Google recently turned 10 years old. A "BackRub" project is now a $157 billion enterprise that dominates Internet space. It currently employs over 19,000 people, holds ~65% search engine market share and makes around $31,018 per minute.
What can you learn from Google? Will it become a monopoly? Will there be a Google killer? Let’s answer those questions.
What Can You Learn From Google?
You and I are similar. We both like victory, glory, respect, love and money. We both want to achieve our dreams and live an extraordinary life. Without an argument, in Western society, money is the means by which we can enjoy life more. All people desire money as soon as they’re old enough to understand its purpose, but few ever achieve extraordinary wealth and abundance.
What can we learn from Google and now jet-owning billionaires Sergey Brin and Larry Page?
TRULY, "thoughts are things," and powerful things at that, when they are mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and a BURNING DESIRE for their translation into riches, or other material objects.- Napoleon Hill
Google was merely a thought, an idea that occurred to the founders. It was a seed, which was not yet planted. Sergei and Larry acted on a thought, on an idea and planted it as a seed, which grew to be a mighty oak, which now brings fear to its competition and all industries it touches.
It wasn’t always like that. Let’s go back 10 years and look at how it was then
Larry and Sergei were not looking for a business; they wanted to sell their technology, but luckily for them, no one wanted it. Call it coincidence, but I do not believe in those.
In 1998 they decided to open a business after getting a $100,000 check from Andy Bechtolsheim, Sun Microsystems cofounder.
Month later Google opened its first bank account, and hired their first employee, Craig Silverstein.
At that point, Google was nobody in the corporate world. There was no business model, nor did Sergei or Larry know of one. All they had was PageRank and some servers.
Stop for a second.
Look back at the time when you were sure of something, but had no clue as to how you were going to get there. You knew you were going to get there eventually with your guts, you just didn’t know how. There was a lot of mystery in tomorrow and one nasty question never left your mind: "What’s next?" But your were sure of yourself and willing to gamble it all on your abilities.
Can you recall such a time? We’ve all had one like it; I bet you have bright memories associated with yours.
This was the situation Larry and Sergei were in. There was no certainty, but the founders staked everything on their abilities and took a shot. This is the time in our lives when we should let all the worries go and trust our own abilities; big G is the example.
Only after one more year of nurturing and uncertainty (remember, there’s still no business model and a lot of hopeful investors on hand) did the seed the founders planted deliver another yield: $25 million in investments. It gave them more responsibility, but still no results.
In 1999, Google first tried advertisements alongside search results. Instead of showing banners, which was the dominant advertising model, Google sold text ads alongside search results. No bidding, no PPC, but manually placed text advertisements.
"It didn’t generate much money." - Sergey Brin.
In the wake of this, they decided to outsource advertising to DoubleClick, but another "coincidence" occurred – the tech bubble burst in the spring of 2000, so a partnership was off the table. It’s funny that breaking points are always followed by some sort of strange coincidence. It is as though a strange force is looking over our shoulders and guiding us to the right choices, as long as we’re willing to be persistent and strong. Some call it God, some call it Infinite Intelligence, but it doesn’t matter, we’re all working with one force. What would’ve happened if Google outsourced to DoubleClick?
Moving on. In 2000 Google borrowed the pay-per-click model from Overture and launched AdWords. AdWords faced three temporary defeats, which could be viewed as failures if Sergei and Larry stopped and accepted the defeat. Their choice was to persist, and it was the right one. Five years later, after three re-launches, Google was worth $100 billion.
What if they had stopped after two attempts and said "It’s OK, we tried." This is another lesson that can be learned. Never accept defeat. It is only temporary until one of your next shots brings glory.
Google reported $5.37 billion in income in the second quarter 2008, with net profits of $1.85 billion or 29 percent. Here’s how those numbers look in perspective. That $5.37 billion per four months is $1.34 billion every month or $44,666,666 per day. This number translates into $1,861,111 per hour or $31,018 per minute. And 29 percent of that figure is $8,995 per minute. That’s a pretty good income… =)
Of course profits go up and down, but you get the picture.
It’s now worth around $150 billion and its stock price is at approximately $400.
Will Google Be a Monopoly?
Google Market Share
I’ve read predictions of 90 percent search domination, but let’s not guess; let’s look at what Google has to date.
Supplies search and ads for AOL.
Has Ask.com financially dependent on ads. Ask holds around four percent market share.
Will soon supply PPC ads for Yahoo search and make it more dependent financially on Google.
One of the top 100 brands in the world.
Holds second place in map service, after Map Quest.
With this on the table, Google is very close to monopoly status. As time passes by we will see slight increases in market share, but it will not likely hold 90 percent of the market. Here’s why.
MSN and Yahoo are very strong brands that have many loyal customers. A change of "familiar" scenery is painful, and occasional Internet users will continue using good old friends.
It’s like the incident with Coke. New Coke was better. All survey groups said it tasted better. On top of that, it had less sugar and calories. What else can you ask for? But it failed, not because it was worse, but because the old Coke was the one people could trust, the familiar and predictable "friend."
I believe Yahoo and MSN will hold at least some of their market share because of that reason. Sure they’ll lose more, but there’s always people who like the old friend better.
Google came at a perfect time for itself. Search was viewed as a loss maker and none of the giants were interested. When Google was improving algorithms, AOL and MSN were focusing on email and portal features. When search’s importance became apparent, Google already had a solution. It was prepared, and seized one of the biggest Internet opportunities, establishing itself as the father of search.
Google is too well entrenched in search to be "killed," just as Microsoft is too well entrenched in the OS market to be killed. They both dominate their spaces, have immense supplies of cash to buy threats and counteraction if needed. I do not think Google will be killed, but it likely will be challenged by a strong contender, just as Google itself is challenging Microsoft today.
Microsoft had no real competition for a while, and Google is now challenging it on many fronts, including the new browser war, with Firefox and Chrome on its side.
We may see a similar pattern with Google. A strong contender may show up, in a different vertical, reliant on a different cash flow, and compete with Google in search, just as Google is doing to Microsoft on the software giant’s core fronts. I personally think Google is gearing up for an OS war, but that’s another story.
Structure That Permits Innovation
Big companies are SLOW. By the time a project makes it through the stages required for approval, it can be too late for it to make an impact. I think this is the problem with Microsoft. It’s too centralized.
In the article The Google Hive Mind, Danny explains that Big G is sort of decentralized in the decision-making process.
Rather than follow a rigid top-down master plan, the company’s direction and success has been shaped by decisions often taken independently of how they’ll benefit the company as a whole.
There is, of course, the CORE, but many decisions go through that sometimes do not fit with the master plan. The company then expands or finds a way to fit it into the master plan.
From this we can learn to let our employees be more creative and allow them more freedom to make important decisions, even if they are small scale in comparison to Google. After all, you can’t make someone bring you brilliance if he feels like he isn’t there by choice.