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