Good article on fortune.com by Adam Lashinsky on where Google goes from here. Definitely worth a read.
It’s a fascinating question. Google was started by smart guys with a good idea. They stumbled into a helluva advertising model that printed money based on intent (goto.com actually invented it). Google then used these funds to build the kind of company that people love working at and has been wildly successful. Now they have a product that mints money ($2B a quarter according to the article) and a bunch of other cool products that people love using…but don’t make any money. And now at 15,000+ employees, they face ‘big companyness’ creeping in: Early employees deserting for their own startups and many of younger ones being drawn to -the- hot startup, Facebook. Where does Google go from here? The article doesn’t say it, but we’ll get the answer when they miss earnings for a few quarters in a row. Though I don’t doubt that Sergey, Larry, and Eric could live with the stock punishment, I’m not sure how the rank and file will feel about it as it definitely hurts morale when your stock is viewed as a dog, old employees retire or go do their own thing, and the kinds of employees you used to get stop coming. Do you double-down and risk big or pare back and try to nail earnings to get your momentum back?
It’ll be fascinating to watch. Disclosure: I own a few GOOG shares.
5/27/13 – While they missed earnings a few times, it was always just a blip. There was some turbulence internally which resulted in Page coming back as CEO. The end result is that in 2013, Google is widely viewed as the leader. Maps, self-driving cars, Glass, Android, Now, Search, etc – super impressive company.