What Would Google Do?

Book Review / Change and Organization

What Would Google Do?
Geert Gerrits , Student (Other), Netherlands

What Would Google Do?

Title: What Would Google Do?
Year: 2009
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-06-170971-5

Being the proprietor of one of the most popular and respected blogs about the internet and media (Buzzmanchine.com), being a columnist of the Guardian regarding new media, and named as one of 100 worldwide media leaders by the World Economic Forum in 2007 and 2008, Jeff Jarvis has the right to write a book like this. What Would Google Do?

What Would Google Do? That is a question a lot of entrepreneurs are asking themselves lately. How can we be a ‘part’ of today’s society or how do we have to deal with our customers? Or as someone asked Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook) how to build a community like he did, he simply replied: ‘You can’t.’ That’s it. Later he gave more advice. ‘You don’t start a community, communities already exist. They’re already doing what they want to do. The question you should ask is how you can help them do that better.’

A big company like Starbucks has a lot of customers. Each customer has a different idea how to improve the company. So the society was there to improve the business. Starbucks simple add into this by creating MyStarbucksIdea.com where customer could share their ideas. Jarvis strongly believes in this, this is the new way of doing business. As he describes his first own law: ‘Give the people control and we will use it.’ Back in the days companies, institutions and governments believed they were in control. But since the rise of the internet, people can speak up themselves. We can find and share information and eventually take over control.

The way of operating a business is changed. New rules have to be applied in today’s businesses. Customers are in charge now, they can be heard by everyone around the globe. People can find each other and coalesce around (or against) you. The mass market is dead, now there is a mass of niches. Be open for co-creation is a must in today’s society. Networks are the factor to success and pipelines, people, products or intellectual property is no longer the key to success, openness is!

Google understands all of this. They know best what their customers want. Google simplifies the world, simplicity is powerful as they say. Google encourage, enable and protect innovation. ‘A license to pursue your dreams’ as Google’s Marissa Mayer says. With the 20% rule it requires employees to innovate.
Google is different from other companies. Everybody knows Google from their search engine. Have you ever paid for a search result? No! We all know that you can’t compete with something that is free. Google is offering his service for free. Free as a business model, that is the way Google operates. They make money in different ways. Advertising is one of them. But Google likes to do in simple. They can earn billions of dollars with an advertisement on the homepage, but they won’t do that, because they know the customers don’t like that.
Another example why Google is different is the way they treat people who are ‘using’ Google. What would you do if someone is using your product, tries to improve it and put it in the market? You’re thinking of suing him? Paul Rademacher mashed Google Maps up with craigslist. ‘I had no idea how big it would be. I just wanted to write something that was useful,’ he said. Instead of suing him, Google hired the guy.

According to Jarvis, everybody needs Googlejuice. The more links, clicks and mentions you get, the higher you rise in Google’s search results, offering you the potential for even more clicks. It is like a virtuous circle. Jarvis is wondering when a company is also valued by their Googlejuice, besides their EBITDA, revenue and marketshare.

Google does what is does best and link it to the rest.

In the second part of this book Jarvis gives his vision on the world if Google would rule the world. He is giving examples in all kind of businesses. Mostly businesses that think they are still in control. From car businesses to phone companies and from restaurants to shops.

This book is important material for every Imagineer. It shows you how Google has changed the world. It gives you a lot of example of how to do something better, using the internet, using Google, using social media. Jarvis tells you how to operate and how to deal with this new way of doing business. Small is the new big, with the use of internet small businesses can survive and even rapidly grow.
As an Imagineer you need to be aware of the new ethics, which Jarvis describes in his book. You can make mistakes, customers will make you aware of your mistakes, just make sure you learn from it and improve/ fix it. Be honest with your customers, be transparent, collaborate with them and don’t be evil. That is the way an Imagineer should co-create.
Espescially the second part of the book, If Google Ruled the World, is a real eye-opener. Jarvis gives his view on how business can be changed if Google would own them. As an Imagineer your eyes are already open, but still you will get the ‘wow’ feeling reading his view on how a company should be.

You will think, why doesn’t every company add the 20% rule?

Meet the author: youtube.com/watch?v=rTOLkm5hNNU

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