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The Google Way: How One Company is Revolutionizing Management As We Know It Hardcover – April 20, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
The book was written by Bernard Girard, a French management consultant who has been observing the Google "phenomenon" for years.
It is divided into an introduction, and three sections. The sections talk about current management, putting users first, and sustainability of the current model. Business history of rife with stories of companies that dominated their market niche, but weren't able to sustain their positions. General Motors is the current example that comes to mind, but there are many.
I work in the medical area, and have run or been involved in small medical businesses for many years. I found the descriptions of the Google way to mesh with what I've have found to work in small businesses of 10 to 20 employees. I was surprised to learn that general management theory subscribes to a different set of rules for larger business. Google hasn't followed many of these bromides.
Here are the author's main points about the current Google business model:
There is a triumvirate management. This provides checks and balances, and a wider, more democratic information flow so that decisions are made on the basis of more information. It doesn't allow one person to go off on a personal tangent and take the company with him.
Every effort is made to recruit the most qualified people, particularly people with graduate degrees.
Google allows employees to spend 20% of their time on a project not approved by the company.Read more ›
The book begins by reminding us of how recent Google's contributions are - as of 11/97, only one of the top four commercial search engines found itself within the top ten responses in response to a search for its name. There was just too much junk returned. Yahoo was probably the best - it employed specialists called "ontologists" to check the relevance of key words submitted when a new site was submitted. Another (DirectHit) classified sites according to their cumulative use (Lycos and Hotbot still do). However, this method was vulnerable to distortion due to having several pages open simultaneously (but unviewed), as well to cheating via short programs designed to boost various sites.
Google counts the number of links from a specific site to other pages. Links coming from pages cited often are weighted more heavily. Google also considers the distance between words when a query contains several. It also gives greater value to links from sites with many incoming links and few outgoing links.
One of the main reasons Silicon Valley flourished in innovation vs. Rte. 128 in Massachusetts, per Girand, is that California bans restrictive non-compete clauses in employment contracts.
Google conducted a Dutch auction for its initial IPO, freezing out the high-priced underwriters and the games played "low-balling" the initial price. Girand, however, ended up confusing himself trying to describe the process.
Google ads are limited to 95 words, w/o banners or graphics. Sales and placement are automated, eliminating the need for sales representatives.Read more ›
The section on threats to Google's continued success was interesting: the list of threats was fairly solid, although the analysis of those threats was lacking in both depth and credibility.
Ken Auletta's "Googled: The End of the World as We Know It", while far from perfect, proved to be a far more insightful look at both Google's success and the obstacles it will face in the future.
Even though I use Google on a daily basis and think that I know this company, my perception of it changed a lot after reading the book. For example, some time ago Google released a product that had a glitch. I got disappointed and switched to a similar competitors offering. In the meantime Google's product developed into something very useful while the competitor's stayed where it was. If I had read this book earlier I would have made a better decision.
According to the author of the book there are several forces that steer Google as a company: the triumvirate of executives and user
community. Each of these parts has its share in Google's success.
The founders challenged many traditional methods of managing a company. To start with, a governing triumvirate is very uncommon. The biggest advantage is that they compensate each other when making decisions. Another difference is how Google went public - the founders used then uncommon Dutch auction model to distribute initial set of shares. The author analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of Google management style.
Over the past, many companies have accumulated devoted user bases. This was achieved in different ways such as more traditional - offering a discount or less traditional elitism. The author of the book analyzes the reasons why so many people admire Google:
- Using Google is free. However, many people asked to charge a nominal price in exchange of support.
- Google releases beta versions of its products. It relies on large user community to report bugs and generate improvement ideas.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really helps you get a grasp on the Google model, and general way of thinking. Fun and light read, with ample examples. Read morePublished on December 11, 2013 by Jona
Excellent book I you're looking for an overview of the company's inner workings until 2009. Mostly focused on which strategies has the company's management used to achieve market... Read morePublished on July 11, 2013 by Pen Name
I wanted an easy read serious and concise book on the Google phenomenon - and I got what I hoped for from "The Google way". I published my first book on management 1969. Read morePublished on March 17, 2013 by Lars Wiberg
Book for school. The sender got the book to me very fast and the price was just right. Even though I could have just gotten the kindle version.Published on January 8, 2013 by TARA HIGHBAUGH
Seemed at times a book report on Google. Nothing really groundbreaking. A little early in the game to declare them the model for the 21st century, especially because Google may be... Read morePublished on October 23, 2012 by LetGoAndLetLean
The book is excellent and very practical. Goes according to current market needs, where always the main barrier is the lack of money. Read morePublished on October 15, 2011 by Rod
I give this book a so-so review based on my recent read of it. The writing style is a bit dry and pedantic. Read morePublished on April 9, 2011 by DagnyTaggart
This book is worth every penny. I have come to really appreciate this wonderful resource we call Amazon.com. I didn't know about this book until I researched it on its site.Published on February 14, 2011 by roco
Nice, fluent and easy-to-read business book that tries to explain to the reader how and why the Google management system has been so successful. Read morePublished on August 2, 2010 by Udi Drezner