Looking at Google today, they have a CEO but no CTO and the founders seem to be not involved in day to day strategy of Google. So, the real problem is that their current CEO is not filling the CTO boots very well and that's a problem because there is no CTO. It's showing. Google's strategy is fine from a financial point of view but less so from a technical point of view.
A bit like MS under Balmer. In fact, Google is starting to act a lot like MS a decade ago; including being arrogant, increasingly isolated, and somewhat tone deaf. I like them a lot less than 10 years ago. Of course Balmer added a whole other level of surreal to the mix that is thankfully missing here. Looking at MS today, they turned things around quite a bit and their current CEO is in an entirely different league than Google's CEO. That's the problem they need to fix. He's alright but not great. They need great. Pichar isn't. That's what those numbers are saying.
Pichai spent all his management career at Google. He is undoubtedly a very bright individual but his personal life experience is limited to a single company which was on the rise during his entire career. He came to prominence by inventing the MSIE Toolbar. The thing was quite insidious: when installed, it showed some proxy for the PageRank of the current page (not the real PR). That gave it a reason to call home for every visited page -- this data was used to improve search quality. In addition it distributed Google Search to IE users. Toolbar generated some billions of dollars for Google. Pichai was also instrumental for starting the Chrome project.
Pichai is an extremely shrewd politician. An excellent diplomat. He manages the company by finding the balance between internal power groups. When the company is growing that's all that is needed. That's absolutely not enough when things go sour.
Here is an example. Google Cloud is failing. The fundamental reason for the failure is quite obvious: the margins in the cloud business are much smaller than in the ads/search. Consequently it's starved of good people. After all, if you are in sales why would you work on something which has 5 or 10% margin when you can work on something with 30 or 50% margin? The solution to the problem is also simple -- spin cloud off into a separate business. But that requires splitting up Google's infrastructure. That means a conflict with Urs Hoelzle. Which is impossible for Pichai. He would rather see Google Cloud die than pick a fight with a powerful old-timer like Urs.
That brings me to the Google culture at the top. If you want to have a career at Google you need to do something visible. At the lower levels it means working on a new project. At a VP level you need to start a new audacious project (this is why Google has 6 instant messengers). If it launches you get recognition and money. If not your career slows for a year then you do it again. Once launched, the project is no longer relevant for the career and can be passed to someone else for maintenance where it's starved of resources and slowly killed. This culture was formed long time ago, under Schmidt and Page. Pichai just perpetuated it. As long as ads and search generate healthy amounts of cash this may continue indefinitely. At the same time the new challenges and the new markets are likely to be missed by Google, just like it happened under Balmer at MSFT.
Pichai is status quo.
This line contradicts with others. My issue is that Google tries too much to enter new markets. Google is fine with starting 10 projects if one of them will be successful and kill others. It is the same thing you wrote.
The distinction is in having a sustained effort behind the project. One may have 6 messengers while none of them gets the resources to succeed. The projects are used for a short-term career advancement, not for a long-term effort to open a new market.
The logic is indeed to have "... 10 projects if one of them will be successful and kill others". It just does not work that way. Google's leadership (the top ~10 people) position themselves above the fight. They don't throw their weight behind one of the (for example) messengers because if it fails it's their failure too (remember Google +?). As a result the users are confused, the resources are spread thin, and none of the 10 wins the market.
It isn't that simple I think. You need to know the volume of each "something". Selling a lot of product A at 5-10% margin is great!
I don't think Google lacks tech direction, quite on the contrary, they still excel and way ahead of the crowds. But they don't have a strategy to make money off from those technologies, other than limited venues like advertising/play store. But that is nothing CTO can solve.
A CTO's role is to provide clarity internally and externally on what a company is doing technically. In absence of a CTO, that role is for the CEO. Pichar is not enough of a credible leader on this front.
E.g. Steve Jobs was a clear visionary leader. Bill Gates was a clear technical founder CEO. They did not need CTOs. Amazon has an effective business oriented CEO that defers to a very strong CTO (Werner Vogels) for technical things.
AWS is no accident; that requires technical leadership (Vogels) and long term strategic thinking (Bezos). Google just got leapfrogged by MS in the same space. I'd argue lack of leadership is a big reason.
And Microsoft has got some very unique strengths when it comes to Enterprise IT and developer tools.
That would be absurd, as such decision has no technical merit.
You think a CTO's job is only to decide which technologies to use?
The main difference I can assume is when you look to 1 or 2 (founders)equal leaders to set vision it’s easier to get behind than however many VPs they have(today).
They want more people writing amazing content, and not SEO garbage.
They want to offer people focused answers to their questions.
They want to serve as your personal assistant.
They want people to really trust the first answer they get from Google.
And they want to be deeply integrated with your life.
The thing is: building AWS is more of an engineering project. Achieving Google's list is more of a research project - it's just far harder and less predictable.
Some will even say those goals require artificial general intelligence.
Assuming that's the case, the fact that Google leads the world in AI/ML , hints that they are doing a good job, right ?
They cloned iOS not because they think they can make it better but because they saw how big mobile would get, and didn't like that apple was in control.
They want to cut costs by trying to automate everything with "deep learning and AI."
> They want people to really trust the first answer they get from Google.
Yeah they already messed up this one by going for their ai crap here. I still remember the article about the journalist who google claimed was dead when you googled her name. Not just that but it was nearly impossible for her to contact anyone at google to correct that. Which is not surprising if you consider the arrogance of google. Nobody there even considers that their automation could make mistakes, so why have any way of contacting a real person there that could do anything?
Seriously I mean it. That's the only explanation I can come up with after having read countless articles about how google locked down people's gmail for "suspicious activity" and made it impossible to reactivate, or contact anyone who could even provide any information about what exactly is wrong. All the stories about YouTube's inconsistent flagging of videos, false copyright strikes and no way of getting help. Even big channels that have a dedicated representative get a "sorry can't do anything" in many of those cases. If you ever get fucked over by google your only hope is that you can make a post on some big website that will blow up to the point where google sees it might damage their reputation.
When grandma googles something, and sees a "quick answer" does she trust it ? probably.
I'm not convinced on this one. It feels like they've ceded the SEO spam war to me. As mentioned in the article, they just crudely exclude large swaths of content now instead of trying to filter out actually bad content.
And they have just generally devalued the organic results in favor of ads, widgets, curated stuff...anything that keeps you walled in to Google owned properties or ads. It's fairly common now to have zero organic results above the fold.
But in general, the job of SEO's is increasingly being about writing better content and satisfying the user, and less about "tricks". That's true , at least generally.
But when i say better content, better is defined as more engaging, shareable, linkable, clickable. that sort of stuff. This isn't our cup of tea here at HN, but maybe that's what most people go for. Maybe.
BTW, my fun pet conspiracy theory(everybody should have one!) , is that somewhere deep in the belly of alphabet, they have a secret search engine built for engineers, that nobody knows it exists, even the engineers(it uses a google theme), and it's the key behind their moonshot empire. :)
Are you kidding? Look at the articles posted on HN. MANY are pure marketing or self-promotion pieces designed to be shared on social media like HN, get clicks, and start discussion.
It’s funny how HN commenters only call it seo, clickbait, and marketing if they don’t like it lol.
But would you say the same about the comments ?
But also, we come here mostly for entertainment. And even in our entertainment we prefer a high-quality discussion.
But Google isn't a tool for entertainment. And people here do complain about shitty Google results.
And to be fair, they also complain about the declining quality of HN. But still, it's better than the alternative communities, probably.
Plenty of people who think because they’re paid a lot of money to be computer programmers that they can instantly have genius insights into completely unrelated fields. A good amount of “well actually” when any social issue is discussed. Surprising volume of apologizing for discrimination/racism/sexism/etc. under the guise of “free speech”.
But for me, that's not the reason i come here. I'm more interested in discussion about entrepreneurship and businesses, and some of the commentors are quite good.
Anyone trying to build a scalable business and expecting SEO to play a meaningful role probably doesn’t have a firm grasp on what Google has done over the past 10 years and will continue to do. Most businesses, and their investors, should be calculating what their numbers look like if they were to receive 0 free users from Google.
Maybe true. but it can still, sometimes be an effective tool for small businesses, both in local and organic.
But once you most people blindy trust the first answer Google gives them , you know what an awesome sales tool that is ?
And instead of advertisers having 4 Adwords + 4 local search(sometimes) + Google shopping + SEO to target placement for - what if everyone competed for the same, single ad placement location ? What would that do ad prices ?
It’s likely that anyone who works on other projects might feel left out and that would explain your reaction and the article.
Google company culture strongly erodes for two reasons:
De-facto retirement of Larry and Sergey and significant deepening of the reporting structure in the last few years (ie endless layers of middle management).
Both of these make consistent vision and values much harder to achieve. Recent Googlegeist just reflects that.
Are you comparing yourself to an independent carpenter ?
An independent carpenter would be like a mercenary, who first works to earn money, and then eventually selects his/her clients according to his/her own vision.
A carpenter working for a big corporation would wonder what is the vision of the company, what is he contributing to, beyond the delivering of the building, imo
When you work for a corporation, you are supposed to embrace (and consent to) the company's goal, which is defined by the top level.
Having a search "10% faster every year" looks like a narrow-minded KPI without awarness of a greater purpose.
If you are happy, fine, but I think some people would trade your happiness for their freedom and privacy
Business is complicated. You cannot be narcissus forever.
I would have definitely said yes back in the day; but not so sure now.
(Admittedly might be biased. I'm the founder of Synthetic Minds. We're building program synthesizers; basically all compilers work: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19059922)
Out of curiosity: if not the language platform team, then which team does PL research? My email is in my profile of you'd rather ping there.
They’ve gone for “cloud services” instead. Drastically, drastically, less inspiring — and also pretty competitive. What happens if Amazon drop their prices a bit?
Originally bezos was pissed off that Amazon’s excess capacity for the Black Friday/Christmas surge was going to waste the other 50 weeks of the year. I suspect that’s a pretty powerful motivation. But google absorbs huge spikes too (9/11 was one of the first harbingers of this) so it seemed inevitable, even back then, that they’d do it eventually.
Fighting the momentum of entire markets and hoping a muse settles on your shoulder isn’t a sustainable business strategy for most companies, let alone very large public companies.
There was a hard pivot in TechInfra when Cloud became a priority. And there is a business reason for it - if was estimated that with other cloud providers growing and consolidating Google will cease to be hardware buyer #1 and thus will not get best hardware discounts, affecting profitability of Ads/Search. So there was no choice but to get serious about cloud.
As for dropping prices, nothing will happen - clouds already run on relatively small, albeit oligopolic margins. If one provider reduces price, other providers will follow, with a bit less profit for everyone. This happens from time to time.
This is actually pretty cool. The butler part makes it sound silly but if you were able to pull it off it would mean that we have reached a technological breakthrough. It would be very close to a technological singularity.
It's just an incredibly stressful time in a family's life, no matter how you cut it.
A butler to handle taking out the trash, cleaning the house, cleaning after your parents while you did the other tasks is already s big help.
At first they'll promise they won't collect a lot of data and you'll always be able to opt out. However, increasingly more data will start getting collected, you'll start having a hard time finding the option to opt out and even if you manage to do it, the UI will progressively get more deceptive and annoying at trying to get you to turn it back on.
Next thing you know, almost everyone has them connected, you're a weirdo if you don't and Google is even more powerful than before.
It's possible they Google release another version when technology will be ready (better battery, camera, sound packed into much smaller form & size)
This is broadly true of wearables so far: nobody has come up with a use case for them more compelling than, "shave a few seconds off checking notifications on your phone."
Factions develop, tensions mount, and you get angry employees leaking confidential information constantly. Most of the negative press the public has heard about Google in the past year is a direct result of leaks.
It just doesn't feel as "fun" anymore.
I would disagree that it's possible to build a strategic relationship with all small company CEOs... some are just way too dysfunctional.
For example, a company with 5,000 employees might have about 500 positions that could actually be eliminated via automation, improved processes, and removing net negative contributors. If the average fully loaded cost is $100k/year (many old companies still have people not comped as high as Silicon Valley folks), you’re looking at roughly $50 million in dollar savings, not to mention the top performers aren’t distracted by the under-performers.
If I’m at the C-level, it’d be completely reasonable to pitch making this move, pocket an extra $500k for myself, and give $5 million worth of bonuses to the remaining 4,500 people ($1k minimum each), and you’ve still saved roughly $45 million to the company’s bottom line for savings or growth investment or higher comp for top performers. These are all rough numbers, but you get the point.
I suspect companies don’t do this more often because 1) they have a hard time, from the upper management vantage point, knowing where to cut/identifying the poor performers who try to hide, 2) scared to accidentally cut someone actually important, and 3) like managing a “big” company, even at the expense of their own potential executive comp.
They do, it‘s classic „rank and yank“, but perhaps slightly harder nowadays due to diversity and other such ideological concerns.
Bang. You're spot on.
From what I've seen, it's an unfortunate artifact of many (if not most) large companies. There are just too many places to hide.
I'm keen to know if it's the same at Apple and Amazon.
I've yet to hear of any large company that doesn't inevitably end up this way.
Probably not true but I did really wonder at times. Walking past people waiting in line for 30 minutes to get food when I would just grab a PB&J. Seeing people playing ping pong and video games, the same people every day, all day, as I walked between meetings. I eventually felt like I was Doing It Wrong.
When interviewing ask the following questions:
* How do you define personal success?
* In the fewest words how do you define product quality?
* Do you require honesty/transparency as a primary cultural value even when it makes people uncomfortable?
> It's almost as if the "largeness" of a company allows the non productive people to hide within it
So your observation reminded me that our society has plenty of people on a similar sort of hidden dole: vast corporate structures with uncountable layers of non-productive paper pushers, with a very small proportion of employees setting the vision and another small bunch generating most of the value. A social welfare program by any other name ...
So like do large human groups just inevitably have some subset that doesn't quite fit (in terms of work and productivity) but who need taking care of so we semi-deny their existence ("no slackers here!") while we semi-throw'em a bone ("here's a paycheck, go look at Facebook for a few hours and fiddle with PowerPoint while I harass my secretary")?
This is why everyone wants to be university educated. The great bulk of "respectable" office jobs require no real skill or effort, just some cultural knowledge about how to talk like you're contributing.
AKA people invent novel ways to support themselves when the alternative is starving in the street
Some non-productive people are non-productively lazy, and UBI may work for them.
Others are non-conformist creative types, and UBI will half work for them. IMO it's good to have some of these types around in a business to shake things up - as long as they have some practical skills and aren't just dreamers.
Others are primarily interested in accumulating power, and corporations provide a perfect cover for them. They will get off UBI as soon as they can, but they're often incredibly toxic, and large organisations of all kinds are very good at empowering them.
With the odd exception, they're probably the biggest threat to the future of any business. And they're very good at disguising this. They're the people who turn in solid financials and performance stats. But the results are built on rubble, and often their management doesn't discover this until it's too late.
I’m inclined to view this almost as a basic income type situation.
Much can be automated away, but what do we end up if we do that today?
We need to find meaning in life other than money for a whole bunch of non-nerds.
That's a very big claim.
I can instant message mine. And I still have my last one's personal mobile number.
FAANG aren't the only companies.
I was hoping you would have a personal experience to share but I guess that's not the case. I wonder how often in anonymous forums people share beliefs (not data) on things they haven't personally experienced but have heard other people on the internet experience (who may have been lying).
I've never worked at Google, but it looks like shambles from the outside. Kind of reminds me of a younger Microsoft back when three teams would create three competitive solutions to the same problem (although to Microsoft's credit they still support most of those to this day).
Google really needs to decide what it wants to be, what direction they're going in, and work together. I'm guessing there's some perverse incentives at play for some of this (e.g. promotions/bonuses for new stuff, nothing for updates to existing products, or other "boring" work).
Internally, Google is not so different from an ecosystem of VC-funded startups. They try a lot of things. Some ideas work and others don't.
The alternative is to never ship new products out of fear of failure. Or, to indefinitely support everything, regardless of how tiny. Or, to wait so long to derisk a new product that they possibly miss out on a new market (I'm looking at you, HomePod).
At the end of the day, this strategy has worked out well for them, so why stop? For every failure like G+ or Allo, there's a success like Google Photos or Duo.
IMO if Google really wants to try out new things, they should make these things invite-only to find out if they are working and how users interact with it, or clearly mark them as 'beta' or something like that. Google has a huge fan base and the internet is full of people excited to try out new things. But if users clearly see "hey, this is kind of a beta product, I am just testing this out" there would be way less disappointment if the product shuts down after a while.
I might be biased but I think Amazon is like this.
Disclaimer - work in Alexa
For some definition of work. They're still mostly (~80-90%) an ad-driven company, after all these years.
Reality: after 2008, economy boomed, and advertising also did. Advertising, once you have the means, is easier to scale, and high margin. Google stopped relying on just owned and operated properties, and diversified into 3p properties to achieve even more scale
Most other businesses or business attempts require massive operations which google lacks
Even you ramp up non advertising revenue to a billion dollar, advertising will grow more just because it is already big.
One of these is unlike the other. The amount of money invested into the ultimately-failed G+ is mind-bogglingly immense.
Try looking at https://gcemetery.co/ and naming how many of those you even recognize and can describe without looking it up. Everyone just loves mentioning Reader, but except the new batch of G+ and Inbox, there hasn't been any significant product killed in a while.
Your list is missing some high profile products like Google Allo and Chromecast Audio.
News and weather is basically just merging with another app, reply moved into Android (I beta tested reply, and despite the app being gone I still have the features), Tez still exists as a part of pay, showtimes got rolled into normal search, tango was experimental and became arcore, google x very much is still around, glass never left beta as a consumer product and is still relevant as an enterprise product. Chrome frame has no reason to still exist, Quickoffice merged with Google docs, the Nexus line became pixel, noop was a 20% project, not an official google product.
When you remove the garbage, you end up with a company that deprecates a few things each year, most of which you've never heard of anyway.
chromecast's ux was always waaaaay to complicated to understand for non-tech people and audio is it's first casualty.
Allo is overhyped, from day 1.
I recognized and could explain more than half listed, but only cared about a couple (didn’t care about Reader).
When you suck out the soul, the remaining carcass will totter on for a couple more decades, and encomiums will be written to the "well-managed" company in business magazines, but no promising undergraduates will list it as their dream job, and somehow, that's what really matters.
Their whole training is to convert high performance engineering places to minimum wage paying furniture assembly shops.
I guess Google at this point just keep churning through systems because Engineers are incentivized to show impact and rarely end up creating new good products.
Adding tons of new engineers is also probably hurting their overall quality and velocity.
Back in around circa 2006, Microsoft one day suddenly decided to remove Google search and replace it with Bing on their default browser, IE (which was still number one back then). This threatened Google's revenues to a considerable extent as online search is one of the major source of their income.
At that time, it was Sundar Pichai who was in the forefront of managing some quick OEM contracts with Dell, HP, etc., so that Google toolbar was installed by default on all their computers. Google toolbar ensured that users were shown a confirmation dialog and were given the option to make Google search the default again! This later ensured Sundar's rise in power and respect that ultimately made him CEO one day.
One can of course argue that Google is such a superior engine compared to Bing that the users would have visited google.com anyway (which will also result in that option to make it default). However, its also true that most users will not take the pain of changing their setup if it already works! So who knows, if Sundar's intervention hadn't happened at that time, maybe Bing and Google would be on an equal footing today!
Source: Straight from the horse's mouth (Jeff Nelson, Chromebook inventor and former Google employee): https://www.quora.com/What-did-Sundar-Pichai-do-that-his-pee...
While he may not have written code that's two world-leading consumer adoption stories. So many great engineers build products that never achieve great adoption. So aren't Pichai's accomplishments worthy of CEO-level promotion?
Recruiting a world-class team, motivating them to achieve such domination, managing their egos amid a huge company full of talented people, executing across the behemoth that is Google... all these are vital skills and as a company grows maybe more of what you need from a CEO than one who is the most talented engineer. (I may be wrong; just a thought).
Couple of personal observations-
Would it have been same if Chrome was not advertised on every google property and google intentionally breaking google properties on competitor browsers?
Also there was really no competition for android.
But not sure if the these two products were not world class then they would have worked.
And Chrome originally swept the world because it was just so much better (most faster) than everything else. That’s why the tech industry migrated initially, and then the growth tactics probably just kept things moving to grab the number one spot.
He might have not fought in the trenches of engineering. But I've seen his congress testimony. He is such a humble and kind guy while still being a nerd, one of us. If I worked at Google, I definitely would be glad about him being CEO.
To give him credit, from what I've seen, he's very aware of these shortcomings and as you say, he'd refuse.
Compare this to the current Google which is basically run by an ex-McKinsey type of person who has no idea about the technical side of things and will sell his mom for a buck (as evidenced by Dragonfly). Of all the possible choices they have somehow converged on the worst one. I'd argue Urs, even with his shortcomings, could make Google a far stronger company in the mid- to long term. Urs has as good a bullshit filter and ethics as I've ever seen in an SVP, and he's not "slimy". Again, Sundar was a crap choice. I mean, it didn't even have to be an engineer. Nikesh Arora (sales) was pretty outstanding as well. Clearly CEO material, clearly one of the very best in his field, he had the internal respect. We will never know for sure, but he probably was angling for the CEO spot as well. And he'd be a better choice as a strong business leader. He left in 2014, shortly before Sundar took over.
That's precisely why he's not CEO material (for that matter, this is why Larry was a shitty CEO as well). Being CEO of a large multinational requires an amount of dissembling and two-faced-ness that few engineers (and certainly not engineers with integrity) are comfortable with. You're trying to balance the interests of literally billions of people, many of whose interest are not aligned, many of whom have widely disparate power levels, and some of whom are driven by cutthroat ambitious egos who would promptly chop your head off if you let them. If any one of those groups had a true picture of what the other parts of the system really thought of them, they would promptly cease to do business with them (at best) or erupt in outright warfare (at worst). Thus, it requires telling a different set of truths to each group, based on what they want to hear, and hoping that they never compare notes.
When they do compare notes, you get news stories like Project Maven, Project Dragonfly, the compensation memo, and so on.
Strongly disagree. Also disagree that Larry was a shitty CEO.
Yes, but I'm only half joking when I say that that's how all the pod people make you feel. In fact the people who I would consider the most through and through "one of us" are often off-putting and completely antisocial by nature, not even by choice. I think that's the difference between being naturally reality-focused or people-focused.
Look this ship don't turn fast no matter who's at the helm. And it's not even clear it needs to. Maybe it's already sailing where Sundar wants it to (mad money + compelling products). As far as I can tell, public sentiment about Google is very different from tech/nerd sentiment about the same, and that's fine by me, because the public seems to like the company and its products. We are making money hand over fist with no end in sight. While our politics might not be progressive enough for the left fringe of Googlers (and I say this as a liberal myself), they are certainly not reactionary by any stretch.
I wouldn't expect a radical new idea to spring out of Google at any point in the future. It's too big for that. The folks with radical new ideas are working in their garages. And that's OK. Companies have life-cycles, like anything else, and Google-the-company is in the "mature adult" phase. It is refining and extending in the areas where it's strong. Occasionally it tries a new hobby, but it doesn't expect to make a career change. It can't. It likes its day job (the best damn information-seeking web properties on the planet), and even if it got pretty good at something else, it's hard to picture a scenario where the productivity of that alternative comes close to the main business.
I guess this is the long way of saying that I don't see why the investors would want Sundar out. I don't see why Larry or Sergey would. And I don't see why most employees would either. We're all getting rich and mostly being treated well, and building things that broadly speaking make the world a better and more productive place. Those are all the people that get a vote, so I wouldn't bet on Sundar going anywhere soon unless he wants to.
I strongly disagree with this sentiment, ease up on the kool-aid. Productive, maybe? Better, hell no.
Microsoft have proved several times that they can turn a supertanker on a pinhead. They embraced the internet even though it meant abandoning an extremely attractive dream in MSN. They've embraced cloud services, even though it means choking up their own rivers of gold to get to the next one.
It's not pretty, but it's possible.
Google has been doing well financially, because it has lost its soul
Took a cursory look at his/her's other comments and spotted "Google, which doesn't respect users' choices in Android not to collect location data and yet the company wants others not to deal in that data from its other services"
I once made an internal G+ post that "voluntary response data measures liquidity, not satisfaction". When you have an organization that people can freely choose to join or leave, then you should expect that any internal surveys will have very high satisfaction numbers - because anyone who is dissatisfied will simply leave and drop out of the sample. Similarly, if you get consistently low numbers for satisfaction, that could be because the people in the sample have low liquidity - they can't easily go elsewhere.
This is why organizations like Congress, Comcast, and Facebook (users, not employees) have such perpetually low approval ratings - for most people stuck with them, there are simply no alternatives, and so they remain beholden to their decisions despite hating them. And similarly, Google employees have very high satisfaction ratings because it's relatively easy to get a job elsewhere or just not need a job at all as a Xoogler, and so anyone who dislikes it just leaves.
When Larry and Sergey retired and handed the reins over to Sundar, a standard issue McKinsey drone whose technical contributions over the span of his entire career are close to nil, it was game over for the original Google culture.
In fact, there is a theory floating around that he was chosen because someone very smart at Google predicted the huge oncoming controversies around privacy, data collection, manipulative monopolistic practices, and how overly powerful Google was becoming in general.
Visionless, mild-mannered, bland, milquetoast, "we need to be incredibly thoughtful about this" Sundar was the perfect choice as a CEO to weather that particular storm, by staying under the radar as much as possible by projecting a "don't worry we're the good guys, see how inoffensive I am myself" image (as opposed to "I'm the CEO bitch" Zuck types).
Truth be told, the strategy has worked to a point: Google is in far less trouble than e.g. FB.
But there is a price to be paid by handing over the wheel to someone who was specifically chosen for how inoffensive and uninteresting he is.
Arguably they may have been key to scaling the company. We never know what the company would have been otherwise as we can't rewind the tape and change history. Could have been a lot more visionary and inspiring. Could have also been much smaller and narrower without Eric and McKinsey functions.
Their search engine is really hard to replace, not just because of the quality, but also because of how ubiquitous it is.
YouTube is the second largest search engine on the planet and has the largest mindshare of any website on the internet.
Android is "the" platform pretty much everyone accesses the internet.
Cloud could do better (it's 3rd distant in the race against MSFT and AMZN), but nevertheless a huge opportunity.
Buffet and Munger were correct when they commented about Google saying they'd never seen a wider moat in their entire career.
For the web, yes. I'd argue it's not threatened by other search engines, though it is threatened by other players and indexes:
- Apps. Google can't crawl apps, and people are getting used to the idea of finding information in separate indexes as opposed to a single universal one. Each app today has it's own search box, so if I'm looking for somewhere to eat I go to Yelp. A product? Amazon. If I'm looking for someone I open Facebook. If I'm looking for flights I open Kayak, Priceline or Expedia, etc).
> YouTube is the second largest search engine on the planet and has the largest mindshare of any website on the internet.
I agree that YouTube is very strong.
> Android is "the" platform pretty much everyone accesses the internet.
I disagree here. People largely access the internet (as in, data from the internet) through apps, like I mentioned before (Yelp, Facebook, Amazon, Kayak, Expedia...). . Moreover, in terms of OSes, you still iOS and Windows are still holding steadily to a decent chunk of important markets.
> Cloud could do better (it's 3rd distant in the race against MSFT and AMZN), but nevertheless a huge opportunity.
I do agree here.
> Buffet and Munger were correct when they commented about Google saying they'd never seen a wider moat in their entire career.
+1 on some things, but not so much on others IMO. At this point most tech companies have comparable moats. Amazon, Facebook, Apple-- also huge moats.
And that's the thing-- competing against "just another search company" they're definitely in no threat, but they're competing against companies about as moated as they are. Amazon beat them to the punch with voice assistants. Apple Music is taking market share like Google Music couldn't. ChromeOS still can't seem to crack the dominance Microsoft Windows has on laptops. They're a lot stronger than most people think, but their competition is too.
: Fun fact, people browse the web a lot while using Facebook. This is somewhat tangential to my main point so putting it down here, but Facebook is actually a major web browser:
Not really. Windows still exists, as does iOS.
I'm not so sure about this. Bing is actually pretty good and in some aspects I find it superior. I like their video search better.
People are lazy. It's hard to deny that Bing and DDG are "better" in many ways, but how often does that matter? Most searches are simple and mindless - where any search provider will give you good results. Google has optimized for this use case.
> how would you like to pay $10 a month for a GMail and Google Maps combo access package?
Isn't $10/mo slightly above what Google Suite costs, per individual user? I would argue that it's already happening - if Google services are important enough to you that them denying you service would bring serious trouble, you need either Google Suite or to pay for a competitor - either way, providing them a meaningful incentive to keep you around. "Free" services are just not something you should ever rely on.
Same goes for other big service providers like Facebook, Twitter or Amazon's retail service, of course - if you can't even pay for meaningful support, you must have some sort of contingency plan and diversify the stuff you rely on. It didn't used to be like that, but Google and other big Internet properties have matured and lost a lot of their inherent "slack", even as our reliance on them may have increased - and that loss of slack could come back to bite you in the ass.
Yt, display, gmail, etc.
Actually I think you're basically right.
The only innovation among these was whatever youtube did to be allowed to host all the pirated content, as opposed to everyone else who tried it.
Netflix will probably split into two with one company showing new movies with different pricing models. The second service will have all of the original content they made throughout the years for a low price but lack studio productions. Not sure it will be as appealing unless they can find a way to strench a production budgets while keeping quality.
Credit where credit is due. I don’t think IG would be where it is today without FB.
1. Small company: around $160,000/yr + equity
2. Google: no exact number but I was told that for the level I was approved, the base is around $120,000/yr. Apparently my coding skills on a Google doc were equivalent to that of a new grad and they are really trying to low-ball me. Somehow they are under the assumption that I'm "dying" to work there.
If you interview at Google make sure to have other competing offers, otherwise you'll be up for a surprise. Also remember that although they'll tell you that the hiring committee looks at a candidate holistically, only the onsite interviews will dictate your level and the compensation. They don't seem to care what products you've built previously, years of experience, or education. How you code in a Google doc is what seems to matter.
- A non-trivial take-home exercise and give them a week or two to complete. This should have higher weight on the decision instead of the "Google doc coding" as most likely that's the type of code they'll be shipping to production.
- Use the onsite interviews to improve upon the exercise and/or to get into the nitty gritty details, and also to make sure this is the type of person people would enjoy working with.
- Allow candidates to run the code and to look things up (even Einstein didn't remember how to do long division, he looked it up).
- Give people the benefit of the doubt and assume they are not liars or thieves. If you end up having certain doubts, ask yourself why you have those doubts and take appropriate steps to remove doubts.
And let's be real. Do you think someone with X years of experience having worked at multiple companies (small and big corps) was hired because they couldn't code?
Nitpick: the idea that Einstein struggled with school-level mathematics is a myth. I would be very surprised if he ever had to look up the procedure for long division.
If you'll end up having to do a face to face analysis to make sure someone didn't cheat on a big take home assignment like that, why not just skip to the face to face analysis?
Amazon does if you get upleveled and negotiate.