Tuesday, November 11, 2014

How Google Works... Like a platform

How Google Works gives a very interesting, and actually quite inspiring, look at the philosophy of management behind Google. It’s written by former CEO Eric Schmidt and another top Google executive Jonathan Rosenberg.
It’s an easy read and contrary to a lot of other management books it doesn’t have a lot of very LOUD and flashy models of how to handle everything. But it does convey an attitude of thinking very big, hiring the best possible people, trusting them and supporting them in pursuing their ideas.

A very interesting slogan is “Default to open”, and this attitude applies in many areas – like keeping employees informed, creating partnerships, or not trying to tie costumers to your service.
It’s a bet, but they take that bet by default: “With open, you trade control for scale and innovation”.

There are also a few good observations about platforms that are worth quoting:

Airbnb, Uber, Square, Kickstarter, Netflix, Spotify… “These companies assembled existing technology components in new ways to re-imagine existing business. They set up platforms for customers and partners to interact, and use those platforms to create highly differentiated products and services. This model can apply just about anywhere: Travel, automobiles, apparel, restaurants, food, retail …”

“Whereas the twentieth century was dominated by monolithic, closed networks, the twenty-first will be driven by global, open ones”.
(p. 83)

“A corporation’s relationship with consumers is one-way. GM decides how to design, manufacture and market a new product to its consumers, and sells it through a network of dealerships. In contrast, a platform has a back-and-forth relationship with consumers and suppliers. There’s a lot more give and take”.
(p. 245)

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