Google has never behaved like other companies: Its wildly successful search ad business means that it never has to. In an interview with Wired, CEO Larry Page describes an approach that focuses not on competition, but rather on transforming products and services completely.
Here are a few of the best bits of advice on how he makes a very unconventional business work:
Innovation is useless without commercialization
Xerox PARC was a part of a larger company famously focused on big ideas and innovation. It helped create modern computing but didn’t contribute a tremendous amount to the bottom line.
That’s because Xerox PARC failed at commercialization, which Page says has to be a huge part of the equation. He gives the example of Tesla. They’re innovative, but according to Page, “they’re probably spending 99 per cent of their effort figuring out how to actually get it out to people.”
Don’t focus on your competition
Page thinks there’s a fundamental problem in how companies are run. The media plays into it. “The stories are written as if they are covering a sporting event,” Page said.
That creates two major problems. The first one is motivation. You don’t get amazing work or an excited work force when you’re working to beat some other company that does approximately the same thing.
The second is that if all you do is make small changes to existing things to stay ahead of competition, all you get is incremental improvement. “Incremental improvement is going to be obsolete over time,” Page argues. Focusing on competitors creates companies that end up decaying over time, as opposed to ones that create new and interesting things.
Google has only scratched the surface of what technology can do
According to Page, Google has only attacked 0.1 per cent of what technology can do to improve people’s lives, and that the entire technology sector has only attacked one per cent. “That means there’s 99 per cent virgin territory,” he says.
Entrepreneurs scared by giants like Google have the wrong idea. There’s still much more to be done. Investors often discourage big, risky investments, but the things that they love about Google, like Android, always started out that way.
“If you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you’re doing the wrong things,” Page said.
Lawsuits and competition don’t make companies fail
“[Litigation] is certainly not pleasant. But show me a company that failed because of litigation. I just don’t see it. Companies fail because they do the wrong things or they aren’t ambitious, not because of litigation or competition.”
Read the whole interview here
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.