Monday, April 27, 2009

The Google Way

A lot has been and continues to be written about Google's unique management style. If you are not living under a rock, chances are that you have heard or read about the free food, the swank childcare facilities, the freedom to pursue a personal project for 20 % of the time, the grueling hiring process and more that Google is about. Even with all being common knowledge, Bernard Girard's book The Google Way is a excellent addition to your library because the author does a lot more than rehash what makes Google so different from any other company.

Girard tackles many facets of Google's unconventional culture and management style beginning with the hiring of Eric Schmidt and the subsequent three-way sharing of power at the top and the use of the Dutch-auction to go public all the way to its somewhat "extreme" hiring process. He analyzes how each of these strategies work out for Google and what if anything another company many learn from that success.

Girard's tone is very balanced and objective. He does not see Google has having figured out a way to be successful (and profitable) under all circumstances. He leavens his considerable enthusiasm and admiration for the Google Way with a healthy dose of caution. At one point he likens Google to a magnet which inherently attracts iron shavings - he uses this analogy to explain why top technical talent gravitates towards Google despite the long entry process and for not the best salaries in the industry.

That description along with the Marrisa Mayer (Google's VP of Search Products and User Experience) quote about Google being like a Swiss Army knife the clean, simple tool you want to take everywhere are possibly the most transferable lessons from the Google Way to any other industry.

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