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Not Google bashing

By October 17, 2006 January 1st, 2007 No Comments

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This post was inspired by an article (not available free online) in the October edition of PCPlus and is a follow up to my two earlier posts Competing with Google – it can be done and Google becoming the old guard – and what is next.

As I’ve said before Google is a great company that has achieved results I can only dream about emulating in one of my investments.  As I’ve also said before they are not infallible.  I think I’m going to make this my last post on the subject, but I wanted to share a few quotes from the PCPlus magazine that make me stronger in my conviction that intelligently going after some of Google’s markets might be a smart thing to do.  Quotes from PCPlus in itallics and where I’ve had them, my thoughts follow in square brackets.

  • Google’s … mission is to “organise the worlds information and make it universally accessible and useful” – a statement so vague and all-encompassing as to render it almost useless as an insight into the company’s strategy.
  • “The way you find really successful innovation is to release five things and hope that one or two really take off” – Google VP Marissa Mayer [I’m unconvinced this can work in a large organisation – we tried it at Reuters when I was there and the basic problem is that protected from the dog eat dog world of the start-up Darwinian processes don’t work as well, either to turn great ideas into big businesses or to kill the bad ones]
  • “It feels like Google do have a strategy, but even its employees don’t know what it is” analyst Bob Enderle
  • “We build products then think about how to make money from them afterwards” Google spokes person
  • Experts claim that Google is making too many high profile enemies [they are going after Microsoft with online office apps, Ebay with Checkout, book publishers with Book Search, and telecoms companies by laying its own fibre across America]

This all speaks to a lack of focus and if you pick your area it should be possible to compete successfully against these guys.  I wouldn’t go after office applications though…