The Final Days of Google

Marvellous columnGoogle is an amazing entrepreneurial petri dish. Yet at the same time, it is doomed to disappoint nearly every entrepreneurial type who works there. This is key: Google is sowing the seeds of its own eventual destruction. It can’t help doing so.

For those who don’t know these details or have forgotten them, here’s the simple background: Google has made a huge effort to hire the best technical people it can find. Thousands of PhDs are now working in various Google labs, and many of these people were hired from other successful businesses. Google has also acquired a number of smaller companies, many of them for either their technology or their technical talent, and these companies bring yet more entrepreneurial DNA into the mix. The company has created a potent combination of straight-from-university geniuses, straight-from-start-up geniuses, and straight-from-Microsoft/IBM/Yahoo/wherever geniuses. These bright folks work individually and in teams and 20 percent of their time is supposed to be devoted to pursuing new technical ideas of their own. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page are sure (and for good reason) that their crew will generate in this 20 percent time thousands of ideas and technologies that the company can commercialize for decades to come.

It is a brilliant strategy and one that would appear to be almost foolproof. Alas, that’s not so, for Google’s strategy for business immortality is fatally flawed and will ultimately kill the company….

Read on: it’s great.