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Why Google is different

This is my first real attempt to write something resembling an essay. All opinions described here are personal and to some extent ephemeral, and I don't like it if you treat it as the one and only truth or my version of it: any essay, how good it might be, is just a way to show how the mind of the author goes about the subject of the essay at the moment of writing.

I am aware I have posted a remark about Google with an apparent not to closely related link to it, and that normally this kind of posting is treated as trolling, and that is a GOOD THING. Everybody should back up their arguments, and all information should be verifiable. In a perfect world there is no doubt about any information out there.

Of course this is not practical, and really nobody is backing up all the things they have to say, and even if they do, there is always some argument loose. In the end, every how and why leads back to the beginning and reason of our being, and neither a big bang nor religion are resolving all our doubts. (Luckily I, as a Christian, can believe in eternity as a thriving factor and thus have a reasonable complete picture, knowing that out of that picture there might be even more but it doesn't matter for the way I live, where the science stuff, all other things they believe being true, still cannot point to the reason of everything, but that actually should be handled in a different post...)

Normally we are resorting to factors like common sense, generally accepted truths, guesses, the opinion of the majority and the opinion of people who can now. All together this makes for a lot of room for error, and thus every evidence backing up our claims is valued highly, in my opinion sometimes too highly as you still have a quite uncompleted picture.

So I made a claim there, mostly jokingly, but actually with a lot more thinking than it might seem, that Google always wins. And here is my attempt to give it some backing. It will be nothing thoroughly proved (as that is maybe not theoretically but at least practically impossible) neither something you should bet your live on.

Google is one of the most interesting companies in the world. It is not a typical company in a lot of ways. I might be wrong, but I have the idea that Google is the first company in history that works the way it works. And really, because it did, no other company has a chance to beat them. No company is up to the job to beat Google.

Those are harsh words. Words that need some backing. Because nobody ever believes that a company cannot fail. I don't actually believe that Google is immortal. I just say you cannot beat them. They will always win.

Most companies lose at some point because money runs out. This can have several reasons:
  • The people don't want the product any more
  • The company is made unnecessary (about the same, just from the other side)
  • The money they get is not enough to keep it all running
This seems rather logical. However, the third reason won't necessarily get a company out of business. If there is still need for the product (that's something different of whether there is a market for it: a market cannot sustain a company, people do), the consumers, the people out there, can actually keep the product alive. The moment there is no money can be a really though time, but it doesn't need to kill the company... Money is just a way to express value, and by all means, it is NOT the absolute thing you need to keep something running. It is the people you are after.

To give you an illustration of what I mean, I want to take a look of 3 countries/regions/living areas in the world and how they are run.

The first country I want to mention is the United States. It is a big country and a big spender. The United States have a lot of debts and were it a company, it would be dead a million times by now. It wouldn't deserve the slightest piece of respect and nobody would like to invest in it.

But the US is not a company. It is a country. People are living there. People need the United States to live, and thus it cannot die.

The second piece of the world I want to mention is the rich Arab states with a lot of oil, like the UAE. They don't have a debt. They have enough to buy anything they need.

And then Brazil, called the king, the number one of the third world countries. I have been there. Just like the United States it has debts. Mostly to the United States actually.

But imagine that one day money isn't worth a thing anymore (all banks down; not even that much of an impossibility nowadays) and it's practically impossible to import or export anything. Which country will survive? The UAE are dependent for a big deal on import. I won't give my life for them. The United States are dependent on the oil and other products from other countries (for some horror scenarios on this part, search for Peek Oil). Brazil is a different story however: without the money suddenly Brazil doesn't seem that poor anymore. Anything they need is available in the borders of their own country. The only thing preventing Brazil from using this fact to its full meaning now is knowledge and the unequal way power and money are distributed. But I see a lot of progress here.

The most important thing here is that in the end the money doesn't have to do a thing with profitability.

Now back to Google. My view is that Google is run like some kind of a country. And not just any country. Google has an eco-system that is practically self-supplying. The other thing is that their business is not build on money but a whole different commodity: knowledge. And the product that Google delivers is a way to access knowledge. The only goal Google has as a company is to make knowledge accessible to all.

It turns out that knowledge is something quite more persistent and stable than money. People might live without money, but living without knowledge is a no-brainer in the most literal sense of the word. Google is something everybody depends on, more and more, and you cannot just kick it away. In the improbable case that Google runs out of money, people will willingly pay to keep Google running. It is a product we need. Everybody supports a company that delivers something they need.

Some people say Google is an advertisement company. If you look at it economically you might even have some reason to think about Google this way. Some people think that this business will fail some day and Google will be gone then. I don't think so. For one, advertisement is something people are always wanting to do in one form or another, because products and people always need to be connected. And Google has the guts to keep this up to date and to find new ways accomplishing this goal always.

But even when advertisement stops being a money-maker for Google, they don't care. Who needs money when everybody depends on you anyway?

And now up to the big part: other companies. Those that try to beat Google. You can only beat Google if you run your company just that way and don't depend on your money to keep working.

And that are the companies Google buys.

Google always wins

Posted via email from LaPingvino


( 1 komento — Afiŝu novan komenton )
25-a de mar 2010 01:55 (UTC)
Money is not so much an expression of value as a token of agreement between human beings: I agree to do this and you agree to do that. If money represented mainly value, then there would be no such thing as inflation or deflation. If money represented only value, there wouldn't be so much investment in US dollars, which at a given time have this value or that value; but the United States never has defaulted on a loan; people around the world expect that an agreement made with the United States is one that will be carried out.

The US used to stockpile gold, which they stopped doing when I was a kid. What happens now is that banks create dollars out of thin air, to be lended at an interest rate that varies according to circumstances. It is impossible for the US to run out of dollars. What can happen is that people stop trusting the United States to fulfill its agreements. In the recent era of Republican Party rule here, that started to happen.

Google has no special immunity to shortages of money, because all it has to do is become untrustworthy. A publicly held company can be particularly vulnerable, because there is little to prevent it from being taken over by determined crooks or dumbasses. Also a company known for a leisurely and creative atmosphere needs to keep in mind that this is just one aspect, because the same thing was true at Cray Research, which suffered a rapid collapse (and absorption into Silicon Graphics).

Edited at 2010-03-25 01:58 (UTC)
( 1 komento — Afiŝu novan komenton )

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