Google: adapting business to the Internet century

How Google works

To succeed in his job as the executive chairman of Google, Eric Shmidt had to rethink how to do business in the quickly evolving era of Internet. In this presentation, he illustrates some insights on how technology is changing the business landscape, relations to customers and a new breed of employees’ involvement in their company.

Key insights on how Google works

Eric Shmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg had an humbling experience arriving at Google, and they had to rethink how business was done to make a company successful in the era of Internet, in order to foster the success of Google from the inside.

Technological revolution of business

They quickly realized that technology is impacting all business sectors because:

  • All the world’s information can now be found online
  • The omnipresence of mobile devices make people connected to each other and to all information at all times
  • Cloud computing allows any mobile device to benefit from super computing power

These new paradigms make barriers to entry in many industries vulnerable to innovation, competition and disruption; and the pace of innovation is accelerating.

Very demanding customers now have the power and share their product experiences through, which make not-so-good products quickly lose any potential marketing advantage to better products with less marketing budget. Small teams who can produce great products can therefore beat giant companies. Such effective teams are usually composed of people that can referred to as “Smart Creatives”.

With technical and business expertise, and a creative mindset, Smart Creatives can accomplish great things very quickly if they have access to the proper technologies, because traditional companies are run to minimize risks, which makes them unable to adapt and very slow.

How business can succeed in the Internet century?

“Attract Smart Creatives and create an environment where they can thrive at scale!”

To attract them, they need to care about their company and fit into the company culture. Success comes from small teams who can interact with each other and generate serendipity. And the company should be organized around the people who have the most impact.

When it comes to strategy, traditional business plans should be left aside as they will surely come to fail anyhow and could restrain the freedom of the team. So the business should be found on a stable strategic foundation, with a fluid plan that adapts to change and circumstances:

  • superior products based on technical insight
  • optimization of the business for growth, not revenues
  • awareness of competitors but not copying them

In order to succeed, hiring smart creatives is critical: the hiring process should involve the whole company and not be delegated to recruiters. To enable them to innovate, they should be able to communicate at will  and be involved in the decision-making process: not to all agree always, but to reach a best answer. That is how a CEO can be a CIO: Chief Innovation Officer. Innovation is enabled not commanded.

Innovation often comes more from laboratories than business analysis, and ideas can originate from anyone. And its the big ideas that win in the end, based on what could happen in the future and bet on your imagination. Big bets often work best because they attract the best people.

This presentation by Eric Shmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg with Alan Eagle was published in October 2014 on Slideshare

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