Brij Singh's Blog

April 9, 2007

Learning from the best

Filed under: Entrepreneurship,Tech — Brij @ 10:51 pm

Google CEO sharing interesting insights on how Google tries to learn from other great companies:

..couple of positive analogies for Google, I think. One is Intel, one is Sony, and one is Dell. And I think each of them have strengths. Intel is easy. When they came over to visit with us, Larry and Sergey and I looked around and said we want to have our executives be as precisely knowledgeable as these people. In every case they were very precise with respect to facts; they were on top of things. If you asked them a question they’d give you a crisp answer – none of this wandering around that goes on in the industry. It’s characteristic of the Intel style, so that was very impressive. I’m not talking about the other aspects of the style- the paranoia and all. I’m just talkingabout the fact that they were very, very, very knowledgeable. And in order to do that, you have to have a high IQ, and you have to have a discipline around knowledge.

Sony is the best example of what Google is trying to emulate in innovation.

I am reading Andy Grove’s biography written by Richard Tedlow. It’s fascinating to see how Andy Grove early on realized the lack of managerial skills in Silicon Valley and went around building probably most efficient organization ever. This was largely attributed to his obsession with process and measurement. No wonder Google is taking technology management lessons from Intel. Here is what Tedlow wrote about Andy Grove:

In the semiconductor industry, management talent has been harder to find than engineering talent. By becoming a brilliant manager, Grove differentiated himself and his company. All this was in the future. Up until the year Intel was founded, Grove had shown no interest in business management. All his writing dealt with technical subjects. He was, after all, an engineer. He was a very good engineer. Perhaps brilliant. But there were a lot of brilliant engineers in Silicon Valley. There were not a lot of brilliant managers. There were even fewer brilliant managers who were also engineers.

In simple terms rough formula for continuing leadership is Intel (Measure everything), Sony(Failure_is_OK/Innovate_nonstop) and Dell (Everything on  a massive scale). I think in the last part where things get really interesting. Scale is a serious affair now and Google has huge advantage on that front. With that scale lot of mainstream industry segments (pre-Internet types) run the risk of getting road-killed. I doubt its something Google can do about it. They are building scale so that they can do what they do best which is search.

Using fancy word from economics, externalities of this scale build-out are huge.

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