10 tips for Larry Page

Ian Lurie Feb 7 2011

Yo, Larry. I know we go way back. So I’ve got a bit of business advice for ya:

  1. Keep your eye on the ball. Google’s been all over the damned map: Wave, for heaven’s sake? Focus on what you do well: Making tons of stuff findable.
  2. Keep spam in check. Right now, your rankings are starting to resemble my inbox in 2002: More spam than useful. With all those smart people you’ve got, you can certainly address this. Get to work.
  3. Make social searchable. You didn’t write a million books. You scanned them and made ‘em searchable. Hmmm. Maybe that’d be a good idea in the social space, too?
  4. Drop instant. Watching you guys do Instant Search has been like watching Laurence Olivier get an anvil dropped on his head: You’re supposed to be the height of your craft. Don’t resort to parlor tricks.
  5. Find a new PageRank. If you enjoy hearing your name a lot, find the next guiding factor for PageRank. Links no longer work. I’m tired of explaining to clients that their competitors are kicking their asses by building sham link networks that I can unravel in 15 minutes.
  6. Break up the company. Android’s great (I own a Droid) but it shouldn’t be siphoning resources away from search. Take Google back to being a search company. Make Android its own thing. Make Docs/Gmail their own things. Continue to integrate them all. But don’t ever make Matt Cutts say he didn’t have the resources to fight spam, ever again. Ever ever ever.
  7. Fix the ranking pages. If you stuff any more crap into the rankings pages they’re going to cause seizures. I know why: You’re chasing dollars. But that doesn’t change the fact that you’re starting to look more like Bing than Bing.
  8. Remember the mantra. “Don’t be evil” isn’t about what other people think. It’s about you and your team doing the right thing. You got rich that way.
  9. Remember the mantra, 2. Sometimes, doing your work badly is just as evil as doing bad works. Clean up your act. Reduce noisy inputs, and find new, harder-to-compromise ones.
  10. Have a sense of mission. Yes, Google is a profit-seeking business. But you also have to take some responsibility for the fact that you, in large part, power the web. You don’t have to be a martyr. That sense of mission can help Google grow and profit, too. Go off-mission, though, and you’ll end up being one more commodity.

Drop me a line some time. We can go grab a beer, talk strategy and throw darts at pictures of Mark Zuckerberg.

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tags : conversation marketing


  1. Any time a company loses focus on their core business, they open the door for a competitor to steal market share. And Bing is just waiting to do it. Focus. Focus. Focus.
    Search is Google’s core and they seem to be forgetting that.

  2. All excellent points Ian!
    If I may:
    11. Use some of your $100,000,000,000+ to hire a real support staff for your direct customers: the advertisers.

  3. Haha Ian, I love it.
    But definitely Google is focused on too many things at once, which results in less quality in every aspect.
    Please also invite me when Larry calls ;)

  4. I second that Kyle,
    Google needs a direct support staff for its advertisers and SMBs but it seems they’ve been going towards that route lately; but they’re still really reluctant on giving phone numbers.

  5. Casie


    Ha! I love this. #7 – I just tweeted a picture of a Google SERP yesterday because I couldn’t believe how crowded it was with crap!

  6. My first good chuckle of the day, thanks. I think one thing I’d add to your list for Larry is that Google partially revert some of thier algo to more weight on page and thus less weight on offpage factors. Right now it feels like about 80/20 in favor of link metrics. Back off at least to 50/50 and that alone would help fight the spam that is influencing her so heavily today. Putting good new innovations to search on to a flawed algo-ratio doesn’t help. Fix the problem first, then the new stuff could actually enhance search. But sad results are muddying the water guys.
    Google, revert, revert and sin no more.
    Robert in Colorado

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