The Google Way: How One Company is Revolutionizing Management As We Know it

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Shortly after World War I, Ford and GM created the large modern corporation, with its financial and statistical controls, mass production, and assembly lines. In the 1980s, Toyota stood out for combining quality with continuous refinement. Today, Google is reinventing business yet again-the way we work, how organizations are controlled, and how employees are managed.

Management consultant Bernard Girard has been analyzing Google since its founding in 1998, and now in The Google ...

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Google Way: How One Company Is Revolutionizing Management As We Know It

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Shortly after World War I, Ford and GM created the large modern corporation, with its financial and statistical controls, mass production, and assembly lines. In the 1980s, Toyota stood out for combining quality with continuous refinement. Today, Google is reinventing business yet again-the way we work, how organizations are controlled, and how employees are managed.

Management consultant Bernard Girard has been analyzing Google since its founding in 1998, and now in The Google Way, he explores Google's innovations in depth-many of which are far removed from the best practices taught at the top business schools.

As you read, you'll see how much of Google's success is due to its focus on users and automation. You'll also learn how eCommerce has profoundly changed the relationship between businesses and their customers, for the first time giving customers an important role to play in a major corporation's growth. Finally, Girard speculates about the limits of Google's business model and discusses the challenges it will face as it continues to grow.

Google's culture is one of innovation. Why not make that spirit of innovation your own?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593271848
  • Publisher: No Starch Press San Francisco, CA
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Bernard Girard is the author of several books on management and has consulted for some of the world's best-known firms. He lectures globally on Google's management strategies and ways they can be applied to businesses of all kinds.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: A Management Breakthrough;
Part I: An Unorthodox Corporate Saga;
1.1 Direct Heirs of Artificial Intelligence;
1.2 The Invention of Page Ranking;
1.3 An Environment for Innovation;
1.4 Job Mobility and the Exchange of Ideas;
1.5 A Short Leash;
1.6 Winning Independence;
1.7 What About the Rest of Us?;
2.1 Google Is Free, But …;
2.2 Two-Sided Markets;
2.3 The Cost-per-Click Advertising Model;
2.4 The Power of Minimalist Ads;
2.5 Competitive Bidding;
2.6 No Content, No Portal;
2.7 How to Keep Channel Surfers;
2.8 The Double Long Tail;
Part II: A Formula 1 Engine;
3.1 A Triumvirate That Works ( Against All Odds );
3.2 How Can Google's Triumvirate Continue to Succeed?;
4.1 Why the Very Best?;
4.2 A Recruitment Factory;
4.3 Evaluating Technical Expertise;
Chapter 5: THE 20 PERCENT RULE;
6.1 The Power of Reputation;
6.2 A Tool for Quality Control;
7.1 Don't Formalize Research;
7.2 Innovation Is Everybody's Business;
7.3 Look for Ideas Where They Are;
7.4 Acquire;
7.5 Release Early and Often (or, How to Involve Users in the Development Process);
7.6 An Innovation Machine That Pays Off;
8.1 Earlier Product Strategies;
8.2 Consider Microsoft;
8.3 The Google Swiss Army Knife;
8.4 Is Google Lacking Direction?;
8.5 The Online Swiss Army Knife: An Internet Operating System;
9.1 Real-Time Data Analysis;
9.2 Numbers Are Key;
9.3 Mathematics and Management;
10.1 Fight the Bureaucracy;
10.2 Small Teams Facilitate Innovation;
10.3 Small Teams Are Efficient;
10.4 It's Not Just the Size;
11.1 The Technology of Shared Information;
11.2 Moma: Abundant Information;
11.3 Blogs at Work;
11.4 A New Role for Management;
12.1 A Limitation Becomes an Asset;
12.2 Redundancy;
12.3 Powerful Production Equipment;
12.4 Use Existing Infrastructure;
Part III: Put Users First; the Rest Will Follow;
13.1 Eliminating Conflicts Between Sales and Marketing Departments;
13.2 Understanding User Behaviors;
13.3 But Where Did My Sales Rep Go?;
Chapter 14: Putting Users in Charge;
14.1 Online Communities: A New Force;
14.2 Communities Serving the Company;
14.3 Watching Every Minute;
14.4 A Genuine Influence;
14.5 Reputation as a Motivating Force;
14.6 The New Stakeholders;
Part IV: Challenges and Risks;
15.1 The Growth of Search;
15.2 The Online Advertising Market;
15.3 New Competitors with Different Economic Models;
15.4 Click Fraud and Spam;
15.5 Confidence and Privacy Concerns;
15.6 Will Copyright Concerns Slow Google's Growth?;
15.7 Cultural Globalization and Resistance;
15.8 Corporate Data: A Comeback for Microsoft?;
15.9 Net Neutrality;
15.10 Management: Overcoming Complexity;
16.1 The Danger of Free;
16.2 Organized Chaos and Bureaucratic Temptation;
16.3 When the Innovation Machine Sputters;
16.4 Products That Work Are Sticky;
16.5 Human Resources: The Other Side of the Coin;
Chapter 17: A Look Ahead;
17.1 Less Innovation Results in Less Competition;
17.2 The Impact on the Advertising Market;
17.3 The Rise of eCommerce;
17.4 Traffic Is Not Revenue;
17.5 Recessions: A Time to Reorganize;
17.6 Recessions: An Opportunity to Streamline;
17.7 Management: A Recession-Proof Model?;
17.8 Google Post-Recession: Stronger but More Cautious;

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  • Posted May 31, 2009

    The Google Business Model Explored

    I usually don't read business books, but I was intrigued by the the subject of this book. Who wouldn't want to know about how Google achieved market domination, became one of the largest companies on the planet, and has vowed to "don't be evil?" (Do other companies say, we won't be evil unless it suits our purposes?)

    The book was written by Bernard Girard, a French management consultant who has been observing the Google "phenomenon" for years.

    It is divided into an introduction, and three sections. The sections talk about current management, putting users first, and sustainability of the current model. Business history of rife with stories of companies that dominated their market niche, but weren't able to sustain their positions. General Motors is the current example that comes to mind, but there are many.

    I work in the medical area, and have run or been involved in small medical businesses for many years. I found the descriptions of the Google way to mesh with what I've have found to work in small businesses of 10 to 20 employees. I was surprised to learn that general management theory subscribes to a different set of rules for larger business. Google hasn't followed many of these bromides.

    Here are the author's main points about the current Google business model:

    There is a triumvirate management. This provides checks and balances, and a wider, more democratic information flow so that decisions are made on the basis of more information. It doesn't allow one person to go off on a personal tangent and take the company with him.

    Every effort is made to recruit the most qualified people, particularly people with graduate degrees.

    Google allows employees to spend 20% of their time on a project not approved by the company. They "trust" the employee to do something good for Google with this time, but leave much of the decision making to the employee. I would call this a form of employee empowerment.

    Peer review is encouraged (democratization of the work force)

    Encourage innovation. Many examples of concrete ways to implement this are given in the chapter.

    Be like a Swiss Army knife. Try to make a complete tool set for most jobs that internet savvy folks will pursue.

    Measure everything. Development mathematical formulas that model the real activity of the business, and monitor their outcomes on a regular basis.

    Keep teams small. This improves intra-team communication, and is more efficient.

    Create tools that allow teams and divisions to easily communicate (think blogs, twitter-like apps, etc.)

    Learn to use simple tools in concert to accomplish big tasks (think thousands of linux blade servers running custom software to accurately model the internet, and use that model for very quick and accurate searches)

    The rest of the book talks about more intangible issues, making the users first, various issues related to how the internet functions, copyright issues, sustainability of the enterprise in its current form, and others.

    People who run small businesses will recognize most of these principles, and in fact already have implemented many of them. I suspect that Sergey Brin and Larry Page intuitively knew what would work best with the bright people they planned to hire for their company. They created a company that in many ways modeled a graduate school environment. Google has been successful in part because it has empowered (given responsibility to) its employees, cr

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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