threat, buy it outright (YouTube etc).
What you said sounds like a Blue Ocean Strategy :) Creating your own market instead of duking it out in an existing market.
"Blue Ocean Strategy" - wow - that's a very cool/descriptive phrase (never heard that term before)!
"Back in the day" I don't recall Google being more than a university search engine project. There were other more famous preferred search engines in use, at least from my perspective, so I think they actually did overcome and dominate the competition.
As for the innovative features, that all came after they began to reap the reward of being the best at what they do. I suppose plunking such a project in the center of a university and making use of educational dollars wasn't a bad start. :-)
I think it's like anything else, pick something you know and do it well, learn from your mistakes, keep your eye on the ball.
Provide a simple solution to an under-served market, get a lot of hype, and go IPO with a grossly inflated stock price. With all this capitol, you can then venture to offer a lot of services and acquire companies in markets that you cannot compete well in or that are extremely hard to monetize. But no worries, you're playing with monopoly money ... even though your core offering has slipped, it's still much better than any of your competition and you are stockpiling loads of cash from advertising.
>Focus, sticking to simplicity for end users
That was the crunch decision IMHO!
Google is search to most people because it was never anything else.
Yahoo & MS got caught up in being a portal. Google stayed focused in the early years.....it was simply search!
The very basic home page YELLED we are search. That's all we have! People bought into the concept....Those in marketing are familar with the concept!
Once Google had captured 50%+ of the search market they advanced with AdSence/AdWords....just a way to monetarise search......they still kept the stong simple brand image of "Google is search".
Of course they now have a problem.....Growth.
Search isn't enough anymore, now they have to look for other areas to justify future growth and the current stock price.
It will be interesting to see if they fall into the "portal" trap......I doubt it, I suspect they will have to look to aquire potentially huge businesses while in a start-up state.....not an easy thing to do!
>What can we learn from their stunning success?
For most of us......Stay totally focused on your core business! Most of "us" will be happy with only a fraction of Google's success.....we don't need to deal with their current strategic problems created from their huge growth and high stock price!
Back when Google started up, much of the world was still on dial-up connections. Getting those portals to load up at Excite, Yahoo, etc took forever back then. Then came Google, a nice, simple, interface that seemed lightning fast (compared to the others) and with awesome search results - I've been hooked since 2000!
They kept it simple when everyone else complicated things.
Google is like Tiger Woods..
Woods competes with himself...not other golfers..and no one in the world of golf competes better then does Woods..
The same is true with Google...they are constantly inventing (true innovation) new tools and channels for people to explore and use...and these ultimately mean more advertising revenue opportunities..
Google doesn't have time to worry about what MS or Y is doing because they are too busy kicking their own a#%es..!