How Google Works - Deepstash
How Google Works

How Google Works

Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg

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How Google Works

How Google Works

Ever since Google was born in 1998, the company has become one of the most valuable and successful companies in the tech world. But despite having a net worth of hundreds of billions and 15 years of history, the company still maintains a startup mentality.

How does Google achieve that? By focusing on so-called smart-creatives. Smart-creatives are employees who possess a curious, ambitious personality and combine it with their tech know-how.

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The Two Effects Of The Tech Explosion

The technological advancement over the past few decades has brought a highly competitive market. Consumers became increasingly more demanding, as they could easily compare prices and quality (reviews) of products. So companies had to adjust and produce better products to stand out.

The second effect of the tech explosion is that companies could develop products very quickly and cost-effectively. Digital products scale incredibly well, which is why a tiny group of engineers can produce a product used by millions of people. It is also easy to outsource work.

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Smart Creatives

Successful companies need to rely on employees who can give them a competitive edge. These employees are called smart-creatives by Google. Smart-creatives combine ideas from different areas. They combine business and tech expertise in a creative way. They are competitive, curious and very ambitious. They are so passionate about their work that they will have no problem pulling all-nighters.

The hiring approach then is to bring in those types of engineers and give them as much freedom as possible. Letting their intrinsic motivation free flow. Smart-creatives are the essence of Google.

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Hiring Smart Creatives

Hiring should be a top priority. So instead of relying on just a single opinion of a manager, as it is the case in most companies, you should create a committee to represent the company’s different viewpoints.

Resumes aren’t the best way to find the most interesting and intelligent employees. Finding them requires imagination, Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt asks himself before making any hiring decision: If he were stuck at an airport with the prospective employee, would they be able to hold an interesting conversation?

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Building A Creative, Free-Thinking Company-Culture

To attract smart and creative people, you have to create a company culture which attracts those types of employees. The culture should encourage interaction (as smart people love to talk to other smart people), freedom (smart-creatives don’t like to be in a rigid environment).

Employees should be able to speak their mind and have freedom to make their own decisions. A good starting point to define the company culture is to create the guidelines and principles that attract smart-creatives.

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Creating The Climate For Innovation

Enforcing innovation rarely works because external motivators are harmful to intrinsic motivation as described in Drive. How can a company then encourage innovation? You create the conditions for innovation to flourish.

So how can we create the right conditions for innovation? One simple rule is trying to shoot for bigger goals by “10xing” everything. For example, striving for a product which is 10 times better and has only 1/10 the cost of its current alternative.

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Embrace Risk

Google dedicates 10 percent of its budget to experiments. Employees have 20 percent free time to spend on whatever they like.

Thanks to these measures innovation keeps moving. Gmail for example was a result of an employee’s 20-percent time.

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Creating An Open Space To Facilitate Collaboration

Google learned from the book Where Good Ideas Come From that they come from collaborating environments. Innovative companies foster this type of rich environment by creating collaborative working environments and company-wide meetings.

Google has an Intranet system accessible to all employees called Moma, which stores every single product in development so that every employee knows what everyone else is working on(like Notion). This makes it easier for employees to collaborate and share knowledge, even across different departments.

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Retaining Good Employees

The restless and ambitious nature of smart creatives will naturally lead them to create something of their own sooner or later or at least make a change and try something new, like going to another company. So how can you retain them? The answer is, by giving them what they most crave, intellectual challenges.

If you challenge a smart creative’s intellect, they will feel stimulated and more motivated, keeping them happy and away from the thoughts of leaving the company.

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Leaving Some Room For Change

How to assure long-term success? Most CEOs would think that their company needs a business plan. But a rigid business plan in fact isn’t going to work well in most situations. A fixed plan doesn’t leave room for fine-tuning. And in the technology business, things change all the time. A company needs to be able to react quickly to adapt to new situations.

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Discussions, Not Decisions

In a traditional company, management used to be hierarchical (vertical). That means that decisions are to be made from superiors and that they are not debated openly, employees have to shut up and follow orders from their superiors.

In smart, creative cultures, decision making is more horizontal and are debated openly. Management cannot just make up their minds about something expecting everyone to follow the orders. If employees don’t support the decision, they won’t follow it.

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CURATED BY

CURATOR'S NOTE

Chairman Eric Schmidt and executive advisor Jonathan Rosenberg pull back the curtain to reveal how the company created its unique culture of workplace innovation

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