Thursday, September 21, 2006

Google's False Lesson for Entrepreneurs

Over a couple of Oreo Cookies and glass of milk earlier this evening my mind wandered to the subject of why I dislike Google so much. I've written previously about how I don't think there are many (any?) lessons for early-stage entrepreneurs to learn from Google, how I believe so much of the company's success is derived from luck and how much their hubris turns me off. However, I've never been fully satisfied with the post because it doesn't quite express exactly where my feelings come from. Yet, somewhere between dunking my Oreo in milk and stuffing my face, it dawned me that Google really bugs me because it seems like so many entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley misinterpret a key lesson from Google's success.

Google is routinely sited as an example of a company that won because it had the best technology. I couldn't disagree with this statement more... No company ever wins because they have the best technology. Success is built upon creating a meaningful value proposition, communicating it effectively and executing in sales. Having the best technology may or may not be a part of this formula.

This false lesson from Google seems to be most dearly held by entrepreneurs with engineering backgrounds. Its rare that I meet a software developer in Silicon Valley that prefers Windows to Linux or Unix, which ironically means that the most glaring example that the best technology does not always win is staring them in the face 8+ hours per day.

There is no doubt that some of my feelings towards Google are irrational and therefore I'll probably never be to fully explain them but this post helps me get a little bit closer and vent on a day when another Googlite has started making angel investments.


At September 22, 2006 3:28 PM, Anonymous Master of GEvil said...

You think that their success is based on luck and you don't like their hubris? You must really hate Facebook.

I absolutley agree with you that the best technology rarely wins, however, perhaps the technology oriented entrepreneurs really want to have a winning horse at some point. Perhaps, they point to the fact that GOOG is successful because of their technology because, as history tells us, that never happens. The sales guys can't always win, can they?

GOOG offers us a case where, if we don't look behind the curtains too much, we believe that they are the market leader based on their superior technology. Few people, unless they are buying a large number of keywords, understand their sales process. Fewer still understand their recruitment process and their desire to only hire what appears to be, the best of the best. And finally, no one understands how it became a verb. Hell, Ask already had let's ask. How do you screw that up? But that is another post.

Great blog, Andrew.

At October 01, 2006 12:15 PM, Blogger Scott Gilbert said...

Here is a blog post from a googler comparing the adoption of Agile sofware development practices to fad diets and religious cults. in the process he takes great pride in extoling the virtues of Google.

At February 21, 2007 5:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was first amongst my peer group to hear about Google. I remember trying out this thing that I'd never heard of, and it working so well that I immediately used it for all my searching. In my memory, it was what it did for me, not what I read about it, that convinced me to use it. It was a long time before the hype engine rolled into town.


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