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The Google Way: How One Company Is Revolutionizing Management as We Know It

Title The Google Way: How One Company Is Revolutionizing Management as We Know It
Authors Bernard Girard
Publisher No Starch Press
Date 2009-04-17
Pages 256
ISBN 1593271840

Google is the most intriguing company ever. This book sheds light on the reasons behind its unprecedented success and describes lessons that we can learn from it.

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 GoogleтАЩs product developed into something very useful while the competitorтАЩs 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 GoogleтАЩs 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 тАУ 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 тАУ 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.
  • As a company whose revenue is based on online ads, Google has simplified the process of placing an ad. The process is totally automatic тАУ the people bid for certain keywords which are associated with their ads.

Google has improved the way in which customers interact with it. Another important component is innovative environment within the company. Google is different from traditional companies in the following ways. Its HR department has highly variable size. Google fights bureaucracy by keeping the team size small. Instead of asking managers to evaluate the employees, peer reviews are used in Google. Fellow developers evaluate the projects written during the 20% free-time rule and select the most promising. The ability to work on what you like allows experienced developers to advance in the career ladder without being forced into becoming a manager.

In addition to the interesting content, the book has unique style of presenting it. Blogs are cited very often. Using this book I discovered many new interesting blogs.

This book is a bridge to understanding processes going on in the Internet industry. It will help improve your own company or evaluate other Internet companies.