Monday, September 24, 2007

Business to the Googleth Degree

So, I was reading something on Slashdot, and I saw someone saying that Google encourages their employees to spend 10-20% of their time working on their own pet projects. WOW! That's one day a week! Have you ever wondered how things work over at the Googleplex? I did a little sleuthing and dug up this article. I pulled out a couple of the bullets.

  • Innovation is not about instant perfection: New products and ideas are launched early and often, rather than spending time and money perfecting ideas before they are released to the public. Popularity determines which will be the most successful.

  • Failure is good: Figuring out why a project failed offers something to apply to the next project. But fail fast to minimise the investment in shoddy ideas and damage to the brand.

  • Give employees the time to pursue their dreams: Employees are encouraged to spend 10-20% of their time working on their own pet projects. This gives employees a creative outlet and gives them ownership of their ideas.

  • Focus on users, not money: Anything that consumers find useful will inevitably make money, so focus on the user rather than something you can sell.

It's a wonder anything gets done over there. FYI, if you go to the article they mention something about not needing managers, but if you go to their corporate site, you'll see a list of 50 some odd managers. So I'd take that with a grain of salt. I'm not sure what the sources of the article are. There is also this bit on their company philosophy. Anyway, I thought some people might find this interesting. Have we parsed our company culture out anywhere? I feel like there were some cool things in the company handbook that might be worth sharing with the rest of the world.


Brian Grossman said...

Pretty sweet stuff. A buddy of mine used to work for a place called SketchUp which was purchased by Google. (They use SketchUp technology to draw all those little buildings in Google Earth). From what I hear from him, it really is an amazing place. The hierarchy really is flat... and they do encourage you to do your own stuff. Kind of a holdover from the glory days of the early 90's in Silicon Valley...

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